Zyrika Pellumb recently joined the UIC Business family as an undergraduate academic adviser. Zyrika is excited to help students achieve their academic goals. We caught up with the Chicago-area native as she gets settled into her new position:
Favorite Chicago Activities/Places:
I love hanging out at Lake Michigan, when the weather permits! When it is warm, I love to swim and make the most of the beach. My favorite spot is Montrose Harbor because of the view of the skyline; It’s also a great place to watch the Navy Pier fireworks on a Wednesday night. For year-round activities, I love to check out live music and comedy shows across the city. My favorite Chicago comedy show is “Baby Wants Candy” which is a very popular completely improvised full band musical that plays every Saturday at Second City!
Favorite Chicago Restaurants:
My favorite ‘Chicago’ restaurant is actually in Elmwood Park, Johnnie’s Beef! I’ve been going there since I was a kid and always craved it when I was away from home. My go-to order is a juicy beef with sweet and hot peppers and some Italian ice. If you’re a fan of beef, you have to make your way out to Elmwood Park.
Favorite Chicago Deep Dish:
I love Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder’s pizza pot pie. It’s this basement spot on Clark that’s been around for ages! My best friend’s dad has been going there since the 70’s and the food still remains absolutely delicious. I get the regular pizza pot pie with meat sauce and try to save space for their ice cream.
Favorite Netflix show?
I would have to say Black Mirror or The Office depending on my mood.
Tell us a little about your personal/professional background?
I am originally from Pogradec, Albania but my family moved to the US before I turned two. I have lived in Elmwood Park, IL which is near the west suburb of Chicago since the age of 4 and my family still lives there. I went to UW- Madison for my undergraduate degree here I studied Social Welfare, Communication Arts, and Gender and Women's Studies. As a first generation college student, I gained a great deal of assistance from my academic advisee, which inspired me to pursue Higher Education as my career. That led me to pursue a Masters of Education in Student Affairs from Clemson University. I worked as a Graduate Assistant in the Academic Advising Office where I advised students in the College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences. I graduated this May and moved back to Chicago after a long hiatus of 6 years which makes this an exciting homecoming for me!
What led you to UIC?
As someone who grew up in Chicago, I have always respected the accessibility of UIC with the affordable tuition and commutability. When I decided to move back to Chicago, UIC was my first choice because of that very reason; the accessibility allows for a more socially and culturally diverse student population which is my ideal working environment. When I was researching about the Chicago based institutions, I became even more drawn to UIC because of its growing prestige as a world renowned research institution. The balance between affordability and prestige at UIC is truly unique and the fact that the city is the campus’ backyard isn’t a bad addition.
What are you most excited to do in your new role?
I am most excited to work with all the UIC Business students; I absolutely respect how hardworking and driven the students at UIC are. I am in awe of how many undergraduate students work part-time/full-time jobs, commute from all parts of the city/suburbs, and still prioritize their education. It is my passion to help UIC Business students with the academic portion of their UIC career as well as connect them with all of the campus resources available so they can successfully complete their degrees and feel career ready.
If you could give one piece of advice to UIC Business students, what would it be?
My main piece of advice to all UIC Business students is to utilize the resources available through the college and the campus as a whole. I know it can be difficult timewise but I would recommend prioritizing what you would like to get out of your time at UIC and utilize those particular resources. Want to land a great internship? Get familiar with the Business Career Center. Want to get connected with peers and alumni? Join a business student org. Want to volunteer in the Chicagoland area and over school breaks? Look into Alternative Spring Break. Your tuition and fees incorporate the extracurricular components on campus- so get your money’s worth and get the most from your college career!
Thank you to Zyrika for your thoughtful responses. We are excited to have you on-board as we work towards elevating the student experience at UIC Business. Schedule an appointment or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.