Male biology student using a microscope

College of Graduate Studies and Research awards six Research and Creative Activities Assistantships

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Northeastern Illinois University’s College of Graduate Studies and Research, together with the Research and Creative Activities Advisory Group, has awarded the Graduate Dean’s Research and Creative Activities Assistantships for the 2016-17 academic year.

The goal of the awards is to give graduate students an extended opportunity to experience and participate in the conduct of a research or creative activity project with a Northeastern faculty member.

The students who are participating in the 2016-17 assistantships are:

Eden Novak DeGenova and Brittan Wood, Rehabilitation Counseling

Mentor: Sharon Bethea, Associate Professor of Counselor Education and African/African American Studies

DeGenova, Wood and Bethea will utilize theoretical constructs and focus groups to examine how the inherent tension of unearned advantages of privilege and the oppressive nature of sexism is associated with white women’s identity development. Their study will also explore how the intersectionality of gender, privilege and sexism impacts feminist and womanist development, self-esteem and collective identity.

Amy Durbin, Gerontology

Mentor: Lisa Hollis-Sawyer, Associate Professor of Psychology

Durbin and Hollis-Sawyer will develop and pilot an up-to-date, holistic and multifaceted instrument to evaluate the physical characteristics of living environments such as homes, workplaces and neighborhoods/communities to assess their age friendliness with a growing aging population who desire to age in place. Called a Safe Aging Friendly Environment (SAFE) age audit instrument, the instrument will be in both hardcopy form and an Android application for phones, tablets and other devices.

Irvin Garcia, Chemistry

Mentor: Jing Su, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Garcia and Su will investigate the promise of Islet-Neogenesis Associated Protein (INGAP) peptides in regenerating pancreatic β-cells. This regeneration can reverse the progression of diabetes. One goal of this work is to further the development of new synthetic drug molecules that act similarly to INGAP-peptides and its target(s).

Berhane Hailemichael, Community and Teacher Leaders

Mentor: Cris Toffolo, Professor of Justice Studies

Hailemichael and Toffolo will research root causes of violence in Chicago using a process developed by the Truth Telling Project, which is part of the Black Lives Matters movement. TTP is an initiative of the Center for Educational Equity, in coalition with the Peace and Justice Studies Association, The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College, The Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Sophia Project of St. Louis, Mo., and the National Peace Academy. 

Monica Mueller, Biology

Mentor: Joel Olfelt, Professor of Biology

Mueller and Olfelt’s study will describe genetic diversity across the North American range of Rhodiola rosea (golden root), a succulent plant which occurs in small, isolated populations in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, where it is listed as rare or endangered. R. rosea has long been used in traditional medicine and has recently surged in popularity as an herbal treatment for ailments ranging from anxiety to altitude sickness.

Nicole Thomas, Geography and Environmental Studies

Mentor: Ting Liu, Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies

Thomas and Liu will compare the spatiotemporal patterns of fast-growing cities across the world through the use of nighttime remote sensing and geospatial analysis, to quantify the geometry and complexity of urban forms. The spatial pattern analysis and comparative studies will improve the discipline’s understanding of the interactions between urban growth and social/physical dynamics.