Faculty and Staff

Walker Ashley

Contact

Walker Ashley
Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences
Davis Hall 219D
washley@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Walker Ashley, Ph.D. is an atmospheric scientist and physical geographer with interests in natural hazards and societal interactions, severe storms, and GIS applications in meteorology. His research focuses on the climatology of weather hazards, how human exposure and vulnerability factors contribute to weather-related disasters, the geographies of weather hazard mortality, the storm morphology of hazardous thunderstorm events, and weather impacts on transportation systems.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Human-environment interactions, land use change, or the impacts of severe storms on human/built environments.

Past Student Research Projects

  • The changing weather disaster landscape
  • Land use and local climate change
  • Mortality/morbidity associated with geophysical hazards
  • Climatology of severe storms
Giovanni Bennardo Photo

Contact

Giovanni Bennardo
Anthropology
Stevens Building 200A
bennardo@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Bennardo investigated linguistic and mental representation of spatial relationships in Tonga (Polynesia); he also discovered a foundational cultural model that from space contributes to the construction of other domains such as possession, traditional navigation, traditional religious beliefs, kinship, and social relationships. Bennardo is currently investigating the cultural model of nature of primary food producers in a world-wide research project.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Bennardo has opportunities if you are interested in projects about finding ways to increase the presence of social science research in the world wide discourse about sustainability. There is also an opportunity for a beta project on climate change stressors on farmers' decision making in the U.S. midwest (including Northern Illinois).

Andy Bruno Photo

Contact

Andy Bruno
Zulauf Hall 720
abruno2@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Bruno is an environmental historian of Russia and the Soviet Union with an interest in many aspects of human interactions with the natural world. His main scholarly ambition is to demonstrate the pertinence of environmental perspectives to major questions in Russian history. This goal has led him to write about animals and avalanches, energy and economy, revolution and repression, waste and water, science and socialism, and other themes. In this scholarship, he highlights the role of nature as an actor in history and the place of the Russian environmental experience in comparative and global history. A focus on specific locations—the Russian Arctic and the Siberian taiga, for instance—also characterizes his approach to environmental history. Most recently, his research has turned toward questions of human engagements with outer space and the variable climate system on this planet.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Students interested in conducting environmental history research on any aspect of the past are welcome to contact Professor Bruno about developing their own independent projects that may be eligible for support from NIU’s engaged learning funds. Additional opportunities may be available for students with knowledge of the Russian language.

Past Student Research Projects

One student conducted exploratory research into potential archival holdings related to Arctic climate history in in the Chicago area and another searched for English language newspaper articles related to the Tunguska explosion of 1908.

melissa burlingame

Contact

Melissa Burlingame
Assistant Director, Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy
Program Advisor for Environmental Studies
Montgomery Hall 325
mburlingame@niu.edu

Education

  • Master of Public Administration, Northern Illinois University
  • Master of Science in Geography, Northern Illinois University

Environmental Focus

Sustainable food and community engagement. Melissa co-manages the NIU Communiversity Gardens and works with the management team of interns to ensure volunteers have a good experience and are able to donate plenty of produce to the Huskie Food Pantry. As the chair of the NIU Green Team she works to increase sustainability opportunities at NIU.

Courses Taught

  • ENVS 100 – Exploring the Environmental Studies Major
  • ENVS 210 – Introduction to Sustainable Food Systems

Current Student Engagement Opportunities

  • NIU Communiversity Gardens
  • NIU Green Team

Past Student Engagement Opportunities

  • Online environmental resource center
  • Green office initiative
  • Database of environmental initiatives
  • Sustainability benchmarking
  • Sustainability planning
  • Communiversity gardens intern orientation
Phil Carpenter Photo

Contact

Philip Carpenter
Geology and Environmental Geosciences
Davis Hall 417D
pjcarpenter@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Carpenter's research focuses on environmental geophysics methods. He has been working on landfill leachate delineation, karst determination, and other near surface targets. His research has been in northern Illinois, Mexico, and China.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Environmental Geophysics, Engineering Geology, Seismology

Research Activities (field sites in the U.S., Mexico and China)

  • Geophysical imaging of karst features and integration with karst hydrogeology. 
  • Developing methods for geophysical (noninvasive) assessment of landfills and
  • Detection of pollution in adjacent aquifers. Earthquake history of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.
David Changnon Photo

Contact

David Changnon
Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences
Davis Hall 100
dchangnon@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

His research interests are focused in applied climatology, climate variations and extremes, and climate impacts, with major expertise rests in developing climatological information and models for use by weather-sensitive decision makers in agriculture, utilities, insurance, and transportation.  He has developed an innovative new “education-to-career” program to train students and simultaneously solve climatological problems facing government and private industry.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Ask Professor Changnon for more information.

Past Student Research Projects

See Professor Changnon for past student research projects.

Mark Cordes Photo

Contact

Mark Cordes
Law
Swen Parson 195A
mcordes@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Cordes is interested in the intersection of property rights and environmental land use protections. He teaches the basic environmental law course that covers the spectrum of major environmental laws and teaches how to think about solving environmental issues in the legal arena.

Aaron Deslatte Photo

Contact

Aaron Deslatte
Public Administration
IASBO Building 208
adeslatte@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Deslatte's research interests focus broadly on local government management, land use, sustainable resource management and development, and urban and social policy. In 2014, Professor Deslatte was a co-PI on a multidisciplinary team awarded a graduate research grant from the University of Maryland’s National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) for research on water-management challenges in three U.S. cities.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Professor Deslatte is conducting research on Chicago's sustainable transportation, economic development, energy, water, land-use and carbon emissions efforts, as well as those of surrounding local governments. Students seeking opportunities to study local government sustainability are welcome to contact him.

Sarah Fox

Contact

Sarah Fox
Law
Swen Parson 198B
sarah.fox@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Fox is interested in the intersections of land use and environmental law. In particular, her research focuses on the impacts of human development on land, what constitutes environmentally sound development, and how such sound development can be incentivized. She teaches an introductory environmental law course that covers major environmental statutes, along with administrative law, state and local government law, and property law.

Courtney Gallaher Photo

Contact

Courtney Gallaher
Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences/
Women and Gender Studies
Davis Hall 118
cgallaher@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Gallaher's research is on food systems and sustainable agriculture, soils, human-environment interactions. Recently she is working on urban agriculture in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya, looking at the impacts of a specific type of urban agriculture on household food security and people’s exposure to environmental contaminants. In other research, she has looked at community-based forest management in Kenya, soil phosphorous availability in conventional and organic cropping systems in Michigan and farmer adoption of new irrigation technologies in southern Malawi.

ScottGrayburn.jpg

Contact

Scott Grayburn
Biological Sciences
Montgomery Hall 303
sgrayburn@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Scott's research is focused on the use of microbes to (1) degrade LDPE plastic and (2) recover sugars and oil from algae biomass for production of biofuel. Another focus is (3) the isolation and characterization of freshwater algae viruses from the NIU lagoon.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Removal of plastic from the environment is important and difficult. Microbes can sometimes digest this material. Different bacteria and fungi are being tested for their ability to stick to and degrade plastic bags under different growth conditions.

Algae are a sustainable source of cellulose and other polymers that can be digested to release sugars that can be converted to ethanol for use as fuel. Microbes are being screened for the ability to digest cellulose and inhibit the growth of algae.

Viruses are the most abundant life forms on earth. Some viruses produce enzymes that can digest algae cell walls, which may provide new options to recover algae oil for biodiesel. Viruses may also limit algae blooms. Water samples from the NIU lagoon are collected and viruses are enriched then isolated by plaque purification. DNA is prepared and analyzed in the lab.

Past Student Research Projects

  • Use of bacteria and fungi to digest plastic
  • Isolation of freshwater algae viruses and DNA characterization
  • Use of bacteria and fungi to digest cellulose
Jason Hanna Photo

Contact

Jason Hanna
Philosophy
ZH 906
jhanna@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Hanna does work in moral theory and applied ethics, including bioethics and environmental ethics. He is interested in our moral obligations to nonhuman animals and future generations.

Current Student Research Opportunities

There are opportunities for students to do self-directed research or independent study projects on environmental ethics, especially the moral dimensions of climate change.>

Past Student Research Projects

Contact Professor Hanna for more information on student research.

Theodore Hogan Photo

Contact

Theodore Hogan
Enfineering Technology
Still Gym 211C
thogan2@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Hogan focuses on developing workplace chemical exposure guidelines. He conducts research on the effectiveness of active learning methods for teaching industrial sustainability practices. Professor Hogan has contributed to 4 editions of the "Fundamentals Industrial Hygiene" textbook, including the upcoming 7th edition. He has also provided guidance on human health risks arising from large-scale environmental contamination. Ask Professor Hogan for more student opportunities.

Michell Irwin Photo

Contact

Mitch Irwin
Anthropology
Stevens Building 275
mirwin@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Irwin's research integrates observational techniques and lab analyses to assess how primate health responds to seasonality and habitat degradation. In other words, he writes down what primates do and analyzes things like feces and foods in the lab. The goal of all of this is twofold - to understand ecological adaptations in the wild (especially adaptations to seasonality), and to understand how the threat of habitat degradation affects primate health - hopefully leaving us able to do something proactive about it. 

Current Student Research Opportunities

Students interested in lemurs can get involved in basic research through Professor Mitch Irwin, whose research focuses on how lemurs respond to habitat degradation in Madagascar. One can engage in field research, either through Professor Irwin's field school "Madagascar Past and Present", or targeted individual study experiences. Here in DeKalb, there are plenty of opportunities for lab work in parasitology or nutrition, or entering and managing datasets from Madagascar.

Past Student Research Projects

  • Subtle manifestations of female dominance in bamboo lemurs (Hapalemur griseus) - specifically focusing on leadership of group movements, group geometry, and displacements.
  • The function of geophagy in diademed sifakas and brown lemurs at Tsinjoarivo
  • The incidence of Cryptosporidium and Giardia parasites in lemurs, livestock and humans at Tsinjoarivo
  • The group movements, group leadership and expression of female dominance in multiple groups of diademed sifaka
  • The incidence of Cryptosporidium and Giardia parasites in lemurs, livestock and humans at Tsinjoarivo
  • Quantifing the positional behavior of lemurs during defecation and the pathways for contamination of vegetation and helminth parasites found in each species examined

Past Undergraduate-Specific Research

The spatial dynamics of scentmarking in diademed sifakas and bamboo lemurs (USOAR)

Ryan James Photo

Contact

Ryan James
Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences
Davis Hall 203
mirwin@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Ryan D. James, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences. Holding a terminal professional degree in City and Regional Planning (MCRP, Ohio State, 2005) and Ph.D. in Geography and Urban Regional Analysis (UNC Charlotte, 2012), his professional interests bridge traditional scholarship and engaged, experiential research and teaching. Broadly, his research focuses on utilizing spatial modeling and econometric techniques to better understand regional growth processes and applying those insights to local planning and development policy. Within that focus, he has current projects examining the role of resource extraction and rural underdevelopment, and the impact of natural amenity on regional urban development patterns.

Holly Jones Photo

Contact

Holly Jones
Biological Sciences/
Environmental Studies
Montgomery Hall 349
hjones@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Jones is a restoration ecologist and works at the intersections of ecological theory, community ecology, invasive species biology, and ecosystem ecology. Her research interests include using ecosystem resilience theory and ecosystem service theory to prioritize restoration, and using geospatial information to prioritize climate change adaptation strategies. The unifying theme of Professor Jones’ research is applying basic ecological theory to answer fundamental applied questions.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Students interested in restoration, conservation, or the intersection between climate change and restoration are encouraged to apply to student opportunities available in Holly Jones’ lab. Professor Jones’ lab will train students to foster curiosity about how ecosystems work and their underlying ecology and to pursue ecological research that enhances environmental stewardship. Their research focuses on how best to prioritize restoration, the links between ecosystem restoration/conservation and human well-being in the face of global climate change, and maximizing restoration gains and investigating restoration trajectories at the local, regional, and global scale. For additional information about Professor Jones’ research and the application process, please go to the Jones Lab Website.

Past Student Research Projects

  • Gauging the response of small mammal populations to restoration of fire and native grazers
  • The effects of replanting and bison reintroduction on prairie grassland birds
  • Cormorant diet in southern Lake Michigan
  • Threatened Island Species
  • Island recovery following invasive rodent removal in New Zealand
Rich King Photo

Contact

Richard King
Biological Sciences
Montgomery Hall 445
rbking@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor King works to provide biological data to state and federal agencies charged with protecting biodiversity. His research focuses on the ecology, evolution, behavior and conservation biology of Midwestern amphibians and reptiles. Focal species include the Lake Erie Watersnake, Eastern Massasauga, Blanding’s Turtle, Spotted Salamander, and Spring Peeper, among others.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Professor King foresees continuing opportunities for students to get involved in The King lab with biodiversity monitoring and inventory work at area forest preserves.

Student Research Projects

  • Prey preferences and prey overlap in grassland snakes
  • Animal responses to prairie restoration
  • Blanding’s turtle hatchling success: a comparison of naturally and artificially incubated nests
  • Determinants of amphibian breeding and reintroduction success in restored wetlands
  • Growth and maturity in grassland snakes
Anna Klis Photo

Contact

Anna Klis
Economics
Zulauf Hall 510
aklis@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Klis is a microeconomist who applies the techniques of game theory to questions of public economics and externalities. She has particular interest in environmental externalities, including emissions, transboundary pollution, overfishing and overharvesting of natural resources, among others. Her research has a special focus on international agreements intended to limit negative environmental externalities, using game theory to understand how the structure of an agreement can affect membership and effectiveness. This also leads to the study of implementation of environmental initiatives and optimal resource management.

Current Student Research Opportunities

We have put together a database of legal mechanisms in environmental treaties and Professor Klis is also involved in a project with Melissa Lenczewski and some students about the water and climate benefits of growing potatoes instead of rice.

Mike Konen Photo

Contact

Mike Konen
Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences
Davis Hall 212
mkonen@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Konen's research program focuses on human impacts on soils and surficial processes. Current projects are examining soil carbon dynamics in agricultural systems and restored and remnant prairie and savanna. He also has been quantifying post-settlement erosion-sedimentation rates. Other research projects are focusing on soil-landscape relationships in glacial, periglacial, and eolian environments.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Field and laboratory opportunities are available for students to investigate human impacts on soils, hydrologic properties, and landscapes. This includes agricultural, restored prairie, and never cultivated prairie and savanna sites at Nachusa Grasslands and comporable locations in the region.

Past Student Research Projects

Contact Profesor Konen for more information.

kuehl-colin.jpg

Contact

Colin Kuehl
Political Science/
Environmental Studies
Zulauf Hall 410
ckuehl@niu.edu 
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Environmental Focus

Professor Kuehl's research interests are at the intersection of international relations and environmental politics. His primary work explores the social factors that shape the likelihood of states participating in global environmental governance. He is also interested in using field experiments to better understand the factors that motivate individuals to engage in pro-environmental behavior, particularly water conservation. Other works examines the measurement of sustainability literacy and improving classroom pedagogy.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Students interested in working on projects relating to water conservation or global environmental agreements should contact Professor directly.

Melissa Lenczewski Photo

Contact

Melissa Lenczewski
Geology and Environental Geosciences
Environmental Studies
Davis Hall 411
lenczewski@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Lenczewski studies organic pollution, polluted groundwater, and the changes in microorganisms associated with the pollution.  Her main research investigates the impacts of tourist activities on groundwater in Yucatan, Mexico. Professor Lenczewski also studies water quality and resources in local communities and in the low-income countries especially Myanmar and Cambodia.

Current Student Research Opportunities

There are always opportunities for students interested in lab work, and in field work in Illinois and Mexico. Professor Lenczewski is also working on grants to increase the number of Latino students in Environmental Studies.

Past Student Research Projects

Ask Professor Lenczewski for more information!

Haiying Lin Photo

Contact

Haiying Lin
College of Business
Management
Barsema Hall 245
hlin2@niu.edu
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Updated information will be added shortly. In the mean time, please access Professor Lin's information from her profile within the College of Business.

Kevin Martin Photo

Contact

Kevin Martin
Engineering Technology/
Environmental Studies
Still Hall 101A
kbmartin@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Martin's primary research interests include renewable energy systems, industrial energy efficiency, hydrogen economy development designs, and hybrid electric vehicles. Professor Martin served as the team leader for the Missouri S&T EcoCAR team which researched, designed, developed, and tested a full size fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. He has been involved in research projects sponsored by U.S. FTA, U.S. DOE, U.S. DLA, U.S. DOT-RITA, AFRL, and Missouri DNR.

Current Student Research Opportunities

  • Development of urban electric vehicles
  • Passive solar tracking systems
  • Renewable energy analysis and modeling of integrated wind, solar, biomass, and fuel cell systems

Past Student Research Projects

  • Robust and low cost passive solar tracking systems proposals submitted to both USOAR and Student Engagement fund
  • The Environmental and Energy Impacts of Light
  • Evaluating Renewable Energy Collection and Consumption through Experimentation

Building Energy Efficiency and Management (BEEAM) Laboratory

Kevin Martin and William Mills, professors in the Department Engineering and Engineering Technology, lead the Building Energy Efficiency and Management (BEEAM) laboratory.

Students and faculty working with this lab focus on building energy efficiency through research on building technologies including lighting systems, variable frequency drives (VFDs), and solar photovoltaic energy resources.

The BEEAM laboratory is used to teach students energy auditing concepts and to research spectrally enhanced lighting and LED luminaire design, application specific energy reductions from VFDs, and passive solar tracking system.

Emily McKee Photo

Contact

Emily McKee
Anthopology/
Environmental Studies
Stevens Building 179
ekmckee@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor McKee specializes in environmental and Middle East anthropology. Past research examined land conflict and socio-environmental movements in the Negev/Naqab region of Israel. Current research investigates cross-border Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli waterscapes. It considers how trilateral water conservationists negotiate physical borders, a flowing resource, and nationalist conflict, and how local residents react to water scarcity, resource competition, and conservation campaigns. Professor McKee’s next field season will probe the impacts of desalination on these groups and their waterscapes. Closer to home, Professor McKee examines small-scale agriculture and local food systems in the American Midwest, with plans for future comparative studies in the United States. Across these field sites, she is interested in the drawing and policing of group boundaries; experiences of agriculture, urbanization, and environmental change; and environmental sustainability activism.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Students interested in gaining research experience in water conservation, international water disputes, Middle East studies, and alternative agriculture are encouraged to contact Professor McKee. English-only speakers, as well as those with Hebrew or Arabic proficiency, are welcome. Research opportunities include the following, as well as additional projects tailored to students’ skill sets:

  • Assist in coordinating and hosting research workshop with Northern IL farmers
  • Collection of data on farmers’ market sales and CSA memberships
  • Literature review of desalination research

Past Student Research Projects

  • Survey of Rockford area food buyers
  • Participant observation with organic and sustainable farmers; coding of interview data
  • Survey of Northern Illinois farmers
  • Transcription and qualitative coding of interviews regarding cross-border water use in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan
William Mills Photo

Contact

William Mills
Engineering Technology
Still Gym 211C
wmills11@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Mills research interests include: occupation and environmental exposure monitoring and modeling; Environmental Fate and Transport-Measurement and Modeling’; Real-time Sensor Technologies for Environmental Health & Safety; Pollution Control/Pollution Prevention Technologies; Workplace Ergonomics and Statistical Data Analysis and Data Visualization.

Building Energy Efficiency and Management (BEEAM) Laboratory

Kevin Martin and William Mills, professors in the Department Engineering and Engineering Technology, lead the Building Energy Efficiency and Management (BEEAM) laboratory.

Students and faculty working with this lab focus on building energy efficiency through research on building technologies including lighting systems, variable frequency drives (VFDs), and solar photovoltaic energy resources.

The BEEAM laboratory is used to teach students energy auditing concepts and to research spectrally enhanced lighting and LED luminaire design, application specific energy reductions from VFDs, and passive solar tracking system.

Eric Mogren Photo

Contact

Eric Mogren
History
Zulauf Hall 712
mogren@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Mogren looks at the ways in which people’s actions and ideas change the world around them, and the ways in which the world around them influences their ideas and actions.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Professor Mogren has opportunities for students interested in interdisciplinary projects involving regional environmental research. He hopes to engage students outside of the history “box."

Past Student Research Projects

Talk to Professor Mogren for more information! 

Andrew Otieno

Contact

Andrew W. Otieno, Ph.D.
NIU Presidential Engagement Professor
Engineering Technology
Still Hall 103C
otieno@niu.edu
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Research Interests

  • Machining analyses/experimental studies
  • Micro-machining
  • Automation
  • Finite element modeling
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Machine Vision applications

Selected Projects

  • More than $75K in grants and research activities since 2000.
  • Illinois Science and Math Partnership (IMSP) for summer in-service activities with middle and elementary school teachers
  • Verizon Foundation SMILE project for middle and high school summer educational activities
  • Tool imaging and machinability studies for micromachining applications under the ROCK project
  • Manufacturability of plastics filled with ethanol processing corn co-products funded by USDA
  • Consulting with local companies (analysis of wind loads on gates; design and installation of an automated sled)
  • Thin film thermocouple applications for measurement of temperature in high-speed machining (in collaboration with T. Obikawa at Tokyo University)
  • Analysis of tool wear in near dry machining of difficult to machine materials (in collaboration with T. Obikawa at Tokyo University)
Nicholas A. Pohlman Photo

Contact

Nicholas Pohlman
Mechanical Engineering
Engineering Building 216
npohlman@niu.edu

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Environmental Focus

Professor Pohlman seeks to find efficiency in operation as a means of conserving energy.  His research is to understand the fundamental principles of granular transfers (i.e. agriculture corn, coal, stone, biomass, etc) which will then help improve the efficiency in transportation and utilization.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Students may be able to explore the heat transfer capabilities of biomass or work with pneumatic conveyance systems to explore reasons for particle drop-out. The heat transfer rates and design of a cook stove using ceramic parts is being conducted. Need student willing to work with art department to find the right material mixtures that can withstand the high heat. Once fabricated, tests of heat transfer and biochar production will take place.

Karen E. Samonds Photo

Contact

Karen Samonds
Biological Sciences
Montgomery Hall 349
ksamonds@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Samond's research integrates comparative anatomy, systematics, and biogeography with field paleontology to address topics in vertebrate evolution. Her paleontological field research aims to shed light on the origin and evolutionary history of Madagascar’s modern fauna, one of the most unique and endemic on the planet.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Opportunities are available for students to prepare, identify, and describe subfossils from Madagascar. As small mammal communities are correlated with major habitat types, this data is useful for making paleoenvironmental reconstructions.

Past Student Research Projects

  • Dental macrowear in Malagasy lemurs
  • Cenozoic crocodylians from Madagascar
  • The functional morphology and biomechanics of extant and extinct felids and canids
  • The skeletal system and forensic Anthropology
  • Intensive independent study of Head & Neck Anatomy and Dental Anatomy
  • Subfossil hippopotamus from Madagascar
  • Acetic acid preparation of Miocene bat fossils
Tomoyuki Shibata Photo

Contact

Tomoyuki Shibata
Public Health
Wirtz Hall 258
tshibata@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Shibata is an international scholar, who evaluates social and environmental determinants of health quantitatively in order to assist decision-makers in designing and implementing appropriate systems that will protect public health effectively locally and globally.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Professor Shibata has mentored and trained not only students at NIU but also students, young professionals, and professors from all over the world through Global Environmental Health LAB (GEH LAB), a not-for-profit organization. GEH LAB promotes and supports safe and healthy environments on a local, regional, and global scale conducting collaborative public health-related research, scientific engagement, and capability building activities. GEH LAB conducts variety of interdisciplinary projects associated with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Please contact Professor Shibata for research, study abroad, and internship opportunities. Don’t forget to like us on GEH LAB Facebook page.

Past Student Research Projects

  • Guatemala City Landfill: Environmental Impacts on the Health of City Residents (USOAR)
  • Food Security Measurement in the US (USOAR)
  • Health literacy in Nigeria
  • Community and Occupational Health in Myanmar
  • Assessing Individual Interventions and Need for Policy Interventions to Reduce PM Exposure in Indonesia
  • Social and Environmental Factors that Affect Childhood Pneumonia in Indonesia
  • Infants' Arsenic Exposures from Drinking Water and Dietary Ingestion in the US
  • Perception of Health Risk and Causes of Under-Five Mortality in Ghana
  • Domestic Hygiene Behavior and Childhood Diarrhea in Indonesia
Nathan Stansell Photo

Contact

Nathan Stansell
Geology and Environmental Geosciences
Davis Hall 312
nstansell@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Stansell's research applies a wide range of methods to better understand past climatic changes on a range of timescales. His research includes stable isotope geochemistry and paleolimnology in western North America, Central America and South America, proglacial lake sediments and cosmogenic radionuclide dating in tropical Andes, and high latitude climate and carbon dynamics. 

Diana Swanson Photo

Contact

Diana Swanson
English
Rheavis Hall 230
dswanson@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Swanson's goal in her research and teaching is to demonstrate the relevance of ecology for feminism, and vice versa, using literary text analysis, feminist science studies and feminist theory.

Current Student Research Opportunities

There are several opportunities to do self-directed literature research and feminist research projects available for students.

Past Student Research Projects

See Professor Swanson for more information! 

Brendon Swedlow Photo

Contact

Brendon Swedlow
Political Sciences
Zulauf Hall 415
bswedlow@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Swedlow's overall interest is the relationship between political culture and environmental views or constructs of nature.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Students interested in studying the politics of environmental, health, and safety regulation can participate in Professor Swedlow's research on these topics as research assistants and/or by taking POLS 324 Politics of Environmental, Health, and Safety Regulation or POLS 611 US Regulatory Politics in Comparative Perspective.

Past Student Research Projects

Contact Professor Swedlow for more information! 

Wes Swingley Photo

Contact

Wesley Swingley
Biological Sciences
Montgomery Hall 334
wswingley@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Swingley's research focuses on three approaches to tackle the central challenges in analyzing complex environmental communities: 1) to develop novel computational techniques to inform a new generation of genomic and community genomic data; 2) to model the co-evolution of organisms and the environment; and 3) to illuminate the evolutionary origin and history of phenotypes and environmental adaptation.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Students interested in research in all areas of microbiology and microbial ecology are encouraged to inquire about student opportunities in the Swingley lab. Research in the lab focuses on integrating microbial processes with environmental changes, especially in extreme systems, from man-made waste sites to early Earth or extraterrestrial environments analogs. Students will learn skills in both traditional microbiology--including culturing, microscopy, and biochemical characterization--as well as modern sequencing and sequence analysis--including DNA isolation and amplification and high-throughput sequence parsing and analysis. For more information, please visit the Swingley lab website

Past Student Research Projects

  • Microbial culturing from alkaline waste waters
  • Sequence analysis of ribosomal surveys
  • Geochemical characterization of prairie soil
  • Bioinformatics tool development
Kendall Thu Photo

Contact

Kendall Thu
Anthropology
Stevens Building 190B
kthu@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Thu educates people about how their food decisions influence the world around them.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Professor Thu has opportunities for students interested in becoming partners and engaged in the community as researchers by working with citizen groups to do field research, outreach, collecting and analyzing field data, web-based work, publicity work, helping rural communities to do news releases and op-ed pieces.

Past Student Research Projects

Contact Professor Thu for more information on past student projects! 

Jim Wilson Photo

Contact

Jim Wilson
Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences
Davis Hall 214
jwilson41@niu.edu
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Environmental Focus

Professor Wilson's research interests include public and environmental health, medical geography, and hazards. Currently he has been focusing on geographic information systems (GIS) applications and geographical approaches in environmental health (air pollution and water quality) and hazards (radiation and populations vulnerable to storm surges). He is also interested in agricultural systems. He currently teaches courses in maps and mapping, which is a foundational course for the GIS certificate, medical/health geography (GIS focus), and environment and society.

Current Student Research Opportunities

Students can engage in a wide range of mapping and GIS projects on environmental and public health topics.  Research opportunities can also include Open Source GIS applications in Citizen Science, Public Participatory GGIS, and Volunteered Geographic Information.

Past Student Research Projects

  • Measuring antibiotic resistance in local streams
  • Landscape genetics and pathogens
  • GIS application: delimiting medically fragile populations at risk from tropical storm surges

Contact Us

Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy
325 Montgomery Hall
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
envs@niu.edu 815-753-6563