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Summer Research Opportunities Program


Think that “real” research is something that only professors do? Think again.

Yousue Perez is in his first semester at NIU, transferring in from Elgin Community College. This past summer, before he even began pursuing his degree in accounting at NIU, he participated in a unique partnership between NIU and ECC that allowed him to be part of the Summer Research Opportunities Program.

NIU student Katelyn Zastrow works on the patient tracker PCPT project with associate professor George Coutrakon at the Northwestern Proton Center in Warrenvillve, Ill., during the Summer Research Opportunities Program.

NIU student Katelyn Zastrow works on the patient tracker PCPT project with associate professor George Coutrakon at the Northwestern Proton Center in Warrenvillve, Ill., during the Summer Research Opportunities Program.

During that eight-week on campus program, he actually got paid to do original research under the guidance of an NIU faculty member. His work led to new insights about access to health care for immigrants in America. He even took his project to the next level, creating a website to help immigrants find healthcare providers who provide care regardless of a patient’s immigration status.

Along the way, he learned how to write a formal research proposal, find and analyze academic literature and how to evaluate and organize data. In the process, he developed skills that will help him throughout his Huskie career, in graduate school or in the workplace.

In addition to all of that, the program also included professional development workshops on topics such as resume writing, presentation skills and how to craft the perfect elevator pitch to quickly tell others about your skills and accomplishments.

This is just one of many opportunities that undergraduates have to gain new skills and set themselves apart by participating in research. See our other undergraduate research programs.