Reed Scherer

Professor, Department of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment

Reed Scherer

What year did you start working at NIU?

Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and live in Elburn, Illinois.

Where did you attend college and what degree(s) have you earned?
I have a B.S. from Southampton College, an M.S. from the University of South Carolina and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University.

In which department(s) do you teach?
Department of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment

Were you a first-generation college student? If so, what advice would you offer to current first generation students?
No, but I was the first Ph.D.

What do you like about working at NIU?
Offering our students hands-on research experiences and seeing them successfully rise academically above what their family may have had the opportunity to do.

What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
Be a presence on campus and actively engaged. Stick with it, knowing that sacrifices you make now will pay off in the long run. Never lose curiosity about the world.

Tell us about a research or engaged learning project you have led.
I've had many students analyze samples from Antarctica and around the world to study climate change over time.  Many students, undergraduate as well as graduate, have presented their research at international and national conferences. My students have had the opportunity to travel the world, touching all seven continents!

What do you enjoy most about mentoring students?
Seeing their creativity, curiosity, dedication and confidence grow.

What do you hope students take away from their college experience?
We have to keep learning because there is still so much to learn.

What is your favorite memory of NIU?

  1. Raising the Huskie flag in Antarctica.
  2. Appearing with my colleague Ross Powell as special guests on Chicago Tonight (WTTW).

What fulfills you personally and professionally?
Finding answers to hard but important research questions I've been hammering at for decades. These questions have only become more relevant through the years, as climate change becomes a grim reality.

Which of NIU’s core values align with your own?
Curiosity and creativity.

Have you contributed to any NIU Foundation fundraising campaigns such as the Day of Giving or Huskies United? If yes, why did you decided to support NIU?
Yes. Because I believe in our mission.

Do you keep in touch with any NIU alums? If so, are there any doing something interesting and exciting that we should know about? Please share some information with us and we’ll consider them for a future feature. 
Former Ph.D. students are continuing to do great things as faculty members and research leaders in the federal government. I'm proud to be their colleague, no longer a mentor.

Who has influenced your professional path?
I was especially inspired by a brilliant researcher at Ohio State.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
I couldn't have imagined the details, but in fact I am "living my dream," though things didn't play out the way I had envisioned.

Are you participating in or have you participated in any NIU shared governance or professional development groups? If so, how has your participation enhanced your experience as an employee?
Of course. It's always good to meet colleagues across campus, from all different programs, rather than just within my field.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
Cook! I don't get to sail or scuba dive often, but I love to cook every single day.

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