Research Opportunities

We encourage you to explore research opportunities with faculty during your studies at NIU. Undergraduate Research in Environmental Studies (ENVS 490) is a course you can take to satisfy the engaged learning requirement for your environmental studies degree.

You can find additional research opportunities through the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning. To learn more about research at NIU and access research papers, visit Huskie Commons.

Research Topic Emphasis Faculty
Human-environment interactions; land use change; impacts of severe storms on human/built environments Biodiversity and Environmental Restoration Walker Ashley
Geochemical analyses of Mexico's Icaiche Formation to determine hydrochemical importance Biodiversity and Environmental Restoration Justin Dodd
Testing bacteria and fungi for the ability to degrade plastic bags under different growth conditions Biodiversity and Environmental Restoration Scott Grayburn
Testing microbes, algaes and viruses for the ability to be a sustainable source of cellulose and other polymers that release sugars that can be converted to ethanol for use as fuel Biodiversity and Environmental Restoration Scott Grayburn
Investigating how lemurs respond to habitat degradation in Madagascar; opportunities to engage in research at a field school or through individual study experiences Biodiversity and Environmental Restoration Mitch Irwin
How best to prioritize restoration; ecosystem restoration/conservation and human well-being in the face of climate change; maximizing restoration gains and investigating restoration trajectories at local, regional and global levels Biodiversity and Environmental Restoration Holly Jones
Understanding the ecological and evolutionary drivers of successful parasite invasions Biodiversity and Environmental Restoration Jennifer Koop
Opportunities for lab and field work in Illinois and Mexico Biodiversity and Environmental Restoration Melissa Lenczewski
Learning to prepare, identify and describe subfossils from Madagascar Biodiversity and Environmental Restoration Karen Samonds
Microbiology and microbial ecology; integrating microbial processes with environmental changes, especially in extreme systems; culturing, microscopy and biochemical characterization; modern sequencing and sequence analysis Biodiversity and Environmental Restoration Wesley Swingley
Development of urban electric vehicles; passive solar tracking systems; renewable energy analysis; modeling of integrated wind, solar, biomass and fuel cell systems Sustainability and Energy Studies Kevin Martin
Conducting research in the Building Energy Efficiency and Management (BEEAM) lab focused on lighting systems, variable frequency drives, solar photovoltaic energy resources and other technologies Sustainability and Energy Studies William Mills
Exploring the heat transfer capabilities of biomass; working with pneumatic conveyance systems to explore reasons for particle drop-out; finding material mixtures that can withstand high heat; testing heat transfer and biochar production Sustainability and Energy Studies Nicholas Pohlman
Mapping and GIS projects on environmental and public health topics; opportunities to research open source GIS applications in citizen science, public participatory GGIS and volunteered geographic information Sustainability and Energy Studies Jim Wilson
Identifying ways to increase the presence of social science research in worldwide discourse about sustainability Environmental Justice Giovanni Bennardo
Conducting environmental history research on an aspect of the past; potential for additional opportunities for those proficient in Russian Environmental Justice Andy Bruno
Environmental ethics, especially the moral dimensions of climate change Environmental Justice Jason Hanna
Investigating environmental histories of manufacturing and architecture; planning sustainable communities through conservation, historic preservation and design practices that foster equity and justice Environmental Justice Rebecca Houze
Investigating political ecology, water conservation, water justice, international water disputes, Middle East studies, alternative agriculture and local/regional food systems; potential for additional opportunities for those proficient in Hebrew or Arabic Environmental Justice Emily McKee
Developing an individual research project that reflects individual interests and includes a community outreach or service component Environmental Justice Eric Mogren
Conducting research at Global Environmental Health (GEH LAB), a nonprofit organization, on a variety of interdisciplinary projects associated with the Sustainable Development Goals Environmental Justice Tomoyuki Shibata
Working on a series of narrative environmental message testing; developing a project about science communicators on YouTube Environmental Justice Shupei Yuan
Managing a database of legal mechanisms in environmental treaties Environmental Policy and Law Anna Klis
Water conservation and global environmental agreements Environmental Policy and Law Colin Kuehl
Investigating the politics of environmental, health and safety regulation Environmental Policy and Law Brendon Swedlow
Investigating climate change stressors on farmers' decision-making in the U.S. Midwest Sustainable Food Systems Giovanni Bennardo
Animal rights and the philosophies of animal ethics Sustainable Food Systems Mylan Engel
Sustainable food and agriculture; environmental management; climate justice Sustainable Food Systems Courtney Gallaher
Lab work in parasitology or nutrition; entering and managing datasets from Madagascar Sustainable Food Systems Mitch Irwin
Investigating the water and climate benefits of growing potatoes instead of rice Sustainable Food Systems Anna Klis
Investigating human impacts on soils, hydrologic properties and landscapes Sustainable Food Systems Mike Konen
Collection of data on farmers market sales and CSA memberships; literature reviews of research on food hubs, local and regional food systems, and food sovereignty; comparative analysis of food systems curricula Sustainable Food Systems Emily McKee

Contact Us

Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy
325 Montgomery Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: 815-753-1814
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