Confidence shapes a communicator’s voice


Brandon Gargano

Rhonda Nemri, new communication and creative arts adviser, works in her office in Gyte 171.

By studying communication, Rhonda Nemri, new adviser for the communication and creative arts department, found her voice.

Nemri loved how her graduate studies pushed her to speak in the classroom without feelings of hesitation.

“I remember being an undergraduate and still being shy and reserved in the classroom and I only asked questions if I needed to absolutely ask questions,” Nemri said. “When I became a graduate student and taught classes, it started to fade away. I was more open to all types of classroom sizes and I was able to help others and myself. I actually knew I could be confident when I speak.”

Nemri started attending PNW after completing her general education courses at South Suburban College. Nemri said her interest in being a part of PNW’s communication department began after taking an introduction to public relations course.

She then attended graduate school at PNW and became a research assistant for Dan Dunn, professor of communication, and Lisa Goodnight, senior dean of students and professor of communication. She helped with their book, “Communication: Embracing Difference.”

Nemri realized studying communication strengthened her communication and writing skills. She learned how to express her viewpoints and perceptions of her Arabian culture and feminism.

“Being able to learn about myself and take a women’s studies class helped me know it is important to not only know who I am, but to help other women and even men in a cultural form to understand who they are and what they can do to help each other grow,” Nemri said. “I wanted to help women and young girls who are starting to figure out who they are to see that they’re not alone which is my motto in life: ‘We’re not alone in this.’”

After completing her graduate studies, Nemri became an adjunct instructor for Governor State University and worked in the health industry as a senior international assistance coordinator for AXA Assistance, a travel assistance service. She also was a benefits adviser for Zest Health, a medical and health benefits company. Nemri continues to teach at PNW.

Nemri also recognized that one should go after his or her passion with whatever it takes.

“When you love something so much or you enjoy doing something, working late, having to go in early or staying after doesn’t bother you. Money is a factor, but when you do something you love, it’s amazing,” Nemri said.

Dunn believes Nemri’s professional and academic experience prepares her to be an adviser.

“She is a hard worker, compassionate and student-centered,” Dunn said.

“She can help connect students with faculty and help them make good choices.”

Tom Roach, communication and creative arts department head, said Nemri was chosen because the department wanted someone familiar with the program who had gone through the classes.

“She is very result-oriented and finds ways to get things done. She’s proactive rather than reactive and also careful and meticulous, an important quality for an adviser,” Roach said. “She’s very comfortable with all of us. If she has a problem or issue, she’ll bring it up. I’m very proud of her and happy she is with us.”

Roach expects she will do a competent job as an adviser and will be a fearless advocate for students.

According to Nemri, when she finished high school, she didn’t know what she wanted to be and had limited resources when starting college. Nemri said what appealed to her about the adviser position was getting the opportunity to help people.

“I didn’t have that person that I could go to that was willing to help me,” Nemri said. “It’s very important to know that this role I have is for students to take advantage of. I think without this role, students may feel they’re not on top of things or that they’re taking classes they’re not supposed to be taking. I know this is something useful for them because an adviser makes sure students are provided with what they need to know.

She said educating others to succeed has always been something she has thoroughly enjoyed.

“I’m guiding someone through such a major and important part of his or her life,” Nemri said. “He or she may not see it at that moment, but I think once he or she completes their education, he or she will know someone was there who believed in him or her and provided those essential resources.”

Nemri is looking forward to giving students the best types of opportunities and wants to pursue her doctoral degree after advising. Nemri is from Southside Chicago and a Cubs fan. She loves working out, spending time with her family, long walks, hiking, writing and poetry.