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Both Mert Iseri and Yuri Malina traveled quite a distance in order to attend Northwestern, but it was worth the trip. Mert, who hails from Istanbul, and Yuri, from France, both chose to attend Northwestern due to a desire to study a variety of topics, whereas higher education in their home countries leans towards specialization. “The main reason I went to Northwestern was because I got accepted into the integrated science program,” says Yuri. “I wanted to study all the sciences with equal weight.”


The two met while living across the hall from each other. After discovering shared backgrounds in problem-solving and entrepreneurship (Mert’s grandfather started the first mattress company in Turkey; Yuri’s grandfather co-founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory), the pair co-founded Design for America, a student group that aims to address social and public health issues through innovative design.


While brainstorming projects, Mert and Yuri came up with the idea for their company SwipeSense—a smart hand hygiene sensor—after spending time in the Intensive Care Unit at NorthShore hospital.


“It was so shocking to get into this hospital where doctors and nurses were sitting in the hallway checking boxes to measure how often workers sanitized their hands,” says Yuri. “It made us realize there was a really big opportunity for design and technology to play a role here.”


As of June 2015, the company’s total funding came to $12.1 million, and in a year the company staff grew from six to 32 people. The pair has ambitious yet straightforward goals for the future. “In three to five years, if you’re at a hospital that’s not measuring hand hygiene electronically, you should leave,” says Mert. “We are starting with hand hygiene, but connectivity is the future of healthcare; we are building a connected hospital.”


The two believe that with the education and support they received at Northwestern, it is their responsibility to solve big problems. In this case, it is preventing 70,000 deaths that occur every year in America due to hospital-acquired infections. “Some of the best and brightest minds are working to get you to click an ad on a website,” says Yuri. “That potential could be applied to much larger problems in the world—even greater than hand hygiene. We can do so much better.”


Mert credits Northwestern for giving Yuri and him the gift of ambition. “Learning and being intellectually engaged is fantastic enough. But the honey over the bread, as we say in Turkey, is finding the grand challenge that we want to fix in the world. We left Northwestern with the power to leave a dent in history. What more can we ask for? We’re thankful for that every single day.”

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Northwestern University Press has received a three-year, $73,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to digitize important but out-of-print titles. The grant also will help underscore the importance of open access research studies in the humanities, giving a new generation of readers unprecedented access to this work.


The grant is one of the first of the new Humanities Open Book program, jointly sponsored by Mellon and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Northwestern University Press will use the funding to create free e-book versions of 64 outstanding humanities titles in African studies, literary criticism, and philosophy.

The Humanities Open Book program provides Northwestern University Press a unique opportunity for collaboration with the University Libraries, as the e-books will be available on the Libraries’ repository platform and can be purchased through the usual digital and print channels.

“We are delighted for this opportunity to deepen our collaborative relationship with the Northwestern University Libraries,” said Jane Bunker, director of Northwestern University Press. “We are fortunate to be able to work closely with our library colleagues in order to best serve the needs of faculty and students in this new research environment. Thoughtful experimentation with open access is a priority for us.”

“This is an ideal project to extend our collaboration on campus and nationally,” said Sarah Pritchard, dean of Northwestern University Libraries.  “The Press has such a strong backlist in the humanities, and the Libraries have an increasingly robust digital repository infrastructure, so we are pleased to be able to bring both together.”

Northwestern University Press is dedicated to publishing works of enduring scholarly and cultural value, extending the University’s mission to a community of readers throughout the world.

To read the original story, go to the Northwestern News Center.

mercer638.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- The Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) and the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University will present the 11th Annual Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project. The weeklong songwriting workshop for emerging songwriters and writing teams will take place from June 19 through 25, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.


The program is accepting applications from aspiring young songwriters and songwriting teams between the ages of 18 and 30 working in any popular music style through Friday, March 4. An online application, application guidelines and information are available online.


With returning award-winning master teachers Craig Carnelia, Andrew Lippa and Lari White leading the week, the project will culminate June 25 with Songwriters In Concert, a program showcasing the talents of the program participants, the master teachers and a celebration of Johnny Mercer’s life and legacy.


Through the generosity of the Johnny Mercer Foundation, the program is free-of-charge to selected songwriters who are housed on Northwestern’s Evanston campus and receive a stipend for travel expenses and meals.


The Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project hosts the nation’s most promising emerging songwriters in musical theater, country, Latin, rock, contemporary and pop music, and continues the legacy of legendary songwriter Johnny Mercer. Mercer was a dedicated mentor to young singers and songwriters throughout his career.


Last year, more than 130 applicants applied for one of the 12 spots in the prestigious program, which has been a catalyst to the careers of many artists. Among them are Latin Grammy-winner Obie Bermúdez, singer and actress Jennifer Peña, Tony Award-nominated Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Michael Koomin and Chris Dimond, Adam Gwon, Carrie Manolakos, Morgan Karr, Michael Mahler, Alan Schmuckler, Benjamin Scheuer, and Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair.




The mission of the Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) is to support the discipline of songwriting in the tradition of the Great American Songbook as exemplified by the life and work of the legendary Johnny Mercer: lyricist, composer, performer, collaborator and producer. The Foundation continues Johnny’s legacy by partnering with individuals and organizations dedicated to celebrating and nourishing the disciplines he mastered and the causes he and his wife Ginger Mercer championed.


JMF has created a number of dynamic creative joint ventures with several prestigious institutions to facilitate its goals including: the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, Accentuate The Positive Programs (New York-Kaufman Music Center, Los Angeles and Miami), The Musical Theater Program at NJPAC, Georgia State University Fellowship Program, Florida International University Fellowship Program, the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project with Northwestern University and the Johnny Mercer Archives at Georgia State University, In addition, JMF also supports various charitable causes, including UCLA’s Art of The Brain, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (Mark Taper and Johnny Mercer Artists Program), Braille Institute (Johnny Mercer Children and Adult Choirs) and KCET TVs Cinema Series. More information on The Johnny Mercer Foundation available online.




The American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University brings together the nation’s leading artists in music theatre to work with Northwestern’s faculty and students. AMTP’s goal is to nourish and invigorate American music theatre by developing and producing new musicals; increasing opportunities for education and training with Northwestern’s theatre, music theatre and dance programs; and creating new connections between professional and academic communities. More information about AMTP available online.




The legendary Johnny Mercer (1900-1976) composed more than 1,400 songs, including “Accentuate The Positive,” “Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread”); “Any Place To Hang My Hat Is Home,” “Too Marvelous For Words” and “Come Rain Or Come Shine.” Mercer also wrote songs for 100 motion pictures and won four “Best Song” Academy Awards. A top radio personality and recording artist, he also was the co-founder and president of Capitol Records and established the Songwriters Hall of Fame with Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. More information on Mercer is available online.




Craig Carnelia has had four shows produced on Broadway. Working with composer Marvin Hamlisch, he wrote the lyrics for “Sweet Smell of Success,” with book by John Guare and  “Imaginary Friends,” with Nora Ephron. Hamlisch and Carnelia received Drama Desk and Tony Award nominations for their score for “Sweet Smell of Success” and Carnelia received a Drama Desk nomination for his lyrics for “Imaginary Friends.” As both composer and lyricist, Craig wrote the score for “Is There Life After High School?” and contributed four songs to Studs Terkel’s “Working,” for which he received his first Tony nomination. Off-Broadway, he wrote the music and lyrics for “Three Postcards,” with book by Craig Lucas, and contributed to the revue “Diamonds,” directed by Hal Prince. Regional premieres include “The Good War” at Chicago’s Northlight Theatre, and “Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief” at Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre, both written with playwright-director David H. Bell, a Northwestern School of Communication faculty member. Carnelia’s major songwriting awards include the Johnny Mercer Award, the first annual Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theatre Award and the prestigious Kleban Award. His best known songs include “Flight,” “What You’d Call a Dream,” “Just a Housewife” and “The Kid Inside.” He has an upcoming production of a new musical "Poster Boy" at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, with book writer Joe Tracz and director Stafford Arima and another new project in development with book writer John Weidman. Carnelia has been on the council of the Dramatists Guild since 1995 and is married to Broadway actress Lisa Brescia.


Andrew Lippa’s new hit song “Evil Like Me” appears in Disney’s “Descendants.” Written for Kristin Chenoweth the soundtrack hit No. 1 on the “Billboard 200” album chart, No. 1 on the iTunes and Billboard soundtrack charts, and has been viewed more than 27 million times on YouTube. Recently, Lippa composed and conducted a world premiere piece for the international piano virtuoso Lang Lang and the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra in Guangzhou, China. This new work, a 32-minute, five-movement piece called “Rising Tide,” will be reprised later in 2016 and recorded in China. Lippa’s epic “concert opera” “I am Anne Hutchinson/I Am Harvey Milk” had its world premiere at The Music Center at Strathmore in April of this year, starring Kristin Chenoweth as Anne Hutchinson and Lippa as Harvey Milk. This summer is the U.S. premiere of “Life of the Party” -- a musical compendium of Lippa’s career -- produced by Theatreworks in Mountain View, Calif., and starring Lippa. His Broadway credits include: music and lyrics for “Big Fish,” directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman; the Tony-nominated music and lyrics for the Broadway musical “The Addams Family,” as well as the music for Aaron Sorkin’s Broadway play “The Farnsworth Invention.”


Lippa’s other musicals include the Drama Desk award-winning musical “The Wild Party” (book/music/lyrics); “A Little Princess” (music); “john & jen” (music/book); “Asphalt Beach” (music and lyrics); and “You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown” (additional music/lyrics and arrangements). Lippa has received Tony and Grammy nominations; a shared Emmy for Nickelodeon’s “The Wonder Pets”; The Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Award; ASCAP’s Richard Rodgers/New Horizons Award; The Drama Desk Award; and The Outer Critics Circle Award.


Lari White enjoys a wide-ranging career as an award-winning recording artist, hit songwriter and producer, indie record label owner and actress. Her music has earned three Grammys (“The Apostle” Soundtrack and “Amazing Grace 1 and 2: A Country Tribute”), and RIAA Gold status (Wishes/RCA Records). Her most recent studio albums include Green Eyed Soul, hailed by the London Times as the best soul album of the year, and “My First Affair, music from her live show at the Oak Room in New York City. As the first female producer of a male superstar, White made music history producing Toby Keith’s platinum album “White Trash with Money.”  As a songwriter, she has had cuts by Tammy Wynette, Toby Keith & Lonestar. Her film acting credits include the blockbuster Tom Hanks movie “Cast Away” and “Country Strong” with Gwyneth Paltrow. White made her critically-acclaimed Broadway debut originating the role of June in “Ring Of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash.” White has sung with the New York, Boston and Pasadena Pops, and the Atlanta and Nashville symphonies, and she performs regularly for legendary lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman and with Michael Feinstein. Her latest projects include her production of Shawn Mullin's new album “My Stupid Heart” and her new compact disc "Piano Bar" (available online at, a collection of jazzy numbers with pianist Red Young.


For more information, contact Ryan Garson at or 847-467-1172.


See more on Northwestern News. >>

TEDx_logo.jpgNorthwestern students, staff, faculty, alumni and the general public are invited to attend the University's third annual TEDx conference April 9 on the Evanston campus.

“TEDx NorthwesternU 2016” will be held in the McCormick Foundation Center Forum, and its theme is “Beyond Boundaries.”

Founded in 1984 and run by the non-profit Sapling Foundation, TED is devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). The conference originally focused on technology, entertainment and design and today covers an expansive range of topics -- from science to business to global issues -- in more than 100 languages.


TEDx talks -- independently run versions of TED talks -- also help share new ideas in communities around the globe.

Information about tickets for "TEDx NorthwesternU 2016" will be posted on Northwestern websites in coming weeks.

For more information about TED, please visit

keenan.jpgJust before President Barack Obama '06 H delivered his final State of the Union Address, NBC News profiled his lead speechwriter, Cody Keenan, who graduated from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences with a bachelor's degree in political science in 2002.

The segment is available for viewing on

At Northwestern, one thing's for sure: Our students, staff and faculty really know how to capture the beauty of our campuses. Here's a look at the Evanston, Chicago and Qatar campuses throughout 2015 via Instagram photos from Northwestern's community.

View the original post at the Northwestern News Center.


Is there a cosmos beyond our own? Once relegated to the realm of fantasy fiction, the question now is at the center of serious scientific debate about whether whole other universes actually exist billions of light years away from our own.


To Kimberly Clinch, a math major in Northwestern’s rigorous Integrated Science Program, the question is rich with possibility. 

Clinch, who has always loved space, used her summer undergraduate research project to weigh in on arguments that pit physics against philosophy.

She rejects the notion that inquiry should begin and end with physical science.

“I am a ‘cosmophile’ who happens to be fascinated by hard science,” Clinch said. “I don’t think it’s in humanity’s best interest to make everyone pick a side -- physics or philosophy.”

By the end of the summer, Clinch’s work came to deal only tangentially with the multiverse, focusing instead on man’s role in our universe and the relationship between physics and philosophy.

Historically, philosophy and physics were inextricably linked, Clinch argues. She spent last summer on a reading list that included works by Aristotle and Einstein, whose famed academic pursuits often occupied a space somewhere between physics and philosophy.

“There was a time when the top physicists were also the top philosophers,” she said.

Through the lens of classic texts, including Aristotle’s “Metaphysics,” Clinch set out to re-examine the debate surrounding the multiverse from a philosophical perspective.

Her goal was to determine whether philosophical views support or oppose methods and theories of modern cosmologists in their studies of the multiverse.

“The physics community as a whole is kind of disparaging toward philosophy,” Clinch said. “This research topic arose out of my frustration with the contemporary division between philosophy and physics.”

Philosophy and its pursuits, she argues, can play an important role in helping scientists pose the right questions.

Clinch recently conducted a Q&A with Northwestern News about her research and reflected on her time at Northwestern.

What attracted you to the undergraduate research grant program?

I was surprised when I learned I could earn money by tackling a reading list I have been meaning to take on for a long time. During the school year I don’t get a lot of time to read, for pleasure anyway. And this year is the first year I’ve lived off campus in an apartment with roommates. I needed rent money.

You started your college career in the McCormick School of Engineering, switched to the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and you are now enrolled in Northwestern’s Integrated Science Program (ISP), an accelerated science and math curriculum. Tell me about your academic path.

During my second quarter, on Mondays and Wednesdays, I had metaphysics, followed by physics, followed by math. I loved the chronology of the day. And I was fascinated with how the math and physics were used to help answer metaphysical questions about free will.

At Northwestern I am able to do the ISP curriculum, combining molecular biology and astrophysics. I couldn’t tailor all of that together at another school like I have been able to at Northwestern.

Why the multiverse theory?

I have always been fascinated by space. I remember being a little girl and learning that the light we see is millions of years old and that we are looking back in time.

I like to try to visualize space as an infinite and unbound sphere, as physicist Stephen Hawking describes it, or another universe where the rules of relativity do not apply.

What questions did your research address?

My findings, or final paper, ended up veering from the multiverse topic, although it still tackled the importance of bringing physics and philosophy together.

My decision to refocus the research on free will was similar to the switches that take place in hard science when a researcher is looking for one thing and notices an unrelated but interesting phenomenon taking place under his/her microscope. I found ideas in my readings that had implications for free will, and I realized that these implications were a worthy finding in and of themselves.

You were an active member in the Real Food campaign, which helped convince Northwestern officials to increase the amount of “ecologically sound, community-based, humanely-produced or fair-trade” food in dining halls. Tell me about that.

My high school biology teacher was an organic farmer during the summers when school was out. He was the one who got me thinking a lot about sustainability and consumer choice.

Doing this food challenge is a big thing. The university signing on to this Real Food challenge will really make a difference in some tomato farmer's life, for instance. My interest in the life sciences is tied to sustainability.

Where does food ecology fit in the spectrum of philosophy and hard science?

Food ecology is a balance to philosophy, hard science and the big questions, including “free will.” If free will is an illusion or a construct, then our perceived choices, whether about sustainability or any other ethical question, are of no consequence.

That can lead to doubt about what is real and whether there is purpose.

The possibility of human life having meaning is of such gravity that we should take care of one another even if we are unsure whether that possibility represents reality. Striving for sustainability is of the utmost importance. Changing our food system should be tackled first, because it will do the most good for humanity.

To read the original version of this story, go to the Northwestern News Center.


Tyler Scaletta (above) knows competitive tennis from the perspective of a player as well as a coach. Now, the Northwestern senior also is learning how to understand tennis from a researcher’s point of view.


“There’s this idea that tennis players are anxious and antisocial by nature,” said Scaletta, who is majoring in both biology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and education in the School of Education and Social Policy. But the anxiety and antisocial behavior that are fairly common in competitive junior tennis players are, he added, more likely products of the environment in which players compete.

A former competitive tennis player and a volunteer junior tennis coach at Lincolnway East High School in Frankfort, Illinois, Scaletta teamed up with fellow undergraduate Julian Matra, a human development and psychological services major in the School of Education and Social Policy, to apply scientific scrutiny to that hypothesis. Research on the competitive nature of tennis is scarce, and the work that has been most cited, Scaletta said, is highly anecdotal. Based on interviews that were not even recorded or coded, that earlier work lacked the rigor required of serious quantitative data collection and translation that Scaletta is learning at Northwestern.

The research compares behavior of young baseball players with that of young tennis players, who spend hours training and practicing on their own, preparing to face opponents one-on-one in tournaments, all without the moral support of a team.

“It’s cutthroat. Your best friend, maybe your only friend, could become your opponent at any time,” Scaletta said. “Add to that overzealous parents and coaches, and the physical and psychological toll, and tennis can be seriously stunting to the social development of a young player.”

Scaletta hopes his research will spur the larger tennis community to take notice and start a conversation about social anxiety disorders among junior competitive players. 

“We’re trying to get parents and coaches to think about the connection between competitive practices and how these kids are developing socially,” he said. 

The project has made Scaletta acutely aware of the major role that research plays in policymaking and how it influences thinking about a particular issue. He was surprised to learn freshman year that he could take advantage of Northwestern’s Summer Undergraduate Research Grant program to possibly make an even bigger difference in the stressful lives of young athletes who compete in a sport he coaches and cares deeply about.

“I care about kids playing this sport, and it bothers me to think that they might feel alone or lost,” he said.

Scaletta recently conducted a Q&A with Northwestern News about his research and reflected on his time at the University.

What led you to do this research?

I played tennis competitively, and I’ve coached high school tennis for a few years. I have seen firsthand how the pressure and isolation can get to young players. And there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence about its relationship to the sport. I figured we could test the hypothesis, see if there is anything there.

How did you identify the young tennis players you surveyed?

We collected data at a tennis tournament in the southwest suburbs. The young athletes that compete there play at a fairly high level, so qualifiers are more competitive than at an average tournament.

Our surveys included psychological measures and lifestyle questions to give us data about social anxiety disorder, demographics and specific incidents of tennis habits creeping into social situations.

We also collected surveys from a youth baseball tournament to highlight and control differences between a team sport and tennis. Then we ran an analysis to determine the strength of the relationship between socially anxious traits and playing competitive junior tennis.

What are some of these traits?

They range in severity: reluctance to talk to a new person, feelings of physical stress about social interactions, not being able to talk on the phone or make eye contact.

You played tennis at this age. Were you one of these socially anxious young athletes you and Julian were looking at?

No, I think because my parents encouraged me to try a lot of different activities. I didn’t just play tennis. But if you look at a lot of the kids who are really good tennis players, it’s their only activity. They play for many hours a day and don’t really socialize outside of tennis.

What was it like doing this project with a partner?

We’ve both learned so much about research practices, from writing the proposal, getting it approved and doing the pre-research. But more than that, I’m a big fan of collaboration in general. Together Julian and I have come up with so many ideas that I would never have thought of on my own. 

Did you see yourself doing research before coming to Northwestern?

No, not at all. I had never heard of this kind of opportunity for undergrads. Peter Civetta [director of the Office of Undergraduate Research] came into one of my classes freshman year to talk about the undergraduate research program, and I thought it was an awesome opportunity.

Has undergraduate research changed the way you think about your studies?

I always wanted to teach, but now I have an increased interest in educational research. Teaching is a huge impact profession -- one I really care about -- but being exposed to education research has allowed me to see its potential for impact on policy. That area can create the effects I think a lot of people who want to become teachers hope to see.

To read the original story, go to the Northwestern News Center.

shane davis.jpg

Northwestern has hired Shane Davis as head coach of the Wildcats women's volleyball program, Vice President for Athletics & Recreation Jim Phillips announced.

"Shane Davis is unquestionably one of the top coaches in the nation, in any sport, and we are thrilled to welcome him, along with Andrea, Sydney and Jordyn to the Northwestern family," said Phillips. "His remarkable record of success on the court speaks for itself, and his commitment to the development of his student-athletes outside competition is profound. He is the perfect fit to deliver a world-class experience academically, socially and athletically to our young women, and lead our program into the future in the best volleyball conference in the country."

During a 12-year career at the helm of the Loyola University men's volleyball program, Davis built a powerhouse in Rogers Park, leading the Ramblers to three straight national semifinals and back-to-back NCAA championships in 2014 and 2015, compiling a career record of 265-88 and winning four Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Coach of the Year honors.

"After 18 wonderful years at Loyola, both as a student-athlete and head coach, I am ready to begin a new chapter," said Davis. "I am humbled and honored for this opportunity to lead the Wildcats volleyball program. Northwestern is a world-class institution with an extremely proud and supportive athletic department in the city I have called home for more than half my life. My family is rooted in Chicago and I am thrilled to remain here while leading an outstanding team to great heights.

"I want to thank President Morty Schapiro and Jim Phillips for defining the vision of this program and allowing me to be a part of it. The potential of this team is incredible and I can't wait to get to work." 

Since taking over the Ramblers in 2004, Davis has coached 12 All-Americans, including both the 2015 AVCA National Player of the Year and 2015 AVCA Newcomer of the Year. He has also mentored 43 All-MIVA selections, including four MIVA Players of the Year. Off the court Davis has built a culture of success in the classroom, as 13 Ramblers were named to the MIVA Academic All-Conference Team last season.

The Denver, Iowa, native was a member of Loyola's men's volleyball team from 2000 to 2003, during which time he set a school record for career assists (5,337) and reached second place on the school leaderboard in career digs (723). He was named Loyola's 2003 Male Athlete of the Year after a season in which he earned First Team All-MIVA recognition for the third time, as well as Second Team All-America honors.

To read the original version of this story, go to


Northwestern student-athletes put together arguably their finest academic quarter ever during fall 2015, compiling record marks in the classroom across the board.

The Wildcats' overall student-athlete GPA was 3.29, while the team average was 3.32. Both of these are the highest on record for the department. All 19 programs had term GPAs above 3.00.

Last fall was the 28th consecutive academic quarter in which NU student-athletes achieved an average GPA above 3.00. Seventy-six percent of Northwestern's student-athletes hit that mark, while 27 student-athletes earned perfect 4.0 GPAs. The top teams academically in the fall were men's golf (3.60), field hockey (3.49), women's lacrosse (3.48) and women's fencing (3.42).

"The results in the classroom this fall are astounding," said Jim Phillips, Vice President for Athletics and Recreation. "To set records academically while also achieving strong success in athletic competition this fall is indicative of the caliber of student-athlete we have at Northwestern. We are incredibly proud of each and every one of them."

Northwestern football notably recorded a 10-win regular season while women's soccer returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997. Meanwhile, both basketball programs are off to starts that rank among the best in those programs' histories.

This latest data continues a trend that saw Northwestern lead the Big Ten in fall Academic All-Big Ten awards for the third straight year after earning 103 in its six fall sports in 2015. Football broke its program record with 39 honorees.

Northwestern also has a 97 percent overall Graduation Success Rate, which leads the Big Ten by eight percentage points and ranks among the top rates nationally.

To read the original story, go to

A video by a Northwestern journalism student has garnered national attention for its probing look at polarizing new legislation that allows Bolivian children as young as 10 to work, sometimes in harsh conditions.


“In Bolivia, Legitimizing Child Labor,” Mathias Meier’s long-form video, was featured prominently on The New York Times website.

In the film, some argue child labor is integral to Andean culture, where children have been working for generations; others condemn it as exploitation.

“In Bolivia, you see 6-year-old children marching in the streets, demanding their right to work,” said Meier, who earned a master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in September.

“While most people living in the West think of exploitation and poor pay, there’s a feeling among some that if you put the issue in the open, you can avoid the abuse that happens in the dark.”

In Bolivia, where more than one million children perform some kind of labor, Meier discovered a passionate child worker’s union and critics to the new law.

Meier profiled child workers who contributed to their family’s welfare. The footage included young brick laborers in a town where hundreds of children work in dangerous conditions and an interview with an owner of the brickworks, who denied employing the children.

“The Bolivian government wants to legalize child labor under safe and fair conditions but, at the same time, is unable to supervise the well-being of these kids working in harsh conditions and not going to school,” Meier said.

Meier reported and edited from the Evanston campus but also received an international reporting grant to travel to Bolivia last May.

He edited the piece in his advanced video class with Northwestern journalism professor Craig Duff. It was nominated in the long-form category in the Chicago/Midwest NATAS (Emmys) Student Production Awards.

“This was a magnificent alchemy of a student applying his craft and talent to a story, coupled with the resources we were able to provide for him to travel and report there,” Duff said.

To read the original version of this story, visit the Northwestern News Center.

Hannah Wald.jpgHannah Wald, a junior from San Ramon, California, spent 14 weeks in Paris in fall 2015 through a Northwestern study abroad program. Two weeks after Paris was attacked by terrorists, she celebrated Thanksgiving at a restaurant in the city with Northwestern alumni and students during an event organized by the NU-Kellogg Club of France. Here, she reflects on what she learned by spending Thanksgiving with members of the Northwestern community in France.

By Hannah Wald '17

Since I was little, one of my favorite holiday traditions has always been celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. We would travel to my grandmother’s house back in California where I would watch football with my dad, uncle and grandfather and help my grandmother and mom cook the whole dinner from scratch. In 2015, however, my Thanksgiving holiday was a little different: I celebrated Thanksgiving in Paris while studying abroad in France.

In the middle of October, I was thrilled to receive an email from my program director saying that Northwestern students who did not yet have Thanksgiving dinner plans would still have the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving in Paris! I learned that the NU-Kellogg Club of France was sponsoring a Thanksgiving dinner in a Parisian restaurant. The event was open to all Northwestern students and alumni in Paris. Along with fellow Northwestern study abroad students, I decided to attend this Thanksgiving dinner. 


I did not know what to expect, so I was a little nervous. The dinner was at Restaurant L’Ardoise in the middle of the 2nd arrondissement, in the center of Paris. The setting was small and intimate, which was perfect for us to sit and talk. There were about a dozen alumni at the dinner, along with around 15 current students. We were served a traditional three-course Parisian meal, a little different from the Thanksgiving dinners I was used to at grandma’s house. The first course was a bowl of hearty soup that included cheese, bacon, and green onions. The main course was a plate of roast turkey, which had sweet potatoes, stuffing and vegetables. Our dessert was a lemon tart with a fruit sauce. The portions were not as large as in the States, but the food was spectacular! I appreciated the staff of L’Ardoise who worked to provide us an authentic Thanksgiving dinner. 

Thanksgiving in Paris.jpg

Northwestern alumni and students celebrate Thanksgiving in Paris.


Perhaps what I enjoyed the most about the Thanksgiving dinner was talking to the alumni. Hearing their stories of what it was like at Northwestern during their time as students was very cool. I talked with several alumni who currently live in Paris. One elegant lady, Noelle, made a great impression on me. A native Parisian, she had gone to Northwestern nearly 50 years ago for her undergraduate career and majored in engineering before deciding to switch to German. I loved talking to her because she was still so enthusiastic about her time at NU. I especially enjoyed hearing her wonderful story of how she recently reunited with an old classmate from the 1960s via Facebook. That blew my mind. It was amazing to see firsthand what a strong bond you can have with the classmates and friends you meet in college.


Of course, what made this event so special and memorable was that it took place only two weeks after the horrendous terrorist attacks in Paris. The fact that this event brought the students and alumni of Northwestern together for this special holiday became even more meaningful after the fear and trauma of November 13. I felt so blessed to experience a little bit of the Wildcat spirit and pride, even thousands of miles from campus. I learned that no matter where you are, or how far away you are, Northwestern is always with you.

Hannah is double majoring in political science and international studies and hopes to pursue a certificate in integrated marketing and communications.

eikenberry-buffett-institute.jpgThe Buffett Institute is excited to embark on a new chapter of growth as it welcomes Karl W. Eikenberry (right), former US ambassador to Afghanistan, as its first executive director. He will officially assume the role on September 1, 2016.


In an official statement, Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said, “We are thrilled that Ambassador Eikenberry will be the inaugural leader of the Buffett Institute at such an important juncture in Northwestern’s history. He has played a highly visible role on the world stage with his frank and insightful ideas about some of the most critical issues of our day and will play a central role in taking the scope and impact of our global programs to an entirely new level.”


Eikenberry currently teaches at Stanford, where he is the Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow and a faculty member of the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. He also is affiliated with the Center for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law; the Center for International Security and Cooperation; and The Europe Center. As a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he participated in its Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, their Commission on Language Learning, and led a project on the threats to global security posed by civil wars. He is a graduate of the US Military Academy and has master’s degrees from Harvard University and Stanford University in East Asian studies and political science, respectively. He was also a national security fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.


Before his arrival at Stanford, Eikenberry served from May 2009 to July 2011 as the US ambassador to Afghanistan. He had a 35-year career in the US Army, retiring in 2009 with the rank of lieutenant general after serving as the deputy chairman of the NATO Military Committee in Brussels and previously commanding the US-led military coalition in Afghanistan.


Eikenberry serves as a trustee for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Asia Foundation, and the National Committee on American Foreign Policy. In addition to being a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the Council of American Ambassadors. He previously was the president of the Foreign Area Officers Association. His articles and essays on US and international security issues have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Washington Quarterly, American Foreign Policy Interests, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and the Financial Times.


In a joint statement to the Buffett Institute community, Director Bruce Carruthers and Director of Programs and Research Brian Hanson said, “Ambassador Eikenberry brings an unusual and outstanding combination of skills, knowledge, experience and connections to the Buffett Institute. His military and diplomatic background will enrich the Buffett Institute’s expanding activities and offer new ways to realize the ambitions expressed in Roberta Buffett Elliott’s recent gift. We very much look forward to working with him in our next chapter of growth.”


After his appointment was announced, Eikenberry answered a few questions about becoming the Buffett Institute’s first executive director:


What drew you to the Buffett Institute, Northwestern, and this new role?

There were many good reasons I was drawn to Northwestern and the Buffett Institute, but three stand out. First, Roberta Buffett Elliot's extraordinary commitment to improving the world of today and tomorrow.  Second, Northwestern University's excellent reputation as a center for research and education.  And third, the tremendous honor of joining a superb institute with such a dedicated and talented group of faculty, fellows, and staff, and together with them contributing to the mission of positively transforming the university's global studies program.


What do you look forward to working on here when you arrive next fall?

I look forward to learning from the Institute’s stakeholders–faculty, fellows, students, staff, partners, and donors–about the research, education programs, and possibilities at Northwestern and at the Buffett Institute. There are many exciting projects and activities that are already well-established at the Institute and have the potential for further growth. Additionally, the grant money will allow educators, researchers, and students at Northwestern and at partner organizations to collaborate and innovate across interdisciplinary and geographic boundaries, and conduct intellectually trailblazing work.


What are your goals for the Buffett Institute?

Northwestern and the greater Chicago area offer an excellent platform for convening public dialogues on the major global issues of the day.  I look forward to helping make that platform ever more prominent and available.

To read the original version of this story, go to the Buffett Institute's website.

activity tracker.jpgHealth care providers and insurance companies are increasingly relying on smartphone and wearable activity trackers to reward active individuals for healthy behavior or to monitor patients.


But because activity trackers can be easily deceived, Northwestern Medicine and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) researchers have designed a way to train smartphone trackers to spot the difference between fake and real activity.

The new method detects, for example, when a cheater shakes the phone while lounging on the couch, so the tracker will think he's broken a sweat on a brisk walk.

While systems trained on normal activity data predicted true activity with 38 percent accuracy, training on the data gathered during the deceptive behavior increased their accuracy to 84 percent.

"As health care providers and insurance companies rely more on activity trackers, there is an imminent need to make these systems smarter against deceptive behavior," said lead study author Sohrab Saeb, a postdoctoral fellow
 at the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies at Northwestern University
 Feinberg School of Medicine. "We’ve shown how to train systems to make sure data is authentic."

The study was published in PLOS ONE in December.

Some insurance companies offer discounts to individuals who are more active, Saeb said. Health care providers may monitor patients to see if they are following a clinician’s advice to do or refrain from certain activities to improve the outcome of their treatment.

In the study, scientists showed smartphones rigorously trained on normal and deceptive activity can spot deceptive behavior and generalize it across individuals. If the tracker learns how one person cheats, it will recognize the same shady behavior in someone else. As participants in the study varied their methods of cheating, the activity trackers were tested and retrained up to six times.

"Very few studies have tried to make activity tracking recognition robust against cheating," said senior author Konrad Kording, a research scientist at RIC and an associate professor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Feinberg. "This technology could have broad implications for companies that make activity trackers and insurance companies alike as they seek to more reliably record movement."

Smartphone activity trackers were trained in the study, but the method could be applied to bracelet-type or other wearable sensor-based activity trackers as well.

It is not completely foolproof, however. “If someone attaches an activity tracker to a dog, the system can’t recognize that,” Saeb said.

The study included 14 subjects, 23 to 38 years old, who used a variety of cheating strategies. To fake walking when they were actually sitting on a chair, the participants shook the phone with their hands, swung their hands back and forth or slipped the phone into their pockets and moved their torso or legs to induce sensor readings similar to a real walk. They also tried to fake sitting while they were actually walking.

David Mohr, professor of preventive medicine at Feinberg, also is a senior author on the paper.

To read the original story, go to the Northwestern News Center.

Mars.jpgFrom campy favorites like Mars Attacks! to this year’s Golden Globe nominee The Martian, Hollywood has long fantasized about putting boots on the Red Planet. But now that non-profit Mars One plans to establish the first human settlement on Mars in 2025 and NASA hopes to send humans in 2030, this fantasy is quickly becoming a reality.

So a Northwestern Engineering team is getting practical about living on Mars.

Led by Gianluca Cusatis, the team developed a Martian concrete using materials naturally found on the planet. The high-strength concrete can be created quickly and is durable enough to withstand meteorite impacts — a key element needed to create viable shelters for humans.

While typical concrete is made of gravel, cement, and water, the concrete developed by Cusatis, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, comprises materials found on Mars. Instead of gravel, Cusatis used a Martian soil simulant created by NASA. And instead of water, he used molten sulfur, which is abundant on Mars.

The research is described in a paper recently submitted for peer review in the journal Construction and Building Materials and is currently available in pre-print at Lin Wan, a former PhD student in Cusatis’ laboratory, is first author of the paper. Former research associate Roman Wendner, who is currently working at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna, Austria, is also an author on the paper.

Sulfur-based concrete is not a new idea. Highly corrosion-resistant, it is currently used in non-structural applications, such as pipes and landscaping. But because it is sensitive to heat and fire, it is rarely used for larger projects. After testing its mechanical properties, Cusastis found that his Martian concrete was more than two times stronger than typical sulfur-based concretes. In fact, after adjusted for gravity on Mars, its strength is equivalent to concrete used to build skyscrapers on Earth.

cusatis-gianluca.jpg“You want buildings to be fire resistant, so that could be a vulnerability on Mars,” said Cusatis (right), a concrete expert. “But for the first settlements, fire won’t be the problem. The problems will be having secure shelters and durable buildings that can survive meteorite impacts.”

Cusatis posits that his concrete’s strength is due to the small size of particles in the Martian soil as well as a little-understood chemical reaction between the soil and sulfur. His team also found that when the concrete breaks and is re-melted and re-casted, it becomes even stronger, which is most likely due to the additional reduction of the particle sizes.

“Typical sulfur concrete uses sand, which is inert. It’s just filler,” Cusatis said. “In our Martian concrete, the sulfur is not just glue. It reacts with the minerals in the Martian soil. That completely changes the picture.”

While conventional concrete requires 28 hours to develop full strength, Cusatis’ Martian concrete takes a mere one-to-two hours. For this reason, he thinks it’s a prime candidate for 3-D printing. If 3-D printers are sent to Mars, they could use local resources to print buildings made of Cusatis’ sturdy concrete. This would be much more efficient and sustainable than sending materials across the solar system from Earth.

Cusatis emphasizes that his concrete needs to be researched further. He is interested in learning more about the chemical reactions that make it so strong and wants to find ways to make it fire resistant. But with the first trip less than 10 years away, it’s not too soon to start preparing for the mission to Mars.

“People now seem serious about going to Mars,” he said. “Shelter is a big factor in those plans. Food and shelter are the two things that humans will need most.”

To read the original story, go to McCormick's website.

dichtel.jpgMacArthur Fellow and organic chemist William R. Dichtel (left) will join Northwestern as a professor of chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.


Dichtel is a rising star working in new materials at the nanoscale. He is committed to bringing his discoveries out of the lab and into daily use. Dichtel’s pioneering work developing porous polymers known as covalent organic frameworks (COFs) has applications to water purification, batteries and other energy storage.

His innovations one day might lead to batteries that can charge in seconds rather than minutes or hours, materials that rapidly remove pollutants from water, and systems that can detect explosives in the air.


“In addition to his tremendous accomplishments and vision in research, Will is a committed and innovative teacher,” said Peter C. Stair, chair of Northwestern’s chemistry department and the John G. Searle Professor of Chemistry. “The undergraduates will love him. He is a spectacular addition to the chemistry department and Northwestern.”

Dichtel, currently an associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Cornell University, will join Northwestern this summer.

“Northwestern is a premier destination for materials research,” Dichtel said. “I look forward to collaborating with world-class faculty in chemistry, materials science and other disciplines. My research team’s expertise in organic and polymer chemistry will contribute further strength in these areas and bring about new collaborations across the University.”

The MacArthur Foundation named Dichtel a MacArthur Fellow last year, saying his “pioneering demonstration of COFs with unprecedented functionality and improved stability have made him a leading figure in chemistry.” He describes his research in a 2015 MacArthur Foundation video.

To read the rest of the story, please visit the Northwestern News Center.


Northwestern's weeklong commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began Jan. 18, as the University suspended classes on the Evanston and Chicago campuses for a University-wide, full-day observance of the holiday honoring the late civil and human rights leader.

That evening, Nicholas A. Pearce, an ordained minister, Northwestern alumnus and Kellogg professor, spoke at the Alpha Mu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Candlelight Vigil at Alice Millar Chapel.

Pearce '10 MS, '12 PhD is clinical assistant professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management and assistant pastor of the historic Apostolic Church of God on Chicago’s South Side. At Kellogg, Pearce conducts research examining values-driven leadership, diversity and inclusion, collaboration and change in organizations around the world.

On Jan. 25, legendary civil rights and peace activist Diane Nash will deliver a keynote address at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall to conclude Northwestern's 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration. The 6 p.m. program also will feature music and performances by Northwestern student groups. At noon that same day, Nash will address faculty, staff and students on the Chicago campus. Both events are free and open to the public.

Nash became involved in the nonviolent civil rights movement in 1959 in Tennessee, when she was a college student in Nashville. 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, 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 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Montgomery, Ala., on May 21 of that year in support of the Freedom Riders. That memorable journey was documented in the recent PBS American Experience film “Freedom Riders.”


For a complete list of this year's Northwestern events commemorating the life of Dr. King, please go to the Northwestern News Center.

misc_5.jpgA task force of faculty members, students and administrators has recommended significant changes to undergraduate education at Northwestern, including changing the University’s academic calendar, addressing student workload requirements, enhancing support for teaching and improving advising, as well as a number of related improvements.


Chaired by Indira Raman, the Bill and Gayle Cook Professor of Biology in the department of neurobiology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the task force on the Undergraduate Academic Experience recently delivered its final report and recommendations to Provost Daniel Linzer. The task force spent the spring, summer and fall quarters gathering data and meeting with a wide range of University stakeholders.


“Many members of the University community -- students, faculty and staff -- shared their perspectives and insights with the task force. We greatly appreciate their thoughtful and creative ideas about the undergraduate academic experience and how to make it the best it can be,” Raman said. “The task force worked hard to be responsive to a wide range of views expressed by the community and to synthesize them into a coherent set of recommendations, which we hope will have a positive influence on students, faculty and staff.”

Read the task force's full report online and log in to Our Northwestern to comment on the report's recommendations below. You can also send comments and perspectives on the report and its recommendations to

The task force’s recommendations are grouped into three types of changes: structural changes to be made at the University level; programs and projects to address identified issues; and cultural shifts to enhance the academic and broader University environment.


A key recommendation in the first group is to implement a modified quarter system. Northwestern’s current academic calendar of three 10-week quarters starting in late September and extending to mid-June gets mixed reviews. Students say they like the ability to take more courses than on a traditional two-semester calendar, because it allows them to take advantage of the wide range of offerings at Northwestern. But they also comment on the late end date, the rapid pace of courses and the long stretches without breaks that the current academic calendar imposes.

In the proposed “10-5-5-10” calendar, the year would still be composed of three 10-week quarters, but the academic year would start approximately five weeks earlier than it does now. The split winter quarter would allow for faculty innovation in course structures. Additionally, the proposed modified calendar may potentially address some of the challenges many students face in coordinating internships and other summer opportunities.


“Modifying the academic calendar is only one of the recommendations, but doing so could set the stage for positive changes in many elements of the University experience, both academically and in other areas,” Raman said.


Other recommended structural changes are:


  • Manage the student workload experience
  • Align the graduation requirements that are common to all undergraduate schools
  • Normalize the Advanced Placement credits accepted in all schools
  • Update and normalize distribution requirements across schools
  • Enhance and support academic advising


In addition to the structural changes, the task force recommended enhancing a number of programs and undertaking projects to address identified needs. Those include:


  • Provide additional resources to increase the availability of counseling and psychological services
  • Enhance support for teaching
  • Provide research support for faculty commitment to teaching
  • Grant teaching credit for cross-departmental teaching
  • Expand support for undergraduate research opportunities
  • Build and/or renovate more classrooms
  • Support assessment


“I’m very pleased with the diligence of the task force in developing a set of recommendations that have the potential for significantly enhancing the undergraduate academic experience at Northwestern,” Linzer said.  “I’m particularly happy that the task force spent so much time engaging those within the University who would be affected by these recommendations.”


Linzer encouraged faculty, students and staff across the University to review the report. “The recommendations in the report provide an excellent starting point for an institutional discussion on improving the undergraduate academic experience. I hope these recommendations will be discussed in a diverse set of forums across the University during the winter quarter and that we will develop priorities together for moving forward.”


Members of the task force were:


  • Steve Carr, professor, material sciences and engineering, McCormick School of Engineering, and associate dean of undergraduate engineering
  • Mesmin Destin, assistant professor, human development and social policy, School of Education and Social Policy, and assistant professor, psychology, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Kimberly Gray, professor, civil and environmental engineering, McCormick School of Engineering Robert Gundlach, professor, linguistics, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and director, The Writing Program
  • Eszter Hargittai, April McClain-Delaney and John Delaney Research Professor, communication studies, School of Communication
  • Candy Lee, professor, communication management and strategy, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Andrew Mills, assistant professor in residence, journalism program, Northwestern University-Qatar
  • John Mordacq, distinguished senior lecturer, Program in Biological Sciences, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and PBS Laboratory Director
  • Todd Murphey, Charles Deering McCormick Associate Professor, mechanical engineering, McCormick School of Engineering
  • Susan Piagentini, Charles Deering McCormick University Distinguished Senior Lecturer, music theory and cognition, Bienen School of Music
  • Indira Raman, Bill and Gayle Cook Professor, neurobiology (chair), Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences
  • Harvey Young, associate professor, theatre and performance studies, School of Communication, and director of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama program
  • Laurie Zoloth, professor, religious studies, bioethics and medical humanities, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and faculty senate representative


Ex officio members:

  • Todd Adams, assistant vice president and dean of students
  • Cheryl Berriman, representative of The Graduate School
  • Ron Braeutigam, Harvey Kapnick Professor, economics, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and associate provost for undergraduate education
  • Christina Kim, ASG executive vice president, member starting in June 2015
  • Michael Mills, associate provost for University Enrollment
  • Riko Ohashi, ASG academics vice president, member starting in May 2015
  • Anna Rennich, ASG academics vice president, member from February 2015 to May 2015
  • Noah Star, ASG president, member starting in June 2015


Staff support was provided by Jake Julia, associate vice president and associate provost for academic initiatives; Eileen McCarthy, assistant vice president for administration and planning, administration and planning; and Rebecca Pinchuk, project coordinator, Office of Change Management.


See more in Northwestern News. >>

01062016-carpenter_article.jpg1/6/2016 - Education technology platform Coursera has named Northwestern’s "Organizational Leadership Specialization” one of its top 10 most popular certificates of 2015.


Northwestern launched the specialization, a collection of five Massive Open Online Courses that include two from the Kellogg School of Management, in October to teach aspiring managers how to develop and expand their leadership skills.


Coursera announced in December that the course was one of its most popular as measured by "specializations with the highest percentage of course completers sharing [individual class] certificates on LinkedIn."


Kellogg will launch its second MOOC in this specialization, “Leadership Through Marketing,” on Jan. 18. Gregory Carpenter (pictured), the James Farley/Booz Allen Hamilton Professor of Marketing Strategy and director of the Center for Market Leadership, will teach the course alongside Sanjay Khosla, adjunct professor of Executive Education, and Florian Zettelmeyer, the Nancy L. Ertle Professor of Marketing.


The course is designed to teach students how to identify new opportunities to create value for empowered customers, develop new strategies that yield an advantage over rivals, and develop the data science skills needed to lead more effectively, allocate resources and confront this very challenging environment with confidence.


“The digital revolution has changed the practice of marketing and management in fundamental ways,” Carpenter said, “changing not only how we create value, but also how we learn and the skills we need to understand consumer behavior.”


At the end of the course, students will be able to develop a market-focused strategy, globalize established brands and use analytics to improve marketing.


Created through collaboration


Northwestern created the “Organizational Leadership Specialization” in partnership with the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications; the Kellogg School of Management; the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and the School of Communication.


Four Northwestern deans and 14 faculty members are collaborating to teach the specialization, which will present the best of Northwestern’s scholarship on leadership to learners from different disciplines, different parts of the world and different types of organizations.


Dean Sally Blount ’92 introduces each course, tying them all together under the leadership themes of clarity of purpose and effective collaboration. She works with McCormick Dean Julio Ottino, Medill Dean Brad Hamm and Dean Barbara O’Keefe of the School of Communication to guide the specialization’s overall direction.


“We are very excited to work across Northwestern to leverage technology to bring this cross-functional approach to a global audience,” says Betsy Ziegler, chief innovation officer at Kellogg.


Students can enroll in the individual courses for free and can complete the courses according to their own schedules. For learners wishing for a certification of completion, this can be purchased at $79 per course or $595 for the entire specialization. To receive the specialization certificate, which can be placed on resumes, CVs and online profiles, the learners must also complete a final capstone project.


Northwestern launched the first two MOOCs— “High Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork and Negotiation” and “Leadership Communication for Maximum Impact: Storytelling” — last October. Leigh Thompson, the J. Jay Gerber Professor of Dispute Resolution & Organizations and director of the Kellogg Team and Group Research Center, teaches the collaboration course.


The third course, “Leadership Through Social Influence" through the School of Communication, launched Nov. 15. McCormick will also launch its MOOC, “Leadership through Design Innovation," on Jan. 18.


Registration for Kellogg’s High Performance Collaboration and Leadership through Marketing are currently open.


Learn more about the online courses:


Read more at Kellogg News and Events. >>

  • The Office for Research has announced the addition of three new University research centers
  • The centers are focused on health, policy, and science education and communication
  • The Office for Research now supports 46 distinct institutes and centers


Building on Northwestern’s history of thought leadership in interdisciplinary programs and centers, the Office for Research has announced the addition of three new University research centers.


The centers — focused on health, policy, and science education and communication — address a variety of important social issues, further extending the diverse range of Northwestern discovery and its impact.


Continuing the University’s exploration of human health, the newest research center will provide insight into the development and experiences of those in the sexual and gender minority (SGM) community.


Led by Brian Mustanski, medical social sciences, the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH) will advance research that benefits SGM people while enhancing broader understanding of this community’s unique qualities.


“Recent progressive developments have created extraordinary opportunities to conduct innovative research on vital health concerns and needs of SGM populations,” says Mustanski. “We also have the chance to train scientists and clinicians in the best practices to meet those needs, and reduce and ultimately eliminate barriers to services and inequities in health and wellbeing.” While the struggle for SGM equality and health research is not new, he adds, recent increased attention to SGM health has laid a “promising foundation for groundbreaking research, education, and service.”


The Institute will foster collaborations across research domains and provide opportunities for high-level multidisciplinary scholarship and training for the next generation of SGM scholars. It will also use innovative methods to disseminate knowledge to the SGM community, the public, scholars, service providers, educators, and policymakers.


“While there are other institutes focused on sexual health or broader sexuality studies from a social science and humanities perspective, our effort marks one of the first university-wide initiatives dedicated to sexual and gender minority health and wellbeing,” says Mustanski. The focus on wellbeing is critical, he notes: SGM people experience disparities in many domains of health and social status, but they also demonstrate remarkable resiliency and cultural vibrancy. “There is much that can be learned from this community to better society.”


To remain inclusive, the Institute will use “Sexual and Gender Minority” as an umbrella term intended to reflect the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, as well as those whose sexual orientation and/or gender identity varies, those who may not self-identify as LGBT, or those who have a specific medical condition affecting reproductive development who sometimes identify as intersex.


The Institute is supported by the Office of the Provost; the Office for Research; and Feinberg School of Medicine.


Forced Migration


Another newly expanded University research center aims to address policies surrounding forced migration and the impact of refugees on local economies.


Within the Center for Forced Migration Studies (CFMS), its refugee resettlement research program is breaking new ground.


It is the first such effort in the United States and will help inform the country’s reconsideration of relevant policy strategies while highlighting long-term benefits of resettlement programs. Projects led by Northwestern investigators will shape innovations that better integrate refugee and asylum policy within America’s broader immigration framework.


The goal of CFMS, which is part of the Buffett Institute for Global Studies, is to help better understand refugee movements through research, documentation, education, and outreach. The new University research center engages an international and interdisciplinary group of researchers, students, practitioners, refugee legal aid organizations, policymakers, community based organizations, writers, and artists to re-conceptualize refugee protection.


Founded by Galya Ruffer, political science, in 2011, CFMS also works with Northwestern graduate and undergraduate students interested in refugee and forced migration studies. Over the past several years, students have had the opportunity to engage in refugee research and education as fellows, research assistants, and interns.


“There’s a real opportunity for Northwestern to lead the way in researching these problems and helping to develop sustainable answers,” says Ruffer. “In our resettlement research program, for example, we are expanding our knowledge of the long-term impacts of resettlement and working collaboratively with programs such as Northwestern’s Design for America to offer solutions. I see the CFMS as a leader in reengineering refugee policies and producing new approaches to how we address refugee crises.”


Science in Society


Having promoted impactful science education, communication, and community engagement for nearly a decade, Science in Society (SiS) is now one of Northwestern’s newest University research centers. Created in 2007, SiS houses 13 initiatives that train and connect University researchers to the Evanston and Chicago communities.


“Whether we’re supporting underserved K-12 students, their hard-working teachers, or early career scientists, Science in Society provides opportunities for key skills development backed by rigorous evaluation,” says Michael Kennedy, SIS director. “Becoming a University research center helps us to expand our commitment to high-quality, community-responsive STEM education programs.”


The center’s hallmark Science Club program engages underserved middle-school students using a long-term mentorship model. The program is based at a Boys & Girls Club site in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, with club staff and Chicago Public Schools teachers forming an integral part of the Science Club leadership team.


Since launching in 2008, Science Club has garnered wide praise and a $1.4 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) Science Education Partnerships Award. It also earned the inaugural 2013 STEM Impact Award from the Afterschool Alliance.


In early 2016, SiS will expand again, opening a second Science Club site in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. A new $1.2 million NIH grant will help establish Science Club Summer Camp: a dual-pronged initiative comprised of a two-year STEM professional development program for elementary school teachers and a summer program for Chicago youth at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago.


Read more in Discover Research at Northwestern. >>


Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 10.44.23 AM.jpg

20613_D0967.JPG Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) will award its third annual Global Jurist of the Year Award to the Honorable Gloria Patricia Porras Escobar, president of the Guatemalan Constitutional Court.


The awards ceremony and an address by Judge Porras will take place Tuesday, January 26. Judge Porras will deliver an address to the Law School community in the Rubloff Building, 375 E. Chicago Ave., on the Law School’s Chicago campus.


At 6:30 p.m. CIHR will host the award ceremony and dinner for Judge Porras in the Law School’s Bluhm Legal Clinic. For more information about attending the dinner, contact Juliet Sorensen, clinical associate professor of law at Northwestern. Both events will be open to the media.


Judge Porras was elected to the Court in 2011. She has adjudicated some of the most crucial issues in Guatemala today, showing leadership and commitment to the rule of law in the face of adversity and considerable political pressure. For example, in May 2013, the case of former de-facto head of State General Efraín Rios Montt came to the Court on procedural grounds following his conviction for genocide and crimes against humanity. Judge Porras dissented in allowing the injunctive relief requested by Montt because the matter was not in the Court’s competence. The majority opinion effectively nullified the guilty verdict that had been issued against Rios Montt 10 days before.


In 2015, Judge Porras led the Court in a 3-2 vote to approve the removal of the Guatemalan President’s investigative immunity in the midst of a deepening corruption scandal, which already had resulted in the resignation of the vice president. This followed a decision by the Court to temporarily block the investigation in a 3-2 vote in which Porras was absent and replaced by an alternate. As a result of the investigation, the President of Guatemala resigned on Sept. 3 and was charged with bribery and related charges five days later. Last November, Judge Porras’ own colleague on the Court was arrested and charged by the U.S. in the FIFA international fraud case.


“These are but two examples of Judge Porras’ commitment to justice in a fragile state, often at great personal risk of reprisals,” said David Scheffer, Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law at Northwestern and director of the CIHR. “We are delighted that she has agreed to accept the award and look forward to her joining us in January.”


The Global Jurist of the Year Award is designed to honor a sitting judge, whether in an international or national court, who has demonstrated in his or her career courage in the face of adversity to uphold and defend fundamental human rights or the principles of international criminal justice. Jurists from all nations and tribunals are eligible for consideration.


Last year, Justice Shireen Avis Fisher, president of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, received the award. Acting Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke of South Africa’s Constitutional Court received the award in 2013 as the first recipient of the Global Jurist Award.


See more in Northwestern News.>>

DickDurbinNU.jpg(click to view)

CHICAGO, Ill. --- In the field of biomedical science, researchers are always on the hunt for more funding to investigate, treat and cure diseases. Thanks to a $2 billion increase in federal funding from Congress this year, that hunt will be much easier.


“In this year’s federal budget, we had one of the most significant commitments to medical research we have seen in recent times,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said during a press conference Monday (Jan. 4) at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.


In total, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will receive $32.08 billion nationally -- a 6.64 percent increase over last year -- from the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016. In 2015, Illinois received $710 million in NIH funding, supporting 14,000 jobs and creating more than $2 billion in economic activity.


“The United States has always been the destination for scientists across the world, but we’ve seen over the past few years a reverse brain drain where many of our best young researchers and seasoned researchers have, in fact, moved their laboratories to Europe and to Asia,” said Milan Mrksich, associate director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, at Monday’s press conference. “This represents a real turning point in where we’re going and where we can go.”


Of the $710 million of Illinois’ NIH funding last year, Northwestern University received $293 million to fund the University’s research ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.


Once every 67 seconds in the United States, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” Durbin said in Feinberg’s Method Atrium. “If we can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s in a matter of months, years, find a cure, we’ll save all the money we’re putting into medical research and more.”


Northwestern’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center is one of 30 NIH-funded disease centers in the country and contributes to a national repository of data from 30,000 people gathered over 10 years. Emily Rogalski, a neuroscientist and associate professor at the center, said researchers from around the country can ask and answer questions about Alzheimer’s disease, which “has allowed for many translational discoveries over the years.”

“Without the support of the NIH, my laboratory would not exist,” Rogalski continued. “This funding commitment to the NIH represents an essential step in what I hope will be continued investment into the biomedical sciences … and is essential for making substantial progress in our quest to understand and hopefully prevent Alzheimer’s disease.”


As part of the 2016 fiscal year NIH funding, the Centers for Disease Control will receive $7.23 billion (a 4.5 percent increase over last year), U.S. veterans will receive $630 million (a 7 percent increase over last year) and the Department of Defense health programs will receive $1.93 billion (a 7 percent increase over last year).


“When it comes to medical research, the victims, the patients, the families … want to know when there’s a diagnosis that scares the heck out of them, whether or not there’s a cure or a surgical procedure or something that they can put hope in,” Durbin said. “That’s what medical research is all about.”


See more in Northwestern News.>>

12341557_10153280758907045_4185708712811171993_n.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- “Another Way West,” Northwestern University’s 2016 Waa-Mu Show, is an original full-length musical following a modern family’s adventure along the Oregon Trail.


The new stage work is written, composed, choreographed and co-produced by more than 100 Northwestern students.


Presented by the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University and the Waa-Mu Show team, “Another Way West” will be staged from April 29 to May 8, at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., on the University’s Evanston campus.


Tickets to the 85th annual show are available for purchase through the Wirtz Center Box Office.


Undergraduate student co-chairs Charlie Oh, Elizabeth Romero, Fergus Inder and Myrna Conn -- all seniors -- lead the 2016 production with artistic direction by David H. Bell. Bell, a Northwestern professor of music theatre in the School of Communication and an award-winning professional director, has worked extensively around the world.


“Another Way West” follows an ambitious graduate student's research expedition on the Oregon Trail. When tragedy strikes, she becomes the sole legal guardian of her young relatives. Unwilling to sacrifice her dream, she takes her nieces and nephews along on her trip, where they must learn to live and work together. On their journey, the new family pursues not only "another way west," but also what all pioneers seek: hope for the future and a bright tomorrow.


Waa-Mu Show 2016 performances at Cahn Auditorium will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 29; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 1; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5; 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8.


David H. Bell


David H. Bell, the production’s supervisor and director, is an internationally renowned director and choreographer. Bell, Northwestern’s Donald G. Robertson Director of Music Theatre, has been nominated for 44 Joseph Jefferson (“Jeff”) Awards and has won 11. Bell also has been nominated for London’s prestigious Laurence Olivier Award, among others.


Ryan T. Nelson


Ryan T. Nelson, the Waa-Mu Show’s conductor and music supervisor, is a lecturer in music theatre for the School of Communication at Northwestern University and the music director for Northwestern’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts. Nelson also is the resident music director at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, where he has music directed dozens of productions.


Waa-Mu Show history


The Waa-Mu Show began as a joint effort of the University's Women's Athletic Association (W.A.A.) and Men's Union (M.U.) during the 1928-29 academic year. In recent years, Waa-Mu has evolved from a series of musical and theatrical vignettes into an entirely student-written and orchestrated musical. The Waa-Mu Show is a forerunner in the world of musical theater writing, giving undergraduate students a chance to serve as leaders in every aspect of the production's creation, from writing to orchestration to performance.


Past cast members include Walter Kerr in the 1930s; Claude Akins, Sheldon Harnick, Cloris Leachman, Paul Lynde, Charlotte Rae and Tony Randall in the 1940s; Warren Beatty, Penny Fuller and Garry Marshall in the 1950s; Karen Black, Frank Galati, Ann-Margret and Tony Roberts in the 1960s; Laura Innes and Shelley Long in the 1970s; Gregg Edelman, Ana Gasteyer, and Megan Mullally in the 1980s; Zach Braff, Brian d'Arcy James, Heather Headley, Jason Moore and Kate Shindle in the 1990s; and, more recently, Jenny Powers.




Tickets for the 2016 Waa-Mu Show are $30 (first tier) and $25 (second tier) for the general public; $22 for seniors over 62 and Northwestern faculty and staff and educators; and $10 for full-time students with valid IDs (at the door).


To purchase tickets through the Wirtz Center Box Office, visit the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, phone 847-491-7282 or purchase online.


For more, visit Northwestern News.>>

Registration to serve as a Northwestern Externship Program alumni host closes Wednesday, January 6, 2016.


This week’s Wildcat of the Week is Brandon Stein ’06. Brandon Stein serves as the president of the NU Club of Houston and lends his business expertise to students as a NEXT (Northwestern Externship Program) host, a one-day shadowing program offered to current Northwestern students.


“I host in order to provide Northwestern students with special access to opportunities and career paths they may not have exposure to on campus,” says Brandon who graduated with a Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences degree in political science and business institutions. Having worked at top firms such as Deloitte and Goldman Sachs, Brandon now holds a position in Customer and Marketing Strategy at Slalom Consulting. “Putting myself in their shoes, I would absolutely want a professional to show me the ropes and speak candidly about their profession, firm, and work in order to collect valuable data points along one's career journey.”


Brandon invests his time in the NEXT program as a way to stay connected to students and hear what is top of mind when they are evaluating career options. “I honestly believe that the power of proximity matters—the more you’re around other like-minded people and teams, the greater affinity and interest one gains over time,” he stresses.


He believes the program allows alumni to create a unique bond with the University and its students. “NEXT certainly has a place in our efforts as alumni to give back to the University.”


Brandon says Northwestern prepared him for career success by helping him maintain connections to other Northwestern students and alumni over time. “NU provided an outlet to create genuine, life-long friendships and relationships that I still carry with me today,” he says. According to Brandon, the spirit of collaboration and sharing is what makes Northwestern a special community.


“Northwestern promotes drive, passion and most importantly, sincerity. I believe there is level of humbleness and sincerity in our student and alumni population,” he says. “I am always finding pockets of success across Northwestern. It makes me both proud and inspired at the same time.”


In addition to mentoring the next generation, he serves as the NU Club of Houston President, coordinating local alumni events, fostering Northwestern connections in the community, and creating meaningful ties back to the University. “I enjoy being involved locally. It reminds me what those 4 special years in Evanston were like!”


Learn more about Northwestern’s Externship Program. >>

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