Honors Luminary, Fall 202 - Spring 2021 issue

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FALL 2020-SPRING 2021

Fall 2020-Spring 2021




Anjishnu Chakrabarti Soha Huq


Director's Message Andrea Radasanu, Ph.D.



Editor's Notes Anjishnu Chakrabarti and Soha Huq



Get engaged - virtually! Parker Otto


My Honors Scholar experience Cameron Clark

7 NIU/SIU Honors Leadership Exchange Staff 8 9

Leading by example — Dennis Barsema mentors Honors student leaders Soha Huq 2020 Lincoln Laureate winner Megan Ping

10 Student Spotlights Matthew McCoy Kaitlin Miller Jamie Ward Anjishnu Chakrabarti 12 Faculty Spotlights Timothy Crowley, Ph.D. Soha Huq and Jeremy Rehmus Clare Kron, Ph.D. Kaylee Rosenberger 15

Honors by the Numbers


Honors Donors


Staff and Honors Contacts

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Catherine Carter Andrea Radasanu Connie Storey LUMINARY STAFF

Cameron Clark Nicole Kain Kaitlin MIller Nathaniel Nafrosky Parker Otto Megan Ping Jeremy Rhemus Kaylee Rosenberger Hannah Schaumburg Yari Tapia CREATIVE SERVICES

Sophia Varcados

Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. Further, the Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University provides for equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, and sexual orientation. Inquiries concerning application of Title IX, Section 504, and other statutes and regulations may be referred to the Affirmative Action and Diversity Resources Center, 1515 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, IL 60115, telephone 815-753-1118. Printed by authority of the State of Illinois. niu.edu 48126 6/21 ON THE COVER:

Dennis Barsema

DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE Last year, I ended my remarks by talking about the resilience of our students and staff during the pandemic. While it is unfortunate that such extraordinary resilience and perseverance continue to be necessary, it is incredibly inspiring to see Honors Huskies rising to this unprecedented challenge. While most of our University Honors Program business was conducted virtually, I am pleased to report that the program operated on all cylinders, and even made some important strides forward. In the fall, we welcomed a new batch of first-year students; a diverse class with amazing academic credentials, active interests and goals outside the classroom, and a civic-minded and service-oriented disposition that aligns with the values of NIU and our University Honors Program. It was disappointing to not have the Taft Retreat for the first time in the history of the program, but we managed to onboard our new students with a variety of social and informational programs and a new mentorship component of the work that the wonderful Honors fellows do. A major goal of our program this year is providing connections in a time when in-person activities are severely hampered by the COVID-19 public health crisis. For students, we especially want to make sure we have meaningful options for cocurricular activities during this challenging period. One important effort is establishing the University Honors Civic Engagement Project, which is a suite of civic and community engagement opportunities through which students can earn cocurricular credit. For example, a group of Honors students served as election judges in fall 2020, and over 40 students trained in website review and provided website analyses for DeKalb County NGOs and our student-led Honors Advocacy Initiative. Indeed, this year represents the establishment of the UHP as a hub of civic and community engagement on campus.

We are also working on connecting with our alumni and friends. If you are alumni, we hope you have noticed our monthly UHP newsletters which often provide opportunities for engagement with current students. We are so appreciative of our alumni and friends who have volunteered in various capacities. It was encouraging to have approximately 100 alumni and friends volunteer their time and energy to evaluate scholarship applications this year. If you have any exciting ideas for engagement with current students, please know that we are open to suggestions. Again, I commend our NIU Honors community for rising to this year’s particular challenges so brilliantly. Approximately 160 Honors students graduated with Honors distinction; a real testament to the grit and determination that Huskies — especially Honors Huskies — embody. Please enjoy this year’s Luminary through which you will gain a sense of the busy and successful year students have enjoyed in our Honors Program.


Andrea Radasanu, Ph.D. Director for University Honors Northern Illinois University

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EDITOR’S NOTES Anjishnu Chakrabarti

Soha Huq

I am Anjishnu Chakrabarti, a junior majoring in psychology. I am also pursuing a minor in marketing and a certificate in social entrepreneurship. As an international student coming from Kolkata, India, I struggled with acculturation and homesickness during my first semester as a Huskie. However, it was my active involvement in the Honors Program that helped me cope with my personal insecurities and make the most out of my college experience. Whether it’s participation in undergraduate research, professional development boot camp, an externship or even community service, Honors played a major role in helping me find the wonderful resources that NIU has to offer. Moreover, I was also able to forge great relationships with my peers and staff who are also a part of the Honors Program. It is my immense gratitude toward the Honors Program that drove me to try and take up the prestigious role of an Honors fellow. This gave me a chance to give back to the program — and NIU at large — that has welcomed me under its caring wings and provided me with my home away from home. It was a pleasure and a great learning experience serving as a co-editor for the Luminary. I especially thank Ms. Connie Storey for her guidance and support, and my peers Soha Huq and Catherine Carter for being such wonderful co-editors.

As I wrap up my time at NIU, I reflect on the extensive and worthwhile experiences I have gained. I am grateful for the support of the NIU Honors Program in my college journey. Throughout the workshops, externships and fellowships, I met wonderful faculty eager to expand my knowledge and professional skills. I worked with passionate, diligent students as an Honors fellow, curious to learn more about the opportunities granted by the program. Despite the changes and setbacks, I believe I have grown into a more capable individual thanks to the dedication of my professors and advisors at NIU.

Anjishnu Chakrabarti, junior psychology major.

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We hope that this issue of the Luminary is a testament to the creativity, ingenuity and drive of our students. Our NIU family has proven itself a powerful force capable of enacting positive change in our communities and ourselves. The energy for learning is expansive, encompassing a web of disciplines such as biology, nonprofit, art and business. I am awed by the achievements and experiences heralded by the Honors Program, and we hope that reading this year’s Luminary, faculty and students alike will inspire you as well. I look forward to further greatness from our NIU Honors Program in the years to come.

Soha Huq, senior management major.

Get engaged —


By Parker Otto Honors Engaged experiences are the cornerstone of our Honors Program, providing meaningful learning experiences for Honors students. Even when experiences have little to do with students’ intended careers, their lasting effects can be extremely meaningful and follow students for the rest of their lives, fulfilling a deeper understanding of themselves. The Professional Development Boot Camp was developed by both the Honors Program and Career Services to “build a solid foundation for career success,” to quote the website description. Over the course of a semester, students participate in various activities to expand their exposure to networking and interviewing; ultimately to increase their chances of job success. Activities include participating in a mock interview and attending internship and job fairs. This engagement opportunity began in the previous academic year and continued through the 2020-21 academic year. Jeremy Knoll, a junior double-majoring in history and economics, took advantage of this opportunity and participated in the Professional Development Boot Camp over the fall 2020 semester. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, not only did Knoll complete this program, but he also learned valuable lessons while participating. In his experience with the program, Knoll devoted himself to understanding digital networking. This included him taking a LinkedIn Learning course on the subject as well as participating in a seminar on the benefits of using LinkedIn as a networking tool. “It’s helped me understand digital marketing,” Knoll said. “Because of COVID-19, everything this semester was online. The Internship and Job Fair is a big event, but this year it was replaced with little chatrooms where an employer would talk to students.”

In the age of digital meetings and classrooms perpetuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Knoll believes that this experience has given him an edge in this ever-expanding digital world. “With more people working from home, it has better prepared me for work in the virtual world,” Knoll said. As a junior completing his fifth semester at NIU, Knoll is well on his way to graduating with full university honors in May 2022. Following graduation, Knoll wishes to enroll in graduate school to further explore history with hopes of teaching at the university level. While the Honors Program has helped Knoll prepare for graduate school in a variety of ways, in some ways, there are other aspects of the program that he finds valuable. A member of the Honors Program since his freshman year 2018, Knoll credits the program for creating a tightknit community for him within the NIU community. “The Honors Program at NIU, especially the engaged experiences, allow you to participate in experiences that you otherwise never would have done,” he comments. Knoll has been able to participate in a flood clean up in Tennessee and volunteered at a bilingual preschool in South Bend, Indiana. “While these experiences aren’t relevant professionally, they are valuable experiences for my personal development,” Knoll astutely concludes. Honors Engaged is crucial to making high-achieving Honors students well-rounded and engaged in the world around them.

Jeremy Knoll presenting at URAD.

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My Honors Scholar experience By Cameron Clark Over the past four years, the Honors Program provided me with the opportunity to work closely with faculty members both within and outside my major of special education. Most notably, during my freshman year I was able to connect with Toni Van Laarhoven in SEED, who would later become my faculty mentor. Through the Honors Scholar experience, I have been supported by the Honors Program in completing my Honors capstone as well as presenting my research at the International Council for Exceptional Children — Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities conference. Having the opportunity to work closely with Van Laarhoven has enhanced my education within my program immeasurably and has opened a world of new post-graduation research opportunities. Alongside my faculty mentor, I developed and designed my senior capstone project entitled, “Comparison of Augmented Reality and Visual Supports on the Correct and Independent Completion of Vocational Tasks Among Students with Autism and/or Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.” The purpose of this capstone project is to determine effective methods to teach transition-aged students with autism and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities how to complete vocational tasks independently. At the time of submission of my paper, data collection was still in progress and only a preliminary analysis of collected data was available. Due to many limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, only one 20-year-old student with autism participated in this study. The participant was taught two vocational/daily living skills (folding clothes and washing dishes). For one skill, the participant was instructed using visual, picture supports. For the second skill, the participant was instructed using augmented reality, video supports. The baseline phase utilized a multiple-opportunity method, and instructional supports were not provided to the participants for any of the intervention tasks. Baseline data were recorded in both the intervention setting with intervention materials as well as in the generalization setting with generalization materials. Upon completion of the baseline phase, a pre-intervention phase was initiated to instruct the participants in using the low-tech and high-tech supports using a comparable skill (stuffing a folder) to the selected intervention skills (folding clothes and washing dishes). The study utilized an alternating

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treatment design when the intervention was implemented. The effectiveness of the intervention was measured by collected data on the percentage of steps with independent responding and the percentage of steps with prompts to use technology as well as the comparison between the low-tech, visual supports and the high-tech, augmented reality supports. Although results are preliminary, the implication of this study is promising in the field of special education and in promoting independence among individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. The preliminary results of this study do imply that further research is beneficial in strengthening this study. Overall, the Honors Scholar experience supported me throughout the capstone process. It opened doors to opportunities that I did not know existed. As a special education major, I was completely unaware of the research opportunities that existed as an incoming freshman at NIU. However, with the guidance and support of my amazing faculty mentor, I have gained an incredible research experience that I will take with me into my teaching career and hopefully continue in graduate school.

Cameron Clark, education major.

NIU/SIU Honors Leadership Exchange By Staff This spring, the NIU Honors fellows had the opportunity to engage in a virtual Honors Leadership Exchange with Honors leaders from Southern Illinois University. Throughout the course of the week, the two sets of leaders exchanged short videos on Flipgrid on important topics such as leadership styles, equity and inclusion, and being student leaders through a pandemic. At the beginning and end of the week, the student participants were able to meet in real time over planned Zoom gatherings. The students in both programs gained valuable insights from each other, but, perhaps more importantly, they felt like they made real connections in a year where these have been at a premium. Anjishnu Chakrabarti shared, “[My] personal favorite aspect of the exchange program has to be how we, the students of NIU and the students from SIU, became like one big family for that week.” He continued, “In the process of commenting on each other’s video responses, and learning new things, it was one memorable experience.” Kat Hahn-Boisvert added that she enjoyed meeting and networking with new people. “It has been so hard to meet new people in general this year. Now I have a bunch of new friends from SIU.”

The students also bravely tackled issues of broad social significance including social justice and systemic racism. Many of the participants remarked on how impressed they were with the level of thoughtfulness that the video format allowed them to express, and they witnessed firsthand the importance of talking through tough issues and hearing a variety of perspectives. Chakrabarti felt he learned the most about tackling systemic racism. “I observed that although there were some common themes being highlighted in our responses, each of us had something unique to add, which made the learning process even better.” Hahn-Boisvert echoed this sentiment, saying that the differences among the students led to important insights. “We were not all the same, and that was beneficial because we were able to learn from each other based on what we were passionate about.” The student leaders who participated are excited to take their new perspectives and friendships forward, hoping to build on the experience and the awareness they gained. Not least though, the students also learned that leadership is about taking care of themselves. Jaclyn Kaspzyk reflected that one takeaway she obtained about leadership during this experience is that, “leaders need to ask for help.” Leadership is ultimately about creating vision and community, and doing so in hard times means showing oneself and others kindness.

NIU Honors fellows who participated remarked on how thoughtful the video exchanges were and how much they all learned about leadership styles, as well as the differences between honors programs and more. DeVonté Fuller commented that the exchange of ideas was beneficial with respect to learning how other honors programs function. “An opportunity like this might give students first hand experience at how different their own honors programs are, and, with these different perspectives, they’d surely have much more to bring to the table in terms of further development of their university.”

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Leading by example —

Dennis Barsema mentors Honors student leaders By Soha Huq For the Honors Leadership Boot Camp, Dennis Barsema deftly led important leadership conversations while generously sharing his own leadership philosophy and experiences. During three workshops, eight student leaders took stock of their leadership qualities and set leadership goals. The seminar-style experience — along with Barsema’s affable, approachable manner — in a comfortable, informal atmosphere for students to grow. Students read “The Student Leadership Challenge: Five Practices of Becoming an Exemplary Leader”, which encourages incorporating basic leadership skills into daily life. The students who participated in this special opportunity were inspired by Barsema’s own life, and they eagerly answered his call for them to define the values by which they want to live and lead. Barsema is no stranger to giving his time in the service of helping Huskies. He just completed his tenure as chair of the NIU board of trustees. He, of course, has deep ties to the NIU College of Business, which is housed in Barsema Hall. He also has a long history of supporting the efforts of the University Honors Program, which awarded him the Great Professor Award in 2011. This annual award recognizes NIU faculty and staff for their leadership, dedication and service to the program. “Our students are just special,” he lauded. “And the Honors students live up to their reputation.” Barsema attended NIU as a business management major. Despite insecurity over his speech impediment, he ran for and earned leadership positions within his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He attributes his success to a strong vision and sense of empathy.

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“A big part of leadership is humility and empathy, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable,” said Barsema. He added, “Vulnerability can make us uncomfortable, but it is a necessary bridge to cross.” He believes that leaders must connect with their teams. Being genuine — even about difficult subjects — builds trust and can inspire a team to rally around a shared vision and set of values. Students responded to Barsema’s commitment to leading by his values and by example. “You could tell that Mr. Barsema is so passionate about teaching,” remarked Grant Goral, a political science and economics major who is also an Honors fellow and a McKearn fellow. Goral continued, “He is passionate about sharing with students his successes so they might translate into opportunity and success for us.” Barsema also noted the importance of resilience throughout the leadership Boot Camp. This is a quality that is important in the best of times, but even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The NIU family has done a great job supporting each other,” noted Barsema. “[And] students have gotten through the semesters in great fashion,” despite ongoing challenges. NIU students continue to search for ways to develop their leadership skills in a diverse array of positions in and out of the classroom. “Always find ways to make whatever opportunities you are involved in better,” urged Barsema. By creating and adhering to a set of values, future leaders at NIU can forge paths to inspire their peers to foster positive change in their communities, even in uncertain times. Kianna Becker, one of the student participants who hopes to work in the nonprofit sector, took this to heart. Barsema’s focus on setting one’s compass and knowing one’s values helped her to understand that it “takes someone special” who sets goals, trains and displays patience to capitalize on leadership opportunities. “Purpose is the path to sustainable happiness,” Barsema concluded. To Honors students and NIU students more broadly, Barsema sets the following challenge: “What are you doing, and what are you doing to make the world a better place?”


Lincoln Laureate winner By Megan Ping Illinois is known as the “Land of Lincoln,” which offers inspiration for all those lucky enough to receive their educations at one of the fine public institutions of higher learning in Illinois. Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States, came from humble origins, but he worked hard to build himself into a leader and advocate for change in the country. The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization — aims to honor his legacy by rewarding students who follow in his footsteps. Every year, universities across Illinois each choose one graduating student who excels in leadership, civic engagement, curricular and extracurricular activities. Since one student is chosen from each university, the award is a rare and difficult one to achieve. NIU has participated in Lincoln’s Academy ceremony since 1975, the year it was founded. So far, it has honored 45 students, and this year, NIU has selected its 46th Lincoln Laureate student, Jill Elizabeth Belluomini. Belluomini was chosen for good reason. She is accomplished in a variety of different academic specialties. She majored in chemistry, and minored in dance, biology and mathematics. Not only is she wellrounded, but she has also tutored students, volunteered at STEM Fest and led NIU’s chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma. Remarkably, she has done all of this while maintaining membership in the NIU Honors Program. Belluomini is a hard-worker, and she has a clear hunger for knowledge. She and her fellow finalists, Matt McCoy, Brooke Lavite and Claire Miller, exemplify the best of NIU. They have challenged themselves while also giving back to the community. McCoy and Miller have also completed the University Honors Program. With the events of 2020, the ceremony looked a bit different this year, but Belluomini was still honored for her accomplishment. In past years, the laureates would gather for an in-person event where they would receive their certificates and enjoy speeches from members of the Lincoln Academy. Because of the pandemic, the ceremony was hosted online and a recording is available on the official website. Abraham Lincoln was able to ascend to the presidency from humble beginnings in a simple log cabin. He led a nation and advocated for change, planting the seeds for future generations to fight against prejudice and discrimination. NIU has chosen Jill Belluomini to follow in his footsteps for her determination, community service and passion for learning. We offer congratulations to her and look forward to future Honors students earning this prestigious honor in the future.

Jill Belluomini, chemistry major and dance, biology and mathematics minor.

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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT Matthew McCoy By Kaitlin Miller Matthew McCoy, a senior from Downers Grove, Illinois, has had nothing but successful experiences at Northern Illinois University. On top of his dual major in rather different fields of study — mechanical engineering and saxophone performance/jazz studies — he has found himself involved in a countless number of ways. McCoy joined the Honors Program in the fall of his freshman year and became very involved that spring when he was named a McKearn fellow. The Honors Program played a key role in enhancing his academic experience and allowed him to learn to the greatest extent possible. Through McKearn funding, McCoy has learned in great depth by pursuing academic research. McCoy’s biggest leadership position at the university is being president of the Supermileage team. The Supermileage team focuses on designing, manufacturing and testing the highest energy-efficient vehicles possible. The team does every bit of work from the ground up, starting with an in-house design and ending with a competitionready machine that is the lightest and most aerodynamic. McCoy held a couple different positions in this organization, working his way up from treasurer to vice president to his current position. As president of the Supermileage team, he spends over 20 hours each week developing material to teach and engage other members of the team. McCoy’s

Matthew McCoy, senior mechanical engineering and saxophone performance/jazz studies major.

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goal is to “train our students to become strong engineers who think critically and make sound choices as an engineer.” This philosophy has worked extremely well, as they claimed first place at the Shell EcoMarathon Americas and SAE Supermileage International competition in 2019 and 2020, respectively. McCoy has impeccable academic merit as shown by being named to the dean’s list in both fields of study every semester at NIU. With his academic merit and extracurricular involvement, it is not a surprise that he has received countless awards. He is a Lincoln Laureate first finalist, a McKearn fellow and a CEET ambassador. He was also featured in the Society of Automotive Engineers International MOMENTUM magazine and was a guest panelist at the Shell EcoMarathon International event. To culminate his time at NIU, McCoy was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP), one of the most respected and competitive scientific fellowships. The NSF GRFP provides a three-year annual research stipend of $34,000 and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance toward his graduate studies. This award proclaims that he is one of the best aspiring mechanical engineers in the country. McCoy plans on applying to graduate programs in both the mechanical engineering field and programs that combine music and engineering. In addition to applying for graduate programs, he will also apply to jobs in the field of additive manufacturing, product design, and research and development. NIU has set McCoy up to find a position in nearly any field he can imagine. This is thanks to the generous donors who allowed him to focus and engage in his academics and to fully explore each discipline possible rather than focusing on a job.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT Being the best both on and off the field — The life of a student-athlete in the Honors Program By Anjishnu Chakrabarti Jamie Ward of Rockford, Illinois is a freshman who plays center midfielder on the NIU women’s soccer team. In addition to being a fulltime student-athlete, she is also enrolled in the university’s Honors Program. Ward’s goal of pushing herself beyond her comfort zone and her ardent desire to make the most out of her four years in college are what drove her decision to join the Honors Program. Ward also believes that being a part of the Honors Program gives her a chance to share the classroom with equally driven students, given the fact that she holds a very high regard for academics — a trait instilled in her by her family. Growing up, Ward played a bunch of sports. However, she ultimately chose soccer as she felt that this game impacted her life the most. “Not only did I end up enjoying [soccer] the most, I also met a lot of good people and made great connections. So, I wanted to continue with it,” said the elementary education major. She further added that the lessons she learned while playing soccer — such as work ethic — inspire her to carry that same mentality into the classroom. Having achieved All-Sectional for Illinois, All-Conference and being named her team’s MVP in high school, Ward was excited to continue her athletic journey and win accolades in her college career as well. Although she feels that it would be “cool” to continue playing soccer after graduation, she believes she can reach more people and make a bigger, more significant impact in the world if she sticks with her dream of becoming a teacher. Athletics for Ward is more like a second passion, and it acts as a stressreliever as it helps her refresh her mind and get back into academics feeling rejuvenated. Just like every other student who is a part of the university Honors Program, Ward embodies determination, persistence and has a strong drive to be the best in all her pursuits. In this regard, she has set lofty yet realistic goals for herself. During her time as a Huskie, Ward plans to improve academically, maintain a high GPA and learn the ins and outs of her dream profession, while also improving as an athlete by

getting stronger and faster. She hopes that her team can win some championships over the next few seasons. This attitude of never giving up and always striving for excellence is what sets her apart, but is also typical of an Honors student. Ward’s favorite part of being in the Honors Program is the smaller class sizes that allow professors to spend more time building close bonds with their students and give more individually focused advice. Having attended the fall 2020 Honors retreat, Ward said she enjoyed the experience as it gave her a chance to meet the Honors staff and to know other freshmen in the Honors Program. The taste of the wonderful engagement experiences that Honors has to offer its students has her eagerly waiting for the next experience. She added that the Honors retreat made her feel comfortable and at home. She said, “It was nice to hear from other students and know that others feel the same way as me about online classes.” The welcoming demeanor of the Honors fellows and the staff at the retreat impressed her. “It was really nice knowing that you have extra support.” Ward fervently believes that the Honors Program will help her push herself to levels she has never striven for before. In addition to academics, Ward also believes that the community involvement associated with the Honors Program will help her develop into a wellrounded person. There is a clear advantage of being a student-athlete in the Honors Program, according to Ward. Being an Honors student, she receives the support of an Honors advisor. She feels that this extra guidance, in addition to her athletic and academic advising, is highly beneficial as it helps her stay on track and organize her schedule efficiently. Ward urges other student-athletes to consider joining the Honors Program. For Ward, the Honors Program is a great resource that helps her achieve higher standards while also providing a loving community to fall back on.

Jamie Ward, freshman midfielder on the women’s soccer team.

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Timothy D. Crowley

progresses in a given class period, I bridge between student comments and incorporating organically relevant lecture points on contexts (literary, historical, philosophical, religious) or on interpretive debates.

By Soha Huq and Jeremy Rehmus Timothy D. Crowley is a professor at NIU, coming here in 2013. He teaches in the English department and has been involved in the Honors Program teaching mini-sections and blended Honors classes. For the first time, he’s teaching an Honors seminar on the novel “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes. TL: TC:



What encouraged you to become an English professor? I’ve always loved literature. I loved books and was surrounded by them throughout my youth. I knew from the beginning of college that I wanted to pursue a degree in the humanities. I decided in my sophomore year to major in English and minor in Spanish (studying in Spain for half of my junior year). Then from graduate school onward I’ve incorporated my interests in philosophy and history into my study of literature. I enjoy research and helping others discover how these stories impact culture. It makes people think about being human. How can English and the humanities help students as they learn? In these lines of study, we focus our critical thinking on who and what we humans have been, are and could be — within but also across discreet time periods, places and cultures. I hope students, too, will perceive this framework of intellectual endeavor as crucial for any specific academic discipline one pursues, while relevant personally and professionally for any course of life one takes during and after formal education. Describe your teaching method. How does it engage students? I create a classroom environment that is thought-provoking and engaging. The novels and texts help to create cultural empathy. They make readers think about the impact those stories have on the world around us. Although I focus on much older works, I feel that they are still important because they show us what it means to be human in the world. My literature courses revolve around group discussion of assigned reading. Students and I establish a schedule by which they formulate questions to launch each class discussion. As conversation about the assigned text(s)

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What is the most fulfilling aspect of being a professor? What a blessing I enjoy in having secured a place in this life of learning, which feels most fulfilling to me while sharing it actively with colleagues and students. I am most rewarded when I find that I have connected with the quieter students in class. At the time, it may seem that these students were uninterested, only later to discover that I made an impact. An example is when a former student contacted me years after the class for the list of books read in the class.


Is there anything specific that you are currently teaching? This semester I have the unique pleasure of teaching courses on William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes in tandem. This is a dream combination for me, and students in the Honors seminar seem to remain intrigued with Cervantes’s “Don Quixote” amid this full semester devoted to that one big book. “Don Quixote” is rated the best fiction novel of all time and is considered the first modern novel. I feel that there are so many different aspects in this novel to cover that even non-English majors will find something of interest in both the novel and the seminar. The novel presents several topics to work through that are still relevant to today’s students. I am impressed by their keen minds, proud of their diligence and precision, and pleased by their lively spirits throughout this academic adventure we have undertaken together.

Timothy D. Crowley, English professor


Clare Kron By Kaylee Rosenberger Clare Kron is an NIU Honors Program alumna who completed her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. at Northern Illinois University during her return to school after 40 years. She has taught for 10 years and is currently an instructor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Kron just offered her first Honors seminar this spring as an Honors Faculty fellow. The course, Human Genetics and Evolution, focused on what our genes can tell us, tying into human evolution. TL:

How were you involved with the Honors Program during your time as an undergraduate at NIU? CK: I began by taking the seminars required upon entering the Honors Program for the last two years of undergraduate studies. I was so impressed with the teaching of the literature professor, Stephen Franklin, that I proceeded to take additional Honors courses he offered, as well as a course in political science. Though the program requires additional work, the rewards of joining other students who are invested in absorbing as much information as possible during their college years was fully worth the effort. I was fortunate to enjoy the informal, discussion-style format for five courses: Great Ideas, Greek and Shakespearian Tragedy, The Poetry of Love, Existentialism and Topics in American Democracy. TL:

What were some of your favorite memories from your Honors student days? CK: The class discussions were typically energetic and wellprepared. Most of the classes had both traditional and post-traditional students, which gave a broad span of ideas on the topics. The class size didn’t exceed 20, so there was an unspoken demand for participation from everyone, which provided for lively debate and a strong sense of community. It was an overall positive setting. Also, as I was working to establish fair trade coffee as a menu item at NIU during my last year in the program, the Honors advisor suggested I use that effort as my capstone project. For my overall accomplishments, I was awarded the Honors Program Senior Enhancement Award.


How do you think the Honors Program benefitted you and benefits students in general? CK: It gives students a venue for working with other students who are also high achievers, providing a small-group setting that engenders comfortable sharing of ideas. The subject matter also reaches into areas that one’s major requirements can’t cover unless the student is willing to commit extra time and effort. TL: Can you describe the seminar you led this past spring? CK: The central theme was the exploration of the origin of life on earth and the progression that led to the development of the human species, with the goal of understanding human genetics based on the scaffolding of evolution. It looked at the foundation of each individual’s biological existence as well as the key differences that make each person unique. The course explored the wide-reaching changes to our view of life due to the revelation of evolution and highlighted the inextricable connection of the human species with all other life forms on Earth, showing that humankind depends on other species for survival and has the responsibility to protect and preserve them. TL:

How did it feel to lead an Honors seminar for the program from which you graduated? CK: It felt wonderful because, to me, it is only natural, indeed necessary, to give back to a program that proved to be the most valuable part of my undergraduate experience. I was enriched beyond measure, and the least I can do is use the education I received to share the same gift. I’ll use a quote from a book on Native American lifestyle and values, “Braiding Sweetgrass”, by Robin Wall Kimmerer, that expresses this requirement best: “Reciprocity is a matter of keeping life in motion through self-perpetuating cycles of giving and receiving.” May my students take up the same banner in the future. TL: What are some of your highlights from your career? CK: As an avid reader of the latest information in many areas of biological studies, I’m pleased to be able to update my lectures on a week-by-week basis, always keeping my students aware of emerging technologies and medical advances. To be asked to write recommendations for medical school is an honor, and to receive feedback that my lessons were enlightening, as well as enjoyable, is a reward in itself.

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Clare Kron, cont. TL: What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching? CK: I enjoy making the difficult concepts of biology available by defining and explaining them better every semester. TL: What advice do you have for students? CK: Read as part of your daily list of vital tasks — expand your views by delving into world literature, political thought, creative fiction as well as the subject matter of your majors. Be open to new ideas and share them, recognizing that we’re all teachers to someone, either now or in the future, and we need to be prepared. TL: Any other comments or final thoughts? CK: For the best experience in the Honors Program, engage fully with the topic and share freely with your classmates. It can become one of your best memories as well as the springboard into your future career.

Clare Kron, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences, spring 2021 Honors Faculty Fellow.

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Where We Are From

Outstanding Capstone Awards


Jill Belluomini


Kaylee Rosenberger

Enhancement Awards


Shalisha Hill

Caitlin Hensley

Outside Chicago

Chicagoland Outside Illinois Outside U.S.


New Students 2020-2021 Freshman






Average GPA 3.68

Graduates Fall 2020 34

Spring 2021 142



Social Science Community Engagement Ashley Hines

Honors Scholars



Sophomore Grant Goral


Lila Zayed


Aaren Manz

DeVonté Fuller

Total Number of Scholarship Recipients

2020-2021 fellows


Total Amount of Scholarship Money Spent $132,606

Outstanding Athlete Kyle Seebach Baseball

Katherine Hahn-Boisvert Anjishnu Chakrabarti DeVonté Fuller Grant Goral Elizabeth Herbert Soha Huq Alexandra Karnuth Jaclyn Kaspzyk Justin Ligeski Anna McComb Fernanda Montoya Lila Zayed

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Strength in Numbers:

Honors Donors Amy Seetoo Computer Associates Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Dr. Daniel and Mrs. Nicole Turner Dr. Dennis and Mrs. Mary Ellen Branson Dr. Gretchen G. Korzak Dr. Joel and Mrs. Judy Stafstrom Dr. Kathleen A. Gavin Dr. Marjorie R. Hancock Dr. Michael and Mrs. Jane Frey Dr. Michael and Mrs. Susan Plass Dr. Ray and Mrs. Becky Alden Dr. William and Mrs. Mary Wood Drs. Jerome Bowers and Kristy Wilson Bowers HSBC North America Card and Retail Services KPMG LLP Foundation Metlife Foundation Mr. Adam P. Kutryb Mr. Albert M. Fisher Mr. Alex L. Crisafulli Mr. and Mrs. Earl Rachowicz Mr. Arthur and Mrs. Beth Pesavento Mr. Barry and Mrs. Lynn Laskoe Mr. Ben I. Gross Mr. Brandon M. Djonlich Mr. Brian and Mrs. Michel Williams Mr. Brian and Mrs. Sandra Yandle Mr. Bruce and Mrs. Theresa Yahiro Mr. Charles and Mrs. Judith Dunbar Mr. Charles and Mrs. Lisa Jersild Mr. Charles H. Harmening Mr. Christian and Mrs. Barbara Schock Mr. Christopher Loudon Mr. Clay and Mrs. Therese Nichols Mr. Craig and Mrs. Kathleen Copper 16 | T h e L u m i n a ry

Mr. Daihee Cho Mr. Daniel and Mrs. Jean Staffin Mr. Daniel and Mrs. Sandra Muench Mr. Dave J. Sosnowski Mr. David and Mrs. Eleasa Bielawa Mr. David and Mrs. Konnie Erickson Mr. David and Mrs. Stephanie La More Mr. David C. Gathercoal, Jr. Mr. Diptesh R. Patel Mr. Donald and Mrs. Linda Shearer Mr. Edwin Lancaster and Mrs. Susan E. Vermeulen Lancaster Mr. Frank and Mrs. Teresa Stauersboll Mr. Garrett V. Eischen Mr. Gary and Mrs. Barbara Reding Mr. Gary and Mrs. Sherry Manning Mr. George and Mrs. Elizabeth Phelan, Jr. Mr. Gregory A. Brady Mr. Gregory and Mrs. Mary Olson Mr. Gunther Leprich and Mrs. Antoinette Lombardi Leprich Mr. Guy W. Grimmelbein Mr. James and Karen Wareham Mr. James and Mrs. Arlene Lynch Mr. James and Mrs. Caroline Neumann Mr. James G. Martin Mr. James P. McClanahan Mr. James T. Pierce and Mr. Louis Kanolis Mr. Jamie Antonio Lopez, Jr. Mr. Jared M. Williams Mr. Jason and Mrs. Bridget Arne-Johnson Mr. Jason and Mrs. Sherri Watson Mr. Jeff and Mrs. Wendy Gross Mr. Jeffrey and Mrs. Debra Jay Mr. Jim Phillips and Ms. Tracy C. Mays Mr. John and Mrs. Arlene Fassola Mr. John and Mrs. Arlene Knewitz

Mr. John and Mrs. Noelle Neely Mr. John and Mrs. Patricia Crocker Mr. John and Mrs. Patricia Roznovsky Mr. John Mrs. Jeanne Volmer Mr. John R. Neely, Jr. Mr. Johnathon and Mrs. Paula Koziol Mr. Joseph and Mrs. Diane Gordon Mr. Joseph and Mrs. Pauletta Klimson Mr. Joseph Palmer Mr. Keith and Mrs. Linda Adams Mr. Ken and Mrs. Beverly Leiser Mr. Kenneth B. Swanson Mr. Kenneth Lawrence Worm Mr. Larry and Mrs. Debra Clay Mr. Lenard Dacanay and Mrs. Penny Dacanay Mr. Louis and Mrs. Linda Halpern Mr. Mark A. Engels and Ms. Jeanne L. Gilbert Mr. Mark and Mrs. Julie Schoenherr Mr. Mark Conrad Simonson Mr. Mark F. Kostecki Mr. Matthew J. Kararo Mr. Michael Alan Margraf Mr. Michael and Dr. Sandra Schabb Mr. Michael and Mrs. Judith Smith Mr. Michael and Mrs. Marianne Malaychuk Mr. Michael and Mrs. Melanie Scott Mr. Michael and Ms. Beth Hildreth Mr. Michael and Ms. Jennifer Thomas Mr. Michael Carretto Mr. Michael D. Bromberek Mr. Michael J. Ashe Mr. Mike and Mrs. Tammy Chiovari Mr. Mike O’Connor Mr. Patrick and Mrs. Marcelyn Rogers Mr. Paul and Mrs. Donna Chambers

Mr. Paul and Mrs. Kerry Mansour Mr. Paul and Mrs. Melissa Fribert Mr. Paul and Mrs. Reni Whitcombe Mr. Peter and Mrs. Sandra Schaffer Mr. Peter and Mrs. Sarah Shanks Mr. Peter M. Scheidler Mr. Philip and Mrs. Donna Cekal Mr. Phillip and Mrs. Elizabeth Asbury Mr. Porter and Mrs. Carren Martin Mr. Raymond and Mrs. Sharon Suggs Mr. Robert and Mrs. Diane Rader, Jr. Mr. Robert and Mrs. Lisa Sanborn Mr. Robert E. Rickard Mr. Rodney and Mrs. Anitra Boyt Mr. Ronald and Mrs. Kathleen Pozzi Mr. Ronald Wheeler Mr. Rudolph and Mrs. Darley Kemppainen Mr. Scott and Mrs. Alexa Dembek Mr. Scott and Mrs. Monica S. BoehleAltergott Mr. Shea and Mrs. Chelsey Wintersteen Mr. Steven and Mrs. Peggy Youngren Mr. Steven N. Cook Mr. Steven R. Wieczor Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Carolyn Wallace Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Claire Carlson Jr. Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Elizabeth Rasmussen Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Lauren Lee Mr. Thomas J. Kane, Jr. Mr. Tim and Mrs. Angela Litow Mr. Timothy and Mrs. Barbara McGregory Mr. Timothy and Mrs. Katharine Tammen Mr. Timothy and Mrs. Mary Werner Mr. Timothy and Mrs. Sandra Taylor Mr. Troy and Ms. Cassandra Hendry Mr. Vincent and Mrs. Vicki Boone, CPA Mr. Wade Rice and Mrs. Carol Rice Mr. Wallace and Mrs. Pamela Webber Mr. Wayne and Mrs. Elizabeth Beyer Mr. William and Mrs. Charlene Kubik Mr. William M. Polasky III and Mrs. Lisa Polasky Mr. William Raymond Zaininger Mr. Zach G. Alesandrini Mr. Zachary M. Thorne Mrs. Adrienne N. Valentino Mrs. Carol Griffin

Mrs. Catherine E. Bishir Mrs. Kari Elling Mrs. Lucy O. Smith Mrs. Marjorie A. Meanger Mrs. Nancy A. Detig Mrs. Sharlene M. Hahl-Lee Mrs. Susan J. Geske Ms. Cari A. Eggert Ms. Charlene Ann Paisner Ms. Cristy A. Pacheco Ms. Ellen L. Strebar Ms. Erin C. Rossi Ms. Erin Kristine MacDonna Ms. Hayat Taour Ms. Jennifer L. Greene Mrs. Jodi and Mr. Thomas Trop Ms. Judith D. Welch Ms. Julia R. White Ms. Karissa Kessen Ms. Kathleen Spotts Ms. Kathryn Boehle Ms. Kelly K. Carey Ms. Laura A. Cabay Ms. Linda Anne Stone Ms. Lisa Marie Loring Ms. Margaret J. Hall Ms. Megan N. Kerr Ms. Merrie Carlson Ms. Pamela K. Gillespie Ms. Sabrina M. Ayala Ms. Sara A. Harant Ms. Sara Brianne Smith Ms. Sara Elisa Lopez Carrillo Ms. Sarah E. Allard Ms. Sarah McCormick Ms. Shanna H. Bertram Ms. Sharon A. Gary Ms. Shay M. Galto Ms. Susie M. Pigg Ms. Teresa Amadis Wann Ms. Tia Kirkling Ms. Vasiliki I. Fosses Ms. Vicki Zimmerman Petkus Trust Schnieder Electric North America Foundation V.I.P. Nails of VT Mr. Keith and Mrs. Madelyn Anderson Mr. Stephen Minich Mr. Terrance and Mrs. Deborah Brown Mr. Ross and Mrs. Karen Pflaumer Mrs. Laurie J. Helms

Mr. James N. Kessler Mr. Richard and Mrs. Georgeanne Rashilla Mr. Mitchell and Mrs. Karin Shapiro Mr. Shannon P. Milligan Mr. Andrew C. Shambaugh Ms. Anna M. Wilhelmi Mr. Aaron Hahn and Ms. Jennifer E. Binversie Mr. Joy L. Kakta Mr. Tim and Mrs Patricia Landry Mr. Terrence and Mrs. Alison Moon Mr. Ian and Mrs. Linda Tinkler Mr. Herbert and Mrs. Avis Knight Mr. John and Mrs. Cynthia Ross Mr. Joseph M. Eichberger and Ms. Deborah L. La Dolce Mr. Larry and Mrs. Cynthia Harvat Mr. Desmond and Mrs. Kathryn Lall Mr. Charles and Mrs. Mary Pfingsten Mr. Andrew J. Kucharski Mr. Stephen J Minich Mr. Thomas Carlson Jr and Mrs. Claire Carlson Mr. Keith A. Bartholomew and Mrs. Marcelyn Ritchie Mr. Bradley and Ms. Denise Whitehall Andersson Architecture and Design Dr. Richard and Mrs. Alice Robinson Hy-Vee IHOP Restaurant Jewel Food Store Mr. Jeffry J. Duckworth and Mrs. Melinda G. Thomas Mr. Larry and Mrs. Cynthia Harvat Mr. William and Mrs. Elizabeth Hahn Mr. Allyn and Mrs. Martha Davenport Mr. Andrew and Mrs. Deborah Voss Mr. Christian De Jeppesen Mr. David and Mrs. Lucy Jenson Mr. Gary and Mrs. Deborah Mechtel Mr. John and Mrs. Nancy Castle Mr. John H. Hall Mr. Joseph and Mrs. Katherine Matty Mr. Mike D O’Connor Mr. Phillip and Mrs. Linda Keller Mr. Phillip L. Tranel Mr. Stephen Ge Madalinski Mr. Steve and Mrs. Toni Pruett Mr. Thomas Brennan and Ms. Anne E. Schedler Mr. Timothy and Mrs. Barbara Morgan 1 7 | T h e L u m i n a ry

Mr. Todd and Mrs. Cheryl Henert Mr. Travis and Mrs. Shay Webb Mr. Wade Rice and Mrs. Carol Harbrecht Rice Mrs. Debra and Mr. Lawrence Clay Mrs. Kathleen and Mr. Ronald Pozzi Mrs. Michel and Mr. Brian Williams Mrs. Sandra E. Yandle Mrs. Wendy Park Ms. Susan J. Geske Ms. Danielle C. Miller Ms. Kyla Matheson Ms. Laura A. Rollinger Ms. Melissa Marie Moyzis Ms. Melody L. Jenkins Pita Pete’s Schwab Charitable Fund Sunlit Cove Healthcare Consultants LLC Village Commons Bookstore Mrs. Barbara and Mr. David Reinert Ms. Mary Novack Mr. Lance G. Foust Mrs. Paulette and Mr. Taylor O’Malley Ms. Cynthia J. Johnson Dr. Andrew and Mrs. Lori Rollins Mrs. Martha M. Schreiber Mr. James and Mrs. Renee Bush Mrs. Shannon N. Hassler Mr. David E. Czerniewski Ms. Honore F. Raz Three Initials LLC Mrs. Paula and Mr. Johnathon Kosiol Mr. John and Mrs. Dorene Lynch Dr. Mindy S. Milosch Juan Mrs. Peggy and Mr. Jeffrey Simonds Potbelly Sandwich Works LLC Dr. Gary Kaufman Mrs. Jennifer and Mr. Frank Redisi Dr. Sheryl L. Wills Portillo’s Hot Dogs LLC Mrs. Victoria Clayton Ms. Katherine L. McCarthy Ms. Jeri L. Farmer Mr. Kyle G. Schiebout Mrs. Nancy and Mr. Andrew Kochis Mr. Saldie C. Villarma Mrs. Traci and Mr. Eric Anderson Mr. Daniel G. McMahon Ollie’s Frozen Custard Dr. William and Mrs. Mary Marzano

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Mr. James and Mrs. Patricia Munn-Dierks Mrs. Kara M. Doehling Mrs. Stephanie and Mr. Jason Maloney Ms. Tracey McElmeel Ms. Jennifer L. McMahan Mr. Bradley and Mrs. Shannon Nelson Mr. Daniel A. Nichols Sonic Drive-In Ms. Leah A. Tanabe Mrs. Jessica Govic Ms. Mary A. Kolls Mr. Timothy P. Misch Mr. Sohrab B. Sethna Ms. Melissa A. Hayman Mrs. Pamela and Mr. Steven Schubring Mrs. Sherolyn and Mr. Richard Baker Mr. Joshua and Mrs. Kathryn Norten Ms. Josephine E. Burke Dr. Todd and Mrs. Melissa Gilson Mr. Daniel M. Gora Mrs. Katreena M. Hopkins Mr. Daniel and Mrs. Kathleen Schewe Ms. Lexie Williams Mr. Andrew and Mrs. Tania Young Mr. Eric and Mrs. Julie Johnson Ms. Lynn Kramer Mrs. Laura and Mr. Brad Gray Mr. Marypatriece E. Raupp Mrs. Amy and Mr. Jeffrey Adams Caterpillar Foundation Mr. Jordan T. Arcilla Dr. Andrea M. Radasanu Mr. Daniel M. Gora Dr. Matthew and Mrs. Page Streb Mr. David J. Duff Mr. Peter and Mrs. Patricia Garrity Ms. Nicolette S. Riscossa Dr. David S. Ballantine and Ms. Diane R. DeMers

Contact Us Andrea Radasanu, Ph.D. Director, University Honors


Jason Goode, Ed.D. Associate Director of Scholarships and Fellowships

jason@niu.edu 815-753-9509

Edye Cowan, M.S.Ed. Associate Director of Academic Strategic Planning

ecowan@niu.edu 815-753-9397

Patty Lee Administrative Aide

patlee@niu.edu 815-753-9398

Connie Storey, M.S.Ed. Assistant Director of Programming and Communication

cstorey2@niu.edu 815-753-9505

Linda Condon Honors Advisor

lcondon1@niu.edu 815-753-9396

University Honors Program Campus Life Building 110 DeKalb, IL 60115 Phone: 815-753-0694 Email: honors@niu.edu For more information about the University Honors Program, please check out our website at


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