Research Rookies

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Research Rookies links undergraduate first-year, sophomore, and first-semester transfer students with faculty mentors in their major or area of interest to conduct a small-scale research project. Research Rookies is open to students from all colleges, departments, and majors. Students of diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented minority students, students from economically disadvantaged and underserved backgrounds and students with disabilities, are strongly encouraged to apply.

As a Research Rookie, students will:

  • Learn what research looks like in their field of study
  • Learn how to write a formal research proposal
  • Gain experience working alongside talented faculty
  • Attend professional and academic enrichment activities
  • Present their work at the annual Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day
  • Receive a $500 stipend at the completion of the program

Participating in Research Rookies is the perfect way for highly motivated students to connect with one another as well as with supportive faculty and staff.

For more information on Research Rookies, please email ResearchRookies@niu.edu or call (815)-753-8156.

The 2016-17 Research Rookies application is now open. The application deadline is Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 11:59pm. Interviews will be held for selected applicants August 8-19, 2016 and program recipients will be notified by Monday, August 22, 2016.

Simmon Scholars

Double Huskies Jaymie and Harry Simmon were inspired by some of our best and brightest when they attended Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day in 2011. They viewed more than 120 student presentations, including several from participants in Research Rookies. They were so impressed with the students’ work and Research Rookies , they were inspired to help.

As a result of that visit, they made a significant gift to provide scholarship and program support for five students from a STEM or health field. Simmon Scholar students are awarded this honor for their academic performance and commitment to Research Rookies. The 2015-16 Simmon Scholars are Marissa Dawson, Ryan Lewis, Hnin Eaindray Lin, Gardenia Pacheco, and Zohra Sattar.

Zohra Sattar, Marissa Dawson, Ryan Lewis, Harry Simmon, Jaymie Simmon, Gardenia Pacheco, Hnin Eaindray Lin

From left to right: Zohra Sattar, Marissa Dawson, Ryan Lewis, Harry Simmon, Jaymie Simmon, Gardenia Pacheco, Hnin Eaindray Lin

Research Brigade

In 2014, three trailblazing NIU ROTC students set out on a journey to grow academically and professionally. Under the guidance of faculty mentor, Dr. La Vonne I. Neal, these three cadets began a journey as scholars and leaders in their fields. The result for Cadets (now Active Duty), Karina Avila, Maria Colompos and Shanell Walter led to numerous notable presentations, the publication of numerous articles and eventually a book, Borders, Bras and Battles: A Guide to Mentoring Undergraduate Women to Achieve Career Success. Their success is a testament to the significance of engaged learning and confirms the need to provide students with experiences that challenge them to think critically and own their scholar identity. It is this synergistic partnership that led to the development of the Research Brigade within the Research Rookies program.


In conjunction with Department of Military Science, the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning is proud to offer ROTC students a chance to follow in the footsteps of Avila, Colompos and Walter through participation in faculty-mentored research and artistry projects as a part of the Research Rookies program. Each year, two to four exemplary ROTC students will be chosen to participate in the Research Brigade.


If you are an ROTC student who would like to be a part of the Brigade, please fill out a Research Rookie application.

Maria Colompos, Karina Avila and Shanell Walter

From left to right: Maria Colompos, Karina Avila and Shanell Walter.