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As the year comes to a close, we took a moment to gather the stories published in Our Northwestern that you read, shared, and liked the most. We also collected the five most-watched videos produced by the Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) and the top five moments of the year from the NAA's social media feeds on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Don't see your favorite moment here? Tell us what resonated for you in the comments section below.




Here are the most read Our Northwestern blog posts of 2015. Share which Our Northwestern stories you liked by commenting below.

  1. Northwestern Ringtones (September 2015)
  2. Fifteen for '15: Advice for graduating seniors (June 2015)
  3. Homecoming and Reunion 2015: Tweets, Instagrams, and everything else! (October 2015)
  4. Tell us about the love you found at Northwestern (January 2015)
  5. Club Scholarship Program Competition Kicks off April 20 | #DollarsForScholars (April 2015)
  6. Recipients of the 2015 Alumni Awards Announced (February 2015)
  7. Cities announced for Global 'Cats Connect networking events (February 2015)
  8. Vote for the Most Beautiful Spot on Northwestern's Campus! (March 2015)
  9. Giving Tuesday: #CATSGiveBack 2015 breaks records (December 2015)
  10. Guest blogger: Medill senior reflects on his Journalism Residency (January 2015)


Which of our videos kept your eyes glued to the (You)Tube? Check out the list below. Watch them again now and comment with your favorite!

  1. #CATSGiveBack Launch Video (December 2015)
  2. Happy Holidays from the Northwestern Alumni Association (December 2015)
  3. The Spring Line, by Willie (February 2015)
  4. We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern -- Impact Video, Colorado  (April 2015)
  5. Come Back for Reunion 2015 (October 2015)
  6. Class of '15 Commencement GoPro Time Lapse (June 2015)
  7. Because of Donors Like You (June 2015) >>



Thanks for all the thumbs-up! Here are the Facebook posts with the most likes, comments, and shares. Which Facebook post you did you like the most?

  1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and George R.R. Martin at Ryan Field (November 2015)
  2. You're Home | Your Home #NUReunion (October 2015)
  3. #B1GCats Win at Duke (September 2015)
  4. $100M Buffett Institute Gift (January 2015)
  5. Historic $100M #PritzkerLaw Gift (October 2015) >>



These are the top Tweets that captured your attention in 140 characters or less. Which Twitter moment would you "RT"?

  1. Mike Wilbon '80 Challenge (October 2015)
  2. #MayThe4thBeWithNU (May 2015)
  3. #NUReunion Grand Marshal Announcement (October 2015)
  4. 21 Reasons You Can't Help But Love NU (February 2015)
  5. Chicago's Big Ten Team (July 2015) >>




In 2015, the NAA launched its @NorthwesternAlumni Instagram feed—and here are the 'grams that earned the most double-tap love. From the Reunion 2015 takeover by alumnus Jerome Pandell to numerous #TBTs, which picture do you love?

  1. University Hall (#JeromeLive)
  2. #FlatWillie at Duke
  3. #TransformationTuesday Willie
  4. Welcome Class of #NU2019
  5. #TBT | Princess Diana's Campus Visit >>


Happy 2016, Wildcats! For more on 2015 and to see what's ahead in 2016, take a look back and a look forward with this holiday video from the NAA. >>



'Cats across the nation are getting ready to cheer on the Northwestern Wildcats as the team takes on the Tennessee Volunteers in Tampa, Florida at the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day at noon EST. Even if you aren't traveling to the game, you can still follow the action where you live—or at home. To help, we've compiled a complete list of events hosted by Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) clubs across the country, plus the official Northwestern bars that will be hosting watch parties in your area. You can even use this alumni-created Facebook event to make plans. And, we’ve included tips on how to root for the #B1GCats from the comfort of your (purple) living room! Go ’Cats!



WATCH ON TELEVISION:StudentSection_HandsInTheAir_IU (1).JPG

ESPN2, 12:00 p.m. EST

ESPN College Football Bowl Schedule >>



For student-athlete content, follow Northwestern Football accounts (@nufbfamily); for more Bowl-centric coverage, follow Northwestern Athletics (@nu_sports).


Twitter: @NU_Sports, @NUFBFamily

Instagram: @nu_sports, @nufbfamily

Snapchat: nu_sports

(To add on Snapchat: 1) From the camera view, click on the ghost icon top-center. 2) Click "Add Friends." 3) Tap "Add by Username." 4) Type in "nu_sports." 5) Click the plus symbol and the account will appear in your feed when content is published!)

To join the conversation, use these hashtags: #B1GCats, #GoCats, #FootballInParadise (official Outback Bowl hashtag)



Twitter: @NUAlumni

Instagram: @NorthwesternAlumni

Periscope: @NUAlumni

To join the conversation, use these hashtags: #B1GCats, #GoCats


Pump up your home watch party with the Wild Willie, a Margarita-based cocktail that will be served at Northwestern's New Year Eve's party in Tampa. Combine with ice in a shaker and strain; this recipe makes one drink:

  • 3 ounces (about 2 shots) tequila
  • 1/2 ounce raspberry liqueur (such as Chambord)
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 2 ounces sour mix



Shop Northwestern Outback Bowl gear for your bar crawl or

home party! >>


Download yours now >>

Here’s some #B1GCats #FlatWillie inspiration >>


Official Outback Bowl Sponsored Events in Tampa >>



NU Clubs of Florida Outback Bowl Events

New Year's Eve Welcome Reception

When: December 31, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. EST

Register >>


NU Club of Austin

Watch Party: Midway Field House

2015 E Riverside Dr.

Austin, TX 78741

When: January 1, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. CST

Open Invitation


NU Club of Atlanta

Watch Party: Montie's Public House

1860 Corporate Blvd. NE

Atlanta, GA 30329

When: January 1, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST

Open Invitation


Billings, Montana

Watch Party: Hooligan's Sports Bar & Casino

109 N. Broadway

Billings, MT 59101

When: January 1, 2016 at 10 a.m. MST

Open Invitation


NU Club of Boston

Watch Party: Tavern in the Square | Central Square

730 Massachusetts Ave.

Cambridge, MA 02139

When: January 1, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST

Open Invitation

NU Club of Charlotte

Watch Party: Jackalope Jack's

1936 E. Seventh St.

Charlotte, NC 28204

When: January 1, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST

Open Invitation

NU Club of Cincinnati

Watch Party: Millions Cafe

3210 Linwood Ave.

Cincinnati, OH 45208

When: January 1, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST

Open Invitation


NU Club of Cleveland

Watch Party: Fox and Hound

1479 S.O.M. Center Road

Mayfield Heights, OH 44124

When: January 1, 2016 at 12:00 a.m. EST

Open Invitation


NU Club of Coachella Valley

Watch Party: The Beer Hunter

78-483 Hwy. 111

La Quinta, CA 92253

When: January 1, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. PST

Open Invitation

NU Club of Colorado

Watch Party: Blake Street Tavern

2301 Blake Street

Denver, CO

When: January 1, 2016 at 10 a.m. MST

Open Invitation

NU Club of Houston

Watch Party: Live Oak

10444 Hempstead Rd.

Houston, TX 77092

When: January 1, 2016 at 11:00 p.m. CST

RSVP in this Facebook event >>


NU Club of Kansas City

Watch Party: The Granfalloon

608 Ward Pkwy.

Kansas City, MO 64112

When: January 1, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. CST

Open Invitation

NU Club of Milwaukee

Watch Party: Mo's on Bluemound - Green Room

10842 W. Bluemound Rd.

Wauwatosa, WI 53226

When: January 1, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. CST

Register >>

NU Club of NC Triangle

Watch Party: Carolina Ale House

7981 Skyland Ridge Pkwy.

Raleigh, NC 27617

When: January 1, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST

Register >>

NU Club of Philadelphia

Watch Party: Dave & Buster's

7321 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd.

Philadelphia, PA 19106

When: January 1, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST

Register >>


NU Spirit Club of Sacramento

Watch Party: Clubhouse 56

723 56th Street (near the corner of 56th and H streets)

Sacramento, CA (916) 454-5656

When: January 1, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. PST

Register >>

NU Club of San Diego

Home Watch Party: hosted by a former Wildcat football player

Location: TBA to attendees

When: January 1, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. PST

Free, at least 25 registrants needed

Register >>


NU Club of San Francisco Bay Area

Watch Party: House Rules SF

2227 Polk St.

San Francisco, CA 94109
When: January 1, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. PST

RSVP in this Facebook event >>

NU Club of Southeast Florida

Home Watch Party: Hosted by a club member

Location: TBA to attendees

When: January 1, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. EST


RSVP with number of guests to


NU Club of the Twin Cities

Watch Party: Cooper Irish Pub

1607 Park Place Blvd.

St. Louis Park, MN 55416

When: January 1, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. CST


NU Club of the UK

Watch Party: Jetlag Bar

125 Cleveland St.

W1T 6QB London, UK
When: January 1, 2016 at 4:15 p.m. UTC

RSVP in this Facebook event >>





These bars—in Evanston, Chicago, and other cities—will be showing the Jan. 1 bowl game. (Not every official Northwestern bar appears here, because some bars will be closed during game time.)




Bat 17

1709 Benson Ave.

Evanston, IL 60201

(847) 733-7117


Buffalo Wild Wings

4999 Old Orchard Shopping Center #150

Skokie, IL 60077

(847) 674-2034


Buffalo Wild WIngs

2540 New Sutton Rd.

Hoffman Estates, IL 60192

(847) 645-0333


World of Beer

1601 Sherman Ave.

Evanston, IL 60201

(847) 328-3688





Kincade's Bar & Grill (Lincoln Park)

950 W. Armitage Ave.

Chicago, IL 60614

(773) 348-0010


Connie’s – Gold Coast

1030 N. State St.

Chicago, IL 60610

(312) 326-3443





Alphabetical by city


Brickside Food & Drink – Bethesda, MD

4866 Cordell Ave.

Bethesda, MD 20814

(301) 312-6160


Jackalope Jacks – Charlotte, NC

1936 E. 7th St.

Charlotte, NC 28204

(704) 347-1918


Wild Wing Cafe – Charlottesville, VA

820 W. Main St.

Charlottesville, VA

(434) 979-9464


Blake Street Tavern – Denver, CO

2301 Blake St.

Denver, CO 80205

(303) 675-0505


Champps – Fort Lauderdale, FL

Cypress Creek Station

6401 N. Andrews Ave.

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309

(954) 491-9335


Buffalo Wild Wings – Hampton Roads, VA

420 Monticello Ave.

Norfolk, VA 23510

(757) 965-3959


Blackfinn – Merrifield, VA

2750 Gallows Rd.

Vienna, VA 22180

(703) 207-0100


Bar 508 – Minneapolis, MN

508 1st Ave.

Minneapolis, MN 55403

(612) 339-0036


Blondie's – New York City, NY

212 W. 79th St.

New York, NY 10024

(212) 362-4360


Tavern on Broad – Philadelphia, PA

200 S. Broad St.

Philadelphia, PA 19102

(215) 546-2290

Village Grill – Roanoke, VA

1802 Memorial Ave.

Roanoke, VA 24015

(540) 767-0057


Buffalo Wild Wings – Stamford, CT

208 Summer St.

Stamford, CT 06901

(203) 324-9453


Blackfinn – Washington, D.C.

1620 I St. NW

Washington, DC 20006

(202) 429-4350

Northwestern professor Nina Kraus shed light on one of the brain’s most complex tasks -- making sense of sound -- during the recent Falling Walls conference in Berlin.


brain.jpgThe prestigious annual gathering features significant discoveries or “breakthroughs” by 20 of the world’s leading scientists and social leaders across a wide range of fields. During her 15-minute talk, Kraus explained how she was able to solve a major problem in the field by devising a new way to measure what happens in the brain when it’s processing sound.


“The sounds of our lives change our brain,” said Kraus, an inventor, amateur musician and director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Lab in the School of Communication. “In our lab, we investigate how our life in sound changes the brain, and how different forms of enrichment or decline influence how our brain processes sound.”


To measure the brain’s response to sound, researchers pipe speech or music directly into the ears of study volunteers. The scientists then measure the electricity created by the brain as it translates sound through sensors attached to participants’ heads.


Results from a series of studies involving thousands of participants from birth to age 90 suggest that the brain’s ability to process sound is influenced by everything from playing music and learning a new language to aging, language disorders and hearing loss.


Studies indicate that across the lifespan, people who actively play music (as a hobby) can hear better in noise than those who don’t play music. Kraus’ work also suggests that poverty and a mother’s education level can affect a child’s ability to process the essential parts of sound.


“We’re able to look at how the brain processes essential ingredients in sound, which are rooted in pitch and timing and timbre,” Kraus said at Falling Walls. “A mixing board is a good analogy. It’s very fine tuning.”


The newfound ability to measure sound processing in the brain has led to other important discoveries in neuroeducation by Kraus and her team. Moving out of the lab, they have conducted studies in schools, community centers and clinics.


Other findings:

  • Kraus lab discovers biological approach to measure an individual’s sound processing with unprecedented precision.
  • The way a pre-literate child processes the ingredients of sound – pitch, timing and timbre – can predict future reading ability.
  • Sound processing disadvantages can be partially offset by making music as well as speaking another language.
  • Engagement matters. The brains of children who were more actively involved in Kraus lab studies saw more robust changes.
  • Sound processing in the brain can be a neurological marker for issues such as autism, dyslexia and learning delays.

"Making sense of sound is one of the most computationally complex tasks we ask our brains to do: proccess information in microseconds,” said Kraus, the Hugh Knowles Professor of Communication Sciences.

“It’s not surprising that one of the first problems we encounter with so many disorders -- you get hit in the head, have a psychiatric problem or simply get older -- is understanding sound in a complex environment, like hearing a friend’s voice in a noisy place. Sound processing in the brain really is a measure of brain health.”

The Falling Walls conference, a charity supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and several other groups, aims to “connect people and their ideas across boundaries and disciplines” and encourages all “to tear down further walls in science and our global society.” The livestream of the conference was viewed by nearly 10,000 people in 48 countries.

Watch Nina Kraus explain how the neuroscience of sound, language, and music shapes human communication on Northwestern News. >>

minus1.JPGCHICAGO --- Northwestern University has been named a 2015 Anchor of the Year Award recipient by Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE).


Founded in 2014, CASE encourages the area’s leading institutions, such as hospitals, corporations and universities, to support local small business growth by creating jobs and economic opportunities in their neighborhoods.


“Northwestern is committed to being a strong partner for economic growth throughout the Chicago region,” said Nim Chinniah, executive vice president at Northwestern and member of the CASE executive board. “We are pleased CASE has recognized our efforts and look forward to continuing to collaborate with our colleagues across the Chicago region to make the economy even stronger.”


Northwestern has taken particular interest in helping CASE with data collection and analysis.


“We’ve also been identifying potential services to expand our outreach to local minority and women-owned businesses,” Chinniah said.


Northwestern also hosted the first CASE Symposium on its Chicago campus last summer. The event brought together all of CASE’s anchor institutions, along with several potential vendors to meet and discuss issues.


The University received the award on Dec. 2 from Chicago Deputy Mayor Steven Koch. Advocate Healthcare and BMO Harris Bank were also named 2015 Anchor of the Year Award recipients.


See more in Northwestern News. >>

diversity638.jpgA new Northwestern Medicine study tests a supplemental coaching program. Photo by iStock


CHICAGO --- The challenges of increasing diversity in academia have been widely cited. Now a new Northwestern Medicine study is addressing challenges at the Ph.D. level to boost the persistence of underrepresented minority and female students toward academic careers.


The study is testing a new coaching program to provide in-depth guidance on succeeding in science careers and reduce the commonly reported feelings of pressure and isolation of Ph.D. students from underrepresented backgrounds. The program consists of individual and group-based professional development activities, and discussions with fellow students and highly skilled mentors serving as coaches, many of them minorities themselves, trained in diversity issues. The program is also includes equal numbers of students by race, ethnicity and gender. The results were positive.


The study is being published Dec. 16 in Academic Medicine.


In the study’s paper, one African-American female student from the new coaching group said, “I’m so happy to see other people of color in one place doing the same thing that I’m doing.” Another African- American female said in a recording to her coach, “You … are very inspiring because … you’re a wife, a mother, a woman of color, all these things … that was also very reaffirming.”


The study is ongoing and included 121 graduate students from 74 public and private institutions. For those who received coaching, confidence in achieving a career in academia increased from the start of the study, in July 2012, through the follow-up in July 2013. The coaching was intended to be used as a supplement to schools’ traditional one-to-one research mentoring. Confidence decreased for students in the control group, who did not receive coaching beyond what mentoring they were receiving at their home universities, the authors said.


“For women and students from racial and ethnic minority groups in particular, the program provided new role models and novel opportunities to have difficult conversations about diversity, difference and discrimination in science,” said first author Simon Williams, research assistant professor in medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.


“The ultimate goal is for more of those in the coaching group -- and hopefully more underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups – to end up in faculty positions,” said Williams. “In the field of science, a more diverse workforce allows more complex, varied and diverse questions to be asked and ultimately leads to breakthroughs in research.”


Interest in biomedical academic careers declines during Ph.D. studies across all races, ethnicities and genders, but especially for underrepresented minorities, earlier research has shown.  In addition to the limited number of academic positions and difficulty getting grants, confidence about achieving this career path can be hampered by perceptions of being stereotyped by race or gender, and being expected to represent everyone of their group.


One African-American male student in the study cited his experience giving a presentation in which he was the only minority in the room. “I kind of feel that pressure,” he said. “It makes me nervous and less likely to carry on a conversation with anyone. I prefer to stay by myself.”


“It’s a combination of these students feeling like their peers are judging them and somehow expecting them to be a representative of all minorities,” said senior study author Richard McGee, a professor in medical education at Feinberg. “They become the person who either fits into the stereotype that people have, or they’re trying to debunk the stereotype. By providing high quality professional development and the opportunity to talk about these feelings in a ‘safe space’ of peers and a skilled scientist coach, the goal is to mitigate these legitimate feelings and provide paths to academic careers.”


Current mentoring of young life scientists is highly variable, which leads to risks that some may miss out on the informal guidance that makes or breaks academic success, McGee said. Some students who received the supplemental mentoring said they felt like they had better access to their coaches than they had with their university research mentors and other advisors. Others said working with someone who isn’t affiliated with their institution provided unbiased support and advice.


Created by Dr. McGee in 2011, the program, called “The Academy for Future Science Faculty,” is being tested in a longitudinal randomized control trial. The researchers will continue to follow the students, with the long-term aim being to see whether more students in the program, particularly those from underrepresented groups, end up in faculty positions. Many of the students continue to keep connected with their coaches and coaching group colleagues.


Although being currently tested with biomedical science students, the authors conclude that coaching could be useful for other students and in different settings.


The study was supported by grant DP4 GM096807 from the National Institutes of Health Pathfinder Award to Promote Diversity in the Scientific Workforce, as well as from prior and ongoing funding from grants R01 GM085385, R01 GM085385-02S1, R01 NR011987 and R01 GM107701.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>


Northwestern is opening a new space in San Francisco this spring that will further enhance the school’s leadership at the intersection of engineering, computer science, journalism and integrated marketing communications.


Located in the heart of the Bay Area, Northwestern’s newest educational space is anchored by the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and the McCormick School of Engineering, two of the best academic programs in the country.


The space will feature a state-of-the-art presentation area to engage with alumni and partners in the Bay Area, collaborative classrooms and a flexible design studio. It will be used for quarterlong residencies, short immersion experiences and events for alumni and collaborators.


“Our goal is to become the world leader in journalism, integrated marketing communications, innovation and technology,” said Medill Dean Bradley J. Hamm. “The opportunity to partner with McCormick in San Francisco will be amazing for our students.”


“The most exciting and unexpected breakthroughs happen at the intersections between disciplines,” said McCormick Dean Julio M. Ottino. “We have had a track record of success with Medill and look forward to continuing our partnership as we explore new ways that journalism, marketing, engineering and computer science can work together.”


Northwestern’s westward expansion comes at a time of rapid change in the media and tech industries, increasing the need for collaboration between journalists and technology specialists.


The San Francisco programs also will enable new collaborations -- in areas including software development, digital design and entrepreneurship -- between Medill and the McCormick School of Engineering. The two schools already partner in the NUvention Web+Media entrepreneurship class where students design, plan, and run web-based businesses, and in the Knight Lab, which builds technologies for publishers, journalists and media consumers. Knight Lab technology has been used in Pulitzer Prize-winning stories in two of the last three years.


Medill is recruiting journalism master’s students for its new Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Specialization, which will include three months based in San Francisco learning the art of media product development and working with Bay Area media and technology companies. The first students will start the specialization in June 2016.


Fifty years ago, Medill blazed a trail east by opening a Washington, D.C., program. With existing campuses in Chicago and Doha, Qatar, the San Francisco site offers students national and global opportunities.


Northwestern in San Francisco will be located at 44 Montgomery St., the former headquarters of Wells Fargo bank. In August, Northwestern announced the opening of the West Coast regional office for alumni relations and development, a resource and meeting space for alumni, current and prospective students and their families and other members of the University community living throughout the West Coast.


Read more on Northwestern News. >>

_ERR8405.JPGCHICAGO --- The city of Chicago and Northwestern University will work together over the next three years to improve the economy and quality of life for Chicago residents and further Northwestern’s educational and research mission, as part of a new Memorandum of Understanding signed Dec. 16.


As part of the agreement signed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Northwestern President Morton Schapiro, the University will:


  • Keep the city abreast of its major capital projects, such as the $455 million in planned improvements to the Streeterville campus including the new Simpson-Querrey Biomedical Research Center and renovations to the Abbott Building, to generate more employment opportunities for Chicagoans.
  • Explore new partnerships with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and City Colleges of Chicago to further educational opportunities for Chicago’s students, including continuing Northwestern’s Good Neighbor, Great University initiative, which provides financial aid to CPS students looking to attend Northwestern.
  • Help provide business opportunities via Northwestern’s partnership with Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy to all qualified businesses and industries with an emphasis on minority, women-owned and local businesses.
  • Work to improve Streeterville’s neighboring communities by emphasizing environmentally friendly construction projects, encouraging the University’s students, staff and faculty to use alternative modes of transportation, such as Divvy bike sharing and mass transit, enhancing security on and around the campus, and planning improvements for Lake Shore Park.


“Founded by Chicagoans, Northwestern University continues to invest in the intellectual, economic and cultural life of our great city, and to invest in the people of Chicago, educating new generations of leaders at our campuses in Evanston and Chicago and now working with the Chicago Public Schools, through the Northwestern Academy, and other programs, to help CPS students prepare for college and careers,” President Schapiro said. “Our involvement with Chicago is strong, far-reaching and growing.”


In return, the city has agreed to enhance the Streeterville community by improving streetscapes, bike lanes, rapid transit and parks in the area. The city will also provide a liaison to the University to help troubleshoot any issues that arise, help coordinate building permits for the University’s upcoming major capital projects, investigate improvements to wayfinding signage in the areas around the University campus, and improve pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle access to and through campus. The city will coordinate closely with the aldermen who represent the University’s campus area to ensure implementation of these projects.


The proposed economic improvements of this agreement will build on the existing $167 million that University students, staff and faculty who live in Chicago or attend Northwestern’s Streeterville campus spent on goods and services from Chicago vendors in 2015.


During a Dec. 16 ceremony at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, the city signed memorandums of understanding with seven other local educational institutions (DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University, Rush University, the School of the Art Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Chicago) to plan more than $2.5 billion in economic and community investments and create more than 10,000 Chicago construction jobs.


“One of Chicago’s greatest strengths is our world-class universities,” Mayor Emanuel said. “They provide pathways to great careers for their students and with the help of these agreements will become even stronger engines of opportunity for our neighborhoods.”


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

group photo.jpg

About 60 alumni, students, faculty, and staff gathered in Dubai in November for the inaugural Northwestern Alumni Gulf Summit, a two-day event that helped unite the Northwestern community in the Middle East.

The Summit included networking sessions, presentations about Northwestern University in Qatar's (NU-Q) academic programs, and meetings for regional alumni volunteers.

Northwestern’s alumni community in the Middle East has grown steadily since the first students graduated from NU-Q in 2012. NU-Q graduates and alumni from the Evanston and Chicago campuses who live in the Middle East are now working together to strengthen their collective alumni network and promote NU-Q to prospective students throughout the region.


Sarah Wagoner, senior associate director for NAA Global Programs, says the event was a great opportunity to explore the breadth of the Northwestern brand in the Gulf region.


“With attendee representation from not only Dubai and Doha but also outside of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, it was evident that the alumni community in the region has the desire to do more,” Sarah says. “We hope the event created meaningful connections that will lead to future opportunities for regional alumni engagement.”

To learn more about how the NAA connects with alumni around the world, go to


In front of an energetic Field Trip Day crowd at Welsh-Ryan Arena on December 15, No. 12 Northwestern (10-0, 0-0 B1G) remained undefeated with a dominating 91-47 win over Alcorn State (1-6, 0-0 SWAC).

The Wildcats played host to more than 5,000 Chicagoland youth as part of the team's annual Field Trip Day. The day aspires to help students understand the value of higher education and learn more about Northwestern University and experience a college atmosphere. For many students, it was their first visit to Northwestern.

"It was a great atmosphere for us to be able to play in front of that kind of crowd," said head coach Joe McKeown. "That type of enthusiasm was just special and you don't get to do that all the time."

Chicago's Big Ten Team has tipped off the season with 10-straight wins for the second-consecutive year. Led by 23 points from junior Nia Coffey, five players scored in double figures for the first time this season. Coffey added 17 boards for her sixth double-double of the year and became just one of 19 active Division I players to own at least 28 career double-doubles.

"[Nia] is a great player," McKeown said. "I think the level she is at mentally right now makes us very fortunate to have her on our team. She competes so hard every day."

To read the rest of the story, visit

This week's Wildcat of the Week is Andres Max Salmeron '17, a junior in the School of Communication. Andres has been interviewing Northwestern alumni who live all over the world about their experiences and recording the audio to create an original podcast called All Ears. He says the podcast is a personal project, not for a class; episodes can be streamed at Andres's website. We asked Andres about the project; here's his response, via email:


I’m from the East Coast and wanted to attend a school in a different part of the country. I was aware that several talented professionals I was familiar with had attended NU (namely Colbert) and that inspired me to apply. Initially, I was in Weinberg and found myself interested in taking more and more courses in the School of Communication. So I transferred and have been thrilled to focus on the world of RTVF.

Apart from developing friendships with a range of students with such different backgrounds, I’ve enjoyed creating a satirical news series, which was interesting to produce. Additionally, I work for Medill’s television station, and that’s been a great opportunity to learn about the nuts and bolts of how programs are made.

The goal of the project is to learn about how people evolve professionally and how their NU education impacted their trajectory. Doing the project has encouraged me to listen to alumni and learn about their decision making. It’s inspiring me as I pursue my own professional path. It also keeps me connected to the NU community. Other students can benefit from hearing the interviews, which are posted online.

I’m an avid listener of podcasts and have found myself listening to interviews, in particular, for a long time. What better way to learn about how NU impacted others than to sit down and hear what they’ve done? Like most college students, I’m often wondering about where I will go after graduation, so the project has been an opportunity to understand what others have done.

Many NU alumni whom I’ve contacted have been generous with their time and willingness to speak with me about their career development. As this is the essence of All Ears, I feel fortunate to have access to a broad range of alumni who have had such diverse experiences after graduating.

Learn more about career development with the NAA at>>




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

The incredible generosity of Wildcats around the world was on display December 1 during #CATSGiveBack, Northwestern's movement to engage in Giving Tuesday, a global day of philanthropy held every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.infographic-updated-resized 2015 recap.jpg

In just 24 hours, more than 1,600 donors gave a total of $540,771 to Northwestern. Donors designated their gifts for 115 different funds, supporting everything from scholarships to study abroad programs and helping to ensure that today's students have the resources they need to pursue their goals.

The number of donors who made a gift during #CATSGiveBack this year represents a 129 percent increase over last year's effort, while the total dollars donated increased 70 percent.


For more details about the success of this year's #CATSGiveBack effort, check out the highlights below and the infographic at right.



#CATSGiveBack Highlights

  • More than 1,600 donors made a gift
  • Wildcats from 49 states and Washington D.C. + 13 countries participated
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The Wildcats will play the Tennessee Volunteers in the Outback Bowl on Friday, January 1, in Tampa, Florida!


The Northwestern Alumni Association has partnered with Sports & Entertainment Travel, the University’s official bowl travel partner, to offer travel and gameday packages that make it easy for Northwestern fans to cheer on the ’Cats in person. Packages include travel accommodations, the N Zone Tailgate, game tickets, and plenty of opportunities to celebrate with your fellow Wildcats fans.


To learn more about the NAA’s bowl packages and to purchase your package today, please go to


Please email with any questions. We hope to see you in Tampa, and go ’Cats!

kamal_1.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- Like many teenagers, Isabel Pietri loves wearing jewelry. But designing her own pieces? The idea had never crossed her mind.


Then Pietri won a chance to work with Evanston jewelry designer Christopher Duquet through Northwestern University’s FUSE program, a series of challenges designed to get students excited about science, technology, engineering, arts/design and mathematics (STEAM).


For Pietri, now a sophomore at Kelvyn Park High School in Chicago, the experience changed the way she thought about math and science and sparked a newfound interest in computer-based art. "At first my ideas were really simple, but after talking with Christopher they got better,” Pietri said in a newly released video that showcases her collaboration with Duquet. “I had no idea I could do something so technical and complicated.”


To date, FUSE has reached over 4,000 pre-teens and teenagers in 63 locations, including schools, libraries and youth centers in Illinois, Ohio and California. A school in Helsinki, Finland, will be the first international site to implement FUSE. By the end of the academic year, nearly 6,000 youth are expected to participate in FUSE.


Also an ongoing research project studying youth learning and engagement, FUSE was co-created by Northwestern professors Kemi Jona and Reed Stevens at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy. The program targets children who don’t think they are interested in math or science or believe they aren’t “good” at it.


Duquet, the owner of Christopher Duquet Fine Jewelry Design, collaborated with Jona and Stevens to develop a FUSE challenge, “Jewelry Designer,” in which teens design their own earrings, bracelets and other jewelry, print them out on a 3D printer, and wear them home. The challenge uses the same kind of 3D design software that engineers use, helping kids develop important skills while they are having fun making jewelry.


FUSE offers students over two-dozen different STEAM challenges, with names like “Coaster Boss,” “Solar Roller,” and “Selfie Sticker.” The collaboration between FUSE and Duquet is part of a broader effort to help businesses excite young people about exploring pathways to future STEM study and careers. Discussions with other area businesses are currently underway.


Duquet said he was thrilled to be able to reach thousands of students through the FUSE activity. But he took his project a step further by sponsoring a design contest and casting the winner’s piece in silver.


“It was a way to give back to kids who are interested in doing something artistic, creative and entrepreneurial in nature,” Duquet said. “There’s very little support for that kind of activity.”


Inside a FUSE Studio, children select from challenges in areas such as robotics, electronics, biotechnology, graphic design, game development, 3D printing and more.


Each challenge is designed to be immediately accessible and engaging, similar to the first level of a video game. As kids “level up,” the challenges get harder, requiring them to build on previous knowledge to advance. Help is available, but only on demand. To complete a level, they must upload digital evidence of what they created.


An “interest-driven learning experience,” FUSE is fueled by the children themselves who seek out specific challenges that pique their curiosity. Connecting children’s interests to meaningful STEAM learning opportunities is at the heart of the FUSE model and a big reason why the research done by Jona and Stevens shows that FUSE is successful for learners of all abilities.


“Working with Christopher has been very productive and rewarding,” Jona said. “His passion and creativity has helped make Jewelry Designer among the most popular FUSE challenges, and it has been a very powerful way to help girls get interested in and develop STEAM skills.”


Pietri earned the chance to work directly with Duquet after attending a weeklong STEAM Studio workshop co-sponsored by FUSE in the summer of 2014. Using imagery from a favorite song, Pietri developed her design idea from scratch -- a heart shaped piece with thorns -- created a prototype using 3D design software and then presented the piece to Duquet for some initial feedback.


She then revised the piece at least eight times. With each version, she saw ways her piece could be improved, she said.


“It was illuminating to spend time with Isabel, a young woman so clearly in a different place than where I am, careerwise,” Duquet said. “But it turned out that gulf disappeared as soon as we discovered we had a common interest.”


“Isabel had a great outlook, was creative and wanted to express herself,” Duquet added. “To her, nothing was impossible.”

Read more in Northwestern News. >>

gallio-marco.jpgNorthwestern University neuroscientists now can read the mind of a fly. They have developed a clever new tool that lights up active conversations between neurons during a behavior or sensory experience, such as smelling a banana. Mapping the pattern of individual neural connections could provide insights into the computational processes that underlie the workings of the human brain.


In a study focused on three of the fruit fly’s sensory systems, the researchers used fluorescent molecules of different colors to tag neurons in the brain to see which connections were active during a sensory experience that happened hours earlier.


Synapses are points of communication where neurons exchange information. The fluorescent labeling technique is the first to allow scientists to identify individual synapses that are active during a complex behavior, such as avoiding heat. Better yet, the fluorescent signal persists for hours after the communication event, allowing researchers to study the brain’s activity after the fact, under a microscope.


“Much of the brain’s computation happens at the level of synapses, where neurons are talking to each other,” said Marco Gallio (pictured), who led the study. “Our technique gives us a window of opportunity to see which synapses were engaged in communication during a particular behavior or sensory experience. It is a unique retrospective label.”


Gallio is an assistant professor of neurobiology in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.


By reading the fluorescent signals, the researchers could tell if a fly had been in either heat or cold for 10 minutes an entire hour after the sensory event had happened, for example. They also could see that exposure to the scent of a banana activated neural connections in the olfactory system that were different from those activated when the fly smelled jasmine.


Details of the versatile technique, which could be used with other model systems for neuroscience study, were published today (Dec. 4) in the journal Nature Communications.


Gallio and his team wanted to study the brain activity of a fruit fly while it performed a complex behavior, but this is not easily achieved under a microscope. The scientists figured out a different approach using genetic engineering. Starting with the gene for a green fluorescent protein found in jellyfish, the authors derived three different colored markers that light up at the point of contact between neurons that are active and talking to each other (the synapse). The fluorescent signals can be read one to three hours after the action is over.


“Different synapses are active during different behaviors, and we can see that in the same animal with our three distinct labels,” said Gallio, the paper’s corresponding author.


The fluorescent green, yellow and blue signals enabled the researchers to label different synapses activated by the sensory experience in different colors in the same animal. The fluorescent signals persisted and could later be viewed under a relatively simple microscope.


The researchers studied the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, a model animal for learning about the brain and its communication channels. They tested their newly engineered fluorescent molecules by applying them to the neural connections of the most prominent sensory systems in the fly: its sense of smell, sophisticated visual system and highly tuned thermosensory system.


They exposed the animals to different sensory experiences, such as heat or light exposure and smelling bananas or jasmine, to see what was happening in the brain during the experience.


To create the labels, the scientists split a fluorescent molecule in half, one half for the talking neuron and one half for the listening neuron. If those neurons talked to each other when a fly was exposed to the banana smell or heat, the two halves came together and lit up. This only happened at the site of active synaptic transmission.


“Our results show we can detect a specific pattern of activity between neurons in the brain, recording instantaneous exchanges between them as persistent signals that can later be visualized under a microscope,” Gallio said.


This is the kind of new technology scientists discuss in the context of President Obama’s BRAIN (Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, Gallio said. Such a tool will help researchers better understand how brain circuits process information, and this knowledge then can be applied to humans.


The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants RC1NS069014, R01NS076774 and R01NS086859).


The paper is titled “Dynamic labelling of neural connections in multiple colours by trans-synaptic fluorescence complementation.”


In addition to Gallio, other authors of the paper include Emanuela E. Zaharieva, Patrick J. Kearney and Michael H. Alpert, of Northwestern; Lindsey J. Macpherson (first author) and Zeynep Turan, of Columbia University; and Tzu-Yang Lin and Chi-Hon Lee, of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health.

Read more in Northwestern News. >>

misc_8.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- In the production of power, nearly two-thirds of energy input from fossil fuels is lost as waste heat. Industry is hungry for materials that can convert this heat to useful electricity, but a good thermoelectric material is hard to find.


Increasing the efficiency of thermoelectric materials is essential if they are to be used commercially. Northwestern University researchers now report that doping tin selenide with sodium boosts its performance as a thermoelectric material, pushing it toward usefulness. The doped material produces a significantly greater amount of electricity than the undoped material, given the same amount of heat input.


Details of the sodium-doped tin selenide -- the most efficient thermoelectric material to date at producing electricity from waste heat -- were published Nov. 26 by the journal Science.


The Northwestern development could lead to new thermoelectric devices with potential applications in the automobile industry, glass- and brick-making factories, refineries, coal- and gas-fired power plants, and places where large combustion engines operate continuously (such as in large ships and tankers).


Most semiconducting materials, such as silicon, have only one conduction band to work with for doping, but tin selenide is unusual and has multiple bands; the researchers took advantage of these bands. They showed they could use sodium to access these channels and send electrons quickly through the material, driving up the heat conversion efficiency.


“The secret to our material is that multiband doping produces enhanced electrical properties,” said Mercouri G. Kanatzidis, an inorganic chemist who led the multidisciplinary team. “By doping multiple bands, we are able to multiply the positive effect. To increase the efficiency, we need the electrons to be as mobile as possible. Tin selenide provides us with a superhighway -- it has at least four fast-moving lanes for hole carriers instead of one congested lane.”


Kanatzidis, a Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, is a world leader in thermoelectric materials research. He is a corresponding author of the paper.


To produce a voltage, a good thermoelectric material needs to maintain a hot side -- where the waste heat is, for example -- while the other side remains cool. (A voltage can be harvested as power.) Less than two years ago, Kanatzidis and his team, with postdoctoral fellow Lidong Zhao as protagonist, identified tin selenide as a surprisingly good thermoelectric material; it is a poor conductor of heat (much like wood) -- a desirable property for a thermoelectric -- while maintaining good electrical conductivity.


Kanatzidis’ colleague Christopher M. Wolverton, a computational theorist, calculated the electronic structure of tin selenide. He found the electrical properties could be improved by adding a doping material.


“Tin selenide is very unusual, not only because of its exceedingly low thermal conductivity, but also because it has many conduction lanes,” said Wolverton, a senior author of the paper and professor of materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. “Our calculations said if the material could be doped, its thermal power and electrical conductivity would increase. But we didn’t know what to use as a dopant.”


Sodium was the first dopant the researchers tried, and it produced the results they were looking for. “Chris’ computations opened our eyes to doping,” Kanatzidis said. He and Zhao successfully grew crystals of the new doped material.


The researchers also were pleased to see that adding sodium did not affect the already very low thermal conductivity of the material. It stayed low, so the heat stays on one side of the thermoelectric material. Electrons like to be in a low-energy state, so they move from the hot (high-energy) side to the cool side. The hot side becomes positive, and the cool side becomes negative, creating a voltage.


“Previously, there was no obvious path for finding improved thermoelectrics,” Wolverton said. “Now we have discovered a few useful knobs to turn as we develop new materials.”


The efficiency of waste heat conversion in thermoelectrics is reflected by its “figure of merit,” called ZT. In April 2014, the researchers reported that tin selenide exhibits a ZT of 2.6 at around 650 degrees Celsius. That was the highest ZT to date -- a world record. But the undoped material produced that record-high ZT only at that temperature. (There is a ZT for every temperature.)


The new doped material produces high ZTs across a broad temperature range, from room temperature to 500 degrees Celsius. Thus, the average ZT of the doped material is much higher, resulting in higher conversion efficiency.


“Now we have record-high ZTs across a broad range of temperatures,” Kanatzidis said. “The larger the temperature difference in a thermoelectric device, the greater the efficiency.”


The research was supported, in part, by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Basic Energy Sciences under grant DE-SC0014520.


The paper is titled “Ultra-high power factor and thermoelectric performance in hole doped single crystal SnSe.” Zhao, who now is a professor at Beihang University in Beijing, is the paper’s first author.


In addition to Kanatzidis, Wolverton and Zhao, other authors of the paper are Gangjian Tan, Shiqiang Hao and Vinayak P. Dravid, of Northwestern University; Jiaqing He, of the South University of Science and Technology of China; Yanling Pei, Shengkai Gong and Huibin Xu, of Beihang University; Hang Chi and Ctirad Uher, of the University of Michigan; and Heng Wang  and G. Jeffrey Snyder, of the California Institute of Technology.

Read more in Northwestern News. >>



Sign up today to receive an email about the Northwestern Alumni Association's official bowl travel packages after the Wildcats' bowl destination is announced this Sunday, December 6.


After beating Illinois at Soldier Field last Saturday for their 10th win of the season, it’s on to a bowl game for the 14th-ranked Wildcats!


Northwestern’s bowl game won’t be announced until this Sunday, December 6, but here are the most likely destinations for the 'Cats (in no particular order):

  • Outback Bowl
    • Raymond James Stadium (outdoors), Tampa, Florida
    • January 1, 2016
    • Kickoff: Noon EST


  • Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
    • Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium (outdoors), Orlando, Florida
    • January 1, 2016
    • Kickoff: 1 p.m. EST


  • National University Holiday Bowl
    • Qualcomm Stadium (outdoors), San Diego, California
    • December 30, 2015
    • Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. PST


No matter where the 'Cats play this postseason, don't miss your chance to cheer them on in person. The Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) and Sports & Entertainment Travel (SET), the University’s official bowl travel partner, are busy preparing travel packages for all bowl possibilities. Packages will include travel accommodations, the N Zone Tailgate, game tickets, and plenty of opportunities to celebrate with your fellow Wildcats fans.

Sign up today to receive an email about the NAA's official bowl travel packages after the Wildcats' bowl destination is announced this Sunday, December 6.

Please email with any questions. We hope to see you at the bowl game—wherever it might be—and go ’Cats!


Northwestern University in Qatar was featured in recent articles in both USA Today and The Washington Post.

Both stories detail the efforts of Northwestern and other leading universities to bring western-style higher education to the Education City complex outside Doha.

USA Today's story was published November 25, while the Post's story was published December 6.

NU-Q opened in 2008, and its fourth group of graduating students earned their degrees in May 2015.


Kathy Gannon, the 2014 recipient of the James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism award, was honored by Medill in a November 20 ceremony on the Evanston campus. Gannon talked to students about her work as an Associated Press foreign correspondent in the Middle East and Central Asia during the event, which was free and open to the public.


On April 4, 2014, while Gannon was reporting on elections in the province of Khost with AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus, an Afghan police officer fired an AK-47 into the backseat of the car in which Gannon and Niedringhaus were sitting. Niedringhaus was killed. Gannon, shot six times, was badly wounded. It was the first known case of a security insider attacking journalists in Afghanistan.


While still recovering from her injuries and mourning the death of Niedringhaus, with whom she had worked since 2009, Gannon continued to cover Afghanistan. Two months after the attack, she wrote about the prisoner exchange between the United States and the Taliban.


Gannon’s recognition from Medill “comes on top of a long, brave and distinguished career spanning decades,” said Ellen Soeteber '72, a member of the Medill Board of Advisers and a judge for the award. “She’s a veteran dedicated to telling the story.”


Gannon was introduced at the event by Richard Stolley '52, '53 MS, senior editorial adviser for Time Inc. Stolley served as a judge along with Soeteber and Medill Professor Donna Leff '70, '71 MS.The judges were unanimous in choosing Gannon as the winner of the 2014 medal.


Along with her many stories for the AP, Gannon also wrote the book “I is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror in Afghanistan,” detailing the experience of working as a journalist in Afghanistan during a formative two decades for the country. She arrived in the 1980s as the Soviet Union was being defeated by the mujahedeen and stayed for more than 18 years, witnessing the rise of the Taliban and the later intervention of Western powers. She details how upheaval affected ordinary Afghans, people she’s lived among and reported about for decades.


Since 2003, the James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism has been awarded to an individual or team of journalists working for a U.S.-based media outlet who best displayed moral, ethical or physical courage in the pursuit of a story or series of stories. Last year’s winner was Matthieu Aikins, who reported on alleged war crimes by U.S. Army Special Forces in Wardak Province in Afghanistan. His work was published in Rolling Stone magazine.


The medal is named for James Foley '08 MS, a freelance journalist who was captured while reporting in Syria in 2012 and killed by ISIS extremists in 2014. The Medill Board of Advisers voted unanimously to rename the medal in his honor in 2014. Foley’s parents, John and Diane Foley, attended the event honoring Gannon.

Click here for the original story.


Legendary civil rights and peace activist Diane Nash -- who became involved in the nonviolent civil rights movement in 1959 when she was a college student in Nashville -- will be the keynote speaker at Northwestern University’s 2016 commemoration of the life and legacy of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.


Nash, one of the founding students of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, will speak on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. Both programs are free and open to the public.


She will be the keynote speaker during the 6 p.m. University-wide MLK Commemoration at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive. Free and open to the public, the annual program will include music and performances from Northwestern student groups.


Nash’s Chicago campus talk at noon, Jan. 25, will take place in Thorne Auditorium, located in the Arthur Rubloff Building, 375 E. Chicago Ave., during a program sponsored by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and Pritzker School of Law.


Nash, a Chicago native who had never experienced segregation in public accommodations prior to moving to the South, went on to become one of the civil rights movement’s pioneers.


She was a leader and strategist of the student wing of the 1960s civil rights movement. Her campaigns were among the most successful of the era. In 1960, Nash became the chairperson of the Fisk University student sit-in movement in Nashville, Tenn., the first southern city to desegregate its lunch counters.


In 1961, Nash coordinated the Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Ala., to Jackson, Miss. She also played a key role in bringing Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Montgomery, Ala., May 21 of that year, in support of the Freedom Riders.


That memorable journey was documented in the recent Public Broadcast Services (PBS) American Experience film “Freedom Riders.” The 2011 documentary tells the inspirational story behind a courageous band of civil rights activists who challenged segregation in the American South.

For the rest of the story, click here.


Two years ago Evanston Township High School administrators were concerned about the drop-off in the number of girls enrolling in the most rigorous science courses. While the sophomore course had a 50-50 gender balance, the junior-year chemistry/physics course enrollment was less than 10 percent female.


In response, SESP's Kristen Perkins, the Northwestern-ETHS partnership coordinator, and ETHS senior Nina Doef started a club called Women in STEM, which is having an impact on enrollment numbers. “The girls are so enthusiastic,” says Perkins. “For a lot of the girls, having this group and getting to inspire and encourage other girls inspires them too.”


Women in STEM, which started in January 2014, has deep connections to the Northwestern community. Northwestern undergraduates help out, graduate students are guest speakers, and club members visit Northwestern to shadow researchers and attend events such as Women in Engineering Day.


The goal of the organization is “to expose girls to all the different possibilities in the STEM fields and create a culture that helps them feel supported so they can feel confident in whatever field they decide to go into,” says Perkins.


Since WISTEM started, the number of girls enrolling in the accelerated chemistry/physics course has increased to 40 percent junior year and 43 percent senior year. In addition to the growth in enrollment, Perkins is also seeing individual personal growth. For example, girls who at one time held back now feel comfortable speaking in front of a large group, she says.


The club started in January 2014 with 10 girls who met and watched videos, discussed their ideas and heard from Northwestern students about their experiences. “We approached the issue from a research standpoint,” says Perkins. The group even conducted a survey about boys and girls who persisted in science. During the 2014-15 school year, WISTEM membership grew to about 50 girls.


Now open to all girls at ETHS, approximately 120 girls attend the meetings this school year. To accommodate the huge turnout, the club meets in three sessions during the three lunch periods every Friday, and a leadership board of two juniors and two seniors assists Perkins with planning.


The typical meeting format features hands-on engineering design challenges every other week and a general meeting with conversation and games on alternate weeks. Meeting with Northwestern women is a popular aspect of the club, as is a course selection panel with junior and senior girls advising freshmen and sophomores. Students also enjoy responding to video clips with positive and negative images of women in STEM fields, according to Perkins. As a service activity, club members are beginning to tutor students in the local elementary schools in District 65.


Looking to the future, Perkins has a goal for WISTEM to attract more girls and to gain “more diversity so that all girls feel welcome and have a voice.”


Meanwhile, the girls currently participating in WISTEM are receiving recognition, and the organization is gaining visibility. December 7 starts “WISTEM Week” at ETHS.

Click here for the original story.


Northwestern senior Halimah Jones spent the summer analyzing life story interviews to discover if negative outlooks on life after enduring hardships correlates with negative well-being.

This is another in a series of Q&As profiling Northwestern undergraduate researchers.


Who am I?


It’s a question almost everyone grapples with at some point in life.


To help find the answer, narrative psychologists argue that individuals create their own “life stories” by reconstructing the past in order to make sense of the present. These life stories can be analyzed in terms of plots, characters and themes just like a literary work.


With the field of narrative psychology gaining ground, one Northwestern University undergraduate is in the thick of it.


Halimah Jones, a senior in the School of Education and Social Policy, is working alongside Dan McAdams, one of the field’s leading scientists. Jones is conducting research of her very own thanks to undergraduate research funding.


“We all do it,” Jones said. “Human beings all experience trauma, and we all make sense of life through the stories we tell about ourselves.”


Narrative psychology attempts to help people interpret and reshape their life story.


“Putting a positive spin on the past,” she said, “can have a positive impact on a person’s psychological and social well-being in the present.”


To prove her theory, Jones and another researcher spent the summer analyzing 160 lengthy interviews to discover if negative outlooks on life after enduring hardships correlates with negative well-being.


Jones first became interested in psychology during her freshman year and was later hired as a research assistant to McAdams.


McAdams, who has had his work published in the New York Times and the Atlantic, is regarded as a rock star in the world of narrative psychology.


The Wade Rogers Professor of Psychology and director of the Foley Center for the Study of Lives at Northwestern, McAdams is best known for developing a life-story theory of human identity. The theory maintains that people validate their lives with a sense of unity and purpose by creating and interpreting self-defining life stories.


“At this point in my life, I feel like I’ve started to figure out who I am,” said Jones, offering a bit of her own personal narrative. “I really found myself at Northwestern.”


Click here for the full story including a Q&A with Jones, who recently spoke to Northwestern News about her research and reflected on her time at Northwestern.

In 2014, Wildcats from 37 states and D.C. supported #CATSGiveBack on Giving Tuesday. This year, we're aiming for gifts from all 50 states.

12:00 am, Dec. 2: There you have it! 49 states and D.C. came out to support Northwestern on Giving Tuesday! Thank you for helping us break last year's record and for showing the nation how #CATSGiveBack!

8:00 pm: Anxious to see if we receive support from all 50 states? We'll share the final counts on Wednesday morning. Check back for the final roll call. Check out the map below to see if your state is represented! Add your state to the list by making a gift! >>

7:43 pm: Wildcats all over the country are joining the #CATSGiveBack movement! We've received gifts from 46 states plus Washington DC and 20 countries.

4:55 pm: We've received gifts from 40 states plus Washington DC and 15 countries.

1:36 pm: We've received gifts from 38 states and Washington DC.


11:24 am: We've received gifts from 36 states.

For more information on #CATSGiveBack 2015:


Giving Tuesday_AK_HI_Final.jpg


Additional #CATSGiveBack Resources