The 2017-18 cohort of Research Rookies has been named! The NIU Research Rookies Program links undergraduate freshmen, sophomore and first-semester transfer students with faculty mentors in their major or area of interest to conduct a small-scale research or artistry project.
A total of 44 NIU undergraduate students have been named as Research Rookies for the program’s eighth year on campus. This year’s cohort represents five undergraduate colleges and over 23 departments. Research Rookies have come from as close as DeKalb, IL, and as far away as Concepcion, Chile.
As a Research Rookie, students learn what research looks like in their field of study, how to write a formal project proposal, gain experience working alongside talented faculty, and attend professional and academic enrichment activities. Additionally, students will present their work at the annual Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day and receive a $500 stipend at the completion of the program.
This year’s cohort will be working on many fascinating projects with a wide array of topics covered. Eli Brottman, a freshman mathematics and computer science double-major, is analyzing how produce — specifically salad greens — can be most efficiently distributed to low-income communities around the United States. Using mathematical optimization software, Brottman hopes to be able to minimize the total distance traveled to these locations in anticipation of lowering the costs of the produce. Aspen Wheeler (geology major), a second-year Rookie and peer mentor in the program, is working to understand how feldspar grains could serve as an energy source for microbes living underneath nearly a mile of ice on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
Participating in Research Rookies is the perfect way for highly motivated students to connect with one another as well as with supportive faculty and staff. Past Research Rookies have gone on to become SROP, SEF and USOAR participants; Lincoln Laureates; Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Participants; FermiLab Summer Internships in Science and Technology (SIST) Participants; Forward Together Forward Scholarship Recipients; Honors Scholars and McKearn Fellows.
For more information on the program, visit the Research Rookies website. Contact the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning by calling 815-753-8154 or sending an email to ResearchRookies@niu.edu with any inquiries you may have.