The surprise biologist
Anthony Smith likes to think of an organism like a finely tuned car. An automobile’s power-train control module—or main computer—acts as the brain to a central nervous system, interpreting signals and sending out responses. “In a car, there are sensors that determine the temperature of the engine, just like your skin senses temperature,” Smith said. “That information is then interpreted by the brain, which later sends output signals to elicit a response, like whether to withdraw from the temperature source.”
A world of opportunities
Whether she’s studying political science, interning for a state senator, attending the Democratic National Convention or traveling abroad, Anna Augustyn immerses herself in politics any way she can.
Rock your way to the top
If you ask Michael Angelo Batio about achieving success, he’ll tell you it boils down to one thing: choosing to finish. And he would know.
A career path to smile about
If you ask Wanda Nguyen about her career plans, she does not hesitate with her answer: She will graduate from Northeastern Illinois University, attend dental school and eventually become an orthodontist, she says. And then she smiles. Nguyen hasn’t always been so quick to smile. As a child, she was teased and bullied by her classmates for having crooked teeth. She became shy and withdrawn. But after receiving orthodontic treatment at 21, Nguyen’s self-confidence skyrocketed.
‘We knew her when’
As Alaa Basatneh sat in the gallery for President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union Address—a mere 15 seats away from first lady Michelle Obama—she couldn’t stop thinking about the Supreme Court justices. “It felt surreal. The energy in that room,” Basatneh said. “All of the lawmakers, the officials, the cabinet, the justices. I kept looking at the justices and thinking, I want to see expressions on their faces. They’re supposed to be neutral.”
When research grabs international headlines
Mass shootings are contagious. That was the headline-grabbing conclusion of a research project that Maryam Khan began working on when she was a senior at Northeastern Illinois University. Almost as soon as the paper was published by PLoS ONE journal in July 2015, lead researcher Sherry Towers’ phone began to ring with calls from news outlets such as NBC, NPR and The Washington Post.
Destined to Empower Others
In May of 2014, Claudia Hernandez earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Northeastern Illinois University. It was the first major step in realizing her lifelong goal of becoming a social worker—a goal born from tragedy. When she was just seven years old, Claudia’s father passed away unexpectedly. “My father’s death made me a sensitive child,” Hernandez said. “I remember crying in bed every night and out of nowhere in my second-grade class. For that reason I was referred to the school social worker. Her help during that time motivated me to become a social worker.”
The science engagement theory
2011 A.D.: Northeastern Illinois University freshman subject Mariah Green discovers the Student Center for Science Engagement (SCSE). Months later, subject joins her new SCSE friends and mentors in San Jose, Calif., for the national conference of the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). "I was overwhelmed," subject later notes, "but in a good way." 2012 A.D.: Green attends the SACNAS conference in Seattle to deliver her first poster presentation. Judges express their support. Subject gains confidence.
A little empathy goes a long way
Every morning after breakfast, Chielezona Eze, associate professor of English at Northeastern Illinois University, spends three hours reading and writing. “Those are holy hours,” Eze said.
If you live in Chicago, chances are you know Shencheng Xu.
If you’ve ever walked past the Music Box Theatre or sat in the sun beside the statues of the “Happy Family” in the Healing Garden at Ronan Park, or if you’ve ever dropped your kids off at Avoca West Elementary School or glimpsed “Gourd Man” in Village Green Park, you’re familiar with the work of Shencheng Xu. Since he began teaching sculpture at Northeastern Illinois University in 2003, Xu has been selected every year—that’s 12 straight years—to have his art publicly displayed around Chicago.