About the McKearn Fellows Program

A McKearn fellowship is one of the most prestigious honors you can achieve at NIU. It carries the name of two distinguished NIU alumni, John and Cassandra McKearn, and gives fellows a world-class educational experience.

The program transforms fellows' undergraduate experience and advances their professional development by providing them with co-curricular and scholarship funding, academic programming and personalized advising.

Each McKearn fellow creates and executes a plan of coursework and related academic and professional enrichment activities. Along the way, McKearn fellows develop extensive social and academic support systems through cohort activities and peer mentoring experiences. They also benefit from networking opportunities.

Program Benefits

As a McKearn fellow, you'll receive all of the benefits of the University Honors Program. You'll also receive the following exclusive benefits:

  • Additional funding each year for:
    • Alternative spring break trip
    • Research and artistry
    • Internship experiences
  • Networking with prominent alumni
  • McKearn-only class on building leadership and social networking skills
  • Personalized advising related to academics and national scholarships
  • Immersion in service at several levels (community, local and global)
  • Experience in proposal applications to secure funding
  • Official NIU and McKearn-related gear (clothing, business cards, etc.)

Foundations of the Program

The McKearn Fellows Program began in the summer of 2013. During an eight-week summer program, the inaugural cohort of 10 high-achieving students benefited from transformative academic and engaged learning experiences. They were challenged to complete a tangible research project while incorporating the program's three modules: research and artistry design, leadership development, and civic, social and global engagement.