May I introduce to you … the Research Rookies!

Lauren Boddy

Lauren Boddy

The 2014 cohort of NIU Research Rookies was introduced Monday in ceremonies at Altgeld Hall, outlining their participation in research projects that will tackle issues ranging from curing cancer to canceling out the noise of snoring.

Now entering its fourth year, Research Rookies provides a select group of freshmen, sophomores and first-year transfer students the opportunity to undertake original research under the mentorship of faculty, or sign on to assist with faculty with ongoing research.

The program immerses students in research on areas of interest and introduces them to the nuts and bolts of the research process – from the mundane work of writing grants and wading through a literature review to the thrill of being named as a co-author on a published piece of research.

“It was the first step in my successful undergraduate career,” Lauren Boddy, one of the initial class of Research Rookies four years ago, told this year’s group. “It opened up a lot of doors for me.”

Boddy’s Research Rookies experience led to publications, presentations at conferences and a stint as a McKearn Fellow last summer.

“It would take hours to talk about all of the benefits of this program,” said Evan Wittke, another member of that initial class of Research Rookies.

“The mentoring that I received has been a huge part of my success,” Wittke added, noting that his experience in the program, and the subsequent opportunities to work in a laboratory throughout his undergraduate career, have helped make him a much more competitive candidate for medical school.

Harry and Jaymie Simmon join Anthony Roberts.

Harry and Jaymie Simmon join Anthony Roberts.

That type of success is precisely what Harry and Jaymie Simmon are hoping to foster through their financial support of the program.

“Hearing the projects outlined by these students today was just mind-blowing,” Harry Simmon said. “You can envision some of these projects growing into serious research and attracting major funding someday down the road.”

A complete listing of this year’s Research Rookies and their mentors, as well as a brief overview of each of their projects, is available on the program’s website.

For more information, call (815) 753-8154 or email ugresearch@niu.edu.

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