An elevated view of the Student Union building and the University Commons

Friday, June 24, 2022

Northeastern Illinois University is all about breaking barriers—to education and research. Read about our new partnership with Hope Chicago and the largest study on longevity and aging in reptiles and amphibians. Plus, view our upcoming events and more in this edition of Noteworthy at Northeastern. 

Around the Commons

A composite image of two people hugging within the shape of the state of Illinois set against an orange background with the words Hope Chicago in white

Hope Chicago

Northeastern Illinois University has entered into a formal partnership with Hope Chicago, a nonprofit organization seeking to reduce economic and social inequity by funding postsecondary scholarships and non-tuition costs for Chicago Public Schools graduates and their adult family members eager to return to school and update their skills. “At Northeastern, we believe in empowering students with the tools they need to create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive world,” President Gloria J. Gibson said. “By breaking barriers they change the trajectory of not only their lives, but the lives of their families and communities. The Hope Chicago partnership with Northeastern will be able to break the financial barrier to higher education and ensure that students receive the support they need to succeed at NEIU and beyond.” Hope Chicago is committed to investing $1 billion in postsecondary scholarships to Chicago Public Schools students and their parents over the next decade beginning with the inaugural Hope Chicago scholar cohort, which will join the Northeastern campus community in Fall 2022.

A group of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta), a widespread North American species of freshwater turtle.

Northeastern, Penn State lead international team of scientists on the largest study on longevity, aging in reptiles and amphibians

An international team of 114 scientists, led by Northeastern Illinois University and Penn State, reported the most comprehensive study of aging and longevity to date comprising data collected in the wild from 107 populations of 77 species of reptiles and amphibians worldwide. Among their many findings, which they reported in the journal Science, the researchers documented for the first time that turtles, crocodilians and salamanders have particularly low aging rates and extended lifespans for their sizes. The team also found that protective phenotypes, such as the hard shells of most turtle species, contribute to slower aging, and in some cases even “negligible aging,” or lack of biological aging. Northeastern Illinois University Assistant Professor of Biology Beth Reinke is the first author of the paper. “These various protective mechanisms can reduce animals’ mortality rates because they’re not getting eaten by other animals,” Reinke said. “Thus, they’re more likely to live longer, and that exerts pressure to age more slowly. We found the biggest support for the protective phenotype hypothesis in turtles. Again, this demonstrates that turtles, as a group, are unique.” This research has garnered media attention with The New York Times, Discover Magazine, and BBC Science Focus Magazine, among other publications.

Photo: A group of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta), a widespread North American species of freshwater turtle. Photo by Beth A. Reinke.

And there’s more!

  • Director of the Doctorate in Education in Urban Education Program Kamau Rashid published “‘You’ve Got to be the Medicine to Heal the Community’: Capoeira and the Art of Healing Mind, Body, and Spirit” in the Journal of Black Studies.
  • There’s still time to apply for Fall 2022! The deadline for domestic applicants is July 15. Use code ALUMREF (all caps) to receive a $30 application fee waiver.
  • First-time, full-time freshmen can qualify for the NEIU For You scholarship, which can be renewed for up to four years as long as students meet the eligibility requirements. A separate application is not required to be considered for this funding. All students need to do is apply to NEIU
  • Current and admitted students interested in taking summer classes are encouraged to talk to their academic advisor or contact the Registration Office at or (773) 442-4040, or by visiting Enrollment Services in Room D 101. If you plan to take a summer course, register today! 
  • Fall 2022 registration is open. Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to plan your course schedule. 

To Do

COVID-19 update

From June 16-22, 2022, one student and six employees reported positive COVID-19 tests. Two employees and the student were on campus. Since March 2020, a total of 208 employees and 467 students have self-reported to the University that they tested positive for COVID-19. 

Employees and students who feel sick should stay home. If you test positive for COVID-19, students should immediately notify Student Health Services, and employees should notify their supervisors and the Office of Human Resources. Additionally, faculty and staff are required to report positive and presumptive student COVID-19 cases and exposures to Student Health Services. When someone who has been on campus tests positive, Northeastern works with the Chicago Department of Public Health to determine the appropriate response, which differs greatly depending on the situation. We continue to follow Chicago Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines as we ensure proper protocols and preventative measures are in place for the health and safety of our students and employees.

Other COVID-19 updates

  • Northeastern Illinois University highly recommends wearing masks indoors, as Chicago has moved into the high COVID-19 transmission risk level per CDC guidelines. Northeastern has free surgical, KN95 and/or N95 masks available for students and employees. Masks have been distributed to offices and classrooms and are also available at the Welcome Desk at the Main Campus, the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies and El Centro. 
  • Campus vaccination clinics have closed. Please review the Guidance for Coronavirus Vaccinations page to find vaccination sites. 
  • SHIELD Illinois COVID-19 testing remains open and available for NEIU community members and the general public. However, hours of operation for the Main Campus have changed. SHIELD testing on the Main Campus is scheduled to continue through June; testing at El Centro and CCICS is scheduled to continue through July. 
  • The federal government is offering free at-home COVID-19 tests through the U.S. Postal Service. 

Stay up to date on everything regarding COVID-19 by visiting the COVID-19 Response website. 

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