Tag: research

North Park University Receives $166K Grant From NASA To Install Air Quality Sensors

North Park University will install sensors that detect weather and pollution patterns as part of a $166,000 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

North Park University will install sensors that detect weather and pollution patterns as part of a $166,000 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The sensors will be installed atop the Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life on campus.

NASA awarded the five-year grant to North Park in part because of its federal status as a Hispanic Serving Institution, a school that is committed to equitable outcomes for Hispanic students. The two weather sensors will be installed by NASA this spring, and money from the grant will fund travel expenses and salaries for instructors and student workers. The equipment will be owned and maintained by NASA.

The grant was secured through the joint efforts of Assistant Professor of Chemistry John Randazzo and Director of Sponsored Projects Renee Cox. Only about 10 institutions across the country received the grant, and North Park is the lone Chicago site.

The environmental data gathered by the sensors will allow NASA researchers to monitor levels of atmospheric compounds such as carbon monoxide, along with particulate matters expelled by cars and factories. The data will also be compared to that acquired by satellites circling the earth to ensure accuracy. North Park students and professors will have access to that data, which will be transmitted directly into North Park’s classrooms.

“This is a powerful tool because it makes learning real,” Randazzo said. “The students can read the data and know that’s coming from just above their heads.”

Randazzo said the NASA grant was likely to raise North Park’s profile as a research university.

“Building a face-to-face relationship with NASA raises our credibility and increases future prospects,” Randazzo said, adding that a NASA engineer will be speaking on campus in March.

Dr. Randazzo said he and Cox found the grant opportunity on a NASA LISTSERV about a year ago, and although they ignore “99% of them” because they are not applicable, this particular grant struck them both because of North Park’s location and Randazzo’s background in atmospheric science.

The two worked together to apply for the grant, which they learned they’d won late last year. Read more press releases here.

Posted on Categories News, Press, StoriesTags , , , ,

English Professor Seeks Your Input on Life-changing Literature

Did a novel or other work of literature change your life? If so, North Park English Professor Nancy Arnesen wants to hear from you.

Did a novel or other work of literature change your life? If so, North Park English Professor Nancy Arnesen wants to hear from you.

Dr. Arnesen begins a yearlong sabbatical this summer, exploring the meaning of literature outside the classroom and in the broader world. As part of her research, she would like to hear from former students (along with their friends and family) about how a specific piece of literature changed their lives.

“I’d be interested to hear from alums about a literary work they read in college, or since, that has been important to them in some way,” says Dr. Arnesen, who has taught writing and literature for more than 30 years. “As part of my research, I’ll be asking ‘why bother with literature?’ and ‘how can literature serve the common good?’”

In addition to reading works by authors who examine literature and its relationship to the common good, Dr. Arnesen will be searching out internship opportunities for students as part of North Park’s Catalyst 606__ program, in which Chicago serves as North Park’s extended classroom. To do so, Dr. Arnesen will be spending time exploring Chicago-based clubs and other non-profits that encourage the use of literature as a way to improve people’s lives.

If you’d like to assist Dr. Arnesen with her project, reach out to her at narnesen@northpark.edu.

More About Dr. Arnesen

Posted on Categories Announcement, StoriesTags , , , , ,

Undergrad-led Research Findings Span Academic Majors

Organized by the Undergraduate Research Committee, 25 students present original research at North Park’s 12th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.

North Park students, faculty, advisors, and family gathered May 2 at the Johnson Center for the 12th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. Organized by the Undergraduate Research Committee, the 25 student presenters first submitted an abstract to the committee for entrance into the symposium.

“Most of these student scholars conduct their research in their Directed Research course throughout the academic year,” said Dr. Yoojin Choi, chair of the committee. “Students really learn best when doing authentic inquiry,” added Dr. Choi.

As part of the Directed Research course and/or independent studies coursework, the research topics represented students majoring in biology, psychology, exercise science, physics and engineering, nursing, philosophy, environmental science, English, chemistry, and biochemistry.

Eleanor Manning

“This is the best learning experience I’ve had at North Park because we can apply what we’ve learned,” said Eleanor Manning, a physics and engineering major. She credits her understanding of the mechanics of prosthetics to participating in undergraduate Directed Research coursework.

“Conducting research projects is the best way to learn research and it allows our top students to shine,” said Provost Michael O. Emerson.

Exercise science major Victoria Pudussery expressed her gratitude for her learning experience.

“I now have perspective on how large research is and am fortunate to learn the research process as an undergrad,” said Pudussery. Post-graduation, Pudussery will pursue a degree in physical therapy at Northwestern University.

Victoria Pudusserey

Students displayed the practical, career-building skills they acquired at North Park via media such as charts and graphs. Physics and engineering senior Kristina Lundeen illustrated an analysis of wind in her presentation of Improving a Pedestrian Comfort Model for Arbitrary Geometries. Nursing student Aisha Badla presented statistical reporting and data analysis that answered Does Breastfeeding a Neonate Improve Oxygen Saturation Levels Without Any Other Intervention?

Spending hours in North Park’s Brandel Library conducting in-depth research, the participants further developed their critical thinking, case study reading, oral presentation, and confidence in fielding questions from the audience.

“The Undergraduate Research Symposium is a magnificent spotlight on what is great about a North Park education,” said Provost Emerson.

“Most grad schools require research experience in the undergrad years and having the Research Symposium on your CV is very good,” said Dr. Choi. The CV credential is a bonus—but even more, these students displayed true to North Park form their appreciation for research, gratitude to their mentors, and exceptional work ethic.


The Undergraduate Research Symposium wishes to thank the students and faculty mentors for their efforts at creating original works of knowledge. This year’s Undergraduate Research Committee consisted of Professors Yoojin Choi, Gianfranco Farruggia, You-Seong Kim, Suzen Moeller, Rachel Schmale, Sarah Thorngate, and Joel Willitts. Special thanks to Brandel Library, Provost Emerson, and Interim President Balsam for their support and for underwriting the cost of the symposium.

Posted on Categories News, StoriesTags , , , , ,

North Park Students Selected to Present to Illinois Sociological Association

Nineteen North Park students enrolled in Methods in Social Research will attend the 2017 Illinois Sociological Association, seven of whom will present original research.

Nineteen North Park students enrolled in Methods in Social Research are heading to the 2017 Illinois Sociological Association meeting on November 17th, 2017. The students will share seven presentations based on original research ideas developed in the course and as part of activities conducted through the Urban Peace Lab— established and run by their instructor, Dr. Peter K. B. St. Jean, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Criminal Justice at North Park. Seven research abstracts were accepted for presentation on one panel and one roundtable.

On the panel, Dr. St. Jean will present a paper entitled, “Conducting Better News Research,” which will provide the general conceptual framework for the students’ research. Dr. St. Jean will also introduce the students presenting on the following topics:

  • I AM NOT GOING BACK: Recidivism and Social Environment in Chicago
  • REVENGE WITHOUT VIOLENCE: How Residents of Chicago’s High Crime Neighborhoods Avenge Victimization Without Violence
  • PEACE WITHOUT GUNS: How Chicago Residents Within High Gun Violence Neighborhoods Resolve Conflicts Without the Use of Guns
  • THE UPRISE: Youth and Gang Avoidance in Chicago
  • POVERTY AND PEACE IN CHICAGO: Voices on the Ground
  • IN SPITE OF IT ALL: Triumph After Human Trafficking

Also attending and presenting papers on Visual Urban Peaceology are North Park alumnus and current University of Chicago graduate student, Eirik J. Berger, and current NPU Theatre and Communications student, Seanna Wong. The panel will be led by Dr. St. Jean’s presentation entitled “Introduction to Peaceology and Urban Peaceology: Findings from Multi-methods Research in Chicago.” Eirik J. Berger and Seanna Wong will then present their papers respectively:

  • VISUAL URBAN PEACEOLOGY: Understanding and Amplifying Peace Intelligence in the Urban Context Through the Use of Visual Tools, Ethnography, Qualitative Data, and Media Research
  • THE ROLE OF THEATRE IN VISUAL URBAN PEACEOLOGY: Findings from Ground-Breaking Ethnographic Research and Activism in Chicago

“I’m happy that these students get this opportunity to make history by being part of the research team that collectively introduces Peaceology, Urban Peaceology, and Better News Research for the first time to an academic conference. They have been working hard to conduct the best presentations, and I am confident that they will do well,” said Professor St. Jean, chairperson of the Sociology Department at North Park.

Posted on Categories StoriesTags , , , , , , , , , ,

Dr. Timothy Johnson, “Healthcare: A Prediction”

Watch video footage of Dr. Timothy Johnson’s talk concerning the future of American healthcare.

September 14, 2017 — North Park University welcomed longtime ABC medical editor and North Park grad Dr. Timothy Johnson to discuss the future of American Health Care with NPU students.

The student-only event was held in the Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life, the building named in honor of Dr. Johnson and his wife. “We are extraordinarily privileged to benefit from Dr. Johnson’s vast knowledge of healthcare, and his willingness to share his insights, gained over a lifetime of service, with our students who are just starting their life’s work,” said North Park Interim President Carl Balsam. “We hope this will inspire many of our students to follow in his footsteps.”

The event was attended by over 200 students and was live streamed on North Park’s Facebook page.

Posted on Categories News, StoriesTags , , , , , ,

Undergrads Dive Deep into Majors for Summer Research Program

A select group of North Park students took part in the NPRESS mentoring program, working alongside their professors while conducting in-depth research in their fields of study.

CHICAGO (September 13, 2017) — For the third summer in a row, a select group of North Park University undergraduate students took part in an intensive mentoring program, working alongside North Park professors while conducting in-depth research in their given academic fields.

Called the North Park Research Experience for Students (NPRESS), the program allows undergrads to receive the type of guidance and research opportunities typically available only in graduate programs.

As part of the eight-week program, funded by North Park donors, students receive a $3,500 stipend, $500 materials allowance and free on-campus housing while conducting research for their theses.

Both the student and faculty mentor explore ideas together during the application process and throughout the two months of hands-on research, said NPRESS Co-Director Dr. Rajkumar Boaz Johnson. “The program allows deeper learning between students and faculty.”

Twelve students, all incoming sophomores, juniors or seniors, were selected for this summer’s program.

On Aug. 30, five of them presented their theses to NPRESS donors, alumni, and faculty at a dinner in the Helwig Boardroom.

Representing majors from History and Global Studies, Exercise Science, Biomedical Sciences, Biology, and Economics, the students discussed their theses and answered questions from the audience. Through their rigorous research, students made connections on themes involving theology of lament and J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel Legendarium, exercise science and velocity data, interactive learning tools and host-pathogen interactions, genes and unicellular alga, and lure of perceptions versus evidence and fact on inventory and cash/financial performance.

Business and Economics major Jomarie Perlas delved deep into making connections between perception of value and actual value in researching inventory.

“Conducting market research and a survey helped to provide insight into inventory management, an area I’m interested in,” Perlas said.

Biology major Haydee Ramirez said the relationship she formed with her mentor, Dr. Yoojin Choi, helped her prepare for her presentation.

“Getting all the research condensed into 10 to 12 minutes that a general audience can understand was a challenge, but my mentor Dr. Choi was there to work with me,” Ramirez said.

Dr. Johnson developed the program to offer undergraduate students a comprehensive and hands-on learning experience that encompassed research, writing, and presenting.

Inspired by the program, participants like 2016 NPRESS participant Hannah Hawkinson, who studied feminist theology and social justice, is now pursuing a Master’s of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary.

The NPRESS Committee expressed their gratitude to the donors and the board for making the program possible and for providing North Park students with another avenue to connect academic interests with real-life experiences.

Acceptance into NPRESS is based on an evaluation by North Park’s Undergraduate Research Committee (URC), which examines student merit, outcome, and commitment to 40 hours of research per week. The application deadline for Summer 2018 will be this spring, and applications are open to faculty and undergraduate students of all disciplines. Inquiries can be made with URC Chair Dr. Yoojin Choi .


Read Presentations

Posted on Categories StoriesTags , ,

NPRESS Presentations Bring Summer to a Close

On Friday July 28, 12 North Park research summer students presented their findings to close out 2017’s summer NPRESS Program (North Park Research Experience for Summer Students).

On Friday, July 28, 12 North Park summer research students presented their findings to close out 2017’s summer NPRESS Program (North Park Research Experience for Summer Students). Dr. Boaz Johnson began his opening remarks in the Helwig Boardroom in the Johnson Center: “These students have had the opportunity to work alongside the best professors in the world, and I have been all over the world, so I can say that.”

In this highly competitive program, only 12 students were chosen to participate in summer research. These students are provided with on-campus housing and a $3,500 stipend to accompany their 40-hour work weeks of PhD-level research. “As in the past, students have said that this has been their most intense and yet most enjoyable experience at North Park. They get a professor to work with them, all by themselves,” says Dr. Johnson.


The NPRESS (North Park Research Experience for Summer Students) program provides opportunities for North Park students to conduct research with a North Park faculty mentor for eight weeks over the summer. It was the brainchild of a core group of faculty and funded by a small group of donors, allowing students to dive into a topic in a way that the constraints of an academic year do not always allow. Students received a $3,500 stipend and were given the opportunity to live on campus, making it possible for them to focus solely on research.

Posted on Categories Announcement, News, StoriesTags , , , ,

North Park University Cadaver Lab Opens Its Doors Bright and Early to All Interested Undergraduates

During the near-dawn hours, North Park’s Coordinator of Anatomical Resources Dr. Jeff Nelson leads visits to the Cadaver Lab—as early as 6:30 am.

Students have all different ways of starting their morning. Some with a cup of java or a work-out at Helwig Recreation Center or hitting snooze a couple of times. But for both the science-driven major as well as any student interested in anatomy, the morning starts with access to North Park’s Cadaver Lab.

Study in cadaver lab with Dr. Jeffrey Nelson

During the near-dawn hours, North Park’s Coordinator of Anatomical Resources Dr. Jeff Nelson leads visits to the Cadaver Lab—as early as 6:30 am. “This time of day is perfect for students to openly converse which also sets the tone for professionalism,” says Dr. Nelson.

Learning together early in the morning, when all is quiet on campus and classes have not yet started, distils distractions and focuses the learning experience on exploring anatomy. Supervised by Dr. Nelson, students meet two times a week and every three to four weeks where fellow students can see the work to-date and refresh their knowledge of anatomy. Dr. Nelson readily greets the groggy-eyed yet ready-to-learn undergrads from a variety of majors—psychology to art to health sciences—opening the doors into the world of anatomy where students learn by conversing, observing, handling, and exploring.

If a student is interested in optometry, they can study the eyes; if there’s an interest in physical therapy then they can look at the muscles. To keep track of the areas of the body already studied, students maintain their own logs. In the Cadaver Lab, it’s the students who are actually doing the work with the cadaver. “There’s an element of discovery and mystery that’s experienced during these wee hours of the morning that gets students to start thinking about their interests and career path,” says Dr. Nelson.

Dr. Nelson encourages students to have their own experience with anatomy. For many, being in the Cadaver Lab is about having their first patient experience and for others, it’s about what is yet-to-be-discovered. Modeling the peer-teaching style, students prepare to teach to their fellow classmates, a necessary skill developed in medical school.

North Park University is unique in having its own cadaver lab for undergraduate students. Located in the basement level of the state-of-the-art Johnson Center, the Cadaver Lab provides students with hands-on learning experiences found right here on campus. Before the Cadaver Lab existed on campus, students traveled to nearby hospitals such as Rush Medical Center to receive this sophisticated level of learning most often found in graduate schools.

“North Park is fortunate to have the Cadaver Lab on campus and the students really enjoy expanding their knowledge and skills alongside their peers,” remarks Dr. Nelson.

To participate in a Cadaver Lab session with Dr. Nelson, set your alarm and look for the sign-up sheet outside his office in the Johnson Center, room 020.

Posted on Categories News, StoriesTags , , , ,