About Us

Contact us | Meet the staff | Get involved with Wildcat Welcome

The Office of New Student and Family Programs (NSFP) works to serve three main populations: new students, parents/family members and student leaders.

New students: NSFP strives to build a comprehensive orientation program that serves as the initial introduction to the university's unique academic, cultural, and social community. This orientation program, known as Wildcat Welcome, is a weeklong program for new students to transition to the Northwestern community while participating in advising and registration for the first quarter of classes.

Parents/family members: It is the mission of NSFP to welcome parents/family members to the Northwestern community and to integrate them in to the NU experience during and after the student's academic tenure. Through Parent and Family Orientation during Wildcat Welcome, Family Weekend each fall, online publications and various communication pieces distributed through the parent listserv (email distribution list), parents/family members are asked to be part of the educational experience by supporting the student's academic and personal growth.

Student leaders: The amount of support and attention directed to new students is also provided to current student leaders serving on the Wildcat Welcome Board of Directors and as a Peer Adviser. Growth through leadership opportunities, such as those offered by NSFP, are crucial to the success of a student upon graduation of Northwestern. The 210 student leaders working directly with NSFP (200 Peer Advisers and 10 Board members) will be challenged in the area of leadership in ways they have not previously experienced. They serve an integral role in the welcoming 2,200 (approximate) new students each fall and during the course of the first year.

Contact us

  • Phone: 847-467-3988
  • Email:
    • For students: orientation@northwestern.edu
    • For parents/family members: family@northwestern.edu
  • The NSFP office is located on the second floor of the 600 Haven St. facility
  • Mailing address:
    New Student and Family Programs
    600 Haven St. J230
    Evanston, IL 60208
  • View directions to the New Student and Family Programs office

Meet the Staff!

Patti HilkertPatricia Hilkert is currently the Director of New Student and Family Programs (NSFP) at NorthwesternUniversity. In this position, she is responsible for planning,organizing and overseeing all facets of Wildcat Welcome, Northwestern’s fall orientation program for new students, and other various new student and family initiatives, including Family Weekend.

Originally from North Riverside, IL, “Patti” received a B.S. degree in Speech Communication and Public Relations from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Masters of Education, specializing in Student Personnel Administration, from Kent State University in Kent, OH.  Previously, Patti was the Director of Orientation and New Student Programs at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN and served on the Board of Directors for the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA).

Patti loves the fun and highly engaging Northwestern students, as well as the picturesque campus set on beautiful Lake Michigan.  Patti currently resides in La grange, IL with her husband Scott and two small children, Lexi and Aaron. Go 'Cats!

Strengths (StrengthsQuest): Arranger, Communication, Maximizer, Woo, Adaptability

Josh McKenzieJoshua N. McKenzie is currently the Associate Director for NSFP/Director of First Year Experience, a new position at Northwestern University. In this position, he is responsible for creating, planning, and organizing programs and initiatives to support the transition of new students throughout their first year at Northwestern. He also is responsible for communication efforts of New Student and Family Programs (print, digital, social media) and assisting with the planning of Wildcat Welcome. Josh began this new position in March 2013 after previously serving as the Assistant Director of New Student and Family Programs. He currently serves as the co-chair of the Highly Selective Institutions Network with the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA) and works on the planning team for the 2013 national conference. He received the award from the National Orientation Directors Association as the 2012 Outstanding New Professional.

Originally from Athens, AL, Joshua earned his B.S. in Electronic Media Communications and then Masters of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs. His favorite aspects of NU include the passion of the student body and proximity to Chicago.

Strengths: Strategic, Positivity, Futuristic, Developer, Achiever

Daniel MacKenzieDaniel MacKenzie is currently the Assistant Director for NSFP at Northwestern University.  In this position, Daniel oversees the Wildcat Welcome Board of Directors and 200 Peer Advisers. He is responsible for recruiting, selecting, training and supervising these student leaders, as well as assisting with planning the Wildcat Welcome program. Daniel also coordinates Family Weekend and works on various other 

events to help transition our first-year students.

Originally from Cincinnati, OH, Daniel earned his B.S. in Business Management at Miami University in Oxford, OH, and a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Ohio State University.  New to Northwestern, Daniel is already impressed by the talented student body and Northwestern’s beautiful campus.  He is excited to work towards transitioning and welcoming the new students and families to Northwestern.  Go 'Cats!

Strengths: Connectedness, Individualization, Positivity, Ideation, Adaptability

Andrea Farnan is currently a Graduate Intern for NSFP at Northwestern University. She currently assists Andrea Farnanwith the Wildcat Welcome Board of Directors and Peer Advisers as well as our Family Ambassadors and Wildcat Family Focus Newsletter. 

Andrea is originally from Norman, Oklahoma and has a B.A. in International Affairs and Anthropology from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She is currently a graduate student in the first year of Northwestern’s Higher Education Administration and Policy program. Prior to beginning her graduate studies, Andrea worked for Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and exploring Chicago. Andrea loves Northwestern, especially for the opportunities to work with motivated students who are passionate about academics and all NU has to offer. 

Strengths: Input, Maximizer, Strategic, Empathy, Achiever

Kim Struglinski

Kimberly Struglinski is currently the Graduate Intern for First Year Experience.  She assists with the creation, planning, and implementation of initiatives to support new students throughout their first year at Northwestern.  She also assists with Wildcat Welcome and other NSFP initiatives.  

Kimberly grew up in Bridgewater, NJ and earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.  Outside the classroom she was involved in New Student Orientation on many levels, from serving as a Student Adviser to Student Chair for Orientation.  After graduation she worked for the Office of the President at Wake Forest, which cemented her passion for higher education and her desire to pursue a Master’s degree.  She is currently a first year graduate student in the Higher Education Administration and Policy Program at Northwestern.  In her spare time, she loves working out, reading, and exploring Chicago.  She is passionate about helping first-year students during their transition to college and excited to learn more about Northwestern.

Strengths: Empathy, Adaptability, Learner, Activator, Achiever

Meet the Wildcat Welcome Board of Directors

These ten students serve work throughout the entire year to assist in the planning of all aspects of Wildcat Welcome and Family Weekend as well as working with Peer Adviser staff.

Meet the Peer Advisers

The Peer Adviser application opens on Thursday, Janurary 16th.  The 2014 Peer Advisers will be selected by the end of March.

Meet the Family Ambassadors

These students are selected each spring quarter and work directly with family members of the new students throughout Parent and Family Orientation and assist with other executional items of Wildcat Welcome. The 2013 cohort of Family Ambassadors serves as our first group of Family Ambassadors...and they could not be any greater!

Get involved with Wildcat Welcome

Learn how to become involved with Wildcat Welcome as a Peer Adviser by visiting our Prospective Peer Advisers page. Those who wish to serve on the Board of Directors must serve as a Peer Adviser for a minimum of one year.