Student Spotlight: Christina Annerino 
By Tony Scott


Christina Annerino plans to graduate in May with two bachelor's degrees.

Christina Annerino is busy and working hard as a full-time nursing student with clinicals and a part-time job, but earning a scholarship has eased her financial burdens.

Annerino is aiming to graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, with a certificate in criminology. She plans to attend graduate school this fall and has a goal of earning a doctorate by 2027.

Annerino grew up in Palatine, Illinois, with three younger siblings. Her mother went back to school when Annerino was in high school and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Her mother is currently employed as a school nurse at a junior high school.

As a freshman, Annerino received NIU’s prestigious Presidential Scholarship, which covers the cost of full tuition, fees and on-campus room and board, along with a book stipend, for up to eight semesters. Approximately 10 incoming freshmen are awarded the scholarship annually. The university considers factors such as exceptional academic achievement and community, civic and co-curricular involvement when deciding the scholarship winners.

“When I first received the Presidential Scholarship, I was ecstatic,” she said. “It was everything to me to be able to pursue more than I had ever thought I’d be able to and I didn’t have to take on heavy financial burdens to pursue all of my passions.” 

She added, “Being a presidential scholar has been a life changing opportunity and also opened the door to me being able to start grad school this upcoming fall since I don't have to work off undergraduate student loans. This scholarship is the reason I am currently scheduled to earn the title of doctor by fall 2027.”

Last year, Annerino also won the CURE Award for her first place presentation, “Gender Differences in Administration of tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) in Treatment of Ischemic Stroke.” The monetary award is offered through the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning and generous donors. 

Annerino is thankful to donors for their generosity and encourages others to support scholarships that help ease students’ financial burdens.

“Anything that you can give can make all the difference for a student that is weighing their ability to pursue their dreams against the financial burden that education may bring,” she said. “Being able to take some of that weight off of a student allows them to focus more on what they are at school for and gives them the time to dream bigger and do more.”

Annerino said she chose to come to NIU because of its strong nursing program and because she earned the Presidential Scholarship.

“Having this scholarship also meant that I could pursue a second bachelor's degree in sociology and complete person-centered research that explored gender-based discrimination in the workplace, in court-ordered treatment programs, and in medical care,” she said.

Annerino said she was able to work on two bachelor’s degrees since she completed some college course work at Harper College while she was still attending high school. She also tested out of seven classes via CLEP exams before entering NIU in the fall of 2020.

“With my transfer and test credits along with the presidential scholarship, I realized that not only could I complete my nursing degree debt free, I could also complete an entire second degree that would allow me to focus on the research I wanted to do, also debt-free,” she said. 

Annerino is highly involved in various organizations, including the Student Nurses Organization, the Alpha Kappa Delta Sociological Honor Society, Alpha Eta National Allied Health Honor Society, the University Honors Program, Sigma Alpha Pi Leadership Honor Society, and alpha Kappa Delta Phi International Sorority. 

“I decided to join honor societies for sociology, allied health sciences, and leadership because the activities that fulfilled their membership requirements aligned with my values and goals as an undergraduate,” she said. “I did things like speaking to 100 level freshman classes about career opportunities in the field of sociology, attending lecture sessions about leadership, completing a group project about student leadership on campus, publishing research about healthcare disparities, and mentoring younger students in my majors.”

She added, “In Alpha Kappa Delta Phi, I have had the opportunity to hold a number of leadership roles and execute events in service, sisterhood, scholarship, and leadership to promote academic achievement, personal growth, and cultural awareness on our campus. This group has provided myself and a number of other undergraduate women with a community that is invested in their success and achievement while an undergrad here at NIU.”

In addition to holding a job at the Center for Student Assistance, Annerino works clinicals shifts as part of her nursing degree requirements. 

“As a senior nursing student, I have my capstone clinical this semester, and the schedule for this clinical is aligned with the schedule of a nurse on the unit I’m assigned to,” she said. “Following her schedule means that I am on unit at the hospital different days of the week every week. On the days when I’m at clinical, I leave at 5:30 a.m. to commute to the hospital, I’m on the unit for 12 and a half hours, and then I commute back to DeKalb and usually get home around 8 p.m.”

She continued, “Some days it can be exhausting to come in to work the next day, especially when I have assignments due on clinical days and I end up working on homework for two or three hours after getting back. Even though it can be really hard at times to be in clinicals, a full-time student, and an employee, planning my schedule out ahead of time every week and focusing on managing the time I do have is what allows me to accomplish everything I need to.”

Annerino loves being a Huskie and as busy as she is, she loves being on campus.

“My favorite thing about NIU is the community of everyone here,” she said. “The student wellness organizations and campus events really make it feel like the campus is meant to support its students, no matter their interests, their background, or their goals.”