Senior communications major shares her story, goals and advice
Cicily Porter likes to keep herself busy. So, when the COVID-19 pandemic began before she came to Indiana University Northwest, it was hard on her, like so many people.
But when the pandemic restrictions were lifted, Porter got to work — taking advantage of everything IU Northwest offered. Now the Student Government Association President, Porter’s schedule has gotten even busier in her final semester on campus.
A four-year and founding member of the RedHawks women’s soccer team, athletics weren’t all Porter had her eyes on in college. While the Rensselaer native was grateful to get an offer from then-head coach Matthew Plawecki after tearing both her ACLs in high school, what she’s accomplished off the field has been even more impressive.
Porter founded RedHawk Media and served as its president throughout her college career. She’s also been involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) and more while majoring in communications with minors in political science and business.
She interned at the City of Gary in the summer of 2022 and spent the last eight months as a multimedia journalism intern at South Bend WSBT 22, where she’s had multiple stories picked up by national outlets.
It’s a lot to balance, but Porter wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I really fell in love with coming to campus,” Porter said. “With a small community, it’s almost like you’re a family.”
Getting involved and staying busy in college
That small community feel — though thousands attend IU Northwest — was one of the reasons Porter gravitated to the campus. In addition to her extended RedHawks family, she also wanted to stay close to her family in Northwest Indiana and be able to play soccer while attending school.
IU Northwest was a perfect fit. It’s given her opportunities to pursue her interests and find new ones through organizations and internships. IU Northwest offers more than 70 clubs and organizations for its students. Porter said all students should get involved while they’re in college, even if it’s something they don’t end up liking.
“Definitely get involved,” Porter said. “College is the time when you’re creating the future for yourself, so you need to try things. Even if you hate it, you know you hate it.
“Try things, put yourself out there. I always say you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable to grow. Because if you’re stuck in that comfort zone, you’re not going to grow.”
Looking back, Porter smiled reflecting on everything she’s done since arriving as a freshman. And she’s not done yet.
From a leader on campus to the campus leader
Porter always thought about getting involved with SGA. But even she has her limits.
For years, soccer (and everything else) filled her schedule and it never felt like the right time to join Student Government. But, last year, her peers approached her and suggested she run for president. She became hooked on politics after interning with the City of Gary and decided to give it a shot.
“I often think to myself, how did I end up here?” Porter said. “I never saw myself joining Student Government, never saw myself with any interest in politics. … But I’m big on wanting to make change and grow this campus because there’s so much potential here. We need to just bring that potential to life.”
Porter is already proud of the changes that will be implemented this new school year, including a new dining service provider, a game room in the Savannah Center and more.
For her term, however, Porter is focused on unifying the campus. She wants the clubs to come together and share ideas, get more people out to sporting events and ignite a fire to try and get a soccer field on campus.
Porter will graduate this December to become a news reporter, where she will try and work her way up to the top networks. Recently, while attending a leadership development conference in New York, Porter was briefly on Fox News discussing her career goals with weathercaster Janice Dean.
But the 2023 school year is coming up fast and she’s got more work to do at IU Northwest before she graduates. And with all the events happening around campus this fall, she’s excited to continue leading and collaborating with her peers.
“Show up to the events this fall, there’s a lot going on,” Porter said. “Never be a stranger. If you see me on campus, say hi. Tell me what you love or how IUN can be even better.”