Warren Komis — College of Health and Human Sciences
Warren Komis submitted his NIU application from a U.S. Navy ship patrolling the Straits of Hormuz. It was only fitting. After all, he joined the navy in 2007, precisely so he could afford to finish his education.
For five years he served as a navy corpsman. First at the Marine Corps School of Infantry where he was in charge of the immunization clinic, occupational health, and ensuring water quality, and later on the USS Iwo Jima, where he oversaw the ship’s medical office, which was responsible servomg the health care needs of more than 1,000 sailors. When he arrived the clinic had a terrible reputation. By the time he left, however, he had earned the Navy Achievement Medal for turning it into a model of efficiency.
By 2012, he was ready to pursue his dream of completing college. He left active service on Aug. 6, and enrolled at NIU as a biology major two weeks later.
His path changed a short time later when he took Introduction to Public Health. In that class he learned that a career in that field would allow him to continue doing much of what he enjoyed – and was good at – while in the navy.
As part of his work toward that degree, he worked at the Open Door Health Center in Aurora, conducting HIV testing and speaking at schools and health fairs about safer sex and how to avoid HIV. The work fit well with his passionate belief that prevention is far preferable to treatment when it comes to issues of health.
He believed in the mission of the clinic so strongly that, as part of an independent study project, hewrote a grant on behalf of Open Door, which may allow that organization to expand its services into DeKalb County.
In addition to all of that, during most of his time at NIU he served in the naval reserves, worked as a fundraiser for the American Veterans Association and held down a job at the local Lowe’s Home Improvement Center – all while helping his wife, Jennifer raise their two sons Quentin, age 4 and Wyatt, age 3.
Warren is a great example of the spirit of Huskie service -- in the Navy, where his service protected our freedom; during his time at NIU as a model student and father; and in his future role as a public health educator who will protect our wellbeing.