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A Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Bartlit Center Trial Team won first place in the Midwest Regional of the American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition in Chicago. From left: Mary Kim, coach; Anne Yonover, coach; Michael Ovca (2L); Christian Segar (2L); Cassandra Myers (3L); Robert Robertson, head coach; Patrick Cordova (2L); and Mark Duric, coach.

A Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Bartlit Center Trial Team won first place in the Midwest Regional of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Student Trial Advocacy Competition held March 10 to 13 in Chicago.


The victory in the AAJ competition is Northwestern Pritzker’s second regional championship of the season, following the team's victory in the National Trial Competition Midwest Regional in February. This is the first time that Northwestern Pritzker has qualified for the national championships of both major trial advocacy competitions in the same year.

In the AAJ competition, Cassandra Myers (3L), Christian Segar (2L), Patrick Cordova (2L) and Michael Ovca (2L) captured first place, ahead of teams from 14 other law schools.

The Northwestern Pritzker team defeated Wayne State University Law School and University of St. Thomas School of Law in the preliminary rounds, and went on to beat Chicago-Kent College of Law in the semi-finals and Loyola University Chicago School of Law for the regional championship. They will now go on to compete for the AAJ National Championship, to be held March 31 to April 3 in New Orleans.

The head coach of Northwestern Pritzker’s AAJ team is Robert Robertson of the Law Offices of Robert Robertson. Northwestern’s other coaches, all of whom are alumni and former trial team members, are Mark Duric of Nicolaides Fink Thorpe Michaelides Sullivan LLP; Kendrick Washington, adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Northwestern University; Anne Yonover, judicial law clerk to the Honorable Charles P. Kocoras of the Northern District of Illinois; Mary Kim of Dechert LLP; and Andrew Cockroft of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

Steven Lubet, Williams Memorial Professor of Law and director of the Bartlit Center on Trial Advocacy at Northwestern, congratulated the students and their coach.

“I cannot say enough good things about Rob Robertson,” Lubet said. “He is a great lawyer and a great coach who instructs our students in the intricacies of evidence and technique, while always keeping his eye on the bigger picture of overall strategy and absolute professionalism.”

Robertson praised his students for their hard work and dedication.

“This team exemplifies all that I have come to expect from Northwestern Pritzker law students: They are intelligent, exhibit professionalism, have an outstanding work ethic and the strength to trust themselves to handle any situation that presents itself.”

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

Almost 300 girls will experience the thrill of science during Northwestern Engineering’s 45th annual Career Day for Girls February 27 at a daylong workshop called “Engineering: Find Your Element.”


By participating in lab activities, including drawing pictures with bacteria, testing out 3-D printers and experimenting with floating concrete, girls from the Chicago area will get a unique opportunity to get inside the mind of an engineer and experiment with cutting-edge technology.


“Engineering: Find Your Element,” which is designed to encourage young women to consider engineering in their educational and career goals, will take place 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Feb. 27, at Northwestern University’s Technological Institute, 2145 N. Sheridan Rd., Evanston.


Sponsored by Northwestern Engineering and Northwestern’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, the event will include an engineering design competition, laboratory tours, hands-on experiments and a panel discussion about a variety of engineering majors and how to pursue them. Throughout the day, young women will be able to meet with current female engineering students, faculty and alumnae.


Northwestern Engineering alumna Hannah Chung, co-founder and chief creative officer of Sproutel, will kick off the program with a keynote address at 9:15 a.m. in the Technological Institute’s Ryan Family Auditorium. Sproutel is the creator of Jerry the Bear, a platform to engage children in play-based education, which has received praise from President Barack Obama to business mogul Warren Buffett.


Students participating in the lab tours (10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) will have the opportunity to simulate chemical reactions on a computer, draw a picture using colorful bacteria, create a floating concrete figurine, explore 3-D printing and learn what it takes to build a car that runs on solar energy, among other activities.


In the afternoon, middle school students will rotate through three different hands-on activities (1:15 to 3:30 p.m.). High school students will separate into two groups to hear about various aspects of engineering (1:15 to 2:30 p.m.). After the panels, all high school students will participate in a mini-design competition (2:30 to 3:30 p.m.).


Career Day has been held at Northwestern annually since 1970, when only 4 percent of the students in the McCormick School of Engineering were women. Today, nearly one-third of Northwestern Engineering students are women.


See the original story here.


A Northwestern-led team is studying how space affects microbiota in the human gastrointestinal tract as part of an unprecedented astronaut twins study involving Scott Kelly (left) and Mark Kelly. Scott launched into space March 27, 2015, to begin his mission on the International Space Station, while Mark remained on Earth. (Photo: NASA)

Northwestern hosted a viewing party March 1 to welcome astronaut Scott Kelly back to Earth, where he and his twin brother will make science history.

The viewing party -- cleverly themed by the host scientists around space food like Moon Pies and Tang -- was held in Pancoe Auditorium on the Evanston campus.

The gathering celebrated Scott Kelly's return after almost a year in space and the start of a unique scientific journey for Northwestern professors Fred Turek and Martha Vitaterna, who are conducting research on Scott and his identical twin, Mark.

Mark, a former NASA astronaut, and Scott are participating in parallel studies to help scientists compare the effects of space on the body and mind.

“This is an entirely new type of NASA study, integrating multiple data types to gain unprecedented insights into how spaceflight impacts human health and biology,” said Turek, a professor of biology and director of Northwestern’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology.


Scott Kelly launched to the space station March 27, 2015, from Kazakhstan. He landed in Kazakhstan March 1 along with cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Kelly now holds the record among U.S. astronauts for cumulative time in space, with a total of 520 days, as well as the record for the longest single mission of any American astronaut.

During the record-setting mission, Kelly participated in a number of studies to provide new insights into how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight, which will inform plans for the a future journey to Mars.

The Northwestern-led research team is one of 10 NASA-funded groups across the country studying the Kelly twins to learn how living in space for a long period of time -- such as a mission to Mars -- affects the human body.

Turek and Martha Vitaterna of Northwestern, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Rush University Medical School, will explore how the space environment affects the microbiota “ecosystem” in the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

“When humans travel to space, they don't go alone,” said Vitaterna, research associate professor and deputy director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology. “Each one brings along trillions of microscopic ‘friends’ -- beneficial bacteria that inhabit our bodies. When we welcome Scott back to Earth, we will also welcome back his microbiota. We're interested in how the microbiota may have changed as Scott adapted to spaceflight.”

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

_ERR9076.JPGFour Northwestern professors -- T. David Harris, Yevgenia Kozorovitskiy, Mar Reguant and James Rondinelli -- have each received a prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship for 2016 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


The $55,000 fellowships are awarded in eight scientific and technical fields: chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics.


Harris, Kozorovitskiy, Reguant and Rondinelli are among 126 outstanding early-career scientists and scholars being recognized for their achievements and potential to contribute substantially to their fields. The recipients were chosen from 52 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.


Harris was selected as a Sloan Research Fellow in Chemistry. He is an assistant professor of chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Harris’ research program is dedicated to utilizing synthetic inorganic chemistry for the construction of functional inorganic molecules and materials, with an emphasis on compounds that exhibit interesting magnetic properties.


Kozorovitskiy, an assistant professor of neurobiology in Weinberg, was selected as a Sloan Research Fellow in Neuroscience. She studies how the brain’s neural circuitry develops. Her research focuses on decoding neuromodulation and neural circuit design principles.


Reguant, an assistant professor of economics in Weinberg, was selected as a Sloan Research Fellow in Economics. She works in the area of industrial organization, with a focus on energy and environmental markets. Reguant’s research uses high-frequency data to study the impact of auction design and environmental regulation on electricity markets and to quantify the impact of carbon trading on energy-intensive industries.


Rondinelli was selected as a Sloan Research Fellow in Physics. He is an assistant professor of materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. Rondinelli applies quantum mechanical and computational physics approaches to design new materials atom-by-atom. His passion is to manipulate materials at their fundamental electronic level, pushing electrons in inorganic compounds to do new things in  dynamic environments.


The Sloan Research Fellowships have been awarded annually since 1955. Administered and funded by the Sloan Foundation, the fellowships are awarded in close cooperation with the scientific community. Potential fellows must be nominated for recognition by their peers and subsequently are selected by an independent panel of senior scholars.


See the original story here.

This article originally appeared in Inside Higher Ed on February 12, 2016.

By Joseph Holtgrieve

A few years ago I received a call from a concerned father of one of our first-year engineering students. His daughter was failing chemistry and, for the first time in her life, she wasn’t able to work her way out of the problem. He said, “My daughter can’t see a path that leads to success. As a father, if I can’t help her find a path, her only opportunity is to fail.”

Unfortunately, at places like engineering schools, where new students tend to be extremely bright and analytical, this problem is all too familiar. As adults, we know that surviving failure can be a valuable lesson in resilience and that the path to success isn’t always clear or straightforward. We also know that in such moments of intense uncertainty, we have an opportunity to discover previously untapped reservoirs of performance.

Many college freshmen, however, have not been inoculated to the experience of failure. They are often the brightest and the best in their high schools. Through talent or hard work, they have never failed at anything. Frequently, we see that a factor in their success -- and their fear of failure -- is that they have “snowplow” parents who have been diligent about clearing every obstacle from their path.

The snowplow strategy, as well-meaning as it is, takes a toll on the very children these parents are trying to help. Instead of learning resilience and to trust in their capacity to respond in the face of uncertainty, students are trained to fixate on outcomes like grades. They often confuse quality with quantity and maximize the volume of their activities. They are conditioned to avoid situations where the outcome is unpredictable. Add to that the ever-growing demands for their attention and the newly acquired independence of college life, and it isn’t difficult to see why a significant number of students who are used to mastering their lives feel overwhelmed -- even though they have the capacity to succeed in college.

How do we help today’s college students learn that uncertainty is just another word for opportunity? How can we teach resilience and show our students how to choose the best path for themselves when failure is a possible outcome? The answer certainly doesn’t lie in simply doing more of what worked in high school. If we do a good job of supporting these very intelligent young people at this critical juncture, we will not only help them past their immediate crises. We will also help them unlock capacity that they didn’t know existed and ways of tapping into it.

At Northwestern University, we have developed a curriculum that includes a special emphasis on teaching engineering students how to deal with stress and cope with their fear of failure through mindfulness and emotional intelligence. We do this in a number of different ways. For example, we work with colleagues across the campus to offer courses in areas like improvisation and swing dancing to teach students how to connect with themselves and others as they engage in and negotiate the challenges of collaborative problem solving.


We provide special counseling for undergraduates, like the distraught chemistry student I previously mentioned, designed to teach them how to be intentional with the questions they ask about their situation and how to live in the present moment nonjudgmentally instead of falling into self-criticism. One of the most troubling things I see revealed through students’ uncertain moments, is the self-brutalizing nature of the stories they tell themselves. When I ask students who their most critical voice is, their answer is almost always “myself.” Helping students understand there is no one correct path and that other people share their uncertainty enables them to let go of the judgment that fuels their fear of taking action.


For the full Northwestern News story, visit here.

Elad HarelJames Rondinelli

Elad Harel, left, and James Rondinelli will be celebrated at the White House this spring

Two Northwestern University professors -- chemist Elad Harel and materials scientist and engineer James Rondinelli -- have been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). President Barack Obama announced the recipients of the prestigious honor yesterday (Feb. 18).


The PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. A total of 105 researchers across the country are being honored.

Harel is being recognized for his pioneering work on the development of powerful optical techniques to probe the structure and dynamics of complex chemical systems at the extremes of time, space and energy in order to tackle some of the most pressing and challenging problems in chemical physics as well as for his commitment to cross-disciplinary research and education, his unwavering support of undergraduate and graduate students and his overall leadership in the scientific community.

Rondinelli is being recognized for his seminal research contributions in computational condensed matter physics and novel materials design approaches. He has transformed the scientific community’s approach to designing materials using broken inversion symmetry at interfaces and provided the first-ever methodology for predicting the relationship between strain and octahedral rotations in complex oxides, paving the way for the design of many-body quantum properties in ways previously not considered possible.

Harel and Rondinelli will be invited to the White House this spring to meet President Obama and attend an awards ceremony.

“These early-career scientists are leading the way in our efforts to confront and understand challenges from climate change to our health and wellness,” President Obama said. “We congratulate these accomplished individuals and encourage them to continue to serve as an example of the incredible promise and ingenuity of the American people.”

Visit here for the original story.


Northwestern|Connects event in Qatar

Northwestern|Connects 2016 brought together more than 1,250 alumni in 52 cities around the world for a night of networking, reminiscing, and celebrating Purple Pride. Check out photos from the event and learn more about Northwestern|Connects here.


Megan Knapp, '12


Megan Knapp graduated from Northwestern University in 2012 with a degree in English and American Literature. Since then, she's moved on to a career in public relations in New York City, but she'll be joining up with fellow Wildcats this weekend in Breckenridge, Colorado, for the 14th annual Young Alumni Ski and Snowboard Trip. Megan will be posting updates from the trip on the Northwestern Alumni Instagram page. Here, Megan updates us on life since graduation.


What have you been up to since you graduated Northwestern?

I have been living in NYC doing public relations for Verdura, a luxury jewelry company. I love my work—I get to meet really interesting people and share with them the storied histories of incredible works of art. I also am a member of the Cecilia Chorus of New York that performs twice a year at Carnegie Hall.


How did Northwestern help you with your current career?

During my four years at Northwestern, I was challenged both in academics and extracurriculars, and had the opportunity to learn from professors that were top of their field. Now that I'm an alum, I understand the value of my degree more every day. Participating in networking events and reunions, I realize that I get to be a part of a community of intelligent people, achievers who continue to support and push me to be a better and more accomplished person.


What are some of your favorite memories from being on campus?

Some of my favorite memories are from my time on the NU Cheerleading Squad. There is nothing quite like the sense of community you experience meeting fellow ‘Cats before the game, the adrenaline rush that you get from running onto the field to a stadium full of cheering fans, or the pride you feel for your school at the end of a hard fought game, win or lose.


How connected are you to Northwestern today, and why is that important?

Northwestern continues to touch many aspects of my life today—my boyfriend, my closest friends, and my mentors are all ‘Cats. My life wouldn’t have taken the shape it did had it not been for my time at Northwestern. My alma mater has given so much to me that it’s important for me to give something back. That’s why I volunteer for my local AAC chapter; I love sharing my experience with prospective students and giving my time to help shape Northwestern’s future.


What do you love about the young alumni ski trip?

I love reuniting with fellow ‘Cats—not only with my closest friends who now live in all parts of the world but also with classmates I haven’t had the chance to catch up with since graduation. I haven’t missed a ski trip since graduation, and I’m hoping my cut off for “young alum” isn’t any time soon!


What’s one thing you want to tell Northwestern seniors?

Take advantage of every moment. I would give so much to be able to go back to college for one day, even just to attend one lecture! And know that you don’t have to have it all figured out right after graduation. Think about the job you really want and not the one you are supposed to get, and allow yourself the opportunity to explore your dreams.


Emmy Award-winning comedian and "Late Night" host Seth Meyers '96 will address the Class of 2016 and join four other distinguished individuals in receiving an honorary degree from Northwestern during the University's June 17 Commencement ceremony.

Northwestern University alumnus Seth Meyers, the host of NBC’s “Late Night” talk show and one of the nation’s best-known comedians, is among the five distinguished individuals who will be recognized with honorary degrees at the University’s 158th Commencement ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Friday, June 17.

Meyers will deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2016.

A 1996 graduate of Northwestern's School of Communication, Meyers was the head writer for “Saturday Night Live” and anchor of the show’s wildly popular “Weekend Update” segment before becoming the host of “Late Night with Seth Meyers” in 2014. The recipient of an Emmy Award and several Writers Guild Awards, he also is a writer and executive producer of “Late Night.” He was nominated for an Emmy 14 times and is one of the 2014 TIME 100, Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Meyers began his improvisation comedy career as a member of the Mee-Ow troupe at Northwestern.

Besides Meyers, the other people who will receive honorary degrees during Commencement are Robert Alter, a University of California, Berkeley scholar who has revolutionized the field of Biblical studies; Richard Lifton, a Yale School of Medicine professor who pioneered the identification of gene mutations causing extreme forms of common disease; Sara S. McLanahan, a Princeton University professor whose scholarship focuses on fragile families and child well-being; and Ruth J. Simmons, a former president of Brown University who has provided path-breaking leadership and scholarship in higher education.

For more detailed biographies of each of the five people who will receive honorary degrees, visit the Northwestern News Center.


Click on the interactive map above to travel around the world with Northwestern's 26 Fulbright winners and learn more about their life-changing projects.

Northwestern University tied with Yale University as the nation’s third top producer of Fulbright U.S. Student Program winners among research institutions in 2015-16, according to a ranking published online in the Chronicle of Higher Education.


Northwestern has rated among the top 10 research schools producing Fulbright grant winners for 11 consecutive years.

Both Northwestern and Yale had 26 winners. An additional three Fulbright grants were offered to Northwestern candidates but were declined.

Harvard led the pack with 31 winners; the University of Michigan was second with 29.

Students use the Fulbright, one of the most widely recognized and respected international exchange programs in the world, to study, teach or conduct research.

Northwestern’s newest 2015-16 Fulbright scholars are currently in the field, doing everything from tutoring North Korean defectors to researching solar energy and hazardous medical waste. They serve in all corners of the world, from South Africa and Germany to South Korea, Russia, Morocco, Peru, Vietnam and Jordan.

To read bios of Northwestern’s Fulbright winners and see where they are located, view the interactive map.

“Every Fulbright applicant receives guidance not only on this particular application/competition but also on a myriad of other possibilities around the globe and domestically,” said Sara Anson Vaux, director of Northwestern’s Office of Fellowships.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the grants aim to foster leadership and build understanding between scholars and researchers in the United States and around the world.

To apply for the next round, enrolled undergraduate and graduate students must contact Northwestern University’s Office of Fellowships. Alums are also welcome to apply through the Office of Fellowships.

Contact Sara Anson Vaux, director of the Office of Fellowships, at, 847-491-2617, or Stephen Hill, senior associate director of the Office of Fellowships, at or Amy Kehoe, associate director or the Office of Fellowships, at

View complete lists of Fulbright recipients.


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



Northwestern senior Andrea Filler is one of 30 candidates for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award for softball, which honors student-athletes who excel both on and off the field.


Northwestern softball has a long history of success with this award, earning top-10 finalists in 2007 (Garland Cooper), 2009 (Tammy Williams) and 2010 (Nicole Pauly). In addition, Adrienne Monka (2012), Emily Allard (2013) and Mari Majam (2014) have been named candidates for the honor. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence -- community, classroom, character and competition.


In the classroom, Filler was named an Academic All-Big Ten honoree last year in her only year of eligibility for the award. She already has graduated from Northwestern with a bachelor's degree in communications studies and currently is pursuing a master's degree in sports administration from the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies.


In an effort to find her passion and future career in life, Filler pursued and secured several mini-internships in the marketing and communications departments in Northwestern Athletics last summer. Even prior to her transfer to Northwestern, Filler earned an Athletics Director's Award for Academic Achievement at Boston College, another prestigious academic institution.


In terms of character, Filler began her career at Boston College before sustaining a broken wrist early in her sophomore season. With the injury keeping her out for the year, she began to weigh her options and decided a change was needed.


Transferring can be a tough situation for any student-athlete, but Filler arrived in Evanston and immediately fit squarely in the center of the team culture. A second-baseman at BC, Filler played where the Wildcats needed her, be it at first base or as the designated player, before she won the starting shortstop position in 2015. Her commitment to doing what is necessary for the team shows in her statistics; she led the NCAA in sacrifice flies in 2015, employing situational hitting instead of me-first swinging.


In the community, Filler has played a large role in the continued success of Northwestern's R.O.A.R.R. program, an anti-bullying campaign founded by members of Northwestern Softball in 2013. The initiative takes student-athletes into area schools to address issues of bullying and to help students find areas they have in common.


Filler also has played a large role in Northwestern's piloting of the Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign, a joint venture between the National Dairy Council and the NFL. Northwestern is testing the initiative at the college level in local schools, and it soon will roll out to other universities in part because of the commitment of student-athletes like Filler. She also is a regular visitor to local schools just to visit physical education classes, something she did at Dewey Elementary in Evanston just last week before this nomination was written.


In competition, Filler has become NU's top all-around threat. She transferred to Northwestern prior to the 2014 season and immediately reached base in each of her first 11 plate appearances as a Wildcat before later tying the school record with base hits in eight-straight at-bats. She would end that season as a Big Ten All-Tournament Team choice and an NFCA All-Region selection.


In 2015, Filler finished among the top 25 in the nation in RBIs per game when she recorded 60 for the year, and she led the NCAA with nine sacrifice flies. Filler was named to the All-Big Ten and NFCA All-Region First Teams after batting .395 with 26 extra base hits and a .735 slugging percentage. Filler's defense at shortstop in 2015 also was exceptional and included a bases-loaded, game-ending walk-off diving catch of a line drive at Nebraska that made SportsCenter's Top 10.


Already in 2016, Filler is batting .563 and slugging 1.375 while driving in 13 runs in five games played (2.6 RBIs per game) through the first five games of the season.


An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.


The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists later in the season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.


The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2016 Women's College World Series®.


For more information on all the candidates, visit

For more coverage of Northwestern softball, visit



Olivia Rosendahl was six years old. She was at a swimming lesson, and just for fun, the instructor would let the kids jump off the diving board.


"The diving coach ran up to me, and he told me that I should be a diver," she said.

Good thing. She started competing internationally by the time she was 10 years old.

Things kept getting better for the freshman from Los Angeles. Last year, she took home a bronze medal at the 2015 World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea.


"It was amazing," she said. "It was the best experience I've ever had. And I got a chance to meet a bunch of people from all over the world who are doing the same things as you. It's just so inspiring to be around so many talented people."


Rosendahl was pretty heavily recruited coming out of high school, and it's easy to see why. She had a great feeling about Northwestern. She said that she really liked the people that she met on her visit.


Plus, a school like Northwestern allows Rosendahl the chance to explore the academic pursuits that she adores. She isn't sure what she's going to major in yet, but that doesn't mean she's lost. She just has too many passions to choose from. Maybe she could pursue international studies with some social policy mixed in. She could also throw in some French, which she speaks fluently. She even showed off her language prowess at the World University Games to the French athletes.


Things started with a bang for her at Northwestern. She broke a Norris Aquatics Center pool record from the 1-meter springboard that had stood for 15 years. She said she's going to try to break the 3-meter pool record as well.


Of the nearly 90 female divers who have qualified for this year's U.S. Olympic Trials, only four of them have done so in every event - and Rosendahl is one of them.


"Most people specialize," she said. "I'm kind of weird because I do all the events."


The trials, which take place in mid-June in Indianapolis, will be her second. And she admits that her odds for qualifying this year might be a bit slim. The trials in 2020 may be a better shot.


"But there are always odds," Rosendahl said.


Her performance has been noticed. Four times this season, Rosendahl was named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Week. She was also named the Big Ten's Diver of the Week earlier this year, becoming the first NU student-athlete to win that honor since 2011.


She has surpassed NCAA zone standards in the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform competitions this season. Every time out this year from the 3-meter springboard, she has registered a first-place finish.


"I think the season went pretty well," Rosendahl said. "It was my first season, so I didn't really know what to expect. But it's exciting to compete against all the people from all the different universities. I grew up diving, so I grew up with most of them. And then you all disperse into your different universities, and then you can still come back together and see each other at meets."


For now, she's just focusing on the Big Ten Championships next week. The Wildcats haven't had a Big Ten champion diver since Chelsea Davis in 2006.


"You always get a little nervous," she said. "But at some point, it's just like, 'This is what I have to do, let's go do it.'"


Rosendahl is also ramping up for the NCAA Zone diving meets, which take place in early March. The top five divers in each event from each meet advance to the NCAA Championships later in the month.


But as she said about her Olympic hopes, "there are always odds."

For more coverage of Northwestern swimming and diving, go to

tennis coach.jpg


Now in her 18th season as the head coach of the highly successful Northwestern women's tennis team, Claire Pollard has led a program that has reached a level of success achieved by few other Big Ten universities in any sport. Pollard's squads won either a Big Ten regular season and/or tournament title in each of her first 16 seasons at the helm. sat down with Coach Pollard for this week's edition of Coaches Corner. What's the most important part of establishing a culture of a program?

Claire Pollard: I think that it's important to show the players that you've always got their back and you're willing to do anything for them.

How would your players describe you?

I think that they would say that I'm full of tough love. I'm someone who's demanding of them but at the same time loyal to them.


What do you see as the persona of this year's team?

I think that they're a group that understands the difficulty that we went through last season and appreciates the opportunity that they have for this year's moment.


What characteristics do you look for in a recruit?

I'm always looking for someone who wants to get better and experience the unique challenge that Northwestern offers of combining both athletics and academics at the highest standard.


What has allowed the program to be as successful as it has for such an extended period of time?

We've been fortunate to have some great players come through the program who have embraced coaching and were driven to reach their highest potential. We've also benefited from a commitment from the administration to provide us with the support that we need.

What's the most gratifying part of your job?

I think the relationships that you sustain over the years. It's always great to see the hard work of a player pay off and seeing a young lady reach a height that she never thought that she was capable of.

For more coverage of Northwestern women's tennis, go to



The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year is the type of player who rarely wins a major award. She does not cut an imposing figure in the pitcher's circle and is not a middle of the order presence who will erase a four-run deficit with a single swing.

Sabrina Rabin is instead a true slapper. In a sport that celebrates its sluggers, Rabin is a speedy table-setter, the catalyst of an offense that relies on people being on base for the big bats to drive in runs. During her first season of collegiate softball, Rabin led the Big Ten in stolen bases, ranked second in runs scored, third in batting and fourth in total hits during conference play.

In the annals of Big Ten history, the number of leadoff batters who have been named the conference's Rookie of the Year can be counted on one hand. The number of pure slappers is even fewer—to the point that Rabin may be the only one to ever win the honor, and is at the very least the first in the last 25 years.

So good is Rabin at her craft that her play demands attention, siphoning off the glory generally given to home run hitters and RBI machines. She is a true leadoff artist with muscle control and finesse as finely tuned as a concert pianist -- or a figure skater, which is what Rabin was before picking up a bat and glove and falling in love with the game of softball.

"I skated from the first to the fifth grade," Rabin said. "I went to competitions, had music and programs, outfits, makeup and everything. I got all the way up to the axel, but I was never able to do that one."

For Rabin, the sport of competitive skating was a family affair. Her sister and brother also skated, all stopping around the same time. Her brother, Eric, went on to play hockey, Sabrina took up softball.

"Skating built up my legs and gave me really good balance," Rabin said. "I'm sure it helped me with my speed, and it at least got me in great shape."

Speed is Rabin's weapon on the softball diamond. Her .394 batting average a year ago came courtesy of a sprint up the first-base line that many left-side infielders simply could not answer. Once at first base, Rabin swiped 28 bases, each one punctuated by her signature pop-up slide.

After one weekend of play in the 2016 season, Rabin leads the entire conference in runs and steals once again.

While she's obviously an excellent softball player, Rabin freely admits she also was "pretty good" on the ice and that she collected "some trophies here and there." Success is a common thread that runs through all of her endeavors.

Rabin already has one major award in her college career and also helped lead Northwestern into the NCAA Tournament last season. While some of the skills and much of the athleticism she honed competing as a skater have translated somehow to softball, there is one thing that has not.

"Skating is probably why I don't wear makeup anymore," Rabin said.

Running up the line, she's too fast to tell anyway.

For more coverage of Northwestern softball, visit


Rafael Henriquez, a history student with a focus on environmentalism, found narratives of minority environmentalism were missing from his courses. In order to learn about a type of environmentalism he could relate to, Henriquez used his summer undergraduate research project to look at how black Chicago residents have engaged with environmental issues through institutions like the church. Photo by Jim Prisching

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


EVANSTON, Ill. --- For New York native Rafael Henriquez, environmental activism became a way of life long before he opened his first college textbook at Northwestern University.


As a student at the Bronx High School of Science, Henriquez was involved in environmental activism projects to preserve the Bronx River and the Bronx Zoo and to create a neighborhood garden. In a youth leadership program, he took cleanup trips to New Orleans and Washington, D.C.


He naturally brought that passion to Northwestern, but in the course of his studies, he realized that minority environmentalism was largely missing from the narrative.


“In my classes and the literature we were assigned, I found few narratives of people who are working class, low-income or live in the inner city pursuing environmentalism,” Henriquez said.


In other words, the research literature didn’t reflect the type of community he was raised in, “a predominantly minority community with a culture of environmentalism, awareness and activism.”


Henriquez said his activism in the Bronx had taught him “about the kinds of systemic obstacles we are dealing with when it comes to environmental justice and other social problems.”


The void in the history he was learning led Henriquez to pursue a summer undergraduate research project about how black Chicago residents have engaged with environmental issues through institutions. He zeroed in on Trinity United Church of Christ in Washington Heights on the South Side of Chicago.


By examining pastors’ documents and other primary sources written over several decades and observing the church’s current involvement with green activism groups, he “got to see exactly where and why Trinity United started to think about environmentalism” and how the movement could be used to empower communities.


Henriquez, who began his studies in engineering and environmental sciences, had never even thought of doing research before the fall quarter of his junior year. “I had an experience that could only have happened at Northwestern,” he said. “I was able to move from major to major to think about this issue very differently over four years -- and I was able to meet these profs who pushed me in the right direction all the time.”


Read more in a Q&A with Henriquez, who recently spoke to Northwestern News about his research and reflected on his time at Northwestern.


How did you start to think about environmentalism in this way?


I’ve been interested in environmentalism since high school, but I switched majors a couple of times before settling on history. And I noticed we never talked about minority environmentalism in class. I was really interested in telling that history because I thought it would help me learn more about myself and my relationship with the environment.


How did you find your primary sources?


The church has its own library and I found a lot of material there. But I also used a branch of the Chicago Public Library close to the church, the Charles G. Woodson library, which had a special collection of Trinity United’s documents. I was able to use sermon brochures, meeting minutes and church constitutions.


What did these documents tell you?


The sources revealed how the church uses Christian theology to address and solve problems of all kinds in the African-American community.


How is Trinity United engaging with environmentalism today?


The church is affiliated with an organization called Green The Church, which works to build a sustainable, green economy that address pollution and can lift African American communities out of poverty. Trinity United works with this non-profit to promote the ways a green economy can create jobs for the otherwise unemployed, encourage local business to offer nutritious and affordable foods and develop green spaces for the community.


Did you come to Northwestern thinking you wanted to do research?


I never even fathomed doing this before fall quarter of my junior year. I thought that if you don’t have a relationship with the field, with the people in the department, how could you get these opportunities? I was really happy to find Prof. [Keith] Woodhouse, who was really supportive and always made time for me to talk about my research interests.


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


I never saw myself doing history, but I’ve realized I like asking questions about what happened in the past and tying together different strands of what people have written. I plan to apply to graduate school in the next few years, but because of my research, I’ve also begun to think about the different ways I can continue to do community work, in communities like the one Trinity United serves or back home in the Bronx.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>


EVANSTON, Ill. --- When we first meet Northwestern University’s Ozge Samanci in her graphic novel “Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey,” she's an adorable six-year-old who sneaks into her older sister’s elementary school classroom and joyfully slides into the seat beside her.


It’s one of the last times readers see Samanci, now a multi-media artist and assistant professor in the School of Communication, jazzed about school. By the time she's in first grade, Samanci is learning harsh lessons about the Turkish educational system and her country, which was undergoing intense political and social upheaval during the 1980s and '90s.


“It’s the book I would have liked to have read in college,” Samanci said. “I was told I was going to end up in a cubicle with a math degree, but things unfolded in a very different way. Life keeps offering opportunities if you have the openness.”


Since its publication, “Dare to Disappoint” has become a bestseller on Amazon; the English version is selling well in Samanci’s home country of Turkey, where she “has become the year’s most inspiring figure among comic artists, and a subject of intrigue for Turkish magazines, newspapers and budding artists,” according to The New Republic.


Samanci’s work has been described as “whimsical,” “charming” and “full of unorthodox surprises.


Throughout the autobiographical book, she wrestles with relatable and universal conflicts, including fitting in, feelings of failure, family expectations and finding her own voice in a hardline conservative school. It’s also a pivotal time in Turkish history; the country is awkwardly transitioning from a nationalist dictatorship to a Western and Muslim nation obsessed with the television show “Dallas.”


“Dare to Disappoint” emerged from Samanci’s lifelong love for writing and drawing letters for her friends. In 2000, while still living in Turkey, she gave a friend a book of hand-drawn childhood anecdotes as a birthday present. The book was a hit; friends urged her to write an autobiographical graphic novel.


Instead, she launched the webcomic “Ordinary Things,” a daily sketch of everyday life where she developed her comic-collage aesthetic. When she finally started “Dare to Disappoint” in 2009, it took six long years and several revisions to suit American audiences before it was complete.


She primarily uses blues and grays in her work, adding subtle explosions of color for emphasis. Unlike most artists, Samanci avoids the convention of frames; instead the images blend into each other. “It’s a little like memory goes,” she said. “I create a path for the eye of the reader so they don’t get lost.”


For collage, Samanci seeks out unexpected but ordinary materials, which can sometimes create the meaning. The Marmara Sea depicted on the book’s cover was created using a sourdough bread stamp. (Impressions made from healthier breads just didn’t look right.) To make the background of a night sky, Samanci painted paper with mustard and digitally inverted the image. Some nasty characters were set against a background of coffee stains.


“She is a gifted cartoonist with an innate sense of pacing and a seemingly inexhaustible well of ideas for presenting information—the book bursts with maps, diagrams, pasted-in leaves, doodles, and ink stamps,” Dan Kois wrote in Slate.


Though familiar with digital media, Samanci also is skeptical of the way it can make things look mechanical and repetitive. The majority of the book was produced using traditional methods; drawing on paper, painting with watercolor and scanning. “I used the digital medium only for putting the layers together or drawing without the fear of making mistakes,” she said.


“Dare to Disappoint” has received high praise in The New York Times, The Guardian and other publications.


Samanci’s work also can be seen in Slate where she designed a rotating logo for the January 2016 Slate Book Review and created eight illustrations for various reviews.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

IMG_7607.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- For the second consecutive year, Northwestern University has been recognized for supporting its employees at work and at home. The World at Work Alliance for Work-Life Progress awarded the University a 2016 Seal of Distinction for workplace strategies that help faculty, staff and students achieve quality work-life balance.


“The honor is a ringing endorsement of our efforts to ensure that Northwestern is a truly great place to work,” said Pamela S. Beemer, vice president of Human Resources. “When talented individuals are supported in their work/life needs, they are more able to be fully productive and to solve workplace problems, as well as to work more effectively and efficiently.”


“Northwestern is proud to continue to be among a group of outstanding employers who are recognized for the quality and breadth of their work/life programs,” said Beemer.


The Seal of Distinction is awarded every year to organizations across the United States. The overall strength of an institution’s work-life portfolio is evaluated along with programs and policies in several categories of work-life effectiveness, including caring for dependents, health and wellness, workplace flexibility and time off work.


For more information about Northwestern's work-life programs contact the Office of Work-Life Resources at 847-467-1460.


See more in Northwestern News. >>

_ERR9689.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- Do the cultures in which we live shape how we view the objects and events in the world that surrounds us? Research with adults has suggested that it does. But how early might any such culturally inflected differences emerge in development?


In a new Northwestern University study, researchers address the issue directly, asking how 24-month-old infants from the United States and China deploy their attention to objects and actions in active scenes.


Researchers found that 24-month-old infants from the U.S. and China -- who are on the threshold of learning words for objects and actions -- have a great deal in common when observing active scenes.


However, infants’ looking patterns in the two cultures diverged significantly for a brief period.


In the experiment, all infants watched a series of repeated scenes (e.g., a girl petting a dog). Then, infants watched new scenes in which either object was switched (the girl petting a pillow) or the action was switched (e.g., the girl kissing a dog). This was when their attention diverged.


Infants from China preferred looking at the scenes featuring a new action. In contrast, infants from the U.S. showed the opposite pattern, preferring scenes featuring a new object.


This new result provides the earliest evidence for strong overlap in infants’ attention to objects and events. But the research also raises the possibility that by 24 months, infants’ attention may already be shaped subtly by the attentional patterns characteristic of adults in their cultural communities.


“There is already reason to suspect that infants’ attention to objects and events in dynamic scenes might already be influenced by cultural-specific patterns of attention,” said the study’s lead author Sandra Waxman, the Louis W. Menk Chair in Psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern and faculty fellow in the University’s Institute for Policy Research. “We know, for example, that infants pay attention carefully to the actions of their parents and to others close to them.”


Furthermore, decades of previous research suggest that when observing scenes, adults from the U.S. focus predominantly on objects, while those from China and Japan direct more of their attention to the contexts and events in which those objects are engaged.


According to the researchers, the current results underscore the value of conducting cross-cultural research with infants.


“Clearly, 24-month-old infants from the U.S. and China have a great deal in common when attending to dynamic scenes, but they may have also begun to pick up the attentional strategies characteristic of adults in their respective communities,” Waxman said. “The results reported here suggest that by the time they reach their second birthdays, infants may be on their way to becoming ‘native lookers.’”


“How early is infants’ attention to objects and actions shaped by culture? New evidence from 24-month-olds raised in the U.S. and China” was published in Frontiers in Psychology. In addition to Waxman, co-authors include Brock Ferguson, Kathleen Geraghty and Erin Leddon, Northwestern University; and Xiaolan Fu, Jing Liang and Min-Fang Zhao, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

chicago_2.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- Filmmaker Spike Lee will participate in a discussion following a screening of his most recent film “Chi-Raq” on Wednesday, March 2 on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.


The free event is only open to the Northwestern community. Tickets must be obtained at the Norris Box Office ahead of time, while supply lasts. Tickets will be available in-person at Norris starting at noon Friday, Feb. 19.


Hosted by the University’s department of political science, dean of Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the student-run Contemporary Thought Speaker Series (CTSS), “An Evening with Spike Lee” will be held in Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street.


The event includes a screening of “Chi-Raq” at 5 p.m. followed immediately by a conversation with Lee. Local activists involved with the film’s production on location in Chicago will join him on stage.


Tickets will be released in waves during the course of a week to ensure that all who want a ticket have an opportunity to get one at Norris. A Wildcard will be required to pick up a ticket, and only one ticket will be given out per person. Information on the later ticket release dates will be available on CTSS’ Facebook page.


Lee’s most recent film, “Chi-Raq,” addresses gun violence in America and is set in Chicago. The title comes from a nickname for Chicago that likens conditions in some neighborhoods to war zones in Iraq. The film is structured as an adaptation of Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata,” a masterpiece of ancient Greek comedy in which women from warring cities come together to stage a sex strike in an effort to force an end to violence. “Lysistrata” has inspired political activists both in the United States and abroad for years. The film stars Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson.


“Spike Lee’s art is at once stylish, provocative, civic-minded and extremely thoughtful,” said Sara Monoson, chair of the department of political science at Northwestern. “We are thrilled that discussion of ‘Chi-Raq’ with the filmmaker will be part of Weinberg College’s efforts to support frank conversations on campus about the most difficult issues.”


Ben Zimmermann, co-chairman of CTSS, says the student organization always strives to bring in speakers who represent thought-provoking ideas in today’s ever-changing society.


CTSS brings intellectual figures to speak about their fields, and has previously hosted Ezra Klein, editor in chief of, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and most recently Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz.


“We are so excited for Spike to speak to the Northwestern community about heated and controversial topics such as gun violence, race relations and the capacity of movies to inspire change,” Zimmermann said.


Lee has produced more than 35 films since 1980. Many of them such as “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X” explore race relations and other political themes. Lee is the recipient of an Honorary Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (2015) for being “a champion of independent film and an inspiration to young filmmakers.” He currently serves as the artistic director of the graduate film program at New York University.


Entertainment Weekly called “Chi-Raq” “the most urgently 2015 movie of 2015”; the New York Times calls it Lee’s “best work in years”; and The New Yorker’s Richard Brody labeled it “necessary.”


The event also is co-sponsored by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the department of African American studies, and the department of classics.


See more on Northwestern News. >>

Stephanie and Sharon.jpg

Sharon Brooks ’08 met Stephanie Jarvis ’96 when Sharon went in for an interview at the Fiesta Bowl, the annual college football bowl game outside of Phoenix, Arizona. At the time, Stephanie worked as the game’s chief compliance officer. She remembers looking at the pool of candidates and seeing that Sharon was a Northwestern graduate. “The fact that she was a Northwestern alumna stood out immediately and sent her resume to the top of the pile,” Stephanie says.


She hired Sharon, and over time the two naturally formed a mentor/mentee relationship. “I saw something in Sharon that made me know she would be highly successful in her career,” Stephanie recalls, “and I wanted to help her achieve her goals.” Even after Stephanie left the Fiesta Bowl for her current position as senior vice president and chief operating officer at the Arizona Championship Organization Committee, the team in charge of the 2016 college football playoff national championship, the two stayed in touch. “Stephanie became more of a mentor to me as I navigated a new position [at the Fiesta Bowl] with more responsibility and started to supervise volunteers and interns,” Sharon recalls.


Eventually Sharon started to consider new career opportunities and asked Stephanie for assistance with interviewing and making career connections. They also discussed potential job opportunities. “Having Stephanie as a mentor was exceedingly helpful as I navigated a job transition,” Sharon says. “We now talk on the phone, in person, and over text.”


Here, Sharon and Stephanie answer questions about their mentorship relationship. You can now sign up to be a mentor (or mentee!) to a Northwestern student or fellow alumni here.



Sharon, a lot of mentees are anxious about having their first meeting with their mentor. When you first began your mentorship relationship with Stephanie, did you feel any anxiety about it?


Sharon: The first time I went to a game watch [where Northwestern alumni watch Wildcat football at a local bar] with Stephanie as my supervisor outside of work hours I was very nervous. I was nervous about what we would talk about, especially as I only knew her as my boss. Now, it is very natural. We have many shared connections, interests, and are invested in the same activities. I am interested in her work and she is interested in my work.



What is your relationship like now? What sorts of topics do you discuss?


Sharon: We see each other several times a month. We see each other socially at Northwestern game watch parties as we are both on the local Northwestern alumni board. And we have dinner or go to happy hour where we discuss my current job and areas I could use advice. She and I discuss goals for where I would like to grow in my job, such as fundraising, leadership development, and management, and she holds me accountable to those goals.



Stephanie, what has been rewarding about this process for you?


Stephanie: It has been really rewarding for me to see that the potential I saw in Sharon has been fulfilled. I am happy that my initial impressions of her character, intelligence and work ethic were absolutely accurate. I am also so happy that she has been able to find a new position that allows her to be personally fulfilled and to use her talents to improve her community. I have also placed her in a volunteer leadership position in my new job with the Arizona Organizing Committee and having her help is invaluable to me.



What’s the value of the Northwestern network and what does that mean to you?


Stephanie: Knowing someone is a Northwestern alumnus immediately lets me know that the person is high quality. We belong to a small but powerful community that really believes in helping other alumni succeed. I also served on the Northwestern alumni board in Indianapolis prior to moving to Phoenix and find it to be a valuable tool for networking, both personally and professionally.


Sharon: Before I met Stephanie, I knew very few Northwestern alumni in Phoenix, or alumni from different generations. Stephanie has introduced me to alumni of all different ages and from all different backgrounds in the Phoenix community. Stephanie has also allowed me the opportunity to serve as a liaison on the Arizona Championship Organization Committee, giving me valuable volunteer experience and connections within the sports community. As my Northwestern network has expanded, I have found the value to be of increased significance both professionally and personally, as I develop my career. When I meet someone from Northwestern, there is an instant connection.



Having had a mentorship relationship develop organically/informally, what would you say is the benefit of joining a formalized program, such as the one Northwestern is offering?


Sharon: Stephanie was an ideal mentor in that she was already in the career field I am interested in pursuing and can help me further my career. She also was interested in maintaining our relationship after we no longer worked together. However, this could have easily not been the case. Once I stopped working for her, we could have lost touch. The benefit of joining a formalized program is you know you are being placed with someone who wants to mentor you and offer you advice through the first years of your career. You also know that despite career changes, they will continue to mentor you.


Stephanie: I think a formalized program is beneficial, but there still needs to be something that “clicks” in the relationship. It helps if the mentor and mentee have things in common—Sharon and I both like sports, we travel, we are family-oriented, and we have similar work styles and philosophies. That said, it is rare to find someone in this manner, so it is great to have a formal network for people to meet and develop relationships.



Did anything surprise you about the mentorship process?


Sharon: Stephanie continues to offer support and help at really no benefit to herself. I can call in the middle of the day and she will talk to me for 45 minutes about an issue I am having at work and she will offer great advice from the perspective of a supervisor, and also from the unique perspective of having supervised me. She also continues to offer me great opportunities for advancement in my field and to develop myself. I am always amazed at how giving mentors can be of their time, especially as most mentors are very successful and busy people.



People traditionally think that mentors teach mentees and not the other way around. But we know that isn’t exclusively true! Have any particular words of wisdom or advice from Sharon really stuck with you, Stephanie?


Stephanie: One of the things that impressed me about Sharon was that she is not afraid to be very bold about what she wants and to really stay firm in her convictions. It reminds me to ask for the things that are important to me and not wait for them to be given to me.


—Interview by Amanda Look, MS '13

Sign up for the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program here.


Have you always wanted to glide across the ice but been too afraid to take that first shaky stride on the rink? In this vintage-style video, senior Kayla Brackett and junior Rocio Mendez-Rozo — both members of The Purple Line, Northwestern's synchronized skating team — show you the basics so you can cruise around the rink with confidence.

Video produced by Kristin Samuelson, Northwestern University Relations

Clinical Legal Education Conference, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Professors Thomas Geraghty, Meredith Martin Rountree, and Rob Owen at the clinical legal education conference and training workshop at Addis Ababa University, December 2015


Continuing a long history of assisting and facilitating the development of legal education in Ethiopia, Thomas Geraghty '69 JD, director of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Bluhm Legal Clinic, organized a three-day conference and training workshop on clinical legal education at Addis Ababa University over the winter break. Geraghty was joined by Meredith Martin Rountree, a visiting assistant professor of law, and Rob Owen, clinical professor of law.


The program opened with a day of presentations and discussions, followed by two days of training designed to familiarize Ethiopian law faculty with methods and models of clinical education used in the United States.


Kimberly-Claire Seymour '16 JD attended the conference and workshop, and spoke about the value of experiential learning from a student’s perspective. She was struck by how committed Ethiopian faculty members were to providing the best possible opportunities for their students, despite significant resource constraints.


“Unreliable electricity, little access to published legal resources, lack of affordable transportation to remote client sites, and a very tense political climate are everyday challenges facing local faculty and students,” Seymour said. “Despite these discouraging circumstances, our local partners were incredibly enthusiastic and welcoming of the opportunity to continue the development of clinical legal education in Ethiopia, and their unwavering dedication both to their students and to their service of vulnerable and marginalized communities was truly inspiring.”


Those significant challenges meant the Northwestern Law faculty couldn’t just impart best practices, but had to help develop solutions specific to the realities of Ethiopia’s legal education, Rountree said.


“We can’t just take an American model of clinical education and plug it into Ethiopia,” Rountree said, “We need to work with our Ethiopian colleagues to adapt it to their context.”


Geraghty first visited Ethiopia as a Northwestern Law student in the 1960s. He reconnected with colleagues at Addis Ababa University after the communist regime was overthrown in the 1990s to help build the country’s legal education infrastructure. Understanding how important practical training through clinical work is to a quality legal education, Geraghty is committed to a series of exchanges between Northwestern Law clinical faculty and their Ethiopian counterparts.


“There is a huge expansion of legal education in Ethiopia, based in part on the demands of their growing economy.” Geraghty said.  “We are responding to their requests for technical assistance in this area.”


He added that it’s not just the Ethiopian faculty who benefit from the exchange.


“It’s important for us to see how legal systems work and evolve in different environments; how of the rule of law comes to be, or not. There are interesting research possibilities for our faculty and terrific opportunities for our students to work in support of young legal educators. We get to see the thirst for knowledge in the face of a staggering lack of resources. It offers a real broadening of perspective.”


For the original story, click here.

Brent Huffman

Filmmaker Brent Huffman in Logar province with Qadir Temori, lead Afghan archaeologist at Mes Aynak and the main subject of the film. Courtesy of Brent Huffman

The Reva & David Logan Foundation has awarded a $50,000 social justice grant to Northwestern University professor Brent Huffman and Kartemquin Films to help raise awareness about the plight of an ancient archeology site featured in the documentary film “Saving Mes Aynak.”


The film, produced and directed by Huffman, follows the frantic efforts of archaeologists working to save the ancient Buddhist site of Mes Aynak in Afghanistan from imminent destruction.

A Chinese state-owned mining company plans to demolish the site to harvest an estimated $100 billion worth of copper buried directly beneath the archaeological ruins. But only 10 percent of Mes Aynak has been excavated, and some believe future discoveries at the site have the potential to redefine the history of Afghanistan and the history of Buddhism itself.

Huffman called the grant a “game-changing development” because it allows him to hire an outreach team and to keep traveling with the film to lecture about the importance and significance of Mes Aynak.

The outreach campaign has three goals: to preserve Mes Aynak as a protected cultural heritage site; to widen public perspective of Afghanistan's cultural heritage; and to strengthen the Archaeology Department at the Afghan Ministry of Culture in Kabul to protect Mes Aynak and other important historical sites in Afghanistan, Huffman said.

Mining, originally slated to begin this year, has been delayed by several factors, including the documentary film, security and the Chinese economy. “But the Afghan Ministry of Mines is still pushing for mining to happen as soon as possible and the site is still under threat,” Huffman said. “My work and the film’s work – to raise awareness and save Mes Aynak – is still not done. But I will never give up the effort or give up hope.”

“Saving Mes Aynak” has won more than ten domestic and international awards and will be screened around the world in the upcoming months, including at the Louvre in Paris as part of the Film International Conference on Art, 9th Edition. It will also air in India, Nepal, Australia, Czech Republic, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Huffman and “Saving Mes Aynak” also have partnered with Icarus Films, one of the world's leading distributors of documentary films. Icarus will oversee the North American educational, home, and digital release of “Saving Mes Aynak.” 

The Reva & David Logan Foundation is a Chicago-based family foundation that provides strategic grants to support the arts, investigative journalism, scholarship and social justice.

The foundation is designed to serve as a catalyst for well-chosen projects that would not be successful without its creative or financial support. Through the grantees, “we expect to learn a lot about our choices and ourselves,” David Logan said.

“Saving Mes Aynak” has premiered at a selection of high profile film festivals including the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, American Documentary Festival Palm Springs and Dokufest Kosovo.

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

When news outlets began reporting an increase in Zika virus cases and the World Health Organization declared the virus an international emergency, people became concerned about what the disease means for pregnant women, unborn children and those traveling to warm, wet climates like Brazil's, where the mosquito-borne virus has been most widespread. To address those questions, Northwestern Medicine infectious diseases experts have been weighing in with their take on the virus through various media outlets. 


“We’ve never seen this type of birth defect with similar types of viruses,” said Chad Achenbach, assistant professor of medicine in the Infectious Diseases Division and an investigator at the Center for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in The Atlantic on February 3.

“What you need to ask yourself when you see something like this is, ‘Is there something else that could've explained this increase besides Zika?’” Achenbach said in the piece. “You have to be careful with making those types of associations, but this is such a big increase and there doesn’t seem to be any other particular reason.”

The Journal of the American Medical Association ran a commentary piece February 9 from Lee Jampol titled, “Zika Virus Infection and the Eye,” in which the Louis Feinberg Professor of Ophthalmology at the Feinberg School of Medicine explained how eye abnormalities in infants with microcephaly may be associated with Zika virus.

And in the local broadcast news circuit, Michael Angarone, assistant professor of medicine in the Infectious Diseases Division at Feinberg, shared his expertise about the virus and reacted to the news from Dallas regarding the first sexual transmission of the disease. For more, watch his CBS and Fox 32 segments.  During a January 29 WGN Radio interview, Dr. Robert Murphy, the director of the Center for Global Health and the John Philip Phair Professor of Infectious Diseases at Feinberg, weighed in on the virus. Listen to his full interview here.


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

Epigenetic age is a new way to measure your biological age. When your biological (epigenetic) age is older than your chronological age, you are at increased risk for getting and dying of cancer, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.


And the bigger the difference between the two ages, the higher your risk of dying of cancer.

“This could become a new early warning sign of cancer,” said senior author Dr. Lifang Hou, who led the study. “The discrepancy between the two ages appears to be a promising tool that could be used to develop an early detection blood test for cancer.”

Hou is chief of cancer epidemiology and prevention in preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and co-leader of the cancer prevention program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

“People who are healthy have a very small difference between their epigenetic/biological age and chronological age,” Hou said. “People who develop cancer have a large difference and people who die from cancer have a difference even larger than that. Our evidence showed a clear trend.”

A person’s epigenetic age is calculated based on an algorithm measuring 71 blood DNA methylation markers that could be modified by a person’s environment, including environmental chemicals, obesity, exercise and diet. This test is not commercially available but is currently being studied by academic researchers, including a team at Northwestern.

In DNA methylation, a cluster of molecules attaches to a gene and makes the gene more or less receptive to biochemical signals from the body. The gene itself -- your DNA code -- does not change.

This is the first study to link the discrepancy between epigenetic age and chronological age with both cancer development and cancer death using multiple blood samples collected over time. The multiple samples, which showed changing epigenetic age, allowed for more precise measurements of epigenetic age and its relationship to cancer risk. Other studies have looked at blood samples collected only at a single time point.

The final paper was published Feb. 15 in EBioMedicine.

The study was a longitudinal design with multiple blood samples collected from 1999 to 2013. Scientists used 834 blood samples collected from 442 participants who were free of cancer at the time of the blood draw.

For each one-year increase in the discrepancy between chronological and epigenetic ages, there was a 6 percent increased risk of getting cancer within three years and a 17 percent increased risk of cancer death within five years. Those who will develop cancer have an epigenetic age about six months older than their chronological age; those who will die of cancer are about 2.2 years older, the study found.

“Our results suggest future researchers should focus on the epigenetic-chronological age discrepancy for its potential to show a big picture snapshot of human health and disease at a molecular level,” said first author Yinan Zheng, a predoctoral fellow at Feinberg.

Northwestern scientists now are studying whether individuals can lower their epigenetic age through lifestyle improvements such as increasing exercise and having a healthier diet, noted Brian Joyce, co-first author and predoctoral fellow at Feinberg.

The study is titled “Blood Epigenetic Age may Predict Cancer Incidence and Mortality.” The research was funded by the Epidemiology Research and Information Center, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs grant NIEHS R01-ES015172. Additional funding support was provided by the Northwestern University Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center Rosenberg Research Fund.


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

On Sept. 14, 2015, LIGO detected gravitational waves for the first time. Northwestern's Vicky Kalogera and Shane Larson, both LIGO collaborators, describe the event. Produced by Erin Meyer and Kristin Samuelson

Northwestern University’s Vicky Kalogera absolutely could not believe it. The data revealed that gravitational waves -- ripples in the fabric of spacetime first predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916 -- had been detected for the first time by an international scientific team to which she belongs. Even Einstein didn’t think such a discovery would ever happen.

The extremely difficult-to-detect gravitational waves arrived at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe: the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This event emitted more energy than anything directly observed before in the universe. Such a collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.

The gravitational waves were detected at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time Sept. 14, 2015, by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors. The surprising detection came only three days after the detectors were turned on again after a five-year renovation and upgrade.

The LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), which carries out LIGO-related research, and the Virgo Collaboration in Europe made the discovery, confirming a major prediction of Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity.

Kalogera, an expert in black-hole formation in binary systems and in LIGO data analysis, had worked for nearly two decades for this moment. Soon after realizing there was a binary black hole represented by gravitational wave signals in the LIGO data, she emailed her Northwestern colleague Shane Larson -- both are members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration -- to tell him the stunning news.

Since that day, Kalogera feels like she has been riding a roller coaster. The ride -- with 1,000 other scientists and engineers – has included thorough checking of data, multiple simulations, countless teleconferences and the writing of a flurry of scientific papers. Though the whirlwind permits little sleep, she and Larson are thrilled to be part of the discovery.

“To detect something in the first few days after turning on our new detectors and to have a detection of an unexpected source – ‘heavy’ binary black holes -- is just amazing,” Kalogera said.

An LSC member for more than 15 years, Kalogera is one of LIGO’s most senior astrophysicists and led the LSC’s astrophysics effort as the LIGO co-editor of the paper about the discovery’s implications. At Northwestern, she is director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). Kalogera also is the Erastus O. Haven Professor of Physics and Astronomy and associate chair of the physics and astronomy department in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Larson is a research associate professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern, a CIERA member and an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. He has been involved with LIGO for five years and with the gravitational-wave community for more than a decade.

Kalogera leads the LIGO research team at Northwestern, which currently includes Larson, two postdoctoral fellows, three graduate students and several undergraduate students. The team’s contributions to the Sept. 14 discovery include making predictions for anticipated detections, interpreting the astrophysics, analyzing the data and characterizing the detectors.

Northwestern alumnus David Reitze, executive director of the LIGO Laboratory at California Institute of Technology, knows Kalogera’s contributions well.

“Professor Kalogera’s group has had a very substantial and outsized impact within the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for the past 15 years, ranging from making astrophysical predictions for what LIGO will discover and how often detections will be made to the development of advanced statistical methods for extracting information from LIGO signals, particularly in the determination of black hole masses and spins,” Reitze said.

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

JP_110523_267adjusted.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University will begin streamlining recycling services in the coming weeks as it works towards its target of reducing waste to landfill by 20 percent over the next four years.


The University will switch from dual-stream recycling to single “mixed recycling,” where paper and cardboard are collected with cans, bottles and plastics in the same recycling bin.


“This change will make recycling more convenient for campus participants, potentially pushing our recycling rate higher. It will also streamline recycling bin needs and make collections easier,” Julie Cahillane, a manager in the Office of Sustainability, said. “We want to make recycling effective and easy for the Northwestern community.”


Changes to receptacles will be implemented in most common areas by the end of April. The rollout involves updating labeling, replacing bin lids and training for campus custodians and the greater community on the changes.


The new collection method will bring the University in line with residential recycling practices in both the cities of Evanston and Chicago.


By combining metals, plastics and paper products in the recycling process, Northwestern aims to have a more balanced landfill-to-recycle ratio by 2020. Last year the University recycled more than 2,600 tons, making recycling 39 percent of its total waste. That number has grown significantly since 2010 when 28 percent of waste was recycled.


During this transition, recycling collection will continue in all facilities. Those on campus can now use any recycling receptacle for acceptable materials. Regardless of how a bin is labeled, it will no longer be necessary to keep paper and cardboard separate from plastic, glass and cans.


After years of separating recycling to support the collection of clean, high-grade office paper, the industry has fine-tuned mixed recycling systems and the ability to separate clean recyclables from the process.


Read more on Northwestern News. >>

NU_Seal_in_Levy_Mayer_Hall.JPGCHICAGO --- Northwestern Pritzker School of Law announced Tuesday nine initiatives intended to make law school more affordable and support alumni.


The new initiatives represent a commitment of $2 million annually and are made possible by record-breaking giving by law school alumni and friends, including the historic $100 million gift from J.B. and M.K. Pritzker.


“This is our running start -- though the race no doubt is a long one -- to take some tangible steps that attempt to address student need and educational debt in creative and constructive ways,” Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Dean Daniel Rodriguez said.


“Coupled with a more than doubling of our scholarship budget, our recently launched Interest Freedom Plan, and tempered tuition increases in recent years, we are making some meaningful progress,” Rodriguez continued. “Yet, there is much more to be done, and I can assure you that we remain hard at work in generating further ideas to tackle these issues.”


Interest Freedom Plan Expansion: The law school is expanding the benefit period for the recently launched Interest Freedom Plan (IFP) from one to two consecutive years immediately following graduation. Beginning in 2016, the law school also will raise the qualifying salary for IFP by $5,000, from $84,999 to $89,999. Further, the law school is committing to fund this program for eligible J.D. students through the graduating class of 2020. IFP currently is providing more than $300,000 in funding to 30 alumni from the 2015 graduating class. This augmentation effectively doubles the law school’s financial commitment to this plan.


Emergency Alumni Relief Fund: Recognizing that individuals, including Northwestern alumni, may experience financial challenges caused by uncontrollable life events, the law school will set aside an annual sum of $200,000 in emergency assistance. Through this reserve, the law school will fund on a first-come, first-served basis, qualifying graduates with an amount approximately equal to the interest that otherwise would accrue on their law school loans during the corresponding calendar year.   $8,000


Summer Public Interest Funding Guarantee: Effective immediately, the law school is committing to guarantee summer funding of at least $8,000 for students who complete at least 20 volunteer hours for the Student Funded Public Interest Fellowships (SFPIF) or another nonprofit organization and whose summer employment resides within a public interest or nonprofit organization and lasts at least 10 weeks. 


The law school also will provide a two-to-one match for every dollar in excess of $60,000 that SFPIF raises during the academic year. These additional funds will then be distributed equally among qualifying students who complete at least 10 hours of volunteer work for SFPIF up to a cap of $10,000 per student.  


“To our knowledge, we will now have the most generous summer public interest funding guarantee of any law school in the country,” Rodriguez said. “This augmentation reinforces our increased commitment to invigorate our law school’s public interest culture, both in terms of expanding our programmatic offerings, and in supporting students who wish to pursue careers in public service.”  


Off-Campus Job Fair Travel Support: The law school will reimburse students up to $500 for travel expenses associated with participation in school-sanctioned, off-campus job fairs.  


Public Interest Job Interview Travel Support: The law school will reimburse students up to $500 for travel expenses incurred in order to interview for a public interest job outside of the Chicago-area.


Clerkship Interview Travel Support: The law school will reimburse students up to $500 for travel expenses incurred in order to interview for a judicial clerkship outside of the Chicago area.


Increased Hourly Rate for Research Assistants: As announced last month, the law school has increased the hourly rate for research assistants to $16 per hour.


Increased Teaching Assistant Stipend: Also announced last month, the law school has raised its annual teaching assistant stipend amount to $2,000.


Full-Time Alumni Career Specialist: As part of an aspiration to provide lifelong support for alumni, the law school will create a new full-time position within the Career Strategy Center solely devoted to Northwestern Pritzker School of Law alumni. Once hired, this new individual will be charged with providing alumni at all career stages with sound advice and, where feasible, to facilitate links to potential employment opportunities.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

fatherhood638.jpgA new Northwestern Medicine study has found an adolescent male’s attitude toward risky sex, pregnancy and birth control can predict whether or not he will end up living with his future offspring.


The longitudinal study -- one of the first reproductive health studies to focus on young men and fatherhood -- also found it was possible to predict whether some young men would become teen fathers.  In addition, the research was able to predict fatherhood patterns over 14 years as young men transitioned from being teenagers into young adulthood.


“I was very surprised that, based on what adolescent males tell us in their teenage years, we could predict whether they would later become a teen father or a nonresident father,” said Dr. Craig Garfield, associate professor in pediatrics and medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an attending physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.


Men who become teen fathers are less likely to finish school and are more likely to have lower-income jobs, according to prior research. The results from this study can spur mentoring and discussions with young men that could help reduce and prevent teen pregnancy and nonresident fatherhood, Garfield said. 


The study will be published on Feb. 16 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.


Young men who were less concerned about having risky sex were 30 percent more likely to become a nonresident father (one who does not live with his offspring). Teens who felt it wouldn’t be that bad if they got a young woman pregnant (i.e. they felt more “favorable” toward pregnancy) had a 20 percent greater chance of becoming a nonresident father.


And if a teen male better understood the efficacy of birth control, he was 28 percent less likely to become a nonresident father. For years, researchers have studied teen pregnancy prevention methods such as sex education and birth control awareness for young women. But very little research has been conducted about young men’s reproductive health in this manner.


“Much of the male-focused research to date has mostly looked at risky behavior and STIs,” Garfield said. “We’re expanding male reproductive health across the lifespan and beginning to see how early beliefs relate to later outcomes and health, including fatherhood. This is one of the first studies to look at that.”


The findings can be used to change young men’s attitudes about reproductive health and affect future behavior, he said.


“We can intervene so these young men don’t go on to become teen fathers and are less likely to become nonresident fathers,” Garfield said. “That’s a role the school system and health care workers can play when seeing young men for physicals. Together we can help young men think about their futures.”


The research uses data from the publically available National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a nationally representative study of individuals from adolescence into adulthood spanning 20 years.


Young men in the study responded to statements such as, “If you had sexual intercourse, your friends would respect you more,” “It wouldn’t be all that bad if you got someone pregnant at this time in your life,” and “Using birth control interferes with sexual enjoyment.” Their scores were then compared with their fatherhood status later in life to determine if their adolescent knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about sex, pregnancy and birth control impacted them later in life.


The study, “Adolescent Reproductive Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs and Future Fatherhood,” was supported by grant K23HD060664 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

Norris_IMG_3029.JPGA lecture by an expert on black college athletes and an exhibition by an artist who grew up in poverty on Chicago’s South Side are among the events scheduled during Black History Month on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.


Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African-Americans in United States history. It also has inspired Northwestern to organize a local celebration that stretches over more than a month and features guest speakers, music and stage performances, panel discussions, informal talks, lectures and more.


The following free events are open to the public and will take place on Northwestern’s Evanston and Chicago campuses, as noted.


Evanston campus


My Story is Unique: A Lecture and Panel Discussion on the Black Student-Athlete Experience, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, The Black House, first floor conference room, 1914 Sheridan Road. The experience of black student athletes at Big Ten institutions is unique – these individuals are often pulled between their identity of being black and of being a black student-athlete. Scholar Johari Shuck will discuss black student-athlete history and contemporary issues. Shuck’s talk will be followed by a panel discussion featuring current and former Northwestern student-athletes. Refreshments will be served. The event is sponsored by Northwestern’s department of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA).


Dittmar Memorial Gallery exhibition and reception, Marcellous Lovelace, “Biko70 Lumumba Blacker Than Space, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, Dittmar Gallery, Northwestern University Center, first floor, 1999 Campus Drive. Marcellous Lovelace’s street savvy works are based on his experience growing up and living in poverty on Chicago’s far South Side. Almost completely self-taught, the mixed-media artist refers to himself as an “Afro urban indigenous folk artist.” More than 30 of Lovelace’s works of all sizes and mediums will be featured in his solo show at the Dittmar, which runs through March 20. The exhibition is intended to convey the story of people who are overlooked inside a segregated, biased space overcome by poverty, crime, food deserts, joblessness, gang violence and police brutality. The exhibition is free and open to the public. More information is available online.


A Conversation with Garth Fagan, 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, at the Wirtz Center’s Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive. Critics have hailed choreographer Garth Fagan as a “trail blazer” and “one of the greatest reformers of modern dance.” With an incomparable style that blends the weight of modern dance, the vibrancy of Afro-Caribbean dance, the speed and precision of ballet and the risk-taking experimentation of post-modernism, Fagan has created more than 70 works for the theater and concert stage. His works defy classification and range from his groundbreaking choreography for the hit musical “The Lion King” to  “Griot New York” and “Lighthouse/Lightning Rod,” his critically acclaimed collaborations with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Wynton Marsalis. Although he choreographs primarily for Garth Fagan Dance, he also has created pieces for other leading companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance, Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York City Ballet and the Limón Dance Company. He has received more than 60 major awards and honors for his work. Hosted by the School of Communication’s department of theater and dance program, the event is co-sponsored by the Black Arts Initiative at Northwestern University. To RSVP, visit


Jablani Culture Show, 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, Norris University Center, Louis Room, 1999 Campus Drive. Hosted by Northwestern’s African Students Association, the annual event showcases the cultural wealth that comes from Africa and Africans worldwide. The celebration features music, dance, fashion and food.


Global Health Resource Fair, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 29, Norris University Center, Wildcat Room, 1999 Campus Drive. Learn about volunteer, internship and full-time opportunities at Chicago area nonprofit and community-focused organizations. The event is sponsored by Northwestern University’s Office of International Program Development (IPD), the Global Heath Studies program and Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA).


For a complete listing of Black History Month 2016 events on the Evanston campus, visit Northwestern’s Multicultural Student Affairs website.


Chicago campus


“Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons” exhibition, Feinberg School of Medicine, March 14 through April 2 at the Galter Health Sciences Library, 303 E. Chicago Ave.; and from April 3 through April 22, at the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center, 303 E. Superior St. The “Opening Doors” exhibition celebrates the contributions of African-American academic surgeons to medicine and medical education. It tells the stories of four pioneering African-American surgeons and educators who exemplify excellence in their fields and believe in continuing the journey of excellence throughout the education and mentoring of younger physicians and surgeons. An opening reception for the exhibit will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Monday, March 14 at the Galter Health Sciences Library. The exhibit will be on display at the Feinberg School of Medicine through a partnership between the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Galter Health Sciences Library at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Opening Doors” is a collaborative effort between the National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore, the largest African-American museum on the East coast of the United States. More information about the exhibit is available at the National Library of Medicine project website.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

Andi and Alex.jpg

Andi Fuess '11 interviewed Alex Van Atta '15 last fall during on-campus recruiting for a position as an analyst at Slalom Consulting, the Chicago-based company where Andi currently works as a strategy consultant. After Alex accepted his position at the company, he learned about the Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences mentorship program, a networking opportunity through McCormick that connects IEMS alumni. And when he saw Andi’s name on the list of potential mentors, he immediately requested her.


The two hit it off right away in their new mentor/mentee relationship. “We emailed and texted with one another to get the planning going,” Andi remembers. “He is such a great guy and was so fun to talk with.” From their first conversation, they set expectations and goals for their mentorship relationship. “We decided to meet every few weeks to check in and see how things were going,” Alex says. “I would look to Andi for guidance and advice in terms of my career at Slalom and business school prospects. She also made it clear that I could text, email, or call her if there were any questions I had or anything I needed help with.”


Since they first connected through IEMS, their mentorship relationship has evolved. “We have talked about how to navigate a new job, expectations for what the life of a consultant is like, thinking about how to prepare for applying to business school, and just fun Chicago-specific topics like our favorite restaurants,” Andi says. Alex agrees: “Now our relationship is much more organic. It’s really helped me with the transition from Northwestern to living and working in Chicago.”


Here, Andi and Alex share more about their mentorship relationship and the benefits of participating in a formalized mentorship program. You can now sign up to be a mentor (or mentee!) to a Northwestern student or fellow alumni here.


Why did you join the IEMS Mentorship Program? Tell us a little bit about your introduction to the program.

Andi: I received an email asking to take part in the program and I immediately applied. I graduated from the IEMS program in 2011, and I love the idea of meeting others who have gone through the program and helping them to get on the right track to accomplish their career goals.

Alex: I received an email describing the program, and it piqued my interest. I joined the IEMS Mentorship Program because as I was graduating and starting my career, I knew that I would benefit from being able to talk to someone who has already gone through that. I’ve had mentors throughout my life that I’ve turned to for advice, so I wanted to seek that out as a recent college graduate.


For you, what has the time commitment been as a mentor or mentee?

Alex: The time commitment is really only about an hour a month. Our conversations usually last between 30 minutes and an hour, and then the occasional email on top of that. Preparing for the meetings usually just takes 5 to 10 minutes to think about what I want to talk to Andi about and what advice I need.

Andi: Not a big time commitment at all—especially because Alex works for my company. I’m sure a little bit more time commitment would be required with an external mentee.


Having met through a formalized program, what are the benefits of a formal program versus developing a mentorship relationship organically?

Andi: I love formal mentorship programs. I think organic mentorship relationships do often form, but it is wonderful to have a formal avenue for meeting someone who you can talk openly with about your career goals, issues, anything! I have used the formal mentorship program as a mentee before, and I have really enjoyed the opportunity to give back as a mentor.

Alex: A formal program definitely helps facilitate connections more efficiently than doing it organically. When people participate in a program to connect mentors and mentees, you already know that everyone participating is open and willing to develop a relationship and put in the time required to have a successful mentorship. Doing that organically would take more time, and there’s not as much of a framework established that also helps get these kinds of relationships up and running.


Alex, as a mentee, did anything surprise you about the mentorship process?

Alex: I think the biggest surprise for me about the program was that there was an IEMS NU alum at Slalom that was also interested in the mentorship program. What are the chances? That made the selection process quite easy for me.


Andi, what has been rewarding about this process for you as a mentor?

Andi: I see so much potential in Alex, and I am so excited that he joined Slalom because I know he is such a great asset to the company. I feel lucky to be able to share my hindsight knowledge with him, and I look forward to our continued relationship where I will learn many things from him as well.


What’s the value of the Northwestern network and what does that mean to you?

Andi: Northwestern’s network is super important to me. I love coming back and visiting school and keeping in touch with professors who taught me during my time there. Go ’Cats!

Alex: The Northwestern network is invaluable to me. I feel like whenever I meet someone that also graduated from Northwestern, there’s an instant connection that is difficult to instantly form with anyone else. We both have had common experiences—maybe we’ve taken the same class, cheered for the same team, been a part of the same student group—or at least we can identify with the amount of hard work that is required to graduate from Northwestern. That common experience forms an initial level of trust and friendship that is rare outside of the Northwestern network. This is true regardless of environment—work, church, non-profits, etc.


Alex, have any particular words of wisdom or advice from Andi really stuck with you?

Alex: While I think about potentially going to business school, Andi encouraged me to think about why I want to go, and what I want to get out of my experience. I think before I talked to her, I had the assumption that getting an MBA was the logical next step but actually hadn’t taken the time to step back and think about my motivations and developmental goals to see if that lined up with business school. That on-going conversation has been a really important one for me.


Andi, people traditionally think that mentors teach mentees, and not the other way around. What have you learned from this process? Have any particular words of wisdom or advice from Alex really stuck with you?

Andi: Alex has reminded me how incredible Northwestern is at nurturing talent and curiosity for continuous learning. He has already gone above and beyond in his involvement with Slalom. I look forward to learning more from Alex as we continue our relationship!


Sign up for the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program here.


—Interview by Gillian Jaye Craig '16


Brannon Bowers graduated from Northwestern University's School of Communications in 2015. While he was a student he was a member of Homecoming Court in 2014 and served on the board for Arts Alliance. Here he checks in on his first few months since leaving Northwestern.

What have you been up to since graduation?

In August, I moved to the east coast to work at McCarter Theatre Center, a Tony Award-winning regional theater in Princeton, N.J. I am working as a season-long intern in the artistic department focusing in producing and casting. Essentially I am the producing/casting assistant for the season, which includes six mainstage productions as well as readings and workshops of new work. A few highlights of my time at McCarter have included coordinating children's auditions for our production of A Christmas Carol, coordinating and running adult ensemble auditions in New York City for A Christmas Carol, and helping with casting for a reading of a new Nilo Cruz play. Coming up I will be helping to produce readings of new work by Emily Mann, Ken Ludwig, and Christopher Durang. Since I am on the east coast for the first time in my life, I have been exploring and traveling to New York City and Philadelphia to see shows and meet artists.

How do you stay connected to NU?

Since I am so close to New York City, I have been able to keep in touch with a number of friends from NU who are now located in New York. I have also been able to reconnect with students who graduated before me and have been living in the city since their graduation. I have been able to go and support their work in the city and maintain those bonds. I also have travelled back to Chicago to visit friends and Evanston. I have travelled back to see my best friend and former roommate, have a reunion dinner with one of the student groups I was deeply involved in at NU, and see a rehearsal for the Dolphin Show. Most importantly, my boss at McCarter is a Northwestern alum so our office is always filled with purple pride.


Brannon was this month’s alumni spotlight in the Class of 2015 monthly newsletter. If you’d like to nominate your friends from the classes of 2013, 2014, and 2015 to be in the spotlight, fill out the nomination form here.

Morris_headshot.jpgAldon Morris, the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, has won the PROSE Awards’ prestigious R.R. Hawkins Award for his book “The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology.”


Since 1976, the PROSE Awards have been organized by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to recognize the best works in professional and scholarly publishing.


“The Scholar Denied” (University of California Press, 2015) won the Award for Excellence in the Social Sciences and later earned the top R.R. Hawkins prize, which recognizes outstanding scholarly works in all disciplines of the arts and sciences. The honor included a $10,000 prize for Morris (pictured above).


“‘The Scholar Denied’ is a groundbreaking volume that re-writes our understanding of the founding and organization of one of America’s most important disciplines in the social sciences,” said Ilene Kalish, executive editor, social sciences, New York University Press, and Sociology & Social Work judge for the 2016 PROSE Awards.


“Through meticulous and compelling research, Aldon Morris shows how race and racism worked to deny the accolades of scholarship to a sociologist who managed to produce field-defining research that, even a hundred years later, has much to tell us about race, class and opportunity.”


Pulling from more than a decade of research in primary sources such as personal letters, conference proceedings and scholarly writings, Morris argues in “The Scholar Denied” that power, money, politics and the ideology of white supremacy led to Du Bois being “written out” of the founding of sociology. Moreover his intellectual breakthroughs were marginalized in the field for the last century.


“Intellectual schools of thought do not become dominant, prominent and institutionalized just because of the merit of the ideas,” Morris said. “Power, money, politics and the ideology of white supremacy played a major role in which schools of thought took root. That’s also a big story I’m telling in ‘The Scholar Denied.’”


Winners of the PROSE Awards were announced February 4 during the annual Professional and Scholarly Publishing Conference in Washington, D.C.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

brain.jpgBrains over beauty? But we all know that guys are hardwired for pretty faces and shapely bodies when it comes to choosing a mate, right?


Not so fast. Despite today’s ongoing challenges in achieving gender equality, a new review of research on mate preferences conducted by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Innsbruck suggests that modern men increasingly value brains over beauty in their long-term partners.


“Our review across several disciplines suggest that mating preferences of men as well as women have responded with unsuspected speed to progress toward gender equality,” said Marcel Zentner, professor of psychology at University of Innsbruck in Austria.


The common view is that our mate choices are evolutionarily “hardwired” in our brains and therefore minimally responsive to changing conditions. But some evolutionary scientists now argue that humans are programmed to respond with great flexibility to changing environments.


“This flexibility allows people to do what sociocultural theorists have maintained for a long time: Select partners who minimize the costs and maximize the benefits that they will experience in their future lives,” said Alice Eagly, professor of psychology and faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern.


Indeed, she and her colleagues have shown that men and women who were led to envision a future as their family’s sole provider preferred a partner with domestic skills. Conversely, women and men who projected a future as a stay-at-home parent preferred someone relatively older and thus established in a career.


Three interlocking sources of evidence support these conclusions. What makes Zentner and Eagly’s study unique is their demonstrations across these differing types of research.


Cross-cultural research found that the more gender-egalitarian a country, the less likely that men and women trade male earning power for female youth and beauty -- the pattern that many evolutionary psychologists believe to be innate. The greater preference of women for a high-earning partner is twice as large in gender-unequal nations such as Korea and Turkey than in more gender-equal nations such as Finland and the United States. Notably, in Finland men are more interested in an educated, intelligent partner than women are.


Then, Zentner and Eagly looked at individuals. Sex differences in what people want in a mate diminish not only when societies become more gender-egalitarian but also when individuals embrace more gender-equal attitudes. Men and women with traditional mindsets prefer partners that suit the old-style exchange of male breadwinning for female fertility and domestic skills. But those preferences have weakened considerably among people who favor gender equality.


Finally, what men and women want parallels changes in gender roles in recent history. The traditional world of female homemakers and male breadwinners is long gone in many nations. In the United States, 70 percent of mothers with children under 18 are in the labor force. In 38 percent of marriages with an employed wife, she earns more than he does. Not that long ago, women’s education and income were only minor assets for attracting a husband. Today, they matter. Of course, women have long sought these attributes in men. What’s new is that men now choose wives in a similar way.


Gender equality appears to act as a lever. Wherever you push it up, differences between men’s and women’s partner preferences diminish. That doesn’t mean that these differences will disappear entirely or that biology plays no role in mate preferences. However, social factors shape mate preferences much more strongly than has been assumed.


In the old days, it made sense for women to seek men who could provide for them and for men to seek women who could cook and clean while producing children. “In today’s world, where both partners can (and often must) work to achieve a decent lifestyle, most men want an educated, intelligent wife who can earn a good wage,” Eagly said. “In turn, men can worry somewhat less about producing wealth but may benefit from brushing up their looks and domestic skills.”


The review, “A sociocultural framework for understanding partner preferences of women and men: integration of concepts and evidence,” was published in January in the European Review of Social Psychology.

Read more in Northwestern News. >>


Chad Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, is a pioneer in a unique frontier.


Northwestern University professor Chad A. Mirkin was recognized February 11 with the prestigious 2016 Dan David Prize in the Future Time Dimension for his trail-blazing breakthroughs in nanoscience.


Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern, is a pioneer in a unique frontier.


For the past two decades, he has been repackaging and chemically modifying DNA, the genetic blueprint of life, and its sister nucleic acid, RNA, in new forms and tacking them on to nanoparticles in a quest to achieve new breakthroughs, especially in the health sciences. His work has led to the invention of 3-D structures called spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) that have chemical and physical properties that are radically different from what is found in nature.


SNAs are being used to develop extremely sensitive medical diagnostic systems that can, for example, locate cancer cells, concentrate stem cells within a specific area or study how new drugs affect the inner workings of cells. SNAs are also promising in the development of new therapies. They are non-toxic and can enter cells and flip genetic switches — causing a cancer cell to die, for instance.


Additionally, SNAs can cross barriers, like the skin or the blood-brain barrier, opening the door for the development of many new treatments for diseases such as melanoma, glioblastoma multiforme (a type of brain cancer) and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Because of these unusual structure-dependent properties, SNAs have the potential to positively impact tens of millions of people who suffer from diseases with known genetic links.


“We are all elated that Chad Mirkin’s brilliant research has been recognized with this extraordinary honor from the Dan David Foundation,” Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said. “The award recognizes the world-changing work being done by Professor Mirkin, his interdisciplinary research group and the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern.”


Mirkin shares the $1 million prize with Paul Alivisatos, University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Sir John Pendry, Imperial College London. All of the 2016 Dan David Prize laureates will be honored at an award ceremony May 22 at Tel Aviv University.


“I am truly honored and thrilled to receive this international award along with professors Alivisatos and Pendry,” Mirkin said. “It is an extraordinary validation of many years of work in the laboratory.”


The international Dan David Prize, headquartered at Tel Aviv University, annually awards three $1 million prizes for outstanding achievements in the three time dimensions -- past, present and future. This year, the future time dimension prize recognizes innovative and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms in nanoscience and nanotechnology. Dan David Prize laureates donate 10 percent of their prize money to graduate students in their respective fields, thereby contributing to the community and fostering a new generation of scholars.


Mirkin is the founding director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN). He also is a professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and professor of chemical and biological engineering, biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.


The IIN currently represents more than $800 million in nanotechnology research, educational programs and supporting infrastructure. The work reaches into virtually every industry, including health, energy, electronics, security and defense, and the environment.


In addition to spherical nucleic acids, Mirkin also is the inventor and chief developer of three pioneering nanoscale fabrication and analytical tools: Dip-Pen Nanolithography, Polymer Pen Lithography and Beam-Pen Lithography. He is the founder of three companies, Nanosphere, AuraSense and Exicure, all aimed at transitioning advances in nanotechnology to the diagnosis and treatment of disease.


The world’s top-cited researcher in nanomedicine and one of the most widely cited chemists, Mirkin has been a member of President Barack Obama’s President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology since 2009. He is one of very few scientists, engineers and medical doctors to be elected to all three branches of the U.S. National Academies — the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine.


Mirkin’s contributions have been recognized with more than 100 national and international awards, including the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize and the 2015 inaugural $400,000 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Convergence Research.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>

LIGO.jpg Two Northwestern astrophysicists contributed to historic discovery by LIGO-Virgo collaborations


EVANSTON, Ill. --- For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.


Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot otherwise be obtained. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.


The gravitational waves were detected on Sept. 14, 2015, at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (9:51 UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA. The LIGO Observatories are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and were conceived, built and are operated by Caltech and MIT. The discovery, accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters, was made by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (which includes the GEO Collaboration and the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy) and the Virgo Collaboration using data from the two LIGO detectors.


The news of the first definitive detection of gravitational waves and the first observation of colliding black holes is being announced today (Feb. 11) at a news conference starting at 10:30 a.m. (EST) at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The event, hosted by the National Science Foundation, is being simulcast live online.


Two Northwestern University astrophysicists, Vicky Kalogera and Shane L. Larson, are members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), which carries out LIGO-related research. Their contributions to the discovery include making predictions for anticipated detections, interpreting the astrophysics, analyzing the data and characterizing the detectors.


An LSC member for more than 15 years, Kalogera is one of LIGO’s most senior astrophysicists and led the LSC’s astrophysics effort as the LIGO co-editor of the paper about the discovery’s astrophysical implications. This companion paper is accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.


Kalogera is attending today’s news conference and can answer questions about the discovery’s implications for astrophysics; she also is available for comment after the event.


Larson has been involved with LIGO for five years and with the gravitational-wave community for more than a decade. Larson can comment on the importance of gravitational-wave exploration and research.


Almost everything we currently know about the universe has been discovered with light of some kind, said Kalogera, director of Northwestern’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). “Gravitational waves carry completely new information about black holes and other cosmic objects and will unlock a new window onto the universe. These waves are very weak and challenging to detect, but now we have detected our first burst of gravitational waves.”


An expert in black-hole formation in binary systems and in LIGO data analysis, Kalogera also is the Erastus O. Haven Professor of physics and astronomy and associate chair of the department of physics and astronomy in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.


A black hole’s gravity is so strong, not even light can escape it. But black holes do radiate gravitational waves, produced by accelerating masses. The gravitational-wave event detected Sept. 14 was two black holes, one orbiting around the other, moving eventually at half the speed of light, colliding and merging to form a new, bigger black hole.


“This is a new kind of astronomy -- observing the universe using gravity itself,” said Larson, research associate professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern, a CIERA member and an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.


“We can’t ‘see’ black holes with telescopes. This is the first time black holes have been directly detected by measuring them, through their gravity, as opposed to measuring the effect they have on other matter in the universe,” Larson said.


Kalogera leads the LIGO research team at Northwestern that currently includes Larson, two postdoctoral fellows, three graduate students and several undergraduate students.


“The long-term goal for the LIGO detectors and its observations is to do astrophysics,” Kalogera said. “We want to use the gravitational-wave observations to learn about our universe for decades and centuries to come.”


In this context, Northwestern has played a major role within the LIGO collaboration, with Kalogera being the first “card-carrying” astrophysicist to join the collaboration, back in 2000.


Northwestern’s Selim Shahriar also is a LIGO member, working on the laser physics of the enterprise. He is looking for ways to improve the sensitivity of the LIGO detectors and broaden the spectrum that the detectors are sensitive to. Shahriar is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. LIGO research is carried out by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), a group of more than 1000 scientists from universities around the United States and in 14 other countries. More than 90 universities and research institutes in the LSC develop detector technology and analyze data; approximately 250 students are strong contributing members of the collaboration.


The LSC detector network includes the LIGO interferometers and the GEO600 detector. The GEO team includes scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI), Leibniz Universität Hannover, along with partners at the University of Glasgow, Cardiff University, the University of Birmingham, other universities in the United Kingdom, and the University of the Balearic Islands in Spain.


LIGO was originally proposed as a means of detecting these gravitational waves in the 1980s by Rainer Weiss, professor of physics, emeritus, from MIT; Kip Thorne, Caltech’s Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, emeritus; and Ronald Drever, professor of physics, emeritus, also from Caltech.


Virgo research is carried out by the Virgo Collaboration, consisting of more than 250 physicists and engineers belonging to 19 different European research groups: 6 from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France; 8 from the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) in Italy; 2 in The Netherlands with Nikhef; the Wigner RCP in Hungary; the POLGRAW group in Poland and the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO), the laboratory hosting the Virgo detector near Pisa in Italy.


The discovery was made possible by the enhanced capabilities of Advanced LIGO, a major upgrade that increases the sensitivity of the instruments compared to the first generation LIGO detectors, enabling a large increase in the volume of the universe probed -- and the discovery of gravitational waves during its first observation run.


The U.S. National Science Foundation leads in financial support for Advanced LIGO. Funding organizations in Germany (Max Planck Society), the U.K. (Science and Technology Facilities Council, STFC) and Australia (Australian Research Council) also have made significant commitments to the project. Several of the key technologies that made Advanced LIGO so much more sensitive have been developed and tested by the German UK GEO collaboration.


Significant computer resources have been contributed by the AEI Hannover Atlas Cluster, the LIGO Laboratory, Syracuse University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Several universities designed, built, and tested key components for Advanced LIGO: The Australian National University, the University of Adelaide, the University of Florida, Stanford University, Columbia University in the City of New York, and Louisiana State University.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>


Learn to Save a Life

Posted by anew.0000677560 Feb 10, 2016

norris0003.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. -- Learn to save a life this Valentine’s Day by attending a free training session on hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at Northwestern University and other Evanston locations.


Most people who experience cardiac arrest at work or at home die because immediate CPR from bystanders is not available. Yet 70 percent of Americans do not know how to provide care, or they are afraid to do so, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).


Members of the Northwestern and Evanston communities will learn to act as first responders Sunday, Feb. 14, as part of a program created by Heart Safe Communities, designed to promote survival from sudden out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.


In 30 minutes, participants will gain critical skills in how to recognize the signs of a heart attack, when to call 911, how to perform hands-only CPR and the proper use of an automated external defibrillator (AED).


Hands-only CPR is considered an effective way to get bystanders to attempt resuscitation. Based in part on two major studies by The New England Journal of Medicine, the AHA removed rescue breathing from CPR guidelines for teenagers and adults in sudden cardiac arrest.


Training sessions will run in 30-minute increments from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants can register online in advance or on site at any of the 15 locations in Evanston.


Northwestern will host sessions at three sites:


  • University Hall, Room 218
  • Norris University Center (pictured right), Northwestern Room
  • Technological Institute, Room L158


A list of the other 12 sites in Evanston can be found online at Illinois Heart Safe Community.


Northwestern’s partners on this initiative include Presence Saint Francis Hospital, the Evanston Fire Department, Illinois Heart Rescue and NorthShore University HealthSystem.


Several University units, including Neighborhood and Community Relations, Safety and Security, the Center for Civic Engagement and Norris University Center, will provide volunteers and support during the training sessions.


Training sessions are free, and complimentary snacks will be served.


Read more on Northwestern News. >>

solar decathlon - feature.jpg

2015 Solar Decathlon - Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Imagine a beautiful home on the shores of Lake Michigan – large windows looking out at the lake, native grasses adorning the exterior landscaping, and rooftop solar panels soaking up the sun. In fact, this house is so energy efficient that it operates entirely off the grid.


Students and faculty will not only be able to see a home like this on the Northwestern University campus in 2017, they’ll help create it.


Northwestern is one of 16 global teams chosen to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 Solar Decathlon College Team Competition. It is Northwestern’s first time both applying for, and competing in, the Solar Decathlon.


In the biennial program, participants are challenged to design and build functional, solar-powered homes, and will compete for $2 million in prize money. The winning team will achieve maximum efficiency and energy production, in combination with a low-cost, appealing design.


Northwestern’s Solar Decathlon team, “House by Northwestern,” will be lead by Dick Co, Camille & Henry Dreyfus Environmental Chemistry Mentor and Research Associate Professor of Chemistry at the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research (ANSER) Center and co-founder and managing director of the Solar Fuels Institute (SOFI).


“A beautiful, thoughtfully designed, sustainable home is a very powerful image,” said Co. “The technology exists today to build a house radically more efficient than the average home, and seeing is believing.”


Co will lead students through the creation of the solar-powered home in collaboration with partners and supporters - from Illinois Senators Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin, to leaders in the architecture and design industry. These alliances helped carry Northwestern through an extremely competitive application process.


Corporate partners that have committed time and resources to the project include PositivEnergy Practice, a consulting firm that implements carbon reduction strategies, DIRTT, which creates sustainable, prefab modular interior solutions, and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), one of the world’s foremost architecture firms, which designed the Jeddah Tower (formerly Kingdom Tower) in Saudi Arabia, set to be the tallest building in the world.


“AS+GG has been discussing environmental issues with Northwestern for years and was always impressed with the University’s leading research and capabilities,” said Bob Forest, a partner at AS+GG.


“This is the perfect opportunity to collaborate on a real world project to demonstrate solutions to energy efficiency issues, advancing the change needed to make sustainable design and construction practices commonplace.”


Co envisions that the home will be highly modular and adaptive, capable of reconfiguration and evolving with the occupant as needs and circumstances change. House By Northwestern will have a living space filled with highly functional furniture, much of it integrated into the home itself – an expertise that DIRTT will bring to the project.


“DIRTT’s modular systems will allow for unending flexibility and an infinite number of reconfigurations as the occupants grow and change over time,” said Jessie Craigie, a member of DIRTT’s Sustainability Team. “We hope this home will inspire people to build better and to see that technology and sustainability truly go hand in hand.”


While industry partners will bring important expertise to the project, students will truly drive it. Student teams will get hands on experience in architectural design and implementation, engineering, and communications and outreach strategies.


This multidisciplinary experience will truly encompass STEAM education – marrying science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. The result will be a state-of-the-art, solar-powered home that will be built, toured, showcased, and utilized.

In the coming weeks and months Co will begin holding regular meetings with interested students and partners to determine project teams and begin technical plans. He will also lead the effort to raise over $1 million in funding for this project. The Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN), the primary University supporter of House by Northwestern, will create a special topics course for students to earn academic credit for their involvement in the project beginning Spring 2016.

Co hopes that the House by Northwestern will not only demonstrate how we could already be saving energy and money by using products that are currently available, but will also push students to use their ingenuity to revolutionize sustainable design.

Students, faculty, and partners interested in getting involved in the House by Northwestern or following its progress can visit for updates.


The full list of 2017 Solar Decathlon teams:


  • École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Daytona State College (Daytona Beach, Florida)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • HU University of Applied Science Utrecht (Utrecht, Netherlands)
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, Missouri)
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)
  • Rice University (Houston, Texas)
  • Syracuse University (Syracuse, New York)
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, Alabama)
  • University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, California)
  • University of California, Davis (Davis, California)
  • University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Washington State University (Pullman, Washington)
  • Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • West Virginia University (Morgantown, West Virginia)


Read more in Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern's News and Updates. >>

LSN_3964.jpgEVANSTON, Ill.  --- Playing off the emotions of music, scientists will help deepen understanding about climate change at a Northwestern University event titled “Making Climate Data Sing.”


The program features a group of musician-scientists who will perform in a string quartet. The music will be accompanied by a panel discussion that explores how music can help explain climate change.


Inspired and created by University of Minnesota scientists and musicians Daniel Crawford and Scott St. George, the interdisciplinary program will take place 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, at Lutkin Memorial Hall, 700 University Place on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.


Crawford and St. George, who will participate in the program, argue that music has a role in communicating science because it can elicit a strong emotional response leading to deeper engagement and understanding.


“The arts have a role to play in scientific issues that impact the public sphere, and climate change is certainly one of those, whether you ‘believe’ it or not,” said Brad Sageman, co-director of the Institute for Sustainability and Energy (ISEN) at Northwestern.


Sageman and Miranda Cawley, a Northwestern senior majoring in journalism and environmental science, will participate in the panel discussion following the musical performance. The event is hosted by Northwestern’s Buffet Institute for Global Studies.


The inherently narrative nature of music builds on previous notes or phrases with an often-powerful influence on human emotions. Some scientists think sonification -- transforming data into acoustic signals -- may be a way to better engage the public and help them retain the ideas.


Temperature data, for example, can be complicated because it’s measured by a variety of instruments, with different levels of error, and in many different places that have a massive range of variability, Northwestern’s Sageman said.


Yet it’s possible to extract clear signals from the noise. “The average temperature of the Earth has increased over the last 150 years, especially in the last decade, and the rate in increase is not geographically uniform,” Sageman said. “It is warming much faster at high latitudes. This will be demonstrated by the musical piece.”


“Music stirs our emotions,” Sageman added. “Hopefully having people talk about the feelings evoked by this performance will also help to stimulate conversation about climate change.”


Panelists include:


Daniel Crawford, Institute of Environment (University of Minnesota), is an environmental geographer and musician who uses sonification to enhance the communication of climate science.


Scott St. George is an associate professor of geography, environment and society at the University of Minnesota. He is a resident fellow in the University’s Institute on the Environment. As an earth scientist trained in paleoclimatology, St. George uses evidence preserved in tree rings and other natural archives to understand how and why our environment has changed during the last several hundred or thousands of years.


Brad Sageman is co-director of the Institute for Sustainability and Energy and chair of earth and planetary sciences at Northwestern. He is an earth scientist with research interests in carbon cycling, climate change and sustainable energy. His research has its foundation in understanding the relationship between geologic time and the accumulation of sedimentary rocks. It is relevant to both the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (especially shale gas, a critical transition fuel to a low-carbon future) as well as the role of the carbon cycle as a natural source and sink of CO2 to the atmosphere.


Miranda Cawley is a senior at Northwestern majoring in journalism and environmental science. She uses media to educate about food, water and our relationship with the environment.


Read more on Northwestern News. >>

AA039591.jpgCHICAGO, Ill. --- Since 2010, more than 613,000 people have pledged to combat bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens as part of the “It Gets Better” campaign. And a new Northwestern Medicine study has found that most adolescents would agree that it does, in fact, get better. But not all.


Discrimination, harassment and assault of LGBT youths is still very much a problem for about a third of adolescents, the study found. What’s more, it’s often very severe, ongoing and leads to lasting mental health problems such as major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


“We tend to think that society is evolving but we can’t just accept this narrative that ‘it gets better’ and think it gets better for everyone,” said Brian Mustanski, an associate professor in medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and director of the new Northwestern Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing.


Mustanski was happy to see that the majority of the 248 youths in the study (84.6 percent) experienced decreasing levels of victimization over the four years. But 10.3 percent experienced significant increases in bullying, and 5.1 percent maintained high levels of victimization over the four years. Mustanski was struck by just how severe the treatment was.


“With bullying, I think people often assume ‘that’s just kids teasing kids,’ and that’s not true,” Mustanski said. “If these incidents, which might include physical and sexual assaults, weren’t happening in schools, people would be calling the police. These are criminal offenses.”


Mustanski is the lead author of the study published on Jan. 21 in The American Journal of Public Health, which was innovative because it looked at not only the number of victimizations teens were experiencing but how severe they were and how they changed over time.


“You can’t equate someone giving you a dirty look with someone physically assaulting you,” Mustanski said. “Victimizations that are more severe are going to have bigger effects. We scored them in a way that represented that, and we saw they had a profound effect on mental health rates over time.”


The LGBT youths who were at the highest risk for mental health problems were those who experienced moderate harassment (i.e. having something thrown at them) that increased over time or adolescents who continually experienced high levels of victimization (i.e. physical or sexual assault) over the course of the four years.


Accumulation of victimizations was the key difference in Mustanski’s study from previous research that focused on a single period of time. While a single incident can have an impact on a young person, Mustanski’s study found that an adolescent’s depression and PTSD was exacerbated when these assaults built up over time. And even youths who began high school getting severely bullied but were lucky enough to see that lessen over time were still at a higher risk for PTSD.


“Some of the symptoms someone needed to get a PTSD diagnosis were re-imagining or having flashbacks to a traumatic event,” Mustanski said, citing a hypothetical example of an LGBT youth who was repeatedly assaulted for his sexual orientation over time.


“If that’s your experience for several years of high school, you can imagine how scarring that would be,” Mustanski said.


The study in 2007 began examining Chicago youths who identified as LGBT or reported having same-sex attraction. It assessed the teens’ mental health at baseline and in seven interviews over four years and found that females were more likely to be in the group that was getting victimized less over time than men. Boys experienced physical and verbal assault more than girls, Mustanski said.


“We were happy to see that for most kids, the levels of victimization were lower overall or decreasing over time. But we were struck by how severe it was for some of these kids who were getting highly victimized over their four years of high school,” Mustanski said.


Overall, he said it is important to note that the majority of targeted LGBT youths are doing well and are “resilient,” but for the group of adolescents getting severely victimized, something drastic needs to be done.


He hopes the study’s findings will help schools clearly see these patterns of LGBT bullying so they can intervene with policies and programs to help prevent the behavior and provide coping mechanisms for those who are being targeted.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>



If you were lucky, you found your “first love” at college: an academic passion you never knew you had, a freshman roommate who became a lifelong best friend, a significant other who changed you forever.


We want to hear all about it: Comment below to tell us your stories of love through Northwestern. You may even be featured on the Northwestern Alumni Association Facebook page. #ILoveNUandU




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Impact Engine co-founder Jamie Jones '09, sharEd CEO Bobby Powers '16, and Duda Cardoso '16, president of Kellogg's Net Impact Club, were named 2016 Youn Impact Scholars. 


Five Kellogg students and six alumni have been named this year’s Youn Impact Scholars, a select group of students and alumni recognized for launching new enterprises, influencing policy decisions and leveraging the private sector for positive social change.


Considered the gold standard of social impact honors at Kellogg, the 2016 cohort brings the scholar network to a total of 30, creating the critical mass intended when the program was created through a gift from Northwestern Trustee Christopher Combe (WCAS70) and his wife, Courtney, and named after One Acre Fund founder Andrew Youn ’06.


This May, the newly minted scholars will have a chance to connect and exchange ideas with their 2014 and 2015 counterparts at the program’s first biennial event during Reunion weekend.


A call to action


For Bobby Powers ’16, “being named a scholar is really an inspirational call to action to do more to follow the example of other scholars.” Powers is the co-founder of sharEd, a social venture that provides affordable learning and teacher training materials for early childhood education through a subscription-sharing model.


As Powers begins the process of scaling up sharEd, he’s counting on other Youn Impact Scholars to share their wisdom. “Funding, team building and measuring outcomes are all huge challenges for social impact startups,” he says, “but I couldn't have a better network to learn from than the Youn group.”


Duda Cardoso ’16, president of Kellogg’s Net Impact Club, a national organization dedicated to promoting social impact in business, echoes Powers’ excitement about joining a group of like-minded social entrepreneurs. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the field of social impact, it’s that partnerships are essential to creating lasting change,” she says.


Exchanging ideas


For the first time, members from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 cohorts will gather at Kellogg during Reunion this May. It’s an opportunity for all Youn scholars — both students and alumni, living and working both domestically and abroad — to join forces and exchange ideas. “Coming together increases the power of this group to realize and extend their vision beyond their own capabilities,” says Sheila Duran, senior director of the Kellogg Public-Private Initiative (KPPI).


Jamie Jones ’09, a 2016 scholar and co-founder of Impact Engine, an accelerator that addresses social and environmental issues, looks forward to meeting student scholars at the biennial event and helping them realize their full potential. “Their energy is contagious. Their ideas are inspirational,” she says. “It's rewarding to help them think through pathways to see their ideas take shape and impact individuals, communities, countries and our world.”


Here’s the full list of the 2016 Youn Impact Scholars:





Read more in Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management News & Events Center. >>

forti638.jpg Forti is one of several leading visionaries featured in conjunction with The Block Museum’s Main Gallery Show, “A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s,” the first major exhibition exploring the art and impact of Moorman, a groundbreaking, rule-bending artist, musician and advocate for the experimental art of her time.

EVANSTON, Ill.  -- At 81, renowned experimental dancer, choreographer and writer Simone Forti has no plans to stop moving. In the middle of a Chicago winter, she’ll be directing a weekend-long creative writing and movement workshop that takes students outdoors to the shores of Lake Michigan.


The two-day workshop at Northwestern University culminates at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, with the free public program, “Thinking with the Body.” The event features a student performance of “Huddle,” Forti’s seminal 1961 work included in Charlotte Moorman’s Avant-Garde Festivals.


“Thinking with the Body” also includes a conversation with Forti, who will discuss the relationship between dance, language, everyday movement and performance, in an interview with Northwestern’s Amanda Jane Graham, Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies.


The event will be held at The GYM, 640 Lincoln Street in Evanston.


Forti is one of several leading visionaries featured in conjunction with The Block Museum’s Main Gallery Show, “A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s,” the first major exhibition exploring the art and impact of Moorman, a groundbreaking, rule-bending artist, musician and advocate for the experimental art of her time.


Throughout her career, Forti has explored the potential for dance to serve as an accessible link between thought and language, raising questions such as, “how can we develop a natural and intuitive flow between moving and speaking?”


“Part of what makes ‘Thinking with the Body’ special is how Forti works with improvisation,” said Susy Bielak, associate director of engagement and curator of public practice at Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art.


“During Monday’s program, students will perform “Huddle” and read writing generated through the weekend workshops. The event is a blend between a lively, multimedia performance and a chance to hear from one of the leading lights of contemporary art,” Bielak said.


Forti’s weekend workshop features an interdisciplinary mix of students from across campus and Chicago, including those majoring in art, journalism, dance, music theory, earth science and mathematics.


“As I expand and sharpen my own practice, it is a great honor to work directly with her,” said Toby Altman, doctoral candidate in Northwestern’s English department. “I also would like to learn from the way she thinks about the body itself: how she stages it as part of -- and as an intervention in --its environment.”


Forti’s work has evolved over time, but she has consistently used her body as a form of expression. From her early minimalist “Dance Constructions” through her “Animal Movement Studies” and “Illuminations Studies of Centrifugal Force,” to her “Logomotion News Animations,” she has sought and invented ideas and practices drawing on sources ranging from the news to animal behavior.


In 2005, Forti received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Dance. In 2011, she was honored with a Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts. In 2014 she had a retrospective show at the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg, Austria.


Parking is available by The GYM and in Northwestern Parking Lots nearby. Allow time for potential construction delays on Sheridan Road.


The interdisciplinary program is co-sponsored by Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences departments of art history, art theory and practice, the School of Communication’s department of performance studies and dance program; Mellon Dance Studies; and Northwestern’s Poetry & Poetics Colloquium.

Read more in Northwestern News. >>

heart-surgery-1.jpgCHICAGO --- A new landmark national study led by Northwestern Medicine showed allowing surgical residents the flexibility to work longer hours in order to stay with their patients through the end of an operation or stabilize them during a critical event did not pose a greater risk to patients.


The highly anticipated seminal study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the Academic Surgical Congress on Feb. 2, 2016.


“It’s counterintuitive to think it’s better for doctors to work longer hours,” said principal investigator Dr. Karl Bilimoria, director of the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine physician. “But when doctors have to hand off their patients to other doctors at dangerous, inopportune times, that creates vulnerability to the loss of critical information, a break in the doctor-patient relationship and unsafe care.”


The study also found surgical residents reported no worsening in their overall well-being and personal safety when working longer hours. In fact, they noted considerable improvements in patient safety and the quality of their training. Surgical residents have finished medical school and are training for five to seven years to become a general surgeon.


“These results suggest flexible duty hours are safe for patients and beneficial for residents in numerous ways,” Bilimoria said.


The FIRST (Flexibility in Duty Hour Requirements for Surgical Trainees) trial is the first national randomized trial of resident duty hour policies. Prior smaller studies have suggested there may be worse surgical patient outcomes after the duty hour limits were established in 2003, Bilimoria said. Thus, the Institute of Medicine requested these types of national trials to be performed in its 2008 report, and the FIRST Trial is the first.


Duty hour policies were implemented in 2003 and revised in 2011 by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to address concerns about patient safety and residents’ well-being. The reforms limited residents’ work hours to 80 per week, capped shifts to 28 consecutive hours and mandated minimum time off between shifts. In addition, the shift length for interns (first-year residents) was shortened to 16 consecutive hours and their minimum time off increased after a 24-hour shift.


Investigators randomly assigned general surgery residency programs to one of two types of duty hour policies from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. Both groups followed three ACGME rules: limiting the work week to 80 hours per week; taking one day off in seven; and not taking call more than every third night.


Half the programs followed all current policy restrictions. Residents in the other half had the flexibility to reorganize their hours to best care for patients and could work more than 28 hours at a time, if they needed to.


The FIRST trial investigated surgical patients’ complication rates in the first postoperative month under less-restrictive duty hour policies compared to the current ACGME policies. The study included 4,330 residents, 138,691 patients, 117 residency programs and 151 hospitals around the country. Nearly every eligible residency program in the country agreed to participate in the trial.


The investigators evaluated a combined measure of patients’ deaths or serious complications within 30 days of an operation. Of nearly 139,000 patients treated, the rate of the composite outcome was similar in both groups.

The study also showed residents in the flexibility arm were half as likely to leave in the middle of an operation or to miss an operation on one of their patients. Residents also were half as likely to leave one of their patients at a critical moment due to duty hour limits. Improving continuity of care was the guiding principle of the study.

“Residents used the flexibility of their hours strategically at important times,” Bilimoria said. “We have had overwhelming support from surgical residents in favor of increased flexibility.”

Bilimoria said he hopes the ACGME will use the study’s results to revise duty hour policies.

“As a patient, you want the person who knows you to take care of you through the really critical parts of your care,” Bilimoria said. “Once you are stabilized or your operation is done, then the doctors can hand off your care in a responsible way.”

A 2012 meta-analysis from the ACGME and a large 2014 review suggested that the duty restrictions have resulted in more deaths and serious complications for surgical patients.

The FIRST Trial was funded by the American Board of Surgery, the American College of Surgeons and the ACGME.

Read more in Northwestern News. >>



EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University students, faculty and staff on the Evanston and Chicago campuses can look forward to free admission to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago during the 2016 calendar year.


The latest perk for those who teach, work or study at Northwestern is the result of a new partnership between Northwestern and the MCA, managed by Student Organizations & Activities (SOA) in the University’s Office of Campus Life.


Northwestern undergraduate students already enjoy free admission to the Art Institute of Chicago, thanks to a similar partnership also managed by Student Organizations & Activities.


Students, regardless of status (undergraduate, graduate, professional, part-time and full-time), faculty and staff only need to present their valid Wildcard ID at the ticket counter during public museum hours.


In addition to free admission, Northwestern students will receive discounts to select performing arts events at the MCA throughout 2016, subject to availability. And faculty will be able to arrange museum docent-led tours with advance notice.


The MCA is located steps away from Northwestern’s Ward intercampus shuttle stop and across the street from the University’s Chicago campus.


The MCA is located at 220 E. Chicago Ave., near the historic Water Tower in downtown Chicago. For convenience, Northwestern’s intercampus shuttles will drop-off and pick-up Northwestern passengers with IDs directly in front of the museum entrance. The art museum also is convenient to public transportation. Directions and parking information available online.


Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago


The MCA Chicago is one of the nation’s largest multidisciplinary museums devoted to the art of our time. With an international reputation for presenting groundbreaking exhibitions, the MCA documents contemporary visual culture through painting, sculpture, photography, film and video.


The MCA’s collection includes approximately 6,000 works comprised of 2,500 objects and 3,500 artists’ books, attracting an average annual attendance of 250,000.


The MCA collection provides a historical context for examining continuing developments in contemporary art. It features notable strengths in minimalism, post-minimalism, conceptualism, surrealism, photography and artists books, as well as works by Chicago-based artists.Artists collected in depth include Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, René Magritte, Ed Paschke (former Northwestern faculty member), Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol and other well-known artists.

MCA Stage, a nationally-recognized presenter of contemporary theater, dance, music and multimedia performances, features leading performers from around the world in its 300-seat theater. More information on upcoming events is available online.

The MCA also features special exhibition spaces, a gift store, restaurant and a terraced sculpture garden with a view of Lake Michigan. More information available online.


The Museum of Contemporary Art is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The MCA is closed on Monday and on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Suggested admission to the MCA is $12 for the general public and $7 for students and senior citizens. Admission is free for MCA members, members of the military and veterans, and children age 12 and under. Illinois residents can visit the MCA for free on Tuesday.


Northwestern also has a partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago, sponsored by Northwestern Campus Life.

Through this partnership, undergraduate students are granted free admission to the museum during normal museum hours and have access to all special exhibitions, lectures and programs year-round with their Wildcard IDs. These dynamic learning opportunities are designed to serve a broad spectrum of audiences and to enhance perception and spur creativity.

Free admission is granted to Northwestern community members and their guests during the annual "Northwestern Night" at the Art Institute of Chicago. The event is open to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff and their guests, and all are encouraged to wear purple to show off their "Purple Pride." Northwestern participants and their guests are admitted without charge at the Modern Wing entrance on Monroe Street.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>



Join Mark Silberg (WCAS '14, Philosophy), network manager for the Electricity Innovation Lab (eLab) at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), on Monday, Feb. 8 for Northwestern Career Advancement’s third #TakeNUToWorkDay Twitter Takeover in partnership with ISEN. Mark will live Tweet about his workday on NCA’s @JobsforCats and give Northwestern students a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work in the energy/sustainability industry. The Rocky Mountain Institute is a world-leading independent, non-partisan nonprofit "think- and do- tank" that drives the efficient and restorative use of resources.


In eLab, Mark engages hundreds of electricity-sector leaders and partner organizations driving collaborative solutions to emerging challenges facing the electricity industry. Beginning his career as a gas station clerk, Mark is also a founder of Spark Clean Energy, a national nonprofit catalyzing students and their startups in cleantech. He was recently named in Forbes 30 Under 30 in Energy.


"Northwestern remains a stage for intellectual experimentation and learning-by-doing," Silberg says. "Balancing theory against practice not only enlivened my university experience; it's ensured I remain theoretically curious while action-oriented. I've been very lucky to learn the relationship between how to think, and how to help build the future."


Follow @JobsforCats on Feb. 8 to join the conversation and ask questions about Mark’s career path, role at RMI, and the energy/sustainability industry using the hashtag #TakeNUToWorkDay or #TNU2WD.

#TakeNUToWorkDay is Northwestern Career Advancement’s Twitter Takeover program, where Northwestern alumni in a range of career fields share their workdays with Northwestern students.

JP_150616_Northwestern General Campus_254.JPGEVANSTON, Ill. --- Four students from Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music will perform in a special concert at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that semi-annually showcases the best young musical artists from the nation’s leading colleges, universities and conservatories.


A live stream of the concert in Washington, D.C., will be available beginning at 5 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST) Feb. 16 at


This marks the 12th consecutive year that top students from the Bienen School will be featured in a concert as part of the Kennedy Center’s Conservatory Project. The semi-annual concert introduces Washington audiences to young musicians destined to have important careers.


The Bienen School’s Kennedy Center performers for 2016 are as follows:


  • Cellist Riana Anthony is a first-year master of music student of Hans Jørgen Jensen, professor of cello. Born and raised in Yamagata, Japan, Anthony began playing the cello at the age of nine under her mother and cellist, Kurata Sumiko. She was awarded twice in Osaka’s Izuminomori Cello and Contrabass Festival. Since moving to Honolulu in 2003, she has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in Japan, China, North America and Europe. She made her Honolulu Symphony debut at the age of 12 as a winner of the Honolulu Youth Concerto Competition. In 2014, Anthony was featured in “The City, The Romanticism” as soloist with the Shanghai City Symphony Orchestra, and she has toured several Chinese cities, most recently featured in the Future Masters Concert Series at the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai. Anthony completed her undergraduate studies at the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings under cellists Julie Albers and Bienen School Professor Hans Jørgen Jensen. Anthony will perform Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano.
  • Pianist Dong-Wan Ha is a doctor of musical arts degree candidate studying with the Bienen School’s Alan Chow, associate professor of piano. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Ha began his piano studies at the age of seven. He received a bachelor of music degree in piano performance from Seoul National University in 2011, then moved to the United States to pursue a master of music degree in piano performance and literature at the Eastman School of Music. He continued his piano studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he received an artist diploma in piano performance and collaborative piano. Ha has studied piano with Jung-Hyun Lee, Mari Kwon, Hyoung-Joon Chang, Barry Snyder, Haesun Paik and Anita Pontremoli. He has won several national and international competitions, including prizes in the Korean Piano Duo Competition and Joong-ang National Music Competition in his home country, the Glasgow International Competition of Young Pianists in Scotland, and the Asia Chopin International Competition in Japan. Ha will perform two works by Liszt -- Consolation No. 3 in D-flat Major, S. 172 and “Paraphrase de concert sur Rigoletto,” S. 434.
  • Soprano Madison Leonard is a second-year master of music student of Bienen School faculty member Karen Brunssen, associate professor of voice. On stage, Leonard has appeared as Susanna in Mozart’s “Le nozze di Figaro,” Geraldine in Barber’s “A Hand of Bridge,” Ginevra in Handel’s “Ariodante,” Kitty Hart in Jake Heggie’s “Dead Man Walking” and Madame Herz in Mozart’s “The Impresario.” At the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, Leonard performed the role of Monica in Menotti’s “The Medium,” covered Norina in Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale,” and portrayed Gretel in Humperdinck’s “Hänsel und Gretel,” receiving praise for “the best vocal performance of the entire evening” (Mark Rudio’s “A Beast in a Jungle.”) She was a finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for the Illinois district and received first place in the Central Region National Association of Teachers of Singing competition. A native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Leonard is an alumna of Pepperdine University. Leonard will perform Massenet’s “Je suis encore tout étourdie,” Schumann’s “Stille Tränen,” H.T. Burleigh’s “Worth While” and Puccini’s “Morire?”
  • Violinist Dmitri Pogorelov is a doctor of musical arts degree candidate studying with the Bienen School’s Gerardo Ribeiro, professor of violin. As a soloist, Pogorelov has appeared with the Columbus, Flint, Palm Beach and Spokane symphonies, as well as numerous orchestras in his native Russia. An in-demand chamber musician, he has performed with members of the Vermeer, Avalon, Miami, Amernet and Fine Arts string quartets, and the Lincoln Trio, as well as with principal players of the Chicago, Houston, Baltimore, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Colorado and Seattle symphonies; the Minnesota and Concertgebouw, Rochester and Florida Philharmonic orchestras; and the San Francisco, Chicago Lyric, Mannheim and Darmstadt opera orchestras. Pogorelov is first violinist of the Kontras String Quartet, the resident quartet at Western Michigan University. Currently, he serves as associate concertmaster of the Lancaster Festival Orchestra in Ohio. Pogorelov holds degrees in music performance from DePaul and Lynn universities, having studied with Ilya Kaler, Elmar Oliveira and Sergiu Schwartz. Pogorelov will perform Wolfgang Marschner’s Sonata for Solo Violin and Ravel’s “Tzigane” (“Rapsodie de Concert”).


Nolan Pearson will serve as collaborative pianist for Anthony, Leonard and Pogorelov in their Kennedy Center performances. Praised by The New York Times as a "high-energy pianist" who "brought beauty and cohesiveness" to his interpretations of new music, Pearson is a widely active chamber musician. Based in Chicago, he has performed regularly on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber Series and the Dame Myra Hess Series. As soloist, he has appeared recently at MIAM in Istanbul, Rolston Hall at Banff, and Ozawa Hall, and with conductors Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Stefan Asbury, Bridget Reischl, and Bienen School faculty member Robert G. Hasty, among others. The winner of major grants and competitions, including the 2012 Edes Prize for Emerging Artists and the 2008 Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship, Pearson studied principally with Ursula Oppens and Robert Shannon. He is currently an instructor at the Bienen School of Music.


To watch videos of previous Kennedy Center concerts featuring Bienen School students, visit


Read more in Northwestern News. >>


Civil rights activist Diane Nash delivered the keynote address. Photo by Jim Prisching.


By Judy Moore


EVANSTON, Ill. --- Renowned civil rights and peace activist Diane Nash honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Monday (Jan. 25) by challenging students at Northwestern University to learn the lessons of the student nonviolence movement and use them to energize the activism and struggle of their own era for social justice.


Focusing on the power of love to force change, Nash gave a compelling keynote address at Northwestern’s commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. King, who was her friend, and she underscored the importance of strategy and nonviolence in building a better, more just society.


Recalling the civil rights marches of the 1960s — which often ended in violence, serious injury and sometimes even death — Nash said marchers would calm one another, put their arms around marchers who were afraid or who were crying by telling them, “We are doing this for generations yet unborn.”


“So I want you to know that even though we had not yet met you, we loved you, and we were trying to bring about the best society we could for you to be born into and to come of age in,” Nash told the audience of nearly 400 in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.


“Future generations are going to look to you to do the same for them. Freedom is not something you get and then you’ve got it. Freedom is a constant, never-ending struggle. Every individual and every generation faces its own challenges, and I hope that when you face your challenges, you will step up.”


Nash’s keynote address concluded Northwestern’s 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration. The evening program also featured music and performances by Northwestern student groups. Northwestern Associated Student Government (ASG) President Noah Star introduced Nash. Earlier in the day, Nash also addressed Northwestern faculty, staff and students in Thorne Hall on the Chicago campus.


Related: Photos of Northwestern's Martin Luther King Jr. celebration


Nash became involved in the nonviolent civil rights movement in 1959, 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, Alabama, to Jackson, Mississippi. She also played a key role in bringing Martin Luther King Jr. to Montgomery, Alabama, in support of the Freedom Riders.


That memorable journey was documented in the recent Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) American Experience film “Freedom Riders.” Nash later became active in the peace movement that worked to end the Vietnam War, and she became an instructor in the philosophy and strategy of nonviolence as developed by Mohandas Gandhi.


"We need to realize that there is no one to solve the problems but you and me,” Nash said, challenging her audience to take individual action and responsibility for social change. "History books and the media frequently portray the movement of the '60s as Martin Luther King’s movement. It was not. This doesn’t take anything away from Martin. I think he was a great man, and his contribution was tremendous. But the people did everything to initiate and sustain that movement.


"Martin King was not the leader, he was the spokesperson. It was not Martin King’s movement, it was the people’s movement,” she added. "And that’s necessary for you to understand because if young people today see things in society that need to be changed, and they think it was Martin King’s movement, then they might think, 'I wish we had a great leader like Martin Luther King today so that this change could be made.’


"But if you understand that it was ordinary people, just like you and me, who did everything, then when you see something that needs to be changed in society, your question would be, 'What can I do?’”


The Jan. 25 evening celebration at Pick-Staiger began with a musical performance of “Deep River” by the Chapel Choir, conducted by Christoper Betz and featuring vocalist Alexander York and soprano saxophonist Steven Banks.


Musical highlights included a prelude by the Northwestern University Jazz Small Ensemble who played an upbeat version of “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” and John Coltrane’s “Dear Lord.” The audience also stood and joined the Jazz Small Ensemble, Alice Millar Chapel Choir and Northwestern Community Ensemble, led by Eric Budzynski, in singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”


Nash’s speech was followed by the Northwestern Community Ensemble’s a capella rendition of “God Wants a Yes.” Also near the end of the 90-minute program, the Chapel Choir and the Northwestern Community Ensemble combined their vocal talents to sing Rollo Dillworth’s rousing version of “Freedom Train” without musical accompaniment.


During her talks in Chicago and Evanston, Nash related amusing stories about double-dating with her first husband and Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta, 55 years ago, as well as having crushes on entertainers Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier, who were activists in their own right and involved in the civil rights movement, when she was in her early 20s.


But Nash was serious when she talked about “waging war without weapons of violence.” She prefers to use the term “agapic energy,” derived from “agape,” the Greek word for “brotherly love” or “love of humankind,” rather than the term nonviolence, because it denotes intentional activism.


Nash shared a few of the “principles of agapic energy” that she learned in the 1960s and which she has been able to use for a lifetime. They include:


“People are never the enemy -- unjust political systems, unjust economic systems, attitudes (such as) racism, sexism, ignorance and emotional or mental illness -- all of those are enemies,” Nash said. “You can love and respect the person at the same time that you attack their attitude or the action of the person.”


She warned that the problem with violence is you target the individual rather than the unjust system; and oppression always requires the cooperation of the oppressed.


“The system will fall if people do not cooperate,” Nash added. She gave an example of how bus boycotts were effective because blacks stopped riding the buses. “As a result, the oppressed no longer cooperated.”


“Sometimes we hand over power falsely,” she added. “The only person you can change is yourself.”


Nash also shared the six steps she sees as critical for an effective nonviolent campaign:


  1. Investigation: Set an objective and write it down, which gives people the opportunity to talk through what their objective should be. Then, they should determine what they need to achieve that objective.
  2. Education: The movement’s constituents as to what was learned in the first phase and recruit more.
  3. Negotiation: This phase is when people confront their opponent face to face and show them the people’s positions.
  4. Demonstration: Focus the community on the issue.
  5. Resistance: Confront the oppressor and withdraw from the system of oppression.
  6. Take steps to ensure that the problem/oppression does not reoccur.


In his welcoming remarks at Pick-Staiger Monday night, Charles Whitaker, professor of clinical journalism at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marking Communications, acknowledged those who helped make the yearly MLK event possible. Whitaker, who served along with University Chaplain Timothy Stevens as co-chair, led the planning of the MLK events on the Evanston campus.


Whitaker thanked the group of colleagues, students, staff, faculty and alumni who helped in the planning and execution of nearly a week’s worth of programming, culminating with Monday evening’s event. “This event does not happen on my back alone. It does take a village, and we are eternally grateful to the village that steps up and works with us each year,” Whitaker said.


It is the eighth year that Whitaker has served on the committee. Every year that he becomes involved, he said, he ties himself up in knots and frets about the meaning and significance of this exercise. This year he challenged members of the Northwestern community to make a difference in the world.


“I ask myself, why am I, and more importantly, why are we doing this? Why do we gather in this beautiful space each January? I did come up with an answer. And at the risk of kicking things off on a down note, let me start with a caveat by saying what this event should not be. It should not be a hollow ritual. It should not be a time in which to come together as obligations and pat ourselves on the back for being enlightened enough to spend an evening hearing great music and great speeches.”


“Let’s be clear also, this is not a celebration,” he declared. “We gather to declare individually and institutionally that we have a responsibility to engage in and wrestle with the obstacles, though they be great, that continue to prevent our community, our country and our planet from being a more just and equitable place. And so I welcome you on behalf of my fellow committee members, to revel in the beautiful music, yes, to contemplate what I am certain will be stirring speeches, but I also challenge you to think about making a difference in the world. It is about committing yourself to the expansion of opportunities and the inclusion of the historically excluded. This is what compels us each January. And it is with that purpose in mind that we welcome you to contemplate and be motivated by the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.”


Monday night’s student address was delivered eloquently by Timothyna Duncan, a senior from Ghana who is studying broadcast journalism at Medill. Like others at Northwestern’s commemoration of King’s life and legacy this year, Duncan called on fellow students and the Northwestern and Evanston communities to honor King’s legacy by taking action to bring about change and justice.


“I didn’t know I was black until I came to the United States,” she said, opening her remarks with a quote from a Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose experience Duncan said she understood when she came to America and found, for the first time in her life, that she was treated differently by some people because of the color of her skin.


Coming from Ghana, a place where everyone is black, Duncan arrived in the U.S. and became hyperconscious of her own race. “I realized that although I did not arrive in the United States in physical chains, like my ancestors did, I was still subject to some of the systemic and social chains that shackled some people who look like me,” she said.


Duncan went on to list a series of injustices she viewed personally growing up as well as in the news reports across an America she found to be fraught with institutional racism and discrimination. She saw stories like one about an unarmed black teen shot dead for shoplifting, she said, “and it baffled me.” Duncan researched how that kind of discrimination also helped account for the large numbers of black and Latino youths languishing in prison.

“I like to think that all of us are more similar than we think we are,” she declared. “If I as a girl from Ghana can enter into a foreign society and realize its injustices -- and identify with the pain of a community that really has a different history from mine -- then surely, everyone who is living in America can and should see these injustices, too.”

Duncan also noted, “I’m grateful for this opportunity that I have to lend my voice as an aspiring journalist, as a black woman, to contribute to this fight for justice and equality. And to you, the members of the Northwestern and Evanston communities assembled here today, I want you to pledge to me on this day that we honor Dr. King, to think about where you stand in this time of challenge."

Quoting King, she said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ I really hope that all of us can answer by saying that we are making a difference in an unjust world.”

Tahera Ahmad, associate chaplain and director of interfaith engagement, gave the invocation, first in Arabic and then in English, calling people of faith to “stand firmly” for justice.

Nash and Nicholas A. Pearce were the two featured speakers at Northwestern’s annual commemoration of the life and legacy of the late civil and human rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

On Jan. 18, the official King Day holiday, upwards of 400 students, faculty and community members braved single-digit temperatures to honor Dr. King in a candlelight vigil at Alice Millar Chapel on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The event, which was hosted by the Alpha Mu chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, featured musical performances from the Northwestern Community Ensemble and the Alice Millar Chapel Choir and a keynote address from Pearce, clinical assistant professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management and an ordained minister.

“We find ourselves tonight in a nation that is divided into black and white. A nation that’s divided into red and blue. A nation that’s divided into the haves and the have-nots. We find ourselves in one nation under God that is apparently more easily divisible than at any time since reconstruction,” Pearce said. "A nation in which there are systematic efforts to undo the human rights advances of the last several decades. A nation in which we have deceived ourselves by thinking that unprecedented levels of diversity automatically translate into unprecedented levels of inclusion and community."

During his talk, Pearce -- a Northwestern alumnus who is assistant pastor of the historic Apostolic Church of God on Chicago’s South Side -- also stressed the importance of using a college education to improve the greater community.

“How you spend your days is how you spend your life,” Pearce added. “Don’t wait for applause. You will sometimes walk alone. But you owe it to yourselves to dream big dreams -- and walk boldly.”

Also on Jan. 18, Northwestern students engaged in a variety of service projects throughout Evanston and Chicago during the University’s annual Day of Service.

The Chicago campus held two days of service on Jan. 22 and Jan. 23 for Northwestern students at various locations to help keep Dr. King’s legacy alive by participating in one of the many service projects planned in celebration of his life and work.

Jan. 18 also was Eva Jefferson Day on the Evanston campus. The Eva Jefferson Civil Rights Program brought 50 Chicago and Evanston middle school students to campus to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The program's committee organized a full day of arts and crafts activities, speakers for the students and discussions about Dr. King’s legacy. Northwestern student volunteers acted as mentors for the children.

Other MLK-related events on the Evanston campus included two talks by Justice Edwin Cameron of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Cameron offered a personal account of South Africa's transition from an oppressive racist autocracy to an inclusive democracy under the world's most progressive constitution. He also reflected on the most notable successes as well as the biggest failures as a nation. Cameron’s visit was sponsored by Medill.

Chicago campus events included a Student Oratorical Competition. Ashley Kirkwood, ’16 JD of the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and winner of the Chicago campus’ inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Student Oratorical Contest, urged audience members to carry on King’s legacy of hope, action and impact.

Complacency is not an option considering the ills facing many Chicago communities and issues playing out so prominently in today’s news, said the third-year law student.

“I plan to remember Dr. King’s legacy by not staying in my comfort zone and simply harnessing anger and sadness and disbelief at the state of the nation 46 years after his death, but by giving hope to my community, taking action and impacting my community on a consistent basis,” she said.

The Chicago campus DREAM committee also hosted a conversation featuring guest speaker Craig Futterman, the founder of the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project at the University of Chicago Law School’s Mandel Legal Aid Clinic. Much of Futterman’s career has been devoted to police accountability. He also was instrumental in the Freedom of Information Act litigation that ultimately resulted in the release of the Laquan McDonald video that sparked weeks of protests. His candid conversation focused on Chicago’s longtime struggle for equity in policing and the role the law can play in bringing injustice to light.

A Dream Week reception in the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law lobby, co-sponsored by the Black Law Students Association, preceded a screening of Candescent Films’ award-winning “3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets.” The documentary follows two individuals — a white middle-aged male and a black teenager — whose lives intersected and were forever altered in 2012 after they exchanged angry words over the volume of music in the boy’s car. A gun entered the exchange, and one of them was left dead. Thus began the long journey of unraveling the truth. The film follows that journey, reconstructing the night of the murder and revealing how hidden racial prejudice can result in tragedy.

- Northwestern editors Storer H. Rowley, Pat Vaughan Tremmel, Hilary Hurd Anyaso, Erin Meyer and Kristin Samuelson contributed to this report.


Read more on Northwestern News. >>

Soiled.jpgFor the third year in a row, artists and engineers have teamed up in Data as Art, a collaborative class between Northwestern Engineering and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).


Taught in the fall, Data as Art brings together students from both institutions to fuse analytics and aesthetics by representing data sets through visual arts. Final projects are now on display in the atrium of the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center until February 19.


Bruce Ankenman, co-director of the Segal Design Institute who leads the class on Northwestern’s end, said the overarching objective is to have artists and engineers work together, sharing thought patterns, cultures, and work styles.


“There’s the technological piece about manipulating data, but it’s also natural that data can have some sort of message or display,” he said. With students from both schools on each team, Data as Art mirrors Northwestern Engineering’s emphasis on multidimensionality.


“We were able to utilize various talents of people from different backgrounds, which helped bring new perspectives to the challenge,” said Seph Lang, a Northwestern Engineering graduate student.


Lang and his teammates examined data sets from the City of Chicago’s data portal to cross analyze Chicago public transit data with the socioeconomic distribution of the city’s population.


The team created three hanging boxes representing different socioeconomic statuses. Each box contained four sheets of laser-etched acrylic: one showed Chicago’s grid system and the other three plotted respective transit data from Chicago Transit Authority buses, trains, and Divvy bikes.


Etched dots represented bike and train usage, and lines represented buses. The largeness of the dot or thickness of the line denoted the volume of transit usage on the map. The team then used various colored LED lights to illuminate the acrylic, highlighting the socioeconomic distribution of transit use in the city.


“Being able to quantify the environment around me and visually represent it in a way that is both engaging and informative is not something you have the opportunity to do very often,” Lang said.


Other student groups focused on the Addgene data set, which describes a nonprofit repository of biological “parts” that was created as part of the open-source biological science movement. The datasets were selected by Northwestern Engineering professors Josh Leonard and Amanda Stathopoulos, who also acted as mentors throughout the class.


Tackling complex data sets was the first challenge in the course, but it didn't prove to be the only one. Students were also faced with navigating how to work with peers from varying backgrounds.


“Working with people from other disciplines is often tough, but I think it’s important to be patient and recognize that everyone has a different way of doing things,” said Jon Tackie, a Northwestern Engineering graduate student.


While difficult at times, the cross-discipline exposure is ultimately beneficial for the students, Ankenman said. “There’s a lot of melding and readjustment that happens,” he said. “Just seeing how a different group of highly talented, but very differently skilled people works really does make a big difference in the work produced.”

Read more about the final projects:

The Moving Class

Transportation often has significant equity impacts where benefits and costs are unequally distributed in time and space. This project uses City of Chicago portal data to visualize the movements of different socioeconomic statuses and their transportation methods within the city. It allows the audience to examine various facets of mobility fairness and various ways to categorize mobility classes in accessing the city.


312 interprets publically available city datasets on crime, education, and income into soundscapes and visualization. The project reveals surprising insights and knowledge about Chicago neighborhoods to the audience.


This project represents the complex and seemingly chaotic nature of the information contained within the Addgene database. The Synbiodome is activated by participants’ movements through a 3-D space, enabling them to engage and interact with the data through various visual representations. The experience is designed to give non-experts intuitive impressions about the interconnectivity and international landscape associated with this emerging area of scientific research. 

Addgene Quest

This project places you in the shoes of a scientist working at the frontier of 21st-century bioscience research. By pairing an interactive game with visualizations derived from the Addgene database, participants will experience trials, tribulations, historical trends, and scientific impact projected through the lens of this unique dataset.


Evidence of Chicago’s urban narrative persists in the form of hazardous contaminated soil buried in an industrial past. Soiled examines data that describes the location and level of soil contamination throughout Greater Chicago superfund sites and visualizes the information in a cartographic and consumer context. Along with found objects from these former industrial sites, the data is used to inform the crafting of jewelry and other small objects that prompt critical thinking about the nature of industrial waste materials on a personal scale.


Read more in Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering News Center. >>

clusters638.jpgEVANSTON, Ill. --- Among the most striking objects in the universe are glittering, dense swarms of stars known as globular clusters. Astronomers had long thought globular clusters formed their millions of stars in bulk at around the same time, with each cluster’s stars having very similar ages, much like twin brothers and sisters. Yet recent discoveries of young stars in old globular clusters have scrambled this tidy picture.


Instead of having all their stellar progeny at once, globular clusters can somehow bear second or even third sets of thousands of sibling stars. Now a new study led by researchers at the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (KIAA) at Peking University, and including astronomers at Northwestern University, the Adler Planetarium and the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), might explain these puzzling, successive stellar generations.


Using observations by the Hubble Space Telescope, the research team has for the first time found young populations of stars within globular clusters that have apparently developed courtesy of star-forming gas flowing in from outside of the clusters themselves. This method stands in contrast to the conventional idea of the clusters’ initial stars shedding gas as they age in order to spark future rounds of star birth.


The study will be published in the Jan. 28 issue of the journal Nature.


“This study offers new insight on the problem of multiple stellar populations in star clusters,” said study lead author Chengyuan Li, an astronomer at KIAA and NAOC who also is affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Purple Mountain Observatory. “Our study suggests the gaseous fuel for these new stellar populations has an origin that is external to the cluster, rather than internal.”


In a manner of speaking, globular clusters appear capable of “adopting” baby stars -- or at least the material with which to form new stars -- rather than creating more “biological” children as parents in a human family might choose to do.


“Our explanation that secondary stellar populations originate from gas accreted from the clusters’ environments is the strongest alternative idea put forward to date,” said Richard de Grijs, also an astronomer at KIAA and Chengyuan’s Ph.D. advisor. “Globular clusters have turned out to be much more complex than we once thought.”


Globular clusters are spherical, densely packed groups of stars orbiting the outskirts of galaxies. Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, hosts several hundred. Most of these local, massive clusters are quite old, however, so the KIAA-led research team turned their attention to young and intermediate-aged clusters found in two nearby dwarf galaxies, collectively called the Magellanic Clouds.


Specifically, the researchers used Hubble observations of the globular clusters NGC 1783 and NGC 1696 in the Large Magellanic Cloud, along with NGC 411 in the Small Magellanic Cloud. Scientists routinely infer the ages of stars by looking at their colors and brightnesses. Within NGC 1783, for example, Li, de Grijs and colleagues identified an initial population of stars aged 1.4 billion years, along with two newer populations that formed 890 million and 450 million years ago.


What is the most straightforward explanation for these unexpectedly differing stellar ages? Some globular clusters might retain enough gas and dust to crank out multiple generations of stars, but this seems unlikely, said study co-author Aaron M. Geller of Northwestern University and the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.


  “Once the most massive stars form, they are like ticking time bombs, with only about 10 million years until they explode in powerful supernovae and clear out any remaining gas and dust,” Geller said. “Afterwards, the lower-mass stars, which live longer and die in less violent ways, may allow the cluster to build up gas and dust once again.”


The KIAA-led research team proposes that globular clusters can sweep up stray gas and dust they encounter while moving about their respective host galaxies. The theory of newborn stars arising in clusters as they “adopt” interstellar gases actually dates back to a 1952 paper. More than a half-century later, this once speculative idea suddenly has key evidence to support it.


In the study, the KIAA researchers analyzed Hubble observations of these star clusters, and then Geller and his Northwestern colleague Claude-André Faucher-Giguère carried out calculations that show this theoretical explanation is possible in the globular clusters this team studied.


“We have now finally shown that this idea of clusters forming new stars with accreted gas might actually work,” de Grijs said, “and not just for the three clusters we observed for this study, but possibly for a whole slew of them.”


Future studies will aim to extend the findings to other Magellanic Cloud as well as Milky Way globular clusters.


The research is funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation.


The title of the paper is “Formation of new stellar populations from gas accreted by massive young star clusters.”


In addition to Li, de Grijs, Geller and Faucher-Giguère, other authors of the paper include Licai Deng, Yu Xin and Yi Hu, all from the Chinese Academy of Science’s National Astronomical Observatories in Beijing.


Geller, an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow, and Faucher-Giguère, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy, are in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and are members of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). Geller also is currently at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and previously was with the department of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago at the time of the study.


- Adam Hadhazy, Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Megan Fellman, science and engineering editor at Northwestern, contributed to the story.

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NU_Seal_in_Levy_Mayer_Hall.JPGNorthwestern University will partner with the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education’s Center for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) as one of five Research 1 (RI) institutions participating in a new program to increase the number of Latino/a professors in the humanities at colleges and universities in the United States.


Launched by the Penn Center for MSIs, Pathways to the Professoriate is supported by a $5.1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The program will prepare 90 students from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) for Ph.D. programs over a five-year period.


The program’s launch comes as colleges and universities across the U.S. are trying to develop a faculty that reflects the nation’s growing ethnic and cultural diversity. The scarcity of Latino/a professors is especially stark. Latinos/as make up 20 percent of the population aged 18-44, but only 4.1 percent of the professoriate in the U.S.


“HSI-PATHWAYS aligns extremely well with institutional goals and strategies well underway at Northwestern,” said Daniel Linzer, Northwestern University provost. “We appreciate the opportunity to join in this important work and are committed to continuing to enhance our efforts toward creating a more diverse and inclusive Northwestern.”


The number of graduate students identifying as Hispanic increased from 248 to 660 between 2004 to 2013, a 3.5 percentage point increase in representation from amongst the domestic student population (4.3 percent to 7.8 percent). Sixteen percent of this fall’s entering Ph.D. cohort in The Graduate School at Northwestern will be underrepresented minority students -- an unprecedented high for the University.


“We firmly believe that there can be no truly excellent environment for the training of scholars and practitioners unless that environment includes diverse individuals, with diverse intellectual interests, and from diverse backgrounds and perspectives,” Linzer said.


During the five-year program, the Center for MSIs will partner with three Hispanic-Serving Institutions -- Florida International University; the University of Texas El Paso; and California State University, Northridge -- and five research institutions, including Northwestern; New York University; University of California-Berkeley; University of Pennsylvania; and University of California-Davis.


Selected HSI undergraduate students will take part in intensive summer research programs and cross-institutional conferences, while also receiving mentoring and support for applying to and enrolling in graduate school.


At Northwestern, a graduate coordinator from The Graduate School will work with site coordinators from Hispanic-Serving Institutions and students on their applications and housing and financial support packages and help ensure students are fully engaged in campus life. Students also will have the benefit of working with faculty mentors on research development. Some Northwestern faculty mentors also will participate in the intensive summer research program and the Cross-Institutional Conference in which students present the research they have completed since entering the program.


“Diversity and inclusion rest at the heart of our institutional values and strategic priorities,” said Jabbar R. Bennett, associate provost for diversity and inclusion at Northwestern. “President Morton Schapiro has repeatedly identified diversity and inclusion in our community as one of his top priorities.


“We are extremely pleased to work with Professor Marybeth Gasman at the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions and the other university partners to improve pathways for students from HSIs to R1 graduate study in the humanities,” Bennett said.


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CHICAGO — Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro was among 22 university and college leaders who joined forces earlier this month to formally create a consortium called America’s Urban Campus (AUC) intended to identify and demonstrate the economic impact and other collective civic contributions of Chicago’s higher education institutions.


As major economic and social drivers in the Chicago-area, Northwestern and other member institutions -- Loyola and DePaul universities, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago, to name a few -- will collaborate with The Chicago Community Trust to enhance the image of Chicago as a global destination for higher education while developing a talented workforce that will remain in the city.  


In addition to attracting students from every U.S. state and more than 100 countries, member colleges generate over $10 billion into the local economy each year and educate approximately 216,000 students in the region.


The consortium also will work to encourage students from all institutions to participate more collectively in civic engagement while identifying policy that will improve the lives of Chicago citizens.


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IMG_0539.JPGEVANSTON, Ill. --- A new Northwestern University and UCLA study has found for the first time that young people who are high on the personality trait of neuroticism are highly likely to develop both anxiety and depression disorders.


“Neuroticism was an especially strong predictor of the particularly pernicious state of developing both anxiety and depressive disorders,” said Richard Zinbarg, lead author of the study and professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern.


Earlier research has shown that neuroticism is associated with substance abuse, mood and anxiety disorders but hadn’t tested whether these associations are comparable in strength.


But the Northwestern and UCLA study found for the first time that neuroticism predicts mood and anxiety disorders more strongly.


“It’s been my professional dream to be able to prevent the development of anxiety disorders and depression in people who would have otherwise experienced them,” said Zinbarg, director of clinical psychology at Northwestern. “We have pretty good treatments once people have already started suffering from them. We do a lot less on prevention.”


Researchers who study personality traits largely agree that of the five major dimensions of personality, neuroticism is the trait most relevant for developing nearly all forms of psychopathology. The other four personality traits are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness.


The study included 547 participants recruited as high school juniors at two Chicago and Los Angeles high schools. The study results, Zinbarg said, point the way toward a relatively cost-effective and broad-based program of prevention.


High schools students, he said, could be given a questionnaire on neuroticism -- either via paper and pencil or administered online -- that determines their standing on that personality trait.


“We can identify those kids that we should be targeting -- that’s the first implication,” Zinbarg said.


The goal would be to design a prevention that would not only prevent depression or anxiety disorders but reduce risks for both, given that they’ve got a common risk factor.


“It should be possible to reduce simultaneously, through a single intervention, the risk for anxiety as well as for depression and help people cope much better,” Zinbarg said.


The results also shed light on a theoretical controversy about neuroticism and its definition.


“Some, including me, believe that neuroticism is somewhat specific,” Zinbarg said. “The theorists in this camp believe that neuroticism makes people more susceptible to the negative emotions -- anxiety, depression, irritability, anger.”


Others believe that neuroticism heightens susceptibility to emotions in general, including those that are positive. In that view, neuroticism would be as much a predictor of disorders of excess, like gambling or substance use, as of disorders that involve inhibition and pain.


The Northwestern and UCLA team did study substance use and found that neuroticism was not as strong a predictor of substance use disorders as anxiety disorders and depression.


“The study’s results strongly suggest that neuroticism is more sensitive to threat than emotional reactivity writ large,” Zinbarg said. 


“Prospective prediction of anxiety and mood disorders” will publish in an upcoming edition of Clinical Psychological Science. In addition to Zinbarg, Northwestern co-authors include Susan Mineka; Suzanne Vrshek-Schallhorn; James W. Griffith; Jennifer A. Sumner and Deepika Anand. Additional authors on the study are Lyuba Bobova, Adler University (Chicago campus); and Michelle G. Craske, Kate Wolitzky-Taylor and Allison M. Waters of University of California-Los Angeles.


Read more in Northwestern News. >>