Staff Spotlight: Carolyn Nivling, School of Applied Technology

Sat, 2016/09/24

Riding up the elevator in the Tower is usually not very exciting.  Wouldn’t it help to be greeted by a smiling face while walking into the office on the 14th floor after turning right?  Entering the School of Applied Technology (SAT) office in Suite 14B of the Tower, no one can help smiling back to Carolyn Nivling.  She is the one sitting behind the desk, ready to greet anyone who might stop in.  Nivling is currently the SAT Assistant Director of Student Services, also dealing with alumni relations.  Nearly a year ago, Nivling was promoted from her previous position with Illinois Tech as the Information Technology and Management (ITM) Assistant Coordinator.  ITM is a department within the School of Applied Technology, and the SAT needed someone to assist with events. Since Nivling has a background in event planning, marketing, and mentoring students and volunteers, she stepped right up to the plate, assisting with commencement planning for the SAT in the spring of 2016.

In her current role as SAT Assistant Director of Student Services, Nivling handles planning for all SAT-wide events.  Some of these SAT events include the New Student Breakfast, Alumni Day, Annual Barbecue, Haunted House during Family Weekend, Senior Week, and Spring Commencement.  Approximately 50% of the events Nivling is planning this year are new, such as the Haunted House.  Nivling also deals with the SAT Ambassadors, who are students in good standing that mentor younger students in the college and act as representatives of the School of Applied Technology.

In her position, Nivling is able “to wear many hats.”  Not only does she enjoy being involved with planning all these events for students, she also loves “really getting to know students, interacting and empowering them to get more involved in their school.”  Nivling likes being busy as well, and since this position is constantly evolving and changing, it’s perfect for her.  “Probably the other huge thing” for Nivling is her ability to work with a team to get these projects done, which she really enjoys.

No job is completely perfect, and this position also has its difficulties: “There’s a perception that events will just presto magic happen,” snapping her fingers to indicate the immediacy of that expectation.  However, there many details involved in event planning.  Another challenge with events, though, is that they depend tremendously on volunteer participation: “Without that my job would not be successful.”

Nivling truly appreciates how “the university as a whole seems very open to innovative entrepreneurial advancement of students.”  She also likes how Illinois Tech is very supportive and open to event ideas, as the SAT works to achieve their goal to create events that enhance the experience of its students. For all Illinois Tech students, Nivling advises that “if you have an opportunity to get involved in something you’re passionate about or volunteer for, IIT is a great opportunity for that.  You shouldn’t be afraid to try something.”  She also understands how, especially “in this digital age,” events provide a great and unique opportunity for students to create new relationships and collaborations with other students and even alumni.

If anyone is interested in volunteering with the SAT and Nivling for their Haunted House during Family Weekend (on Saturday, October 15), they are encouraged contact her directly by email at