‘Julia taught me not to care what others think’

The memories of Eastern Michigan University student Julia Niswender, 23, lived on as EMU President Susan Martin and professors spoke about the bright and bold student at a commemoration held Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m. in Sponberg Theatre.

The communication, media and theatre arts department hosted the memoriam in honor of Niswender, a student whose future in front of the camera shined as bright as her personality.

The memorial highlighted Niswender’s spirit and career aspirations by filling the Sponberg Theatre auditorium with warm thoughts from professors who were able to see the bright student take control of her dreams without any hesitation.

Professor Geoff Hammill, who had Niswender in his announcing techniques for electronic media class last semester, said the trip to New York made the bold, bright and beautiful star in the making aware of what career she was meant to pursue. The communications major, who also had a minor in electronic media and film studies, wanted to pursue a career in media.

“Julia was one of the students who didn’t shy away from learning,” Hammill said during a slide show of Niswender with friends on a class trip to NBC Studios in New York City.

“She was bold and she was ready to begin announcing before even being given any assignments,” he said.

Professor Megan Gore, who teaches communication classes as well as electronic media and film studies classes, recalled the first time she met Niswender.

Gore said Niswender was wearing a hot pink sweater, holding a bejeweled phone and listening to Justin Bieber when she walked into her class for the first time.

However, the student who came into Gore’s class stood out not because of the hot pink sweater she was wearing or the bejeweled phone in her hand, but because of her vibrant personality and the inspiring way in which she approached life.

“Julia taught me not to care what others think, which included listening to Bieber or Carly Rae Jepsen,” Gore said. “She taught me what the classroom is about: living life to the fullest and doing your best.”

Martin said everyone in the communications department knew Niswender. Martin then shared one of her favorite moments of Niswender and her twin sister Jennifer.

“One of my favorite memories of Julia and Jennifer Niswender is a video with them singing in the car together,” Martin said.

Julia’s mother, Kim Turnquist, said what was most important to her were mother-daughter days where they spent time shopping and eating together.

“My last words to Julia were ‘I love you, Julia’ and ‘be careful,’” Turnquist said.

Julia’s father, Jim Turnquist, said, “There are way too many things in life that are taken for granted, and that we all should appreciate what we have before we lose it.”

The Niswender family said a scholarship for twin siblings is being created in Julia’s name.

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