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Representatives of Illinois and Wisconsin universities today presented the Champion of Science Award to Congressman Bill Foster.

Congressman Bill Foster during a visit to Fermilab. Credit: Reidar Hahn/Fermilab

Congressman Bill Foster during a visit to Fermilab. (Credit: Reidar Hahn/Fermilab)

The award is given by the Washington, D.C.-based Science Coalition to members of Congress in recognition of their commitment to funding the basic research that keeps the United States at the forefront of scientific and medical discovery and technological innovation.

Northern Illinois University was among the institutions that nominated Foster, along with Northwestern University, the University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“As the only Ph.D. scientist in the United States Congress, it is a great honor to receive the Champion of Science Award,” Foster said.

“In Congress, I have fought to make sure we invest in the scientific research and training that is vital to our country’s economic growth, public health and national security. Scientific investment—whether through STEM education in schools or federal funding for scientific research—is a crucial priority for our country. If America wants to lead the world in the discoveries, innovation and advancements to improve lives, it will be our commitment to science that drives us forward.”

The award was presented this afternoon before an audience of about 1,000 physicists during the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Chicago.

“Congressman Bill Foster is an outstanding proponent of discovery-driven science at our universities and national laboratories,” NIU President Doug Baker said. “His record of support demonstrates his commitment to research and development, as well as his strong desire to see our country remain at the forefront of technological advancement and innovation.”

The Champion of Science Award recognizes members of Congress whose actions and votes consistently reflect their belief that basic scientific research, conducted at universities and national labs across the country, is essential to the nation’s ability to address pressing issues in health, security, energy and the environment, and additionally, that a strong federally supported basic research enterprise drives innovation that fuels the U.S. economy.

U.S. Rep. Foster joins a distinguished group of about 80 current and former members of Congress who have received the award since 1999. The list includes several members of the Illinois congressional delegation, including U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (2015), U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (2013) and U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (2012).

NIU Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman looks on as Congressman Bill Foster accepts his award. (Credit: Fermilab)

NIU Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman looks on as Congressman Bill Foster accepts his award. (Credit: Fermilab)

“Congressman Foster is a strong voice for long-term investment in education and scientific research, because he understands the value proposition,” said NIU Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman, who was among the award presenters today. “I am delighted to see Congressman Foster recognized for his commitment to enhancing our children’s futures and our country’s economic prosperity.”

NIU physicist Jerry Blazey, interim vice president of Research and Innovation Partnerships, was also on hand for the award announcement. NIU was among the many sponsors of the week-long International Conference on High Energy Physics, and the university had seven faculty and student presenters.

“Congressman Foster has a deep and broad understanding of science, not only from the big-picture policy view but also from having been in the trenches as a working and highly successful scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, one of our closest partners,” Blazey said. “This award is richly deserved.”

The Science Coalition, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization of the nation’s leading public and private research universities, is dedicated to sustaining strong federal funding of basic scientific research as a means to stimulate the economy, spur innovation and drive America’s global competitiveness.

Date posted: August 8, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on NIU recognizes Congressman Bill Foster as ‘Champion of Science’

Categories: Homepage Latest News Science and Technology

DNAstockIs the day coming when knowledge of the genetics behind human diseases will point the way to cures?

At the next STEM Café – “The Human Blueprint” – NIU associate professor of biology Rick Johns will explore the latest scientific understanding of how genes relate to medical conditions. Johns then will describe the challenge of translating this understanding into treatments.

The free talk and discussion will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, at Fatty’s Pub and Grille, 1312 W. Lincoln Hwy. in DeKalb

Johns will discuss inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease and sickle cell anemia, plus diseases with a strong genetic component such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and cancer.

“Now that the humane genome has been sequenced, we know a lot more about which genes are connected to which diseases,” Johns says.

“I’ll be discussing the amazing advances behind those findings, but also how much remains to be figured out. There are so many steps between changes in DNA and changes in the human body, and that makes gene therapy – curing or preventing genetic diseases – extremely complex.”

In his own research, Johns focuses on computer analyses of DNA from multiple life forms, including Drosophila flies, maize, rice, pigs and petunias.

“We’ve all heard news stories about scientists discovering a new ‘gene for’ this or that condition,” says NIU STEM Outreach associate Judith Dymond. “In addition to being an engaging speaker, Professor Johns is well qualified to dig beneath the headlines and explain the complex relationship between the genome and disease.”

This event is part of NIU STEM Outreach’s series of STEM Cafés, all of which are free and open to the public. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from Fatty’s.

For more information, call (815) 753-4751 or email [email protected].

Date posted: June 27, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Reading the genetic blueprint

Categories: Communiversity Digital Signage Events Faculty & Staff Latest News Liberal Arts and Sciences Research Science and Technology

Pencils and heartNIU’s School of Art and Design is offering three upcoming online or blended courses for graduate and doctoral students.

July 11 to Aug. 7

  • ARTE 685: Research Readings in Art Education
    M/Tu/W/Th 9 a.m. to noon, Music Building 203
    Douglas Boughton
    This summer intensive class is offered in a blended online and face-to-face format. The course reviews current research in art education and serves as an excellent introduction to graduate study in the NIU master’s program.

Aug. 22 to Dec. 11

  • ARTE 684: History and Philosophy of Art Education
    Thursday, 6 to 8:40 p.m.
    Kryssi Staikidis
  • ARTE 679: Art Education For Special Needs Populations
    Monday, 6 to 8:40 p.m.
    Samantha Goss

Registration is available at myniu. If you’re not yet an NIU graduate student, visit Graduate School admissionsFor more information, contact Richard Siegesmund at [email protected].

Date posted: June 27, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Three online classes in art education offered to grad students

Categories: Arts Digital Signage Events Faculty & Staff Graduate School On Campus Visual Visual and Performing Arts

Image of a U.S. flag-colored map of the United States and a VOTE political buttonIn a presidential campaign season that legitimately can be described as bizarre, what’s the responsibility of the media in covering those elections?

What’s the best way to ensure journalists are doing top-notch reporting on local races and referendums? How do you craft stories in this multimedia age that will capture citizens’ attention, encourage people to take part in the election process and understand the issues?

Who are the right sources and why?

These and other questions will be part of an engaging media-focused seminar hosted by the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, June 16, on the campus of Northern Illinois University.

The seminar will be held in the Campus Life Building, at the northeast corner of Normal Road and Lucinda Avenue.

Who should attend

The seminar is presented as training for students and working journalists but is open to the interested members of the general public. Cost is $20 for NINA members and $25 for the public.

Here are the topics and panelists:

(1) How hard is it to write an engaging and fair election-based story? How is election coverage changing with the shifting political and media landscapes?

Panelists: Chuck Sweeny, senior political editor, Rockford Register Star; Jim Webb, former Illinois political editor, Chicago Tribune, now with public relations firm Serafin & Associates.

Matt Streb

Matt Streb

(2) What does the press do well when covering politics and where does it fall short?

Panelists: Jim Webb; NIU Political Science Chair Matt Streb; Bill Catching, former journalist with the Aurora Beacon-News, current Aurora Township supervisor.

(3) How is press digital coverage elections evolving? What are effective strategies for using various social media platforms in election coverage? Where have we been, and where can we go next?

Panelists: Nicole Franz, digital editor, Northwest Herald; Roger Ruthhart, managing editor, The Dispatch and Rock Island Argus.

Why come?

The seminar will provide insights for students who might be interested in journalism and politics, training for young journalists learning the ropes of election coverage and a media’s-eye view of election coverage that could be on interest to public officials or staff members who are active in the election process.

It’s also a great way to network with some of the top media professionals in Northern Illinois and to learn more about the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association.

About NINA

NINANINA is the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association, founded in 1962 to promote the newspapers of northern Illinois, develop programs to enhance the profession and promote good fellowship among its members.

Based in DeKalb, and in partnership with Northern Illinois University, NINA has expanded over the past half century to bring together multimedia publications on the cutting edge of modern information technology, upholding a mission to preserve and enhance the precepts of fairness, accuracy and quality of journalism and journalism education in northern Illinois. Membership starts at just $25 for individuals.

For more information, visit the NINA website.

Date posted: June 10, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Tales from the trail: A how-to for journalists in a presidential campaign year

Categories: Alumni Communiversity Digital Signage Events Latest News On Campus

In the world of contemporary American poetry, NIU English Professor Amy Newman is a shining star.

That might seem like a bold statement, but it’s easy to back up.

Her numerous awards, five books and more than 250 poems, often published in top journals or magazines, speak volumes. Her feminist revision of Allen Ginsberg’s famous poem, “Howl,” was published last year in Poetry magazine, won a prestigious prize, was featured at a celebration in London and generated an impressive amount of media response. More recently, the New York Times published a glowing review of her latest book, “On This Day in Poetry History,” an innovative hybrid of poetry and biography.

Amy Newman

Amy Newman

Newman brings incredible enthusiasm, innovation and passion to her art. And those same qualities burn brightly in her teaching.

Perhaps it’s because she identifies with NIU students, a fact made evident in a bracelet she often wears. It is inscribed in Italian, ancora imparo, which translates to “I am still learning.”

“I wear this bracelet to every class I teach as a reminder that I am still learning daily from my students,” says Newman, who was named an NIU Board of Trustees Professor this spring. The top NIU honor recognizes faculty for extraordinary scholarship and teaching.

“I learn from my students through our conversations in and out of class,” Newman says. “I learn by listening to them as they think and as they begin to articulate ideas. Their insights are often refreshing and enlightening. And though it’s hard to put into words, I’ve learned fresh insights, how art impacts their lives, new ways of engaging with literature and striking ways of thinking about the world.”

Students say Newman inspires them. “She’s just phenomenal,” says alumnus Jerene-Elise Nall. “She’s such an inspiration as a person, as a professor, as a professional.”

“She’s cool and funny – and as brilliant as she is caring,” adds English graduate student Kirsten Grimes. “She goes above and beyond always for her students.”

In her classroom, Newman creates an environment that fosters creativity, sparks student excitement in literature and nurtures a life-long love of language.


The inscription translates to “I am still learning.”

“I value my work as a mentor of students in the classroom, my office, the halls and beyond,” Newman says. “I engage my students in ways that bring their ideas into the world, and vice versa.”

During her two decades at NIU, Newman has taught 20 different courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She revises classroom materials yearly to introduce new texts, theories and techniques.

And when she sees a need, she fills it.

That was the case recently when she developed and taught courses on the history, narrative, rhetoric and reading of the graphic novel. She also designed, with professor Joe Bonomo, the English department’s creative writing certificate.

Ultimately, the real measure of Newman’s success is her students. And they have flourished – publishing books, winning national awards, placing their work in scholarly journals and gaining entry into prestigious graduate programs and writers workshops. They go on to careers in teaching, business, nonprofits, media, music and the arts, with Newman often continuing to serve as a mentor and consultant.

“Her teaching files are full of letters commending her for having been selected by students as one of their most influential professors,” says Amy Levin, former English chair. “Every day, Amy engages and inspires students – not only to write but to reflect on the world and their place in it.”

Date posted: June 1, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Poetry in the classroom

Categories: Awards Faculty & Staff Liberal Arts and Sciences Shining Stars

Channing Der

Channing Der

NIU’s Center for Biochemical and Biophysical Studies will host an upcoming public lecture delivered by renowned cancer researcher Channing Der.

Der is considered one of the world’s leading experts on the RAS family of oncogenes and their role in driving cancer-cell growth. He serves as the Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Der will present his lecture, titled “Biological Activity of Ras Oncoprotein,” at 11 a.m. Friday, May 27, in Room 201 of LaTourette Hall. The talk is open to the public.

The broad goal of Der’s research laboratory at UNC is to delineate the molecular basis of cancer and to identify novel approaches for cancer treatment. One major focus is on the Ras oncoproteins, which are key regulators of signal transduction pathways that control normal cell growth and differentiation. Mutationally activated Ras proteins are found in 30 percent of all human cancers and are validated drivers of cancer cell growth, invasion and metastasis.

Studies by Der’s laboratory focus on neoplasms with high frequency RAS mutations in cancers of the pancreas, colon, lung and skin.

RAS was the first gene identified to be mutated in human cancers—a discovery made by Der in 1982, according to the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Researchers now know hundreds of genes are mutated in cancers.

Der’s laboratory is currently funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute, the Lustgarten Foundation, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-AACR and the U.S. Department of Defense. He has authored over 300 publications and is the holder of six patents. He also has mentored dozens of postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.

Der received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine, and completed his postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“We’re thrilled to welcome to campus Dr. Der, who has conducted pioneering work illuminating our understanding of the mechanisms of cancer and remains on the cutting-edge of cancer research,” said Presidential Research Professor Elizabeth Gaillard, director of NIU Center for Biochemical and Biophysical Studies. “Cancer touches everyone’s lives, and his lecture promises to be of wide interest.”

For more information, call (815) 753-1131 or email [email protected].

Date posted: May 18, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Cancer researcher Channing Der to lecture May 27 at NIU

Categories: Communiversity Digital Signage Faculty & Staff Health and Human Sciences Latest News Liberal Arts and Sciences Research Science and Technology

Professors (left to right) Lichuan Liu, Narayan Hosmane, Tao Xu and Elizabeth Gaillard, pictured here with President Doug Baker, were among those recognized for their work resulting in patents.

Professors (left to right) Lichuan Liu, Narayan Hosmane, Tao Xu and Elizabeth Gaillard, pictured here with NIU President Doug Baker, were among
those recognized for their work resulting in patents.

Finding new ways to prevent and treat disease. Improving incubators for premature babies. Inventing a new type of solar cell.

These are just a few of the exciting innovations of NIU faculty and staff who were honored recently during the Research and Innovation Partnerships Recognition Ceremony on campus.

“We are pleased to highlight the incredible work by members of the NIU community who are at the forefront of innovation and discovery and who are working to improve our world,” said Gerald Blazey, interim vice president of the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships. “These faculty and staff members truly are leading the way as innovators and entrepreneurs.” 

Faculty members recognized for work resulting in patents were as follows.

Galliard has patented therapeutic uses of glutathione mimics. The glutathione mimic prodrug is used to administer antioxidants for disease prevention and treatment. Targeted diseases include ocular disorders, HIV/AIDS, inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, arterial ischemic stroke, various types of cancers, asthma, sickle cell disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, among many others. Glutathione mimics are also effective as radiation protectors allowing healthy tissue to be spared of radiation damage during cancer treatment. Glutathione mimic prodrugs are virtually non-toxic because they are natural product derivatives.

Gaillard also has patented a method of detecting biomarkers of inflammation in Bruch’s membrane of the human retina. The method helps in finding and diagnosing symptoms of immune-mediated processes during aging and AMD, a common eye disease that leads to vision loss. Through the use of these biomarkers and fluorescent patterns, detection of AMD and other diseases such as cirrhosis, arteriosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease can be made earlier, allowing a patient to seek treatment as soon as possible. These biomarkers enable non-invasive monitoring of the progression of the disease as well.

Hagen has patented the design and synthesis of novel inhibitors of isoprenoid biosynthesis. The inhibitors could be useful in the fight against malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, which are growing more difficult to treat due to the emergence of drug-resistant forms of the diseases. Hagen has developed a series of synthetic compounds designed to inhibit the enzyme IspF present in the MEP pathway found in bacterial and parasitic organisms. Humans do not use the MEP pathway process, so any foreign pathogen in the human body that uses the MEP pathway can be targeted by recognizing enzymes (specifically IspF) associated with MEP. Compounds from this series will lead to improved drugs and other treatments for infectious diseases such as malaria and a range of bacterial infections.

Hosmane has patented a method of making crystalline graphene. His lab successfully synthesized graphene by burning magnesium metal in dry ice. A number of methodologies have been explored in his laboratory to produce few-layer nano-sheets of graphene. This work provided innovative, simple, cost-effective and greener synthetic routes for producing a highly touted and promising carbon nanostructure that could play a major role in electronic industries.

Liu has patented an apparatus, system and method for noise cancellation and communication for incubators and related devices. This wireless active-noise control system technology enables newborns in incubators to hear their mothers’ voices while reducing harmful noises and maintaining communication of infant cries, coos and breathing signals. Unlike passive noise control methods such as acoustical foam paddings and infant earmuffs, the active noise control system generates anti-noise that acoustically cancels unwanted noise. When applied to an incubator unit, the technology offers protection for an infant’s hearing, soothes the infant via parents’ voices and maintains audible contact of infants breathing and cries for medical staff. This is all accomplished without restricting the newborn’s movement or impeding views of the child in the incubator.

Xu has patented highly efficient dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC). Nanocrystalline DSSC are appealing for solar-electric energy conversion because they can be produced at a low cost, through a simple process and for large-scale production. Xu’s invention significantly boosts electron harvest in conventional semiconducting nanocrystalline DSSC and doubles the efficiency of other DSSCs while maintaining commercial feasibility.

Photo of an energy-efficient light bulbOther faculty and staff recognized by RIPS for their innovations or achievements included the following.

The Northern Illinois Regional P-20 Network brings together nearly 50 regional community college presidents, school district superintendents, state agency directors and educational organization leaders for collaboration to improve college and career readiness. The Regional P-20 Network has been effective not only in building trust across institutions and creating a new level of communication throughout the region, but also in driving action through research and sharing of best practices.

Benson has invented a patent-pending “ultra-rapid tissue cyropreservation method and apparatus.” The successful cryopreservation of tissues is of immense importance to a vast array of medical, agricultural, and scientific applications. Present state of the art yields very limited recovery after thawing for most tissue types. Benson’s device is simple and allows for robust hermetic sealing if needed. Most importantly, it would facilitate ultra-rapid cooling and warming rates for thick tissues that may make possible cryopreservation of many tissue types.

  • Wendy Bostwick, professor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies

Bostwick is pursuing research into the health effects of microaggressions on bisexual women. Microaggressions are brief and commonplace exchanges, often unintentional, that can be demeaning or degrading to someone’s identity. Funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Bostwick’s work relies on a novel multi-method approach to study daily-level minority stressors among an understudied population of racially diverse bisexual women. This preliminary exploration within group differences can significantly advance knowledge of the risk factors associated with mental health disparities among bisexual women.

STEM Read uses live and online programs to inspire readers to learn more about science, technology, engineering and math concepts in popular fiction. Readers enjoy the books on their own or with school or library groups. They then meet at NIU or online to explore the science behind the fiction through hands-on activities, presentations by NIU faculty and staff, author visits, interactive games, collaborative writing projects and other STEAM (STEM plus the arts) activities.

Lenczewski has developed a short course on groundwater in central Myanmar. With a grant from the National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation, four faculty/graduate students from NIU will hold a two-week educational and hands-on short course at Yadanabon University in central Myanmar to educate and train local students, faculty and professionals on groundwater development, well construction, well head protection and groundwater quality/sampling. The short course will establish a continuing program in hydrogeology and impact a whole generation of groundwater professionals.

Manning’s work is on Tinderbots—automated bots designed to interact with the location-based, online-dating app Tinder to provide sex education to users. Manning personally developed response sequences and language trees for bot interaction and eight diverse profiles for the bots. He also developed an interactive follow-up game that continues teaching based on previous conversations with the bots. This innovation allows people to interact with a character just as they would others online, making the intervention easy and natural.

Designed as a 16-week experiential program, the I-Lab will allow students to engage in the entrepreneurial process from opportunity identification to the launch of a new venture. Students will be exposed to entrepreneurial tools to help them create an innovative product, produce a functional prototype and develop a sound business model.

  • Geography professor Thomas Pingel and special and early education professor Stacy Kelly for 3D-printed maps for people with visual impairments

Pingel and Kelly will be developing and testing 3D printed maps for people with visual impairments based on laser scans of the environment. These maps will be tested with, and improved by, interaction with people who are visually impaired. This research has the potential to directly impact how maps for people with visual impairments are created and disseminated, leading to more efficient and safer travel.

Gupta was awarded a RIPS Certificate of Achievement for his participation in the Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM) program. CIM works with science-based ventures to encourage innovation, catalyze tech commercialization and enhance local economic development. Gupta has developed a non-invasive exoskeleton device. It can be used by anyone suffering from uncontrolled vibration of the hand, wrist and/or arm. This approach prevents the need for medicine or surgical procedures, minimizing side effects from medicine and surgery and requiring less medical supervision.

DSCN9712Feeling the pressure of upcoming finals?

Take a break at the Pick Museum of Anthropology at NIU, which will be transformed into a “no-stress zone” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 4.

Students can take a yoga class, play board games, participate in art activities and get free massages. Relaxation stations will be located throughout Cole Hall. Students also can play with huskies from Raven’s Husky Haven Rescue, weather permitting, outside the building.

The third annual “De-Stress Fest” is organized entirely by students, for students. The Pick Museum of Anthropology Student Advocacy Board established the event in 2013 to give students a place to relax while experiencing how cultures around the world manage stress.

“Our group really enjoys bringing the DeKalb community together for this event every year,” says Steve Jankiewicz, the museum’s graduate assistant. “I can’t think of a better way to spend time on the Wednesday before finals week than experiencing different de-stressing techniques used around the world.”

Student Advocacy Board members gained real-world museum experience by identifying local businesses and approaching them to be program partners. Partners include, but are not limited to, NIU Wellness Promotion, Sycamore Integrated Health, WOW Center, NIU’s Southeast Asia Club, NIU Outdoor Adventures, the Confectionary and Raven’s Husky Haven Rescue.

DSCN9784-2Organized in 2013, the Museum Student Advocacy Board serves to boost campus awareness of the Pick Museum of Anthropology. Its members work closely with museum staff on outreach and publicity. Members completed more than 100 surveys of NIU students in the winter of 2013 to better understand how the museum can be more relevant to students’ lives.

“The Anthropology Museum celebrates cultural diversity in everything it does, from preserving rare and wonderful objects from cultures around the world to curating exhibits for visitors and teaching students with hands-on experiences,” museum director Jennifer Kirker Priest says.

“Since educational exhibits don’t necessarily bring students into the museum by themselves, the Student Advocacy Board helps to envision bold new ways the museum can reach out to NIU students as a place where they can come to learn about things like how activist anthropology can empower local communities from Haiti to DeKalb. It’s also a place where they can come for free, fun programs.”

For more event information, contact Katy Voight, co-chair of the Student Advocacy Board, at [email protected] or the Pick Museum of Anthropology at (815) 753-2011.

Date posted: May 2, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Feeling finals pressure? Chill out at De-Stress Fest

Categories: Digital Signage Events Faculty & Staff Graduate School Liberal Arts and Sciences On Campus Students Visual and Performing Arts What's Going On

Museum entranceNIU’s Pick Museum of Anthropology has been awarded a $19,750 grant from the Dunham Fund for a two-year project to document and share the experiences of Burmese Karen refugees living in northern Illinois.

Led by the museum’s research assistant, Rachel Drochter, the project employs NIU students who will work with a local Karen Advisory Group to transform oral history interviews into a new museum exhibit where visitors will learn about the refugee experience.

Project partners also include NIU’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies and Center for Burma Studies.

“We hope this project will empower Karen individuals to share their own story, while also increasing awareness and humanizing the refugee experience,” Drochter said.

Visitors will be immersed in objects, words, sounds and images representing Karen culture and will hear firsthand accounts about life in Burma, in borderland refugee camps and in Illinois following relocation.

Refugees and representatives from local refugee support organizations also will discuss the challenges of resettlement, from finding housing and employment to taking English classes and to navigating the education and health care systems. Other exhibit sections will take a more global approach and engage visitors in a critical dialogue about factors impacting forced migration, displacement, resettlement and what visitors can do to advocate for local refugee communities.

Currently, the humanitarian crisis of global refugee displacement is at an all-time high.

exhibit view 2 generalAccording to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are 60 million forcibly displaced people living in the world today, with more than 140,000 living in refugee camps along the Burma-Thai border.

The Karen people, a minority group from Burma, represent one of the largest populations in these border refugee camps. They have been in an intermittent state of armed conflict with the dominant majority since the emergence of the Union of Burma in 1947. Beginning in 2006, thousands of Karen families began leaving refugee camps to resettle in the United States, and a considerable number have settled here in northern Illinois.

“As Karen families continue to build new lives in northern Illinois, this is an opportunity for campus and local community members to learn about Karen culture, the struggles and successes of resettlement and the ways in which they can support them in this new chapter of their lives,” Drochter said.

The gift by the Aurora-based Dunham Fund, as well as the oral history project, supports the museum’s central mission of fostering cultural diversity.

“This project will create a space to celebrate the growing diversity of our region and empower the Karen to share their culture and become more active citizens in their community,” said Carmen Cordogan, a Pick Museum of Anthropology board member and NIU alumna.

“The Dunham Fund is at the heart of Aurora’s strong mission to bring our diverse population together, and thanks to their generosity, the Pick Museum will be able to continue this shared passion to build bridges with local communities and engage diverse cultural groups as full participants in exhibit development and programming.”

Museum LogoNIU’s Pick Museum of Anthropology houses a permanent collection of more than 12,000 ethnographic and archaeological objects.

Collections emphasize Southeast Asia, but include textiles, baskets and ceramics from throughout the world. With a dynamic schedule of exhibitions and programs in the newly renovated Cole Hall, the Pick Museum of Anthropology is a cultural destination for residents and visitors to DeKalb.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free, and all are welcome.

For more information on this project, call (815) 753-2011 or email [email protected].

Date posted: April 25, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Pick Museum wins Dunham Fund grant for refugee projects

Categories: Communiversity Faculty & Staff Global Humanities Latest News Liberal Arts and Sciences Research

Book cover of “The Nature of Soviet Power: An Arctic Environmental History” by Andy BrunoHistory professor Andy Bruno has a new book out that sheds light on the experiences of Soviets with the Arctic environment.

During a reception celebrating its publication, Bruno will deliver a talk on the book, titled “The Nature of Soviet Power: An Arctic Environmental History” (Cambridge University Press).

The reception begins at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 22, in the Thurgood Marshall Gallery of Swen Parson Hall.

The book explores the nature of Soviet power by investigating the environmental history of the Kola Peninsula in the northwest corner of the U.S.S.R. in the 20th century.

Through investigation of railroad construction, reindeer herding, energy production, nickel and copper smelting and the mining and processing of phosphorus-rich apatite in the region, the book reveals Soviet cultural perceptions of nature, plans for development, lived experiences and modifications to the physical world.

While Soviet power remade nature, nature also remade Soviet power.

For more information, email [email protected].

Date posted: April 14, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on History professor publishes book on Soviet environmental history of the Arctic

Categories: Events Faculty & Staff Global Humanities Liberal Arts and Sciences Research What's Going On

Melissa Adams-Campbell

Melissa Adams-Campbell

Schriber Scholars Melissa Adams-Campbell, an assistant professor of English at Northern Illinois University, and Ashley Heiberger, a doctoral candidate in English, will present their research on women’s language and literature at a brown bag lecture from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday, April 21, in Reavis 211.

Adams-Campbell and Heiberger are the inaugural recipients of the Schriber Scholars Award, which was established by professor emeritus Mary Suzanne Schriber.

The award advances studies in women’s literature and language from the perspective of feminist theory and analysis.

Schriber, who will attend the lecture, taught at NIU for 33 years and revised American literature courses to include works by forgotten women writers.

“Thanks to Mary Sue Schriber’s generous funding, I will have the opportunity to explore the work of several contemporary Native American women writers,” Adams-Campbell said. “Even more importantly, I have the resources to share my passion with students, future scholars and community members by introducing less familiar women writers to a local book club I hope to initiate in the fall.”

Mary Suzanne Schriber

Mary Suzanne Schriber

During the lecture, Adams-Campbell and Heiberger will discuss their research as part of their fellowship requirements.

Adams-Campbell will give a brief overview and a reading from her new book project titled “Reclaiming History: Native American Women and Historical Fiction.” The inaugural recipient of the Schriber Scholar Award joined NIU in 2011 as an assistant professor of English, teaching American literature, Native American oral traditions and American ethnic literature.

Heiberger will discuss her dissertation research, a project that focuses on exploring female Saudi English language learners’ perceptions of self and experiences learning English.

For more information, email [email protected].

Lindsey Crane, Department of English


Date posted: April 12, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on English Department lecture to showcase research by Schriber Scholars

Categories: Communiversity Digital Signage Events Faculty & Staff Humanities Liberal Arts and Sciences Research Students What's Going On

Photo of math equations on a chalkboardFour students competing for the first time were the winners in the 2016 Northern Illinois University Mathematics Contest, held March 2.

Rebecca Dziubla, a junior mathematical sciences major from Roselle, took the $100 first prize. Heidi Zipoy, a junior mathematical sciences major from Elgin, won the second-place $75 prize.

Jordan Rucinski, a junior mathematical sciences major from Esmond, and Gregory Solomon, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Bartlett, tied for third place, which came with a $50 prize for each.

The winners will be recognized Sunday, April 17, at the Department of Mathematical Sciences’ Awards Ceremony and Reception.

Open to all full-time undergraduates, the annual NIU Mathematics Contest has a format where freshmen and sophomores have a fair chance to compete with juniors and seniors. The underclassmen have fewer restrictions on their choice of problems to attempt.

Each contestant turns in solutions to six problems. Topics this year ranged from logic puzzles, algebra and geometry to calculus and linear algebra.

Professors Harvey Blau, Y. C. Kwong, Deepak Naidu and Gleb Sirotkin supervised the competition.

Photo of a math equation on chalkboardIn case you’re wondering about the difficulty of the contest problems, the following logic brainteaser was a popular choice among the contestants:

Arlo, Bruno, and Carlo took their girlfriends to a dance. At one time, Elsa was dancing with Arlo, Dakota was dancing with Fiona’s boyfriend, Bruno was dancing with Carlo’s girlfriend, and Carlo was dancing with Arlo’s girlfriend. Find who was dancing with whom and match up each girlfriend and boyfriend.  Explain your answer.

And here is a problem that combined calculus and geometry:

Let f(t) and g(t) be differentiable functions such that (derivatives) f'(t) = 2g(t) and g'(t) = -3f(t) for all real numbers t. Show that for all t, the points (f(t), g(t)) lie on an ellipse.

For more information, email [email protected].

Date posted: April 8, 2016 | Author: | Comments Off on Winners announced for 31st annual NIU Math Contest

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