Annie Fritz and Latha Saradha hold their awards

Friday, November 8, 2019

Northeastern Illinois University students have a history of coming home from the SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference with awards, and this year was no different. Find out who earned honors, which faculty members were featured in the news media and more in this week’s Noteworthy at Northeastern.  

Around the Commons  

Science awards for students

Two Northeastern students earned awards during the 2019 Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans (SACNAS) National Diversity in STEM Conference that took place in from Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Honolulu, Hawaii. With more than 5,000 attendees and over 800 student presenters, this was the largest national conference in the history of SACNAS. Chemistry major Annie Fritz (faculty mentor: Denana Miodragovich) earned an award for outstanding poster presentation, and Computer Science master’s student Latha Saradha (faculty mentors: Rachel Trana and Rachel Adler) earned an award for outstanding oral presentation. (Fritz is on the left in the above photo.) Led by Chapter President Suleima Bonilla Tank, Northeastern won a chapter award for outstanding recruitment and membership outreach. In total, 47 Northeastern students and six faculty and staff members attended SACNAS. Funding was largely provided through an HSI-STEM Title III grant administered by Brittany Pines, and from the Student Center for Science Engagement and the Illinois Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation grant from the National Science Foundation.

And there’s more!

In the media  

Researching violence

Science News Magazine interviewed Urban Community Studies Professor Lance Williams for a story about research into inner-city gun violence. Williams advocates for violence prevention programs and for researchers to do a better job connecting with communities to find solutions. “A cultural intervention is needed to rebuild how these men see themselves and the world,” Williams said.

Testing free textbooks

The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed Library Assistant Professor Alyssa Vincent for a story about open resources. Vincent is working with Associate Professor of Psychology Shannon Saszik and Center for Teaching and Learning Coordinator of Learning Innovations Liz Rodriguez to experiment with a free OpenStax textbook in an introductory course, comparing student grades and satisfaction between sections taught with the free book and the traditional book. “Librarians are, in fact, playing a central role in these experiments,” The Chronicle wrote. “They are running workshops to explain open educational resources to faculty members, connecting to state and national open-resource networks, and searching for OER textbooks and other free materials.”

Also in the media ...

  • The Daily Herald reported that alumnus Jesus Ruiz (M.A. ’12 Educational Leadership: Higher Education) has been named dean of the College of Lake County’s Lakeshore (Waukegan) Campus.  

To do

Women in Science Conference

Northeastern will host the annual Women in Science Conference celebrating women in the sciences on Nov. 14. This year, the conference focuses on women in the field of chemistry. The conference concludes with a performance of “Discovering Marie Curie,” from 3-4 p.m. in the Golden Eagles Room. “Discovering Marie Curie” pays tribute to Marie Curie’s scientific achievements, and reveals her devotion to husband and scientist Pierre Curie, her homeland Poland, her family, and her immense compassion for all of humanity. Playwright and actor Maria Boundas Bakalis, who is an alumna with a master’s in Communication, Media and Theatre, will portray Curie.

Jewel Box Series

Leyla McCalla will perform in the Recital Hall on Nov. 15 as part of the Jewel Box Series. “The Capitalist Blues” is McCalla’s way of processing the current political environment, where many of the issues are financial, but they’re rarely simply financial. The album is McCalla’s third. Those three albums and McCalla’s time as a member of the African-American string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops presented her vision in songs that revealed the realities that people lived, often expressed in metaphors.


The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies will host GIS Day from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. on Nov. 13 in Village Square. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analyzes spatial data to reveal patterns and relationships and organizes layers of information into visualizations using maps and 3-D scenes. The event will include demonstrations, hands-on mapmaking activities, geography trivia games and more.

Tú cuentas! 2020 Census Town Hall

Northeastern will host community leaders, students and alumni, Spanish Public Radio and Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia as HITN presents the first Live Tu Cuentas! 2020 Census Town Hall via livestream on Nov. 13. The Town Hall will be moderated by Gerson Borrero, host of Estudio DC Program on HITN.  

Coming next week!

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