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University Honors funds projects to integrate artistry, research

October 21, 2014

Photo of the word "research" circled in the dictionaryArtistry requires research, and a great deal of research also requires more than a little artistry.

To that end, University Honors has developed a unique approach to integrating artistry with research by funding six new entry-level projects for the 2014-15 academic year.

Six students will work with several different NIU faculty members to develop their research practices, skills and abilities over the course of a year-long, paid research assistantship.

Projects range from exploring the concept of “resourcefulness” (under the direction of Sophie Li) to Hawaiian music and the influence of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

Along with Li, from the College of Health and Human Sciences, faculty members who have agreed to mentor and train first- and second-year University Honors students are:

Li’s assistant, Lorena Gonzalez, will learn about survey design and implementation while also developing her literacy on the concept of “resourcefulness” in children, adolescents and adults.

Emily Knetsch will work with McKee in completing a survey of northern Illinois farming to learn the breakdown of large- and small-scale farmers, what methods of alternative and sustainable agriculture are being used and what social profiles describe these farmers.

Photo of colored pencilsAlyish Cooper will work with Siegesmund on the hypothesis that successful high school art teachers are the individuals who can best identify essential areas of training that will guide novice teachers to career success and help sustain the pipeline of new prospective teachers at this critical time in art education’s future.

Maggie Miller is working on a comparative analysis of women in three separate efforts to achieve post-genocide justice hoping, under the guidance of Bowers, to identify how women’s groups become empowered in the wake of mass violence, what cultural and social circumstances affect their roles and how their voices are an essential part of our narrative understandings.

Nicholas Lambert also will assist Bowers, but he will be the one trying to discover the intersections of music, post-colonialism and civil rights by seeking to explore the life and legacy of Iz, as his music became a centerpiece of the Hawai’ian sovereignty movement and the resurrection of Native Hawai’ian culture in the late 1980s.

Alyssa Ashmore will benefit from the mentorship of two faculty, Dallas and Ramisch, who are working on the development of a survey instrument that, through interviews and other elements, can measure the extent to which college disability resource offices are able to categorize and rate their experiences working with family members of college students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Supported by the Earl and Cindi Rachowicz Fund, as well as the generosity of many other donors to University Honors, the goal is for these young students to build a solid foundation in research and artistry so that they will be able to eventually develop their own projects and create new knowledge from their ideas and efforts.

It also provides an opportunity for students and faculty to truly collaborate and to develop a program in which the strengths of both parties come to bear on the outcome of some of the most essential actions within the academy.

The students are expected to present their research in the spring, thus documenting their new-found knowledge as well as explaining their acquisition of demonstrable skills.