Ryan Poll points to the blackboard while teaching a class.

Friday, May 22, 2020

COVID-19’s unprecedented global impact is historic. As such, Northeastern Illinois University’s Ronald Williams Library wants to capture how this pandemic has affected students by taking submissions for a new digital archive. The English Department’s Ryan Poll (pictured above) is leaning on literature to find lessons past pandemics can teach, and is looking to English students, alumni and faculty to create a new reading series. Read about all this and more in this week’s edition of Noteworthy at Northeastern.

Around the Commons

Student COVID-19 archive

Though the world is still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the library is creating a digital archive that will seek to reflect how the pandemic impacted Northeastern students’ lives and how students have responded to this unprecedented time. Submissions for the new archive, “Sheltering in Place: NEIU Archives COVID-19 Documentation Project,” are only being taken digitally, and only currently enrolled students and recent graduates from the Class of 2020 are able to submit materials. “I think this archive will show a creative and personalized response to this historic situation,” University Archivist Hanna Ahn said. “This seems like it would provide really valuable information in the future for researchers on how the students of Northeastern Illinois University handled, experienced and lived through this pandemic.”

Reading Pandemics

When the COVID-19 pandemic began changing everyday life at Northeastern, Assistant Professor of English Ryan Poll looked to literature to see what authors who lived through other pandemics might have to say to help people get through this one. “When everything shut down, I started thinking that this disease is changing everything,” Poll said. “So, I turned to literature, just kind of looking for wisdom. Then I had the thought that it would be great if more people could look at literature through the prism of pandemics.” Poll has been a staff writer for the online popular culture magazine PopMatters for two years and has been actively working with graduate students to get their work published on the site. In taking his desire to open up the world of publishing to more students and the opportunity to look at literature’s lessons about pandemics, Poll pitched the idea of Reading Pandemics, a curated series by Northeastern English students, alumni and faculty to the publication. PopMatters agreed to let Poll curate the series, and the first four articles in the series are now published on the website.

And there’s more!

  • Northeastern will be closed on Monday, May 25, in observance of Memorial Day.
  • Professor Julie H. Kim of the English Department edited a new book titled “Crime Fiction and National Identities in the Global Age” (McFarland). Acting Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Tim Libretti wrote a chapter in the book titled, "Getting Fooled Again by Populism: Detecting the Origins of American Hate in Spike Lee's ‘Summer of Sam.’”
  • Alumna Mary Santana (B.A. ’11 Interdisciplinary Studies) is celebrating the 25th anniversary of her nonprofit arts organization, The Miracle Center (TMC). The anniversary celebration is scheduled to kick off May 22 with a Latin Night Virtual Dance Party via Zoom. Donations from the dance party will go to support TMC and GAP Community Center, who’ve partnered to provide food for families during the pandemic.
  • Northeastern’s Bookstore is offering free ground shipping on domestic orders so students can still receive their books for courses, as well as order University-branded items such as notebooks and apparel.  
  • Many of Northeastern’s Community and Professional Education (CAPE) classes, including the new NEIU English Institute courses, are being offered remotely. Registration for many programs is now open. 
  • Ensemble Español is offering a variety of online dance classes this summer. 

Events at home

Though its buildings are locked, Northeastern has adapted by creating remote events. 

Department of Music and Dance

The Department of Music and Dance has launched a YouTube channel and will have weekly featured performances via Facebook. This week’s featured performance is Department Chair Travis Heath performing “Hymn of Acxiom.” 

View all of Northeastern’s future events at neiu.edu/events. Please email public-relations@neiu.edu to submit events for consideration in future editions of Noteworthy at Northeastern. 

In the media


A post shared by Borderless Magazine (@borderless_mag) on

COVID-19 impact

Diane Bou Khalil (current Sociology major) interviewed Fernando Moreno (Interdisciplinary Studies, expected ’20) about his article in Borderless Magazine about COVID-19’s impact on Wicker Park’s Mexican community via Instagram. Bou Khalil was recently promoted from engagement intern to engagement reporter for the publication. Moreno is the Chief Operations Officer for Spanish Public Radio. 

Also in the media

  • Assistant Professor of Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies Sunni Ali was a panelist for “Where do we go from here? Combating Racism and Antisemitism in the 21st Century” on May 20. The discussion was hosted by The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism to address the most effective ways to counter racism and antisemitism. The webinar had a worldwide audience with viewers from the U.S., U.K., Israel and other countries.
  • Associate Professor of Political Science William Adler was interviewed for a Niskanen Center podcast episode titled “How Much Do Vice Presidential Running Mates Matter?
  • The Riverside-Brookfield Landmark reported that Northeastern alumnus Todd Fitzgerald (M.A. '02 History; M.A. '05 Educational Leadership-School Leadership) has been chosen as the new superintendent of Komarek School District 94.

Alumni leaders

The Alumni Association has launched a webpage to share stories about the work Northeastern graduates are doing related to COVID-19. 

Rose Guccione smiles as she sings.

This week’s featured alumni leader is Rose Guccione. Guccione sang with the Lyric Opera of Chicago for 20 years and is the founder and owner of two businesses, OperaGram and ChicagoWebmaven. She is also a NEIU Business Innovation and Growth (BIG) Center entrepreneur. As COVID-19 has put creative artists in a precarious economic situation,  Guccione has hosted free entrepreneurship workshops for creative and performing artists via Zoom. Her ChicagoWebmaven's DIY Guide is part of a low-cost service Guccione planned to roll out this summer for opera artists. In the face of COVID-19, she rolled out the guide early and made it available to the general public. Subscribe to her newsletter to get a copy and be notified when the full suite of services is live.

Those interested in sharing are encouraged to complete the COVID-19 Stories form

Student Support Spotlight

Alumni Association

Northeastern’s Alumni Association hosted a drive-thru food drop-off to support the University’s Student Pantry on May 21. The pantry has altered its delivery of services due to COVID-19. Students are now able to order food online. A food donation bin has also been placed at the University Police station to collect needed items throughout this time as other drop-off locations are now closed. Monetary contributions are being collected online to support the Student Pantry and the Student Emergency Fund. Student Pantry questions may be directed to Christopher Maxwell at c-maxwell2@neiu.edu.

Follow Northeastern on InstagramFacebookYouTube and Twitter! Do you have a story tip? Let the Office of Public Relations know at public-relations@neiu.edu.