Hello, my name is Wayne Duerkes and I am a senior History major. When most people think about university research opportunities; the sciences and engineering fields seem to dominate where the efforts are focused. Prior to coming to NIU, I was one that envisioned this. I accepted that I would have to wait until graduate school before I would have the chance to delve into first hand, primary source research as a historian. I was unaware of NIU’s dedication towards engaging the student body from all the disciplines in research opportunities through individual and collaborative efforts from departments such as the Honors Program and the Office of Engaged and Experiential Learning. From my first week at NIU, I have been involved in a variety of projects and programs geared towards primary source historical research. The research has provided me with the opportunity to contribute original work to the body of knowledge through papers, presentations, and even publication.
Programs like Research Rookies and the University Honors Summer Scholar Program have afforded me extended time in local, regional, state, and national repositories to enhance the depth and breadth of my research. All of this has evolved my skills to a level that has translated into getting more from my classes, a number of awards and scholarships, and has made me a much more viable candidate for graduate studies. NIU truly leads the way for researching amongst universities in the Midwest.