Undergraduate Research Ambassador

An Undergraduate Research Ambassador (URA) is a student who has participated in a faculty-mentored research project for at least one academic year and is passionate about sharing their knowledge and experiences with others. URAs mentor fellow undergraduates who are new to research, help to promote undergraduate research at NIU and assist the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning (OSEEL) with developing and implementing student-focused workshops that represent NIU's diverse array of disciplines.

Meet the 2021-2022 URAs

Emily Camposeo

Emily CamposeoMajor: Biological Science and Chemistry major

Interesting Fact: I played sousaphone in the marching band all four years of high school.

Research Interests: Genetics, brain chemistry, psychology, impacts our body and mind have on us.

Career goal: To do research and work with genetic diseases.

Advice: Do it! Even if it is not in an area, you are studying or familiar with, you should give it a try because it is a great opportunity to wet your feet and get some hands-on experience.

Availability: Mondays, Tuesday, Thursday 5-9 p.m. Friday 3-5 p.m.

James McCue

James McCueMajor: Finance

Interesting Fact: I'm going to retire before I turn 40.

Research Interests: Anything Business or Personal Finance related is essential, beyond that I have a general appreciation for most of the arts, and I love French political history.

Career goal: Become recognized as the sovereign ruler of my own UN recognized nation.

Advice: Read 20 pages or a chapter every day, whichever is longer. Organize your files. Plan ahead so that when you reach a goal you know when you will reach your next one.

Availability: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Sidney McCrea

Sidney McCreaMajor: Biomedical Engineering on the Pre-med track

Interesting Fact: Basketball player and former Marching Band drum major.

Research Interests: Biology, Public Health, Engineering, Sports Medicine.

Career goal: Become a physician.

Advice: It is a great opportunity to try something new, meet fellow students, and learn from a faculty mentor in a field you are interested in. You will learn about what research is, how it can make a difference in everyday life, and get hands on experience conducting your research.

Availability: Monday-Friday after 5 p.m.
Merveille Muyizere

Merveille MuyizereMajor: Biological Sciences, French and Francophone studies. Minors: Chemistry

Interesting Fact: I currently speak three languages (French, English, Lingala) and learning two more (Korean and Japanese). I try to learn as much as possible about other people and like to help others.

Research Interests: During my freshman year, I researched the ecosystem of native vs non-native plants. In the future, I hope to research what biological, environmental, and psychological factors influence the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa compared to other parts of the world.

Career goal: Become a missionary general surgeon or surgeon in the doctors without borders program.

Advice: Go for it, you will feel grateful as you gain hands-on experience to pursue your goals!

Availability: Tuesdays 3-5 p.m., Fridays 5-6 p.m.

Daisy Soberanis

Daisy SoberanisMajor: Music Education, Flute Performance

Interesting Fact: I love to browse the stacks at the Founders Library and the NIU Music Library. They are my favorite places on campus!

Research Interests: My first research project focused on the prevalence of women conductors, composers, and arrangers at the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) All-State Choir and Honors Choir festival between 1967-2020. I hope to be able to continue research in music education and contribute to the expanding pool of knowledge in the field.

Career goal: I would like to someday travel the world teaching, researching, and playing music.

Advice: Be curious! Never stop asking questions about things you are interested in. If you are not sure where to start, you can always talk to your professors about your questions or ask about the research projects they have done in the past or visit the OSEEL office/website, familiarize yourself with the undergraduate research programs and grants that are available, and apply! NIU has many resources that can help you with the application process as well. Research is an incredible opportunity; give it a try!

Availability: Mondays 2:30-4:30 p.m., Tuesdays 4:15-9 p.m., Wednesdays 3:30-8 p.m., Thursdays 5-8 p.m., Fridays 1-8 p.m.

Jeremy Knoll

Jeremy KnollMajor: Double major in History and Economics, minor in German Studies

Interesting Fact: In my free time, I enjoy going to antique and thrift stores to look for old history books, vintage electronics, and interesting mugs.

Research Interests: My first undergraduate research project was focused on Confederate prisoners of war held in Midwestern Union prisons during the Civil War, and my second project focused on the creation of Civil War monuments in Illinois from the end of the war to the beginning of the Great Depression. In the future, I plan to continue studying war and society topics relating to the Civil War and the subject of Civil War memory.

Career goal: After graduate school, I would like to be a history professor specializing in the Civil War.

Advice: Getting into undergraduate research is valuable for several reasons, but it's especially helpful if you would like to go to graduate school in a particular field. It's great to be able to talk about your research experience on graduate school applications, and faculty mentors are a great resource for learning about what it means to work and do research in your chosen field.

Availability: Mondays 2:30-8 p.m., Tuesday/Thursday 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and Friday 10 a.m.-noon and 2:30-8 p.m.

Minoo Yar

Minoo YarMajor: Communication Disorders and Special Education

Interesting Fact: I commute to NIU, I learn Chinese Mandarin whenever I have free time, like cooking and baking, and I like to read.

Research Interests: Language development or anything related to education.

Career goal: I plan to become a speech-language pathologist and graduate with my master's degree. I may pursue my Ph.D. and become a professor.

Advice: It's scary to try something new at first but beneficial in the long run. I'm glad that I was brave enough to apply to undergraduate research last year and give it a try! Most importantly, you can choose any topic you want and can even pertain to what you're majoring in. If there is any topic you had in mind that you always wondered about but never had the time to have your questions answered, then taking a part in research is the way to go for you!

Availability: Weekdays after 4 p.m.

Amarachi Nwawueze

Amarachi NwawuezeMajor: Biological Sciences

Interesting Fact: I like to do nails in my free time.

Research Interests: Psychology and genetics.

Career goal: I’m not exactly sure what the end goal is for me, however, after participating in Research Rookies last year, my interest in research and the whole process has spiked!

Advice: Delve into an area that you already have interest in, but don’t be afraid or discouraged if it doesn’t go as expected.

Availability: Mondays 6-8 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

One-on-One Peer Advising Appointments

Undergraduate Research Ambassadors are available for one-on-one conversations to share their advice and discuss the process of getting involved in undergraduate research at NIU.

Complete the form below to request an appointment with an Undergraduate Research Ambassador.

Request a Presentation

URAs are available by request for class and organization presentations, college and university research events, and campus outreach efforts. Requests must be submitted two to three weeks in advance and approved by OSEEL staff. To request a presentation, please submit a request form.

Apply to be an Undergraduate Research Ambassador

Possibilities as a URA include:

  • Mentoring a small group of students in the Research Rookies program.
  • One-on-one peer advising to help students get involved in research, find research opportunities and understand the benefits of becoming involved.
  • Developing new workshops and informational sessions that would assist students interested in undergraduate research.
  • Participating in panel discussions and other outreach events.
  • Visiting classes to describe research opportunities.

Benefits

You'll have an opportunity to gain and hone in on networking, public speaking, and leadership skills. Ambassadors receive an academic award of $500 (split $250/fall and $250/spring semesters) and are often eligible for additional grant opportunities and other professional development experiences because of their involvement in the program. Additionally, you will have increased competitiveness on graduate and professional school applications.

The term for each ambassador is one academic year (fall to spring).

Applications for 2022-23 will be available January 2022.

For questions, please contact us at ugresearch@niu.edu or 815-753-8159.

Contact Us

Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning
Holmes Student Center 264-266
815-753-8154
engage@niu.edu
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