Skip navigation

Share your good news!

Posted by anew.0000677560 Jul 28, 2015

Hey Wildcats! Did you recently welcome a new child into your family, or did you finally get hitched to that special someone? Share your happy news with your fellow alumni by submitting a class note through Our Northwestern!


Submitting a class note through Our Northwestern is easy—it only takes a couple of clicks. Plus, any class note submitted through Our Northwestern will also be published in Northwestern magazine, which is mailed four times a year to all alumni around the world.

Wondering what’s in it for you besides the purple publicity? If you tell us about your recent union or the new addition to your family, we’ll send you some Northwestern swag! You know your baby would look adorable in a Northwestern bib. And hey, who couldn’t use a jar-opening pad in the shape of a Wildcat paw to help open that stubborn jar of pasta sauce?


To submit your class note, just log in and follow the link to your school:

Bienen School of Music

School of Communication

School of Professional Studies

School of Education and Social Policy

Feinberg School of Medicine

The Graduate School

Kellogg School of Management

Northwestern Law

McCormick School of Engineering

The Medill School

Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

New Student Party Aug 2013 2.jpgThis week's Wildcat of the Week spotlight features alumna Edith "Edie" Howard Bostic '74, a School of Education and Social Policy student from Atlanta, Georgia. Edie has served as Alumni Regent, Admissions Council director, Reunion co-chair, NAA Club leader, and as a New Student Receptions host.


After attending high school in Bangkok, Thailand, Edie chose Northwestern for its "unique and exciting" School of Education program. The thing she loves most about her alma mater is the people, including the friends she made and the "caring and inspiring professors and instructors."


As both a mother and former teacher, Edie enjoys connecting with young people. When asked to begin hosting New Student Receptions in the mid 90s, Edie accepted immediately; this August, she will host her 20th New Student Reception.

Hosting the receptions is one of Edie's favorite ways to give back to the University. “These students can share experiences, compare notes, share ideas, and begin to feel a real connection. They will meet loyal alumni who have become successful in many different paths," she says. 

Edie also sees the new student events as a way to connect area alumni with parents and students before the students begin their journey to Northwestern. One of Edie's favorite memories from a New Student Reception didn't occur at the event, but ultimately led to a student attending a reception. She recalls seeing a nearby neighbor -- one she interviewed through her work on the Northwestern Admissions Council -- open his mailbox and leap into the air. Edie knew what he had received: his acceptance letter from Northwestern.

"After sharing the news of his acceptance to NU with his parents, he was at my door within 20 minutes of getting his mail," she says. "The expression on his face and the joy and excitement in his voice are imprinted on my memory."

Witnessing the enthusiasm both new and returning students have for Northwestern is an annual reminder for Edie of what a special place her alma mater is.

Read more 'Wildcat of the Week' profiles at >>

Story written by Nora Dunne.


Scientists from Feinberg and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) have developed a bionic leg that gives patients with above-knee amputations better control over movement than current prosthetics.


The new knee-to-ankle prosthesis, detailed in a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), non-invasively decodes natural electric signals called electromyographic (EMG) signals that are generated from muscle contractions to make walking easier.


“Bionic limbs offer a great deal of functionality,” said corresponding author Levi Hargrove, PhD, assistant professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “They allow for more natural walking patterns, and they have the potential to recover from trips or stumbles. But for these limbs to be useful, they have to be safe and have intuitive control systems.”


Currently-available leg prostheses can’t easily transition between different kinds of walking, such as walking on level ground, going up or down ramps or climbing stairs. To switch from one kind of movement to another, patients have to slow down, stop, press buttons on a controller or make exaggerated movements like rocking back and forth.


Working with senior author Todd Kuiken, ’90 MD, ’89 PhD, ’91, ’95 GME, associate dean for hospital academic affairs at RIC and a professor at Northwestern, Hargrove engineered a control system that enables prostheses to automatically anticipate the kind of movement an individual wants to make and to respond accordingly.


The process involves placing electrodes that record EMG signals over study participants’ thigh muscles, along with mechanical sensors on top of the prosthesis. A computer chip in the leg reads the electrical and mechanical information as a patient walks and combines it with data about prior strides to predict each new movement and to command the motors in the knee and ankle to take action.


The investigators tested the system on seven patients, men and women of a variety of ages. All of them showed significant and consistent improvements in real-time control of different walking modes when compared to walking without the EMG signaling.


“We are trailblazing a path toward a new class of prosthetic devices,” Hargrove said. “It’s exciting that we are laying the foundational research that others will use for years to come to help people.”


Major lower limb amputation caused by trauma or cancer affects more than 100,000 patients in the United States per year. But before patients can have access to the new control system for prostheses, Hargrove’s group needs to carry out an in-home clinical trial, which has already begun with support from the U.S. Army, and should be completed within four years.


“We also need to make the system learn from and correct any steps that are incorrectly predicted. The National Institutes of Health is sponsoring a study to address this and we are already making fantastic progress,” Hargrove said.


This study was funded by the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, an office of the headquarters of the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, under award W81XWH-09-2-0020.


Read more at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine's News Center. >>

Craig Bina_WCAS geologist_on a rock.jpg

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Craig R. Bina has been appointed by Provost Daniel Linzer to serve as acting dean of The Graduate School (TGS) and acting associate provost for graduate education at Northwestern University during TGS Dean Dwight McBride’s upcoming leave from Oct. 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016.


Bina is currently the Wayne V. Jones II Professor of Geological Sciences in the department of Earth and planetary sciences in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.


He has previously served in several academic leadership positions at Northwestern, including associate dean for research and graduate studies, associate dean for undergraduate studies and advising and interim chair of the department of Earth and planetary sciences in Weinberg.


Bina is also a founding member of the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO) and a member of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA).


“I’m extremely pleased that Craig Bina has agreed to serve as acting dean of The Graduate School during Dwight McBride’s leave,” Linzer said. “His extensive experience as an academic leader at Northwestern, along with his in-depth understanding of graduate student issues across many disciplines, will provide students, faculty and postdoctoral fellows with outstanding leadership throughout the coming year.”


Dean McBride -- also the Daniel Hale Williams Professor of African American Studies, English and performance studies -- is taking this leave to serve as the 16th Mellon Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American Antiquarian Society and conduct scholarship on Phillis Wheatley.


“I am looking forward to this time to return to my scholarship,” McBride said. “And I can do so with a great sense of confidence knowing that Craig Bina will be acting dean of TGS. He is an excellent choice and will serve the graduate community at Northwestern extremely well during my absence.”


As acting dean of The Graduate School, Bina will lead all aspects of graduate education at Northwestern. This includes current priority areas for the school, such as implementing the new graduate student stipend levels, continuing to diversify the graduate student community and expanding the professional development programs to support students pursuing careers both within and outside the academy. He also will be advocating on behalf of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at the University.


“I look forward to the challenge of serving as acting dean during Dwight McBride’s leave,” Bina noted. “This is a great opportunity to work with the TGS leadership team and staff to continue forward with recent initiatives supporting graduate education at Northwestern that will benefit both graduate students and the University community.”


Read more on Northwestern News. >>

Richard MorimotoEVANSTON, Ill. --- When does aging really begin? Two Northwestern University scientists now have a molecular clue. In a study of the transparent roundworm C. elegans, they found that adult cells abruptly begin their downhill slide when an animal reaches reproductive maturity.


A genetic switch starts the aging process by turning off cell stress responses that protect the cell by keeping important proteins folded and functional. The switch is thrown by germline stem cells in early adulthood, after the animal starts to reproduce, ensuring its line will live on.


While the studies were conducted in worms, the findings have implications for humans, the researchers report. The genetic switch and other components identified by the scientists as playing a role in aging are conserved in all animals, including humans, offering targets for future study. (C. elegans has a biochemical environment similar to that of humans and is a popular research tool for the study of the biology of aging and as a model of human disease.)


Knowing more about how the quality control system works in cells could help researchers one day figure out how to provide humans with a better cellular quality of life and therefore delay degenerative diseases related to aging, such as neurodegenerative diseases.


“Wouldn’t it be better for society if people could be healthy and productive for a longer period during their lifetime?” said Richard I. Morimoto, the senior author of the study. “I am very interested in keeping the quality control systems optimal as long as we can, and now we have a target. Our findings suggest there should be a way to turn this genetic switch back on and protect our aging cells by increasing their ability to resist stress.”


Morimoto is the Bill and Gayle Cook Professor of Molecular Biosciences and director of the Rice Institute for Biomedical Research in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. He also is a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.


The study, built on a decade of research, will be published in the July 23 issue of the journal Molecular Cell. Johnathan Labbadia, a postdoctoral fellow in Morimoto’s lab, is the first author of the paper.


In C. elegans, the decline begins eight hours into adulthood -- all the switches get thrown to shut off an animal’s cell stress protective mechanisms. Morimoto and Labbadia found it is the germline stem cells responsible for making eggs and sperm that control the switch.


In animals, including C. elegans and humans, the heat shock response is essential for proper protein folding and cellular health. Aging is associated with a decline in quality control, so Morimoto and Labbadia looked specifically at the heat shock response in the life of C. elegans.


“We saw a dramatic collapse of the protective heat shock response beginning in early adulthood,” Morimoto said.


Morimoto and Labbadia found the genetic switch occurs between two major tissues in an organism that determine the future of the species: the germline and the soma (the body tissues of the animal, such as muscle cells and neurons). Once the germline has completed its job and produced eggs and sperm -- necessary for the next generation of animals -- it sends a signal to cell tissues to turn off protective mechanisms, starting the decline of the adult animal.


“C. elegans has told us that aging is not a continuum of various events, which a lot of people thought it was,” Morimoto said.


“In a system where we can actually do the experiments, we discover a switch that is very precise for aging,” he said. “All these stress pathways that insure robustness of tissue function are essential for life, so it was unexpected that a genetic switch is literally thrown eight hours into adulthood, leading to the simultaneous repression of the heat shock response and other cell stress responses.”


Using a combination of genetic and biochemical approaches, Morimoto and Labbadia found the protective heat shock response declines steeply over a four-hour period in early adulthood, precisely at the onset of reproductive maturity. The animals still appear normal in behavior, but the scientists can see molecular changes and the decline of protein quality control.


In one experiment, the researchers blocked the germline from sending the signal to turn off cellular quality control. They found the somatic tissues remained robust and stress resistant in the adult animals.


“This was fascinating to see,” Morimoto said. “We had, in a sense, a super stress-resistant animal that is robust against all kinds of cellular stress and protein damage. This genetic switch gives us a target for future research.”


The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Ellison Medical Foundation and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation and a postdoctoral fellowship to Johnathan Labbadia from the ALS Association.


The title of the paper is “Repression of the Heat Shock Response Is a Programmed Event at the Onset of Reproduction.”


See more on Northwestern News. >>

EVANSTON, Ill.  --– Frustrated by the lack of diversity on commercial television, Northwestern University’s Aymar Jean Christian launched a platform to develop work from queer, transgender, women of color and other artists typically left out of mainstream production.


Called Open TV beta, the incubator is now both an experiment in community-based Web distribution for indie arts and artists and a research project by Christian, an assistant professor of communication at Northwestern's School of Communication.


“Networks failed to realize they forgot to make shows for almost half the country,” Christian said of television programming throughout most of the early 21st century. On the rare occasion they do, “they tend to normalize these typically marginalized characters for fear of losing advertisers and a mass audience,” he said.


The project is designed to challenge the traditional method for developing television shows, collect media research data and showcase a typically overlooked population in a more nuanced light.


Open TV allows artists keep their intellectual property, and distribution agreements are non-exclusive, meaning they can sell, promote or show the piece elsewhere after it has appeared on the platform. Currently in beta, plans are to grow slowly, artist by artist and series by series.


“We believe television is an art but must also showcase different types of art outside of the competition format we see on reality TV,” Christian said. “We are not focused on ‘scale’ and ‘big data’ but rather on showcasing artists who have earned a few minutes of viewers’ time.”


By developing the shows, Christian is studying media production, consumption and distribution. His work and results will be summarized and, when possible, published on WeAreOpen.TV.


Open TV’s first original series, “You’re So Talented,” was honored at the Tribeca Film Festival this spring as part of its New Online Work program.  The program recently received a $19,000 grant from Chicago Filmmakers and the Voqal Fund to help fund season two.


The series is a “dramedy” about a young artist of color in Chicago. Created and written by Samantha Bailey, who also acts in the show, it was largely produced by a crew of Columbia College students and includes original music from producer Samantha Lee and her band, Whatever Spectrum, with partner Alistair Slaughter.


“At this point I don’t think there's a place on commercial network television for You’re so Talented” right now,” Bailey said. “We’re moving closer but I don't think the people that head those networks think there's an audience for a black girl that looks like me and her stoner, artistic friends.”


During the traditional development process, Bailey would have been given “notes” from television networks, which can change the artist’s vision and make the stories less specific and sincere, Christian said.


“In this case, Sam has written season two without notes from me,” Christian said. “It’s a beautiful script with a vision of showing how a diverse group of artists live in Chicago’s many communities.”


Open TV is also working with trans artists. Shot in Los Angeles with Zackary Drucker, a co-producer on Amazon’s “Transparent,” the next original pilot should be premiering in the fall, Christian said. Major cable and web TV networks have been interested in trans stories to break into a competitive market for original programming.


But “unlike in most mainstream projects, our artists seem less focused on transition and more on how they live, survive and thrive in everyday life and creative endeavors,” Christian said.


Open TV grew out of a research project that Christian began back in 2008. As he studied the field, he realized that independent creators were feeling neglected by commercial television and were making and releasing their own shows via an open network. Producers piloted new shows in collaboration with fans and sponsors.


But web series had little visibility, and those who had seen a few weren’t impressed. Resources were scarce, budgets small, marketing and promotion a constant struggle, and sponsors were reluctant to support independent series, particularly from people of color, Christian said.  “Many went completely unnoticed by potential fans,” he said.


Christian began seeking out a wide range of sources to help artists pilot shows. The heart of the project is “Open TV Presents,” a series of experimental pilots about artists exploring alternative relationships.


For example, the first independent pilot, “Nupita Obama Creates Vogua,” follows three romantically entangled queer of color performance artists who must learn to live with one another during a stressful moving day. A teaser shows the first scene where star Erik Wallace, a hip hop artist and dancer, demonstrates how elements of “vogue” might mix with yoga, showing “a side of hip hop masculinity that we rarely see on television,” Christian said. “Art is more than about men loving men. It’s about people loving people.”


Learn more on Northwestern News. >>

Bennett.jpgJabbar R. Bennett has been named inaugural associate provost for diversity and inclusion at Northwestern University and associate professor of medicine, Provost Daniel Linzer announced today.


Bennett is currently associate dean of the Graduate School, associate dean for diversity and director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs in the division of biology and medicine at Brown University. Bennett, who will report to Linzer, will join Northwestern Oct. 1.


A dynamic leader, Bennett brings a deep passion for diversity and inclusion in higher education and pertinent experience creating and implementing sustainable initiatives and programs that support and advance underrepresented faculty, staff and students.


As associate provost, he will chair Northwestern’s Diversity Council and will serve as the senior administrator responsible for leading and coordinating efforts to create a diverse, inclusive and welcoming environment for all Northwestern community members.


“Jabbar Bennett’s experience will build on the University’s current efforts to increase and support faculty, staff, students  and alumni diversity, while also creating new initiatives to make Northwestern a leader in this arena,” Linzer said.


Throughout his career, Bennett has focused on building collaborative approaches to advancing underrepresented groups in higher education. In his current work at Brown, Bennett partners with faculty, staff and department chairs across more than 100 departments and units on issues related to the recruitment, retention, progression and inclusion of underrepresented students, faculty and staff.


Bennett also serves as Brown’s institutional coordinator among various national organizations working to increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities in graduate and medical education.


In 2010, Bennett launched the Brown Executive Scholars Training Program (BEST) to better equip graduate students for leadership roles in higher education administration.


Before joining Brown in 2009, Bennett was the administrative director of the Office for Multicultural Faculty Careers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. During this time Bennett increased the number of underrepresented minority faculty and trainees at the hospital and engaged medical and undergraduate students in basic, clinical and translational research through creation of the Summer Training in Research and Academic Scholarships (STARS) Program.


Since 2002 Bennett has held faculty appointments at Brown University, Harvard Medical School, Lesley University and Roxbury Community College. Bennett received his B.S. in biology and minor in Spanish from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (A&T) State University, and his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Meharry Medical College.


At Meharry he was funded as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Alliance for the Enhancement of Science Education and Technology Graduate Teaching Fellow, and later as a UNCF-Merck Postdoctoral Research Fellow while training in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School.  Bennett is an alumnus of the Massachusetts Education Policy Fellowship Program and the Harvard University Administrative Fellowship Program.


Learn more on Northwestern News. >>

Northwestern students from across the country shared their stories on the impact of mentorship. As part of this year’s NEXT program, students were provided with a unique job shadowing opportunity. Learn more about their experiences in these blogs:


NEXTernship: Becca Smith’s day with One Smooth Stone

“For the NEXTernship program, I shadowed Mark Ledogar, the Senior Vice President and Principal of One Smooth Stone, an event and communications agency outside of Chicago.” Read Becca's story. >>



NEXTernship: A day with Blaze Pizza’s co-founder

“I participated in the NEXTernship program at Blaze Pizza headquarters in Pasadena, California.  It was there I met and spent the day with Elise Wetzel, my alumni host and co-founder of Blaze.” Read Lisa Qu's story. >>



NEXTernship: A day with WE ACT for Environmental Justice

“When I first got in touch with my host, I was unsure of what to expect. She and I had pretty different backgrounds, tied together by Northwestern roots, but in somewhat different fields.” Read Megan Troy's story. >>



NEXTernship: A day with Quantum Secure

“For the NEXTernship program, we shadowed Vik Ghai, the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Quantum Secure; a physical identity, security and access management company in the heart of Silicon Valley.” Read Ahsan Rehman and Michael Caputo's story. >>


NEXTernship: A day with National Geographic

“I walked into National Geographic expecting to learn about PR. I actually learned about PR, book publishing, photo copyright, children’s literature, media moments, and the Pope. National Geographic is a truly unique organization; it is a media and a news company, of course, but it also funds research and innovation and keeps such a cooperative relationship with scientists that you know you can trust their facts.” Read Jordan Harrison's story. >>



Additional Resources

156300746_20_w-shadow.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- Youth from low-income families who succeed academically and socially may actually pay a price -- with their health -- according to a new Northwestern University study.


It has been well documented that children from low-income families typically complete less education, have worse health and are convicted of more crimes relative to their affluent peers.


To ameliorate these disparities, policymakers are increasingly advocating for programs that provide low-income youth with character skills training, which, along with self-control, includes traits like optimism and persistence. The hope is that such traits will allow these youth to resist temptations that interfere with long-term aspirations.


However, overcoming such odds may take a physical toll. According to the researchers, relentlessly pursuing goals can undermine health, particularly when structural forces like discrimination impede progress toward those goals.


“Emerging data suggest that for low-income youth self-control may act as a double-edged sword, facilitating academic success and psychosocial adjustment, while at the same time undermining physical health,” said lead author Gregory E. Miller, professor of psychology in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.


Miller also is a faculty fellow with Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research and a member of its Cells to Society: The Center on Social Disparities and Health.


The researchers focused on a group of approximately 300 rural African-American teenagers making the transition from adolescence to adulthood. They found that those adolescents who have high levels of self-control, or the ability to focus on long-term goals over more immediate ones, fare better on a variety of psychological outcomes as young adults.


“They are less depressed, use substances less frequently and are less aggressive,” Miller said. “That’s true across the board, regardless of gender, family income and education.”


The researchers also looked at a metric of cellular aging in adulthood. It tells them how “old” people’s cells look relative to their chronological age. Older cells are related to more health problems.


“We find that the psychologically successful adolescents -- those with high self-control -- have cells that are biologically old, relative to their chronological age,” Miller said. “In other words, there seems to be an underlying biological cost to the self-control and the success it enables. This is most evident in the youth from the lowest-income families.”


“As disadvantaged youth strive for favorable life outcomes, they have substantial barriers to overcome and competing demands to balance, including resource-deprived schools, family obligations and managing social identity threats. These challenges are particularly salient for African-Americans,” the authors write.


The researchers looked at such factors as stress and obesity as possible causes for their health status. They write that navigating challenges requires intense and persistent self-control, which is metabolically and behaviorally demanding to sustain. Exerting self-control also triggers the release of stress hormones.


“Our findings have conceptual implications for models of resilience and practical implications for interventions aimed at ameliorating social and racial disparities,” Miller said.


“Skin-deep resilience: Self-control forecasts better psychosocial outcomes but faster epigenetic aging in low-SES youth” was published July 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In addition to Miller, co-authors include Tianyi Yu and Gene H. Brody of the Center for Family Research, University of Georgia, Athens, and Edith Chen of Northwestern.


Read more on Northwestern News. >>

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro and Professor Gary Saul Morson are speaking out on the world to come in 25 years in their new book, “The Fabulous Future? America and the World in 2040.”


The two editors of the book appeared this week (June 30) on WTTW-TV Channel 11’s “Chicago Tonight” program to discuss their predictions and those of other luminaries who contributed essays to the recently released book. Watch the program here.


Hear their interview on the Milt Rosenberg show.


And an interview with Morson about the book will run on C-SPAN's "Book TV" at noon (CT) Sunday, July 12. The interview will air again at midnight.


What will the future hold? Will it be one of economic prosperity, greater tolerance, extraordinary technological innovations, or even longer, happier lives?


THE FABULOUS FUTURE? America and the World in 2040, edited and with an introduction by Morson and Schapiro (Northwestern University Press; May 29, 2015), seeks to open a dialogue about these questions and many more by asking some of the world’s leading specialists from diverse fields to share their expectations for the future.

Morson is Frances Hooper Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Northwestern. Schapiro is a professor of economics and the president of Northwestern.

Their book was inspired by Fortune magazine’s 1955 publication of “The Fabulous Future in America in 1980,” in which some of the smartest and most influential Americans at the time made various predictions that held true: technology sped up, polio was conquered and ‘calculating machines’ were invented.

But in detail and broad conception these luminaries almost categorically missed the mark, predicting energy would be free, most forms of transportation would be atomic-powered, houses would run on small atomic generators, people would commute by personal helicopter and the economy would no longer be subject to serious recession. The 1980s that were imagined in the 1950s were nothing like the era we experienced.

In this new volume, “The Fabulous Future?” asks questions similar to its predecessor, with hopefully more accurate results. Morson and Schapiro suggest in their conclusion that the diversity of contributors creates a volume that more closely reflects the multiplicity of today’s thinking and therefore might more accurately anticipate the world to come.

It is a less optimistic volume, notably economist Robert Gordon’s suggestion that economic life in 2040 could be far worse than expected, but perhaps more balanced than the first book. On the other hand, writes Richard Easterlin, personal satisfaction is largely unrelated to economic growth, suggesting that happiness will be tied more to meaningful employment and the presence of a social safety net than to economic successes.

Wendy Kaminer and John Kelly write on human rights and technology, and their implications diverge. Kaminer suggests that our increase in technology could have a large-scale impact on our personal and collective freedoms, as privacy becomes a thing of the past, and as unprecedented surveillance and security challenge our Bill of Rights. Kelly, however, is optimistic that developments in technology will hold great promise, that economic, medical, educational and political innovations could ultimately transform the human condition.

In their chapter on the environment, the Nature Conservancy’s Mark Tercek and Jimmie Powell are cautiously optimistic in suggesting that advances in science, technology and communications might also help us to understand and address environmental changes in a new way.

Divided into four sections, the first deals with three of the basic aims of any society: wealth, health and happiness; followed by politics, religion and human rights; then science, technology and the environment, and finally, education, communication and society. In their conclusion, Morson and Schapiro examine how the various predictions interrelate, how they converge and diverge, and what they say about the world of the future.

Regardless of the accuracy of its predictions, “The Fabulous Future” is expected to stand as a testament to 2015’s loftiest aspirations and greatest fears.


The mission of Northwestern University Press is the publication of books that disseminate knowledge and further understanding of cultural, political, social and community issues. Since its inception in 1893, Northwestern University Press has produced important scholarly works in various disciplines as well as quality regional and Chicago books, fiction, poetry, literature in translation, literary criticism and books on drama and the performing arts. Northwestern University Press authors have been the recipients of numerous prizes, including the Nobel Prize for Literature, the National Book Award and the Tony Award. For more information and a complete list of Northwestern University Press titles, please visit


Learn more about Morson's interview on C-SPAN's "Book TV". >>


Read more on Our Northwestern. >>



Professor Gary Saul Morson, co-author of "The Fabulous Future? America and the World in 2040."


EVANSTON, Ill. --- Henry S. Bienen, president emeritus of Northwestern University, has been named interim president of the Poetry Foundation, an independent literary organization that is committed to giving the best of poetry a vigorous presence in our culture.


“I hope my experience leading Northwestern University for almost 15 years has provided me with transferable ‘lessons learned’ that may be applicable in this new setting,” said Bienen. “I am delighted to have this opportunity to make a small contribution to the continued robust health of poetry, and all the literary arts, in this astonishing cultural community.”


A lifelong reader and supporter of the arts, Bienen thought about pursuing poetry as an undergraduate at Cornell University.


“While our board conducts a national search for a new president, Henry Bienen’s experience leading Northwestern University, with its excellence in teaching and scholarly study of literature and poetry will provide a smooth transition for the Poetry Foundation,” said Richard Kiphart, board chair. “Further, Bienen’s strong connection to Chicago and its cultural institutions makes him uniquely suited to this important role.”


Bienen served as president of Northwestern from 1995 through 2009. During Bienen’s tenure, Northwestern’s reputation grew nationally and internationally, leading to the University’s increased academic prominence, financial strength and athletic success.


In 2008, Northwestern honored Bienen and his wife, Leigh, a senior lecturer at Northwestern University School of Law, by naming Northwestern’s school of music, The Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music. Bienen also received an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree from Northwestern University in 2009.


The Poetry Foundation is committed to discovering and celebrating the best poetry and placing it before the largest possible audience.


Read more on Our Northwestern. >>

Project Excite_1628.JPGEVANSTON, Ill. --- A quick biological test may be able to identify children who have literacy challenges or learning disabilities long before they learn to read, according to new research from Northwestern University.


The study, published in the July issue of PLOS Biology, centers on the child’s ability to decipher speech -- specifically consonants -- in a chaotic, noisy environment. Preliterate children whose brains inefficiently process speech against a background of noise are more likely than their peers to have trouble with reading and language development when they reach school age, the researchers found.


This newfound link between the brain’s ability to process spoken language in noise and reading skill in pre-readers “provides a biological looking glass into a child’s future literacy,” said study senior author Nina Kraus, director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory.


“There are excellent interventions we can give to struggling readers during crucial pre-school years, but the earlier the better,” said Kraus, a professor of communication sciences, neurobiology and physiology in the School of Communication. “The challenge has been to identify which children are candidates for these interventions, and now we have discovered a way.”


Noisy environments, such as homes with blaring televisions and wailing children, loud classrooms or urban streetscapes, can disrupt brain mechanisms associated with literacy development in school-age children.


The Northwestern study, which directly measured the brain’s response to sound using electroencephelography (EEG), is one of the first to find the deleterious effect in preliterate children. This suggests that the brain’s ability to process the sounds of consonants in noise is fundamental for language and reading development.


Speech and communication often occur in noisy places, an environment that taxes the brain. Noise particularly affects the brain’s ability to hear consonants, rather than vowels, because consonants are said very quickly and vowels are acoustically simpler, Kraus said.


“If the brain’s response to sound isn’t optimal, it can’t keep up with the fast, difficult computations required to process in noise,” Kraus said. “Sound is a powerful, invisible force that is central to human communication. Everyday listening experiences bootstrap language development by cluing children in on which sounds are meaningful. If a child can’t make meaning of these sounds through the background noise, he won’t develop the linguistic resources needed when reading instruction begins.”


In the study, EEG wires were placed on children’s scalps; this allowed the researchers to assess how the brain reacted to the sound of the consonants. In the right ear, the young study participants heard the sound ‘da’ superimposed over the babble of six talkers. In the left ear, they heard the soundtrack of the movie of their choice, which was shown to keep them still.


“Every time the brain responds to sound it gives off electricity, so we can capture how the brain pulls speech out of the noise,” Kraus said. “We can see with extreme granularity how well the brain extracts each meaningful detail in speech.”


The researchers captured three different aspects of the brain’s response to sound: the stability with which the circuits were responding; the speed with which the circuits were firing; and the quality with which the circuits represented the timbre of the sound.


Using these three pieces of information, they developed a statistical model to predict children’s performance on key early literacy tests.


In a series of experiments with 112 kids between the ages of 3 and 14, Kraus’ team found that their 30-minute neurophysiological assessment predicts with a very high accuracy how a 3-year-old child will perform on multiple pre-reading tests and how, a year later at age 4 he or she will perform across multiple language skills important for reading. The model proved its breadth by also accurately predicting reading acumen in school-aged children, in addition to whether they’d been diagnosed with a learning disability.


“The importance of our biological approach is that we can see how the brain makes sense of sound and its impact for literacy, in any child,” Kraus said. “It’s unprecedented to have a uniform biological metric we can apply across ages.”


Other Northwestern co-authors include Travis White-Schwoch, Kali Woodruff Carr, Elaine C. Thompson, Samira Anderson, Trent Nicol, Ann R. Bradlow, and Steven G. Zecker, all of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory and department of communication sciences at Northwestern.


The team will continue to follow these children in its “Biotots” project as they progress through school.


More on Northwestern News. >>

misc_13.jpgCHICAGO --- You can fake a smile, but your phone knows the truth. Depression can be detected from your smartphone sensor data by tracking the number of minutes you use the phone and your daily geographical locations, reports a small Northwestern Medicine study.


The more time you spend using your phone, the more likely you are depressed. The average daily usage for depressed individuals was about 68 minutes, while for non-depressed individuals it was about 17 minutes.


Spending most of your time at home and most of your time in fewer locations -- as measured by GPS tracking -- also are linked to depression. And, having a less regular day-to-day schedule, leaving your house and going to work at different times each day, for example, also is linked to depression.


Based on the phone sensor data, Northwestern scientists could identify people with depressive symptoms with 87 percent accuracy.


“The significance of this is we can detect if a person has depressive symptoms and the severity of those symptoms without asking them any questions,” said senior author David Mohr, director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We now have an objective measure of behavior related to depression. And we’re detecting it passively. Phones can provide data unobtrusively and with no effort on the part of the user.”


The research could ultimately lead to monitoring people at risk of depression and enabling health care providers to intervene more quickly.


The study was published July 15 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.


The smart phone data was more reliable in detecting depression than daily questions participants answered about how sad they were feeling on a scale of 1 to 10. Their answers may be rote and often are not reliable, said lead author Sohrob Saeb, a postdoctoral fellow and computer scientist in preventive medicine at Feinberg.


“The data showing depressed people tended not to go many places reflects the loss of motivation seen in depression,” said Mohr, who is a clinical psychologist and professor of preventive medicine at Feinberg. “When people are depressed, they tend to withdraw and don’t have the motivation or energy to go out and do things.”


While the phone usage data didn’t identify how people were using their phones, Mohr suspects people who spent the most time on them were surfing the web or playing games, rather than talking to friends.


“People are likely, when on their phones, to avoid thinking about things that are troubling, painful feelings or difficult relationships,” Mohr said. “It’s an avoidance behavior we see in depression.”


Saeb analyzed the GPS locations and phone usage for 28 individuals (20 females and eight males, average age of 29) over two weeks. The sensor tracked GPS locations every five minutes.


To determine the relationship between phone usage and geographical location and depression, the subjects took a widely used standardized questionnaire measuring depression, the PHQ-9, at the beginning of the two-week study. The PHQ-9 asks about symptoms used to diagnose depression such as sadness, loss of pleasure, hopelessness, disturbances in sleep and appetite, and difficulty concentrating. Then, Saeb developed algorithms using the GPS and phone usage data collected from the phone, and correlated the results of those GPS and phone usage algorithms with the subjects’ depression test results.


Of the participants, 14 did not have any signs of depression and 14 had symptoms ranging from mild to severe depression.


The goal of the research is to passively detect depression and different levels of emotional states related to depression, Saeb said. The information ultimately could be used to monitor people who are at risk of depression to, perhaps, offer them interventions if the sensor detected depression or to deliver the information to their clinicians. Future Northwestern research will look at whether getting people to change those behaviors linked to depression improves their mood.


“We will see if we can reduce symptoms of depression by encouraging people to visit more locations throughout the day, have a more regular routine, spend more time in a variety of places or reduce mobile phone use,” Saeb said.


The title of the paper is: “DC Mobile Phone Sensor Correlates of Depressive Symptom Severity in Daily-Life Behavior: An Exploratory Study.”


In addition to studies that use mobile phone sensor data to better understand depression, Mohr’s team also is running clinical trials to treat depression and anxiety using evidence-based interventions. Contact or 855-682-2487 to learn how to join one of their paid research studies, or visit


This research was funded by research grants P20 MH090318 and K08 MH 102336 from the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health.


See more on Northwestern News. >>

The Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) Board of Directors’ 2015-2016 slate of nominees is hereby posted for public viewing in accordance with Article VII of the NAA Bylaws. This slate shall be elected by a majority vote of the members of the Association present the annual meeting on Thursday, September 10, 2015.


View the incoming slate here.


You can also learn more about our current members of the NAA Board of Directors on the NAA website.



On July 14 Northwestern rolled out its new alumni directory, available exclusively to registered users of Our Northwestern, the University’s online community. Here are five things you need to know:


1. All of your Northwestern friends are in there!



Our Northwestern is the University’s online community—a place to network, submit class notes, and get in touch with fellow alumni. Free and open to all, Our Northwestern offers access to events, ideas, and resources that matter to the Wildcat community. Use the directory feature to find your classmates and reconnect.



2  . . . unless they’ve hidden themselves.

Privacy Concern.png


Northwestern takes privacy concerns seriously. Find out how to set your privacy settings in Our Northwestern using this handy guide.



3. Keep in mind that your fellow alumni want to send you a holiday card. They really do.



Your friends love you and just want to say hi. So before you hide your profile, remember that you control who sees sensitive personal information, such as your street addresses: Everyone in the Our Northwestern community, friends, or just you. You should also know that this detailed contact information is only displayed in your full profile. In the directory search results, other users will see a condensed profile—including your preferred email address and phone number.



4. Don’t go looking for your fraternity brothers.



Well, you can—but most student activity information is self-reported so we can’t guarantee that you’ll find all the members of Sigma Chi or the tuba section of the NU Marching Band. The directory gets better when you update your contact information and complete your profile. So get in there!



5. We made these changes to serve you better.



Northwestern alumni, we’re listening. Like it? Have suggestions? Submit your thoughts and comments using this Web survey.


Your feedback will remain confidential and be used only to improve Our Northwestern for the entire Wildcat community.

Check out the directory now. >>

The Posse Foundation, a national organization that helps outstanding public high school students attend a select group of top colleges and universities, recently honored Northwestern President Morton Schapiro for his support of the program and his work to enhance diversity in higher education.

President Schapiro was recognized May 20 at Posse’s annual gala in New York City. A video about President Schapiro that was shown at the gala is available online. Use the password “purple” to view the video.

The Posse Foundation identifies outstanding public high school students who could be overlooked by traditional college application processes. The foundation groups the students into teams and prepares them for success at one of 53 top colleges and universities—including Northwestern—which award them four-year, full-tuition scholarships.

Northwestern became a partner institution with the Posse Foundation in 2012, three years after President Schapiro began his term as the University’s 16th president. President Schapiro has worked to build a more diverse and tight-knit community at Northwestern and is a strong advocate of the Posse Foundation.

“You have to actively engage in finding talented students from across the income bracket,” President Schapiro says in the video that was shown at the foundation’s gala. “Then, once they get (here), you better nurture them, and nobody does that better than Posse.”

For more information about Northwestern’s Posse Scholars program, visit the University’s student affairs website.

As a former professional soccer player and Olympic athlete, Danielle Slaton '11 MA was used to training her muscles. But Slaton, a FOX Sports color commentator for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, needed to get her voice in shape. This was new territory. 

To prepare for the role, Slaton worked with Northwestern University’s Linda Gates, a voice and dialect coach. Using theater techniques, Gates helped Slaton eliminate her “upspeak,” or the tendency to say everything as a question, and the dreaded but trendy “vocal fry,” which occurs when the voice sits on the vocal cords and sounds like creaky vibrations.

“Vocal fry is common; all my students have it,” said Gates, the head of voice in the department of theatre in the School of Communication.  “But you can’t just say, ‘don’t do it.’ You have to start by learning how to breathe, stand, how to place your voice and work with range.”

Trained in acting, voice and speech, Gates has coached Placido Domingo in the Metropolitan Opera production of “The First Emperor,” and she was the voice and dialect coach for productions at Steppenwolf, Goodman, Northlight, Remy Bumppo, Lookingglass and other theatre groups in Chicago and the region.

Gates has also run vocal workshops for the Royal Shakespeare Company and for voice conferences around the world. She is the author of the user-friendly book, “Voice for Performance: Training the Actor’s Voice,” and has trained people from a variety of backgrounds, from veteran actors and singers to hedge fund traders and nuclear engineers.

Gates and Slaton, a former Northwestern assistant soccer coach, met about a dozen times over four months to prepare for the first broadcast on June 6. Working to connect the breath to the phrasing of words, they read scripts and the opening of novels, and analyzed soccer matches. Though Slaton had no acting or formal broadcast or journalism training, she picked up the techniques quickly, said Gates.

“She’s very, very smart, very focused and a great athlete,” said Gates. “Like anything in the arts, it’s muscle memory, so you have to literally change the way you breathe. But her muscles are so responsive to training and memorize almost instantly.”

Breath support is the foundation for all professional speaking or singing. But “most people talk until they run out of air and then take another breath,” said Gates. “Then it’s too late. You have to keep the air support under you.”

Slaton practiced by lying on the floor and lifting a book with the lower abdomen or epigastrium, which helps to build breath support for the voice.  This quick intake of air has to become automatic, as the speaker must breathe in quickly before each new phrase, letting the breath support the voice without exhaling. 

“I also needed to learn to use my voice in a way that didn’t strain my vocal cords, “ Slaton said. “And raising the pitch of my voice helped make sure that people would unconsciously respond to the sounds and tones I was using to help tell the story.”

Slaton was an assistant coach for the Northwestern women’s soccer team from 2006 to 2008 and received a master’s degree in sports administration from Northwestern. She began working as a women’s soccer analyst for the Big Ten Network in 2010.

One of the most talented defenders America has produced, Slaton played for the U.S. Women’s National team from 2000 to 2005, earning a silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games and bronze in the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She played professionally in the Women’s United Soccer Association and also in France.

“When you’re an athlete you learn how to be coached, how to listen and you’re very aware of your body,” Slaton said. “All those things proved useful in an avenue I never could have imagined. When I talk with kids, I tell them ‘athleticism is a transferable skill. Put it on your resume.’”

Slaton is working as a match analyst through the quarterfinals, alongside John Strong with FOX Sports. Previously, she called games for FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2014 Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association (CONCACAF) Women’s World Cup Qualifying and the 2015 Algarve Cup.


For the second straight year, Northwestern Athletics is serving as a host for the Youth Impact Program. The Wildcats, along with the Marines and the Navy, are welcoming nearly 100 at-risk middle school boys for a program that spans two weeks.


The program lasts from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Under the leadership of program director Dan Hernandez, the goal of YIP is to educate the participants academically, provide them critical life skills, develop their leadership skills and to give them structure in their lives while also competing as a team in football.


This year, the academic portion of the program is focused on the areas of mathematics, applied mathematics, English comprehension, science/physics and brain training to enhance focus. The life skill development reflects that of the pyramid of winning values for the Northwestern football program. The program replicates the complete academic and athletic day-to-day experience of a Northwestern student-athlete.


Members of the Northwestern football program are serving as coaches and mentors for the boys throughout the two-week period. The morning session each day focuses on academics while the afternoon period involves the opportunity to work on team-building skills through playing football. Activities have included a presentation from former Northwestern football player and recent Cleveland Browns draft choice Ibraheim Campbell '15.


The program also includes a visit to the Halas Hall, the training home of the Chicago Bears in Lake Forest, Illinois.


The Northwestern YIP is supported by the Benefitdecisons, American Children's Fund, the Chicago Bears' Bear Care foundation, World Sport Chicago, and individual private donations.


To read the original story, visit


Forty-six Northwestern student-athletes from a school record 16 different varsity programs have earned prestigious Big Ten Distinguished Scholar recognition.

"The list of Big Ten Distinguished Scholars annually reflects the young men and women who epitomize both halves of the student-athlete experience," said Jim Phillips, vice president for athletics and recreation. "Even among a distinguished peer group here at Northwestern, this is an elite group.

"It is rewarding to watch them excel in competition, but even more so to witness their dedication and development in the classroom as they build a foundation for the rest of their lives. We are so proud of the achievements of our Wildcats academically, socially and athletically."

These Wildcats scholars represent diverse fields of study that are truly representative of the broad academic pursuits offered at Northwestern. Included in these 46 award winners are:

  • Nine student-athletes with majors in the School of Communication
  • Seven student-athletes with majors in the School of Education and Social Policy
  • Four economics majors
  • Four engineering majors with four different specializations
  • Three student-athletes with majors in the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Communications
  • One student-athlete majoring in the intense Integrated Science Program
  • Four double majors
  • One quadruple major


Two Wildcats -- senior Haydyn Anigian of women's lacrosse and sophomore Kayla Morin of volleyball -- received special recognition for earning perfect 4.0 GPAs over the past year.


The award, in its seventh year of existence, was established by the Big Ten Faculty Representatives to supplement the Academic All-Big Ten program. Similar to the Academic All-Big Ten honor, Distinguished Scholar Award recipients must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution. However, this award encompasses only student-athletes with a minimum GPA of 3.7 or higher for the previous academic year, excluding summer school.


The Academic All-Big Ten threshold is a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for their academic career. In 2014-15, Northwestern earned a school-record 228 total Academic All-Big Ten honors to put it over the 200 mark for the fifth consecutive year.


For the full list of Big Ten Distinguished Scholars, visit


As Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald prepares to begin his 10th season this fall as the leader of the Wildcats, wants to hear from our loyal fans to decide who has been the best of the best on the gridiron during his tenure to date.

We want to know who belongs on the All-Fitz Team, a compilation of the top players who have honorably donned the Purple and White since Fitzgerald's first season as the head coach of Chicago's Big Ten Team in 2006. In order to be eligible for the prestigious squad, players must be graduates of the program who played at least one season under Fitzgerald's guidance.


Who will decide on the All-Fitz Team? You the fans, of course! Voting opens July 9, with the ballot broken down by position. Voters can choose a quarterback, running back, superback/tight end, three wide receivers and five offensive linemen. On the other side of the ball, it will be four defensive linemen, three linebackers, two cornerbacks and two safeties. From the special teams units, voters will choose a kicker, a punter and two special teams standouts.


Fans can vote once per day. Upon registering to receive the ballot the first time, voters will be entered to win a customized Northwestern football jersey. Registration is only required once.


Each weekday between July 9 and 24, will highlight one position group for the All-Fitz Team. Voting closes July 24 at 5 p.m. CDT. The All-Fitz Team will be unveiled during the week of July 27 as we lead up to Big Ten Media Days on July 30-31, and the start of the 2015 season.


To read the original story, visit

wirtz175.jpgNorthwestern is proud to salute alumnus, University trustee and Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on the team's third Stanley Cup in the past six seasons. Read more about Wirtz '75 and his Northwestern connections below.


Northwestern magazine: Fire on Ice
Alumnus Rocky Wirtz took over the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007. The team was, in his words, irrelevant. But over the past eight seasons Wirtz has orchestrated a remarkable turnaround that led to the franchise’s rebirth and a place at the pinnacle of professional sports.

School of Communication: Rocky’s Hat Trick
It is now three wins in six seasons for Chicago Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz. He is a 1975 graduate of the School of Communication, a member of the Northwestern Board of Trustees and a member of the School of Communication National Advisory Board.

We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern: Wirtz Endows Performing Arts Center
Chicago Blackhawks chairman William Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz and his wife, Marilyn, gave support to We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern and the School of Communication in 2014 by creating an endowment to fund innovative student and faculty projects in the Theatre and Interpretation Center. In recognition of the multi-million dollar gift, the center was renamed the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, in honor of Wirtz’s grandmother, a 1924 Northwestern graduate.

The New York Times: When Ownership Changed in 2007, So Did the Blackhawks
The most common way to turn around a terrible sports franchise is to acquire better players or bring in a new coach. But in the case of the Chicago Blackhawks, the most important change may have been the passing of team ownership from a father to a son. (Read the complete article in The New York Times. Registration may be required.)

international-flag-half.jpgWith official alumni clubs in 15 locations around the world and an ever-expanding list of international events for Northwestern graduates, the Northwestern Alumni Association is committed to keeping Wildcats connected with each other and their University.

For an updated list of alumni events around the world, plus information about other ways to stay involved with Northwestern as an alumnus living outside the United States, visit the NAA's Global Alumni Networks webpage.



A discussion at Northwestern highlighted advantages in making visas more accessible to international students who study STEM fields in the United States and wish to stay after graduation.

It’s the time of year when college graduates leave campus in search of new adventures. But that’s not so easy for international students who graduate from schools in the United States and want to stay to begin their careers, according to a recent discussion cohosted by Northwestern University.


Featuring Rep. Robert Dold, R-Ill., the discussion at the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center focused on immigration policy reform and the impact it would have on innovation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

"International students come here for educational opportunities and to build their careers," said Jay Walsh, Northwestern vice president for research. "When they stay, they invariably have a strong positive impact on the U.S. economy.  We need to make sure these talented students can remain in the country to pursue their dreams."

A graduate of the Kellogg School of Management, Dold has introduced legislation to create a new visa program for up to 50,000 foreign students who earn either a master’s degree or Ph.D. in STEM from an American college or university.

Northwestern hosted the event with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and immigration reform group

Representatives from various educational programs geared toward STEM students discussed the advantages of making visas more accessible to international students who study in the U.S.

Leslie Oster, director of Northwestern University School of Law's new Master of Science in Law (MSL) degree, noted that international STEM students bring diversity and perspective to the classroom and have much to offer when they graduate.

"Our first class of MSL graduates includes several international students eager to remain in the U.S. to work at and start companies,” Oster said. “They want to — and are very well-equipped to — contribute to the innovation economy.”

To read the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.


Though NU-Q’s fourth graduating class had its own ceremony in Qatar in May, 10 students traveled to Evanston to join the larger Northwestern community and represent their colleagues back home during the University's June 19 Commencement at Ryan Field.

Blending into the vast sea of purple, a small band of graduating seniors from Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) participated in the June 19 Commencement ceremony at Ryan Field – journeying more than 7,000 miles for the celebration.


Though NU-Q’s fourth graduating class had its own ceremony in Qatar in May, 10 students traveled to Evanston to join the larger Northwestern community and represent their colleagues back home. During Senior Week events and other outings, the NU-Q students made new friends, reconnected with old ones and marveled at the beauty of the Evanston campus setting along Lake Michigan.

“It was so nice to be part of the purple ocean and see everyone marching forward with life,” said NU-Q’s Sophie Jiang. “It’s pretty exciting to join such a big family and see how it all works on a bigger scale.”

Graduating senior Marium Saeed, who was honored with NU-Q’s student leadership, appreciated the chance to feel the different energy that comes with graduating with a larger class. “I loved studying at a smaller campus and getting to know all of my professors and classmates, but being part of a much bigger celebration was an incredible experience,” she said.

As he conferred their degrees, Northwestern President Morton Schapiro tasked the group with making their mark on an international scale. “We wish you well as you rise to the challenge of making meaningful contributions in the world of global media,” Schapiro said.

For NU-Q Dean Everette Dennis, the group was a special one, in large part because of their accomplishments, dedication and spirit. The 41 members of the class of 2015 hail from 15 countries worldwide, including China, India, Egypt, Canada and Pakistan. Seventeen of the students graduated with academic honors, with 10 making the Dean’s List seven times.

Over the years, NU-Q students doggedly pursued important stories in a country that has not had a tradition of freedom of expression. One team produced a film that was recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Students had stories published in and worked for several prestigious publications, media and news companies, including Sports Illustrated, the Financial Times, The New York Times, Xinhua News Agency and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. 

Last month, Dennis and several members of the Doha campus came to Evanston to showcase their work at an event called the Northwestern Experience in Qatar.

“Many of them are going on to important media jobs and some of the world’s great graduate schools,” Dennis said. “We’ve never had a class quite like them. We hope every class gets better but this one is superb, spectacular and spirited.”

After graduation, the NU-Q students will scatter around the world as they pursue jobs and experiences. Before that, however, several plan to take one last road trip to Portland, Oregon, stopping at Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone national parks along the way.

In addition to Jiang, the NU-Q students who participated in commencement in Evanston included Alanna Alexander, Amna Al-Saadi, Moby Buhmaid, Nissryne Dib, Jaimee Haddad, James Zach Hollo, Mahdiyeh Mahmoodzadeh, Marium Saeed and Farida Zahranj.

space190.jpgA Northwestern research team has been awarded a $1 million grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation to develop a fast, ultra-sensitive camera that could be the first to directly image light reflected by planets outside our solar system and help scientists in their search for life on Earth-like exoplanets.


Hooman Mohseni, who invented the technology upon which the camera will be based, is the principal investigator on the grant. He is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and will lead the detector and camera development.

The Northwestern researchers will design, create and test a completely new camera that operates in the near infrared range of the light spectrum, with far better sensitivity and utility than existing light detector technologies. Using such a camera on a telescope offers the promise of directly imaging planets about 100 times fainter than those imaged by current technology.

The Keck Foundation’s grant will count toward We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, a $3.75 billion University-wide fundraising effort announced in 2014.

“The Keck award will push this technology to its limit and a whole new performance level,” Mohseni said. “Our very challenging goal is to produce ultra-small structures -- as small as a virus -- on this bio-inspired detector to get the light sensitivity we need to image planets outside our solar system.”

Nearly 2,000 exoplanets, or extrasolar planets, have been discovered so far, but because of limitations in imaging systems, most have only been detected indirectly. The innovative Northwestern imaging technology -- inspired by the light detection mechanism of the rods in the human eye -- would be used to image potentially habitable planets as well as provide new observations to help astronomers better understand how our solar system and other planetary systems developed.

The first imaging target outside our solar system will be Jupiter-sized planets located in the habitable zone. (The habitable zone, also known as the Goldilock’s Zone, is a region around a star where conditions are not too hot and not too cold, but just right for possible life.)

The prototype camera would be combined with other sophisticated technology on the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, one of the premier imaging telescopes in the world, to directly image these extrasolar gas giants in reflected light. This achievement would be a first.

“Our technology has the potential to allow a paradigm shift in how sensitive these cameras can be,” said Melville Ulmer, a member of the research team. He is a professor of physics and astronomy in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and will lead the integration of the camera with telescopes.

“When taking a thousand images a second of the sky, you are not getting much light per exposure, so you need a sensitive device that also works fast,” Ulmer said. “This is what the Keck Foundation has funded us to develop. Keck’s support will enable us to do some really cool work.”

Mohseni has been working on light sensor technology since 2004, making a “semiconductor” version of the human eye rod cells -- the first bio-inspired light detector. He then incorporated the detector into a camera, which most recently has been shown to be approximately 100 times more sensitive than existing technology.

“The level of control we need to achieve a highly uniform grid of ultra-small nanostructures with near-perfect atomic control -- giving us the desired light sensitivity -- is beyond the reach of current technology,” Mohseni said. “However, we have a lot of new insights and novel approaches to achieve this goal.”

The third member of the team is Olivier Guyon, one of the world’s leaders in using optics to image exoplanets and a Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO) Project Scientist. He will lead the testing of the camera on the Subaru Telescope, an 8.2-meter optical-infrared telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

A decade ago, most astronomers assumed that potentially habitable planets could not be imaged with telescopes from the ground. Thanks to significant technology advancements and the upcoming generation of extremely large telescopes (now under construction), instruments capable of imaging these planets now are possible.

“Exoplanets are notoriously challenging to image: they are much fainter than and very close to the stars they orbit,” Guyon said. “Fast, sensitive detectors are absolutely essential for this imaging challenge. We are developing and validating one of the last missing technologies required to search for life outside our solar system.”

If the new camera performs well on the Subaru Telescope, the next step will be to use the technology on one of the new extremely large telescopes, such as the Thirty Meter Telescope, which would provide even better imaging capabilities.

This combination of forces offers the possibility of imaging Earth-like planets -- potentially habitable rocky planets located in the habitable zone. (The Subaru Telescope is not large enough to detect Earth-sized planets.)

The promise of the new near infrared camera derives from Mohseni’s bio-inspired electron injectors, a technology whose sensitivity capabilities geometrically increase as the size of the injectors decreases.

The camera also promises to revolutionize medical imaging (e.g., deep tissue optical coherence tomography), 3-D imaging (e.g., for self-driving vehicles) and photon-number resolving (e.g., for scalable quantum computing).

The project, titled “A Novel Near-Infrared Camera System for Breakthroughs in Astrophysics and Beyond,” advances a key goal of Northwestern’s strategic plan: to discover creative solutions.

The W. M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by William Myron Keck, the founder of The Superior Oil Company. The foundation supports pioneering research and the development of new technologies in science and engineering, high-risk basic medical research with transformative potential and undergraduate education in designated states.

Support raised as part of We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern will help realize the transformational vision set forth in Northwestern’s strategic plan and solidify the University’s position among the world’s leading research universities. For more information, visit

attractive190.jpgPartners who become romantically involved soon after meeting tend to be more similar in physical attractiveness than partners who get together after knowing each other for a while, according to new findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.


“This study shows that we make different sorts of decisions about whom to marry depending upon whether we knew the person before we started dating,” said Eli Finkel, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management. “If we start dating soon after we meet, physical attractiveness appears to be a major factor in determining such decisions, and we end up with somebody who’s about as attractive as we are.

“If, in contrast, we know the person for a while before we start dating -- or if we’re friends first -- physical attractiveness appears to be much less important, and we are less likely to be similar to our spouse on the dimension of looks,” Finkel said.

Finkel, along with Northwestern alumni Lucy Hunt '10, lead researcher of the study and now at the University of Texas at Austin, and Paul Eastwick, assistant professor in the department of human development and family sciences, also at UT-Austin, were interested in understanding why individuals tend to be paired with mates who have similar physical, behavioral and psychological characteristics -- a well-documented phenomenon psychological scientists refer to as “assortative mating.”

One explanation for this pattern in pairing comes from a competition-based perspective. An individual’s success in the mating “market” is limited by his or her own desirability. People who are physically attractive tend to be seen as very desirable and are, therefore, better able to win over highly desirable partners themselves.

The researchers hypothesized that the length of acquaintance between partners may shift the dynamics of this sexual competition. Their prior research showed that as people get to know each other more intimately and across various contexts, their opinions about the other person’s desirability change, making objective physical attractiveness less relevant in determining whether the two individuals become a couple.

“Having the time to interact with others in diverse settings affords more opportunities to form unique impressions that go beyond one’s initial snap judgments,” Hunt said. “Given that people initiate romantic relationships both with strangers and acquaintances in real life, we were interested in how time might affect how similarly attractive couple members are to one another.”

The researchers hypothesized that partners who had known each other a short time before dating were likely to be similarly attractive, while partners who were well-acquainted before their romantic involvement might show a greater mismatch in physical attractiveness.

The researchers looked at data collected from 167 couples (from Evanston and the surrounding community) -- 67 dating and 100 married -- who were participating in a longitudinal study of romantic relationships. The couples had been together for as few as three months and as long as 53 years, with an average relationship length of eight years and eight months.

As part of the study, which was conducted in Finkel’s lab at Northwestern, the couples were videotaped talking about how they had changed over the course of the relationship. Using these videos, independent, trained coders used rating scales to indicate the physical attractiveness of each partner; the ratings were strongly correlated among the coders, suggesting a high level of agreement on the physical desirability of each partner.

The results revealed that the longer the romantic partners had known each other before dating, the less likely they were to be matched on attractiveness, just as the researchers hypothesized. For example, the pairing of an unattractive woman with an attractive man was more likely to emerge if the partners had known one another for many months prior to dating.

Partners who began dating within a month of first meeting each other showed a strong correlation for physical attractiveness. But the correlation was much lower for partners who had known each other for a long time before dating. A similar pattern emerged when the researchers looked at whether pairs were friends before they started dating; friends-first couples were less likely to be matched on attractiveness than couples who were strangers before dating.

Interestingly, the level of match on attractiveness was not associated with relationship satisfaction for either men or women in the study. That is, both friends-first and stranger-first relationships seem approximately equally happy years later.

The researchers note that the research will need to be replicated across more diverse samples and contexts, but these findings suggest that length of acquaintance can influence whether we perceive someone as being a desirable partner.

“There may be more to the old saying than was previously thought,” Hunt said. “Maybe it’s the case that beauty is partially in the eye of the beholder, especially as time passes.”

“Leveling the Playing Field: Longer Acquaintance Predicts Reduced Assortative Mating on Attractiveness” was published in Psychological Science on June 30. The New York Times also featured the research in an article titled “For Couples, Time Can Upend the Laws of Attraction.”

This week’s Wildcat of the Week spotlight features Carlos Terrazas ’98, a graduate of Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.


Carlos became involved with the Northwestern Alumni Association in 2000 as a co-founder of the Latino Alumni Club of Northwestern University, or LANU. Additionally, he helped lead his five-, 10- and 15-year reunions.  A loyal annual donor to several areas of NU, Carlos and his wife Katie Ruch Terrazas ’01 are gold level members of NU Loyal giving society and members of the NU Leadership Circle.


“Northwestern helped shape my life,” he says. “Many of my fondest memories and life experiences and my closest friends, mentors and my wife, all tie back to Northwestern.”


In addition to being an active alumnus, Carlos is also a Northwestern staff member, currently serving as the senior director of Reunion Programs within Alumni Relations and Development. Carlos joined ARD in 2008 as an associate director on the Leadership Giving team. In 2012, he became the director of development for Libraries, Press, and University Archives, and in May he transitioned to his current role leading NU’s Reunion Programs. Connect with your Reunion class in Our Northwestern. >>


“It is a privilege to be able to give back to my alma mater,” Carlos says. “To be able to leverage my skills and passion into supporting something that supported me and impacted my life so greatly. I wake up every day feeling lucky to be at NU.”


The office of Alumni Relations and Development has a strong focus on strengthening partnerships across the University community. As a professional employer, the office has a collaborative culture, emphasizes excellence, and nurtures staff members through a variety of professional development and employee engagement opportunities. Carlos’ own career within ARD—seven years and counting—is a testament that you can have a full and varied career within the department. As a Northwestern alumnus and staff member, Carlos truly “bleeds purple” both personally and professionally.


For more information on considering a career within Alumni Relations and Development at Northwestern, view our open positions or sign up to attend an ARD Information Session for prospective candidates.

Register for Reunion Weekend (October 16-18, 2015). >>

Become a NU Loyal Member. >>




Read more 'Wildcat of the Week' profiles at >>

Thompson-Negotiation-Women_390x219.jpgWhen it comes to hammering out the best deal for themselves, women differ from men in three key ways, says Leigh Thompson, J. Jay Gerber Professor of Dispute Resolutions and Organizations: they set less aggressive goals; they make less assertive opening offers; and they don't choose to negotiate in situations where men do. The result? Among graduates of elite business schools, women are paid 93 cents for every dollar paid to men. And the gap is widening.


There are several reasons why women don't represent themselves as aggressively when bargaining, Thompson explains. Chief among them is the fear that they'll come off as too demanding and will be seen as "not very nice."


Yet the situation isn't hopeless. With the right research and preparation beforehand and the use of a few key tactics during the discussion, women can improve their situation dramatically.


In this video, Prof. Thompson lays out five steps for walking away with a compensation package that helps close the gap. >>


Dear members of the Northwestern community,

We are pleased to send you a progress report summarizing major areas in which the University has advanced in implementing the Northwestern Will strategic plan. In this year’s annual report, we look back not just a year, but cumulatively and in more depth at the entire period since the strategic plan was unveiled in fall 2011. Since then, state-of-the-art facilities, new research centers and academic partnerships have emerged that are transforming the academic and physical landscape of the University.

As this report makes clear, Northwestern is making significant strides in each of the plan’s four pillars: Discover, Integrate, Connect and Engage. From advances in biomedical research, to new programs reaching across academic disciplines, to increased connections between Northwestern and Chicago, to expanding efforts in global engagement, Northwestern has taken important steps forward.

One critical factor in this progress has been the success of We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, the $3.75 billion fundraising campaign. Since the campaign was announced publicly in March 2014, total giving already has surpassed $2 billion. This generous support has enabled the University to ignite key initiatives in the life sciences, humanities, social sciences, fine arts and the student experience, among other areas.

Northwestern’s faculty, staff and students have contributed immeasurably to the success of the strategic plan. We encourage you to read the report, which you may view here.


Morton Schapiro
President and Professor

Daniel Linzer
Provost and Professor

McGaw_Sign_02.jpgCHICAGO --- Finding a job is difficult for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and individuals with severe mental illness, who have high unemployment rates even though many want to work.


The job interview -- especially hard for those with mental illness -- can be a major hurdle.


A training program with a virtual human -- based on software originally used to train FBI agents -- helped vets with PTSD and individuals with severe mental illness build their job interview skills and snag significantly more job offers, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.


Participants in the training practiced repeatedly with the virtual character, a human resources staff member named Molly Porter. They spoke their responses to Molly’s questions using voice recognition software. A job coach in the program gave them immediate on-screen feedback as to whether their responses helped or hurt their rapport with Molly. The interviews got tougher as they progressed.


Vets with PTSD and individuals with severe mental illness who took the training were nine times more likely than non-trainees to get job offers in a six-month follow-up after training. The more training interviews participants completed, the greater the likelihood of receiving a job offer and in a shorter amount of time.


“Veterans with PTSD and people with mental illness such as bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia are prone to anxiety, which can escalate during stressful social encounters such as the job interview,” said Matthew J. Smith, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The training was a big confidence builder for them.


The study was published July 1 in the journal Psychiatric Services.


The commercially available training from SIMmersion LLC is computer-based and can be accessed over the Internet at or installed from a DVD. It fills an important need, Smith said. Evidence-based employment services are not widely available to individuals with severe mental illness at a national level.


Closed-door interviews may trigger feeling trapped


The job interview can be an emotional land mine for individuals with severe mental illness.


Vets with PTSD may have trouble concentrating and following a conversation. A closed-door job interview may trigger a sense of being trapped. These former soldiers also may feel detached from others, which makes it hard for them to connect socially with the interviewer.


Tricky conversations about time off for therapy


The vets and individuals with severe mental illness may need structured time off from work to attend their mental health services and need to know how to discuss this in an interview. These individuals may also have an extended period of unemployment, and the training gives them tools to discuss gaps in their work history. Practicing with the training program also helped participants become more comfortable in a job interview environment.


The interviews with Molly Porter taught participants how to emphasize their strong work ethic and ability to work well with others. The program also showed them how to share their prior work experiences in a positive way (rather than complaining about past experiences), sound interested in the position and speak professionally.


Trainees receive a score at the end of each interview with scores of 90 or better informing them that, “You’ve got the job!”


When an individual accesses Molly, the program has certain features so a person can identify a disability. The program takes that into account when it asks questions in the job interview.


Study participants included 70 individuals with severe mental illness (bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder) or U.S. military veterans who had a diagnosis of PTSD and a mood or psychotic disorder.


The program was a collaborative effort between Northwestern, SIMmersion LLC and Morris Bell, a professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine to develop and test the training program.


Other Northwestern authors on the study include Dr. Michael Fleming and Neil Jordan.


The paper is titled: “Job Offers to Individuals With Severe Mental Illness After Participation in Virtual Reality Job Interview Training.”


The research was supported in part by grant R44 MH080496 from the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health.


Read more on Northwestern News. >>

The sun is rising on another solar car season, and the NUsolar team is ready to gear up. The team will head to the Lone Star State next month to race in the Formula Sun Grand Prix from July 26 to 31.

Northwestern’s team will compete against 16 other university teams at the Circuit of the Americas 3.5-mile track in Austin, Texas. Each solar car will navigate a series of hills, s-curves, and hairpin turns to see which car can race the most laps over the three-day event using only power from the sun. An award will also be given to the team that completes the fastest single lap.


Twenty Northwestern undergraduates are behind the SC6 — short for “Solar Car 6.” The lightweight, aerodynamic car has already seen two prior competitions. But this year it’s equipped with new software to better control the vehicle’s speed and better respond to the driver’s commands.


This year’s team is composed of a mix of students from the McCormick School of Engineering, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and Bienen School of Music. During the race, four team members will take turns driving the car, while other team members consider strategy, handle repairs, and monitor the weather conditions.

“We’re a young team, but what we lack in experience has been made up by our extensive planning and risk analysis,” said project manager Spencer Williams, a junior studying computer engineering. “We planned out the entire year with multiple backup plans, so we could respond better to unforeseen circumstances. Using this approach, we hit almost all the goals we initially set.”


Arguably the most important parts of the car are its solar cells, which cover 95 percent of its top surfaces. The cells fuel lithium-ion batteries, which then power the motor, lights, and software system. Outfitted with headlights, turn signals, and a rear-view camera system, the SC6 is safe and fully functional to be legally driven on the road.

“I joined the team because I wanted to design something innovative,” said Williams, who has been a member since his freshman year. “The solar car has a very complex electrical system and an interesting mechanical design that I have learned a lot from.”


Read more in McCormick News. >>





PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Northwestern junior Kaitlin Park fired an even-par 72 on Tuesday at Blythefield Country Club to secure one of two sponsor exemptions to compete in championship play during the Meijer LGPA Classic presented by Kraft. The event will host a full field of 144 players playing 72 holes of stroke play over four days of competition July 23-26 at Blythefield.


"Every player woke up today and wanted to be in that Top-2," said Park. "I knew I needed to keep my game consistent, have confidence and play the best I could. I plan to pursue golf after college and this is an opportunity to experience what it is like to compete at the highest level of women's golf."


Park received Second Team All-Big Ten honors this season, her third All-B1G recognition in as many years competing for Chicago's Big Ten Team. The 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year owns the second-best career stroke average (74.74) in program history, and has posted three of the Top-13 single-season scoring averages in Wildcats history over her first three collegiate campaigns.


"Kaitlin's performance today earned her a tremendous opportunity to compete against some of the best in the world," said Wildcats head coach Emily Fletcher, the 2015 Big Ten Coach of the Year. "Measuring herself against such a competitive field, particularly as someone with professional aspirations, will be a great experience and certainly pay dividends as she prepares for her final season of college golf. We're so proud of her."


Similar to last year, proceeds from the tournament (won in a playoff by Mirim Lee) and each of the week's festivities will benefit the Meijer Simply Give program that restocks the shelves of food pantries throughout the Midwest. The inaugural Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft raised more than $600,000 for the Simply Give program.


Read more on the NU Sports website. >>



Congratulations to Northwestern’s newest class of alumni – check out this full recap of Commencement 2015 festivities!



Northwestern Alumni Association coverage

Purple Line website -- resources for recent graduates

Video: Congratulations 2015 Grads -- take a ride on the Purple Line!

Social Media: Commencement digital swag for parents and graduates

Photos: Commencement 2015 (log-in necessary)

Digital Diary -- graduating senior Samantha Yi

Fifteen for Fifteen -- alumni give advice to graduating seniors

Video: A Moment of Celebration, A Lifetime of Memories, commencement told in first-person

Video: Cap and gown pickup for the Class of 2015

Photos: Cap and gown pickup photobooth

#FlatWillie download -- Willie the Wildcat celebrates commencement

Social Media: Instagram takeover of @NorthwesternAlumni by graduating senior Brendan Flynn

Social Media: Commencement 2015 Storify



University coverage

Video: Virginia Rommety tells Class of 2015 they’re graduating at ‘truly a unique moment in history’

NU Qatar students participate in commencement

Video: Graduates (and parents) share acquired wisdom

Educators who had “transformative effects” on graduates honored

Video Timelapse: It All Goes By So Fast

Feature: Class of 2014 Finding Success After Graduation

Photos: Commencement 2015



Coverage from across campus

Buzzfeed: 11 Things About NU You’re Guaranteed To Miss After Graduation

Feature: Northwestern Magazine spotlights standout seniors

Photos: Class Gift Goose Island event

The Daily Northwestern captures Commencement 2015

Video: Northwestern football Commencement 2015

Video: Commencement highlights from Northwestern News

North by Northwestern’s Senior Reflections

#NU2015 and #NUGrads on Twitter

The Kellogg School of Management’s financial advice for graduates



Class of 2015, be sure to visit to find out ways all the ways you can connect with alumni after graduation. Log in and comment below to let us know how you celebrated Commencement 2015.

Connect with the Northwestern Alumni Association on social media:

Article and photography by Marilyn Sherman


For the third year, students in SESP’s Learning Philanthropy course had the opportunity to donate funds to nonprofit organizations that benefit children and adults. After studying the history and practice of philanthropic giving and researching local charities, the class made donations totaling $100,000.


Student task forces investigated six key areas of philanthropy: education, environment and sustainability, arts and culture, child/youth development, human services and civil rights, and eradicating poverty. During their decision making process, students confronted many of the policies, politics and practices that influence giving decisions.


At a June 10 reception with representatives from the selected nonprofits, the six student groups announced the following recipients:

  • Arts and Culture: Project Onward, $15,000
  • Child and Youth Development: Girls in the Game, $15,000
  • Education: Citizen Schools, $18,000
  • Eradicating Poverty: La Casa Norte, $20,000
  • Environment and Sustainability: Foresight Design, $12,000
  • Human Services/Civil Rights: Dreamcatcher Foundation, $20,000


The groups started with proposals for 56 organizations, made site visits to 23 organizations and finally selected six for donations of varying amounts. Their decisions were based on analysis of the nonprofits through criteria each group established.

Read the full article on the Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy's website. >>



Citizen Schools received $18,000 through SESP's Learning Philanthropy course.

Approximately 200 people gathered June 16 as Northwestern University officially opened the doors of The Garage, an incubator of ideas that will bring together students from every area of the University to explore innovation and entrepreneurship. And yes, the new cross-disciplinary space is housed in a real garage on the Evanston campus.


The Garage is a 24/7 hub where ideas, not companies, will be built, with a focus on a unique educational experience -- but where the right idea could eventually lead to a startup. High-quality mentorships, programming and resources will help Northwestern students develop and accelerate ideas.

RELATED STORY: Student Startups Featured at Opening Reception

University trustees and top administrators, donors, alumni, entrepreneurial students and other supporters celebrated The Garage’s dedication. In a nod to a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony, supporters cut yellow construction site-like tape, while Chicago entrepreneur and alumnus Rishi Shah '09 ceremonially lifted the space’s garage-style doors. The Garage is located on the second floor of a recently built parking garage on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.

President Morton Schapiro told the purple-clad crowd, gathered in one of the new classroom spaces, that The Garage builds on Northwestern’s tradition of success in pioneering innovation and discovery and its emphasis on left brain-right brain thinking.

“Northwestern is about entrepreneurs,” President Schapiro said about the culture that has blossomed at the University in the last decade, citing popular programs such as the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice in the Kellogg School of Management. “We have a lot of programs, but what we never had before this was the space. Now we have this absolutely magnificent space.”

In thanking the many people who made The Garage a reality, he singled out Alicia Löffler, executive director of Northwestern’s Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO), for her “perseverance and brilliance.” Löffler, who stood as President Schapiro and others applauded, stressed earlier that The Garage will be open to all students and provide an incredible coaching space where they can learn the importance of failure on the way to success.

President Schapiro emphasized the important role The Garage will play in Northwestern’s strategic goal of integrating learning both inside and outside the classroom. “I can’t wait to visit and see all the magic that is taking place here,” he said.

The 11,000 square feet of flexible space will allow the University’s greatest innovation and entrepreneurship assets -- its students, across all disciplines -- to congregate, collaborate and create under one roof. Mentors from Northwestern and around the world and a special partnership with Chicago incubator 1871 will connect students to talent and opportunities off campus.

Prior to the program of remarks, invited guests explored the bright new space, which includes two larger spaces for workshops and classes, a prototyping area, a 3-D printer for testing ideas, two high-tech boards for visual collaboration, an open-plan kitchen, flexible meeting space, a large lounge space, privacy booths and offices.

To read the complete story, visit the Northwestern News Center.


With spring bursting forth in shades of purple and white in an outdoor sanctuary that has graced Northwestern University’s Evanston campus for 100 years, representatives of the city and the University joined the Garden Club of Evanston to celebrate the centennial of the Shakespeare Garden and their roots in a shared endeavor.


On Sunday, June 14, the garden club hosted an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the club’s founding and its very first project -- the Shakespeare Garden -- both of which date back to 1915.


Borrowing from William Shakespeare, Garden Club President Trish Barr praised generations of Evanston women who have tended to the garden as well as their partners from the city and the University.


“With apologies to our muse and our namesake, William Shakespeare, I’d like to take a little liberty with some of his most famous words,” Barr said, standing at a podium at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. “The good that women do lives on after them. And, the good that a city does lives on, and the good that a university does lives on.”

The garden flora include varieties of perennials and annuals, shrubs, trees and herbs mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays, including rosemary, lavender, holly, pansy and poppy.

The city of Evanston recently recognized the garden club’s contributions to the community by giving Garrett Place the honorary street name “Shakespeare Garden Founders Way” and declaring June 14, 2015, as “The Garden Club of Evanston Day.”


“Whereas, the Garden Club of Evanston, founded in June 1915 by 25 Evanston women, whose first endeavor was to create a Shakespeare Garden on the campus of Northwestern University ... now therefore, I, Elizabeth B. Tisdahl, mayor of the city of Evanston, do hereby proclaim June 14, 2015, as ‘The Garden Club of Evanston Day’ in commemoration of its 100th anniversary in the city of Evanston,” said the mayor, reading from a framed proclamation highlighting the garden club’s greatest accomplishment.

The garden club’s original membership conceived of the garden to celebrate Shakespeare on the 300th anniversary of his death and to pay tribute to the United State’s World War I British allies.

“This was in the midst of the Great War, World War I, in Europe,” Barr said. “In Great Britain, where many of these women in 1915 had friends and relatives still living, the Brits were suffering terribly. The garden club members thought, ‘Let’s honor them in a beautiful, positive way with a Shakespeare garden.’”

The University deeded a plot of land measuring 70 by 100 feet over to the garden club, and plans were laid in the Evanston home of Mrs. Daniel Burnham.

Jens Jensen, the famed Danish-American landscape architect responsible for much of the Chicago Park District, designed a Tudor-style “hedged-in garden surrounded by a forest border — a sun opening in the woods.”

Construction took place from 1916 until the garden’s dedication in 1930, when the garden club presented the University with the fountain and Shakespeare bust that adorn the garden entrance to this day.

In 1988, the garden was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It is easy to imagine Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s own “star-crossed lovers,” meeting in secret in the 100-year-old campus garden that bears the great playwright’s name.

Nestled in the middle of Northwestern’s Evanston campus, between Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary and the Technological Institute, the Shakespeare Garden brims seasonally with flowers and shrubs.

Framed by a double wall of dense, thorny hawthorn hedges started from seed in France a century ago, it is a perfect place for students and Evanston residents alike to steal away for a quiet moment on busy days.

“It’s just a wonderful, little, quiet oasis that you can go to and feel kind of removed from the rest of Evanston and Northwestern,” said Linda Eggers, co-chair of the garden club’s Shakespeare Garden Committee. “It provides a quiet contemplative place to just relax and enjoy the surroundings.”

Full of fond memories, the garden has been the site of countless marriages and proposals, anniversary celebrations and first dates. It is also a popular spot for weddings.

Over the past 100 years, the campus bustle has increased as buildings have risen up around it, but the garden retains its Elizabethan feel.

“On behalf of Northwestern University, I want to thank the present, the past and the future members of the garden club,” Alan Cubbage, vice president of University Relations, said. “You have made that site, that little pocket, a really beautiful place. That dedication and that devoted care are something that those of us who work at the University benefit from every single day.”

Did you tie the knot in the Shakespeare Garden? Northwestern magazine is looking for photos of nuptials in the garden. Send pics from the blissful day to

To read the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.

NNN Emmy Final Photo.jpg


Northwestern News Network (NNN), Northwestern University’s student-run broadcast news outlet, won the Bronze Emmy for best newscast at the 36th Annual College Television Awards in Los Angeles on April 23.


The 2014 Election Show, the winning newscast, covered the Illinois gubernatorial race and other congressional races in the Chicagoland area. The honor was awarded to fall 2014 co-news directors Catherine Reid '15 and Sharon Yoo '15 and producers Gabrielle Ake '16 and Orko Manna '16.


NNN produces a weekly news broadcast called the Northwestern News Report, covering news from Northwestern, Evanston and Chicago. In addition to the news broadcasts, NNN is also the home of SportsNight (sports broadcast), Noticiero Northwestern (Spanish-language broadcast) and Politicat (politics broadcast).


To read the original story, visit the Northwestern News Center.

A multi-institutional team of scientists has taken an important step in understanding where atoms are located on the surfaces of rough materials, information that could be very useful in diverse commercial applications, such as developing green energy and understanding how materials rust.


Researchers from Northwestern University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Melbourne, Australia, have developed a new imaging technique that uses atomic resolution secondary electron images in a quantitative way to determine the arrangement of atoms on the surface.


Many important processes take place at surfaces, ranging from the catalysis used to generate energy-dense fuels from sunlight and carbon dioxide to how bridges and airplanes corrode, or rust. Every material interacts with the world through its surface, which is often different in both structure and chemistry from the bulk of the material.


The study is published today (June 17) by the journal Nature Communications.


“We are excited by the possibilities of applying our imaging technique to corrosion and catalysis problems,” said Laurence Marks, a co-author of the paper and a professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick Scho

ol of Engineering and Applied Science. “The cost of corrosion to industry and the military is enormous, and we do not understand everything that is taking place. We must learn more, so we can produce materials that will last longer.”


To understand these processes and improve material performance, it is vital to know how the atoms are arranged on surfaces. While there are many good methods for obtaining this information for rather flat surfaces, most currently available tools are limited in what they can reveal when the surfaces are rough.


Scanning electron microscopes are widely used to produce images of many different materials, and roughness of the surface is not that important. Until very recently, instruments could not obtain clear atomic images of surfaces until a group at Brookhaven managed in 2011 to get the first images that seemed to show the surfaces very clearly. However, it was not clear to what extent they really were able to image the surface, as there was no theory for the imaging and many uncertainties.


The new work has answered all these questions, Marks said, providing a definitive way of understanding the surfaces in detail. What was needed was to use a carefully controlled sample of strontium titanate and perform a large range of different types of imaging to unravel the precise details of how secondary electron images are produced.


“We started this work by investigating a well-studied material,” said Jim Ciston, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the lead author of the paper, who obtained the experimental images. “This new technique is so powerful that we had to revise much of what was already thought to be well-known. This is an exciting prospect because the surface of every material can act as its own nanomaterial coating, which can greatly change the chemistry and behavior.”


“The beauty of the technique is that we can image surface atoms and bulk atoms simultaneously,” said Yimei Zhu, a scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. “Currently, no existing methods can achieve that.”

Les Allen, who led the theoretical and modeling aspects of the new imaging technique in Melbourne, said, “We now have a sophisticated understanding of what the images mean. It now will be full steam ahead to apply them to many different types of problems.”


The U.S. Department of Energy (grant DE-FG02-01ER45945), the National Science Foundation (grant DMR-1206320) and the U.S. Department of Energy, Basic Energy Science, Material Science and Engineering Division (contract DE-AC02-98CH10886) supported the research.


The paper is titled “Surface Determination Through Atomically Resolved Secondary Electron Imaging.”


In addition to Marks, Ciston, Zhu and Allen, other authors are Pratik Koirala and Yuyuan Lin from Northwestern, Hamish Brown and Adrian D’Alfonso from the University of Melbourne, Yuya Suzuki and Hiromi Inada from Hitachi, and Colin Ophus from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


See the full story on Northwestern News. >>