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Darren Widder, Senior Admissions Counselor, Transfer Students –IL, WI, MN, U.P. of MI, and most of the rest of the nation.

Hometown:  Antioch, Ill.

Professional/personal biography:  I was an underachieving high school student.  I am extremely grateful that I was given a chance in higher education at Northern Michigan University.  At NMU, I triple majored in pre-law/political science, economics, and philosophy; and graduated summa cum laude with my Bachelor of Science degree in May of 2009.  I earned my Master of Public Administration degree, with a concentration in public management, also from NMU in May of 2014.  I have worked a couple years each in the fields of automotive maintenance/repair, telecommunications, and student conduct administration—and stints in other areas, such as manufacturing, public consulting, retail, and substitute teaching—before coming to admissions.  I have lived in the U.P. since 2005 with my wife, Christina, and two dogs, Isis and Gaia.

Most memorable college experience:  The most memorable college experience I had was an internship with Bloomberg News at the Republican National Convention of 2008.  The opportunity was made possible by the connections of the Board of Trustees, faculty, and staff at NMU.  I was out in the field mostly, reporting information about the protests to the writers.  It was incredible to see the workings of political journalism at a major event.

Favorite Marquette activity:  I love cliff jumping into the crystal clear waters of Lake Superior.  There are a few places to do it only minutes from campus.

Best advice you received regarding college or would give someone entering college:  Opportunity is everywhere.  Put yourself out there and be a part of the community.  You never know how a connection you make with someone today will pay off in the future.  Try new things and learn new skills.  Get to know the faculty and staff at your college/university very well.  They will be invaluable assets to you during your academic career and as you search for internships, jobs, and/or pursue graduate school.  Lastly, have fun, but not too much fun.  You know what I mean!