The Northwestern Undergraduate Research Journal (NURJ) is an annual student-produced journal that showcases outstanding research done by Northwestern undergraduates from across all academic fields.
(Print) ISSN 2689-1034 (Online) ISSN 2689-1042
Our mission is two-fold: to provide an opportunity for the many undergraduates passionate about research at Northwestern to publish their work, and to complement the University’s emphasis on interdisciplinary research that spans a wide spectrum of areas including neuroscience, material sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
As the only peer- and faculty-reviewed journal of undergraduate research at Northwestern University, NURJ serves to introduce undergraduates to the review and publication processes indicative of the research world. It is an opportunity for students to engage with the research community and networks.
Allen Taflove received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Northwestern University in 1971, 1972, and 1975, respectively. Since 1988, he has been a full professor in Northwestern’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Over the past 48 years, Allen has pioneered theoretical approaches, algorithms, and applications of finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) computational solutions of the fundamental Maxwell’s equations of classical electrodynamics. FDTD has emerged as a primary means to solve the largest and most complex science and engineering problems involving electromagnetic wave phenomena, devices, and systems from ultralow frequencies to visible light. His major publication, Computational Electrodynamics: The Finite-Difference Time-Domain Method, has been ranked the 7th most-cited book in physics, currently with more 20,000 Google Scholar citations. Allen is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the recipient of the 2014 IEEE Electromagnetics Award, and a Fellow of The Optical Society (OSA). Currently, he is conducting petaflops-scale computational microscopy applications of FDTD in support of research at Northwestern led by Biomedical Engineering Professor Vadim Backman dealing with the detection and potential treatment of early-stage human cancers.
Editor-in-Chief, 2018, 2019
Andrew Cao ’20 is a graduating senior majoring in Journalism and minoring in Art, Theory and Practice. He joined the journal in 2017 as an Outreach Manager and became the Editor-in-Chief in 2018. Under Andrew’s leadership, in collaboration with Emily, who became the Co-EIC in 2019, the NURJ has grown to 65 members across eight teams, and has solidified our newest digital branch, the NURJ Online. Andrew received the Cogsci Fellowship in 2018 and the Polisci Fellowship in Summer 2019, and interned at Edelman in Fall 2019. Andrew is going to his home country China to work in the journalism sector, and hopes to come back to the United States after several years for law school.
Editor-in-Chief, 2019; Managing Editor, NURJ Online, 2018
Emily Suen ‘20 is a graduating senior majoring in Neuroscience. She is currently one of the Co-Editors-in-Chief of the NURJ. Emily joined the Journal as an editor during her freshman year, before working to establish NURJ Online as the Managing Editor. Outside of the NURJ, she is involved in research with the John Rogers Group, creating wireless skin-interfaced biosensors for use in the neonatal intensive care unit. Recently, Emily has also become a web designer for Professor Amisha Wallia, on a project focused on empowering patients with the skills and knowledge to manage their own diabetes. Outside of research, she loves baking and spending time in nature. Upon graduation, Emily will be continuing her education at NU Feinberg School of Medicine. And, of course, she will continue to be an avid member of the research community!
Editor-in-Chief, incoming 2020; Managing Editor, NURJ (Paper Design)
Maia Brown ’21 is a junior double majoring in Journalism and Sociology, and minoring in Gender Studies. She is currently the Managing Editor of Paper Design and an incoming Editor-in-Chief for the 2020-21 year. Through working with NURJ for the past two years, she has vastly expanded her view of what research can be, as well as her understanding and appreciation of the research process. She hopes to attend graduate school after she finishes at Northwestern, before building a career in the advocacy/nonprofit sector.
Editor-in-Chief, incoming 2020; Managing Director, Development
Shreya Sriram ‘22 is a sophomore majoring in Economics and Communication Sciences and Disorders on the Pre-Medicine track. As an incoming co-Editor-in-Chief of the NURJ, Shreya believes that promoting student research on all platforms is imperative to growth and is looking forward to adding more facets to the NURJ publications. Shreya pursues her professional interests through her individual research in the Hearing and Language Lab. She will also be joining the Auditory Research Laboratory to spearhead development of optical cochlear implants through the Summer Undergraduate Research Grant and the Central Auditory Physiology Laboratory to research auditory brainstem function. Shreya hopes to develop her research experience in medical school. Outside of research, Shreya loves to be on stage making people laugh, then off stage, eating food with them.
Managing Editor, NURJ (Paper), 2018, 2019, 2020
Leslie Bonilla (’21) is a junior majoring in Journalism and Political science. Leslie has been a managing editor for the NURJ since her sophomore year. She has also written for North by Northwestern, The Daily Q and the Medill News Service. Last summer, she interned for VOA News, where she reported on enterprise stories and wrote for the publication’s internal wire. She plans to pursue a career in media and journalism.
Managing Editor, NURJ (Paper), 2019
Irene Chang ‘21 is a junior majoring in Journalism and Psychology. She joined the Journal in Spring 2018 as Special Counsel, helping the exec board and staff prepare last year’s issue before transitioning into the role of Print Managing Editor for the 2020-21 year. Irene first became involved with research during her freshman year, when she conducted research about the first acrobatic troupe in China for a Medill professor. Recently, her 2,500-word essay about a fake, used-tissue company that duped media outlets and exposed faulty journalistic practices won the 2019 Howell Essay Contest. Outside of the Journal, Irene is an executive member for the Northwestern chapter of the Asian American Journalists’ Association and a Medill student ambassador and tour guide. She enjoys reading, experimenting with cooking and trying tasty new foods, traveling (circumstances permitting), and cuddling with her German shepherd. Irene will pursue a Master’s degree in Social Justice and Investigative Reporting at Medill after graduating in fall 2020, and hopes to attend law school afterwards.
Managing Editor, NURJ Online, 2019, incoming 2020
Lydia Rivers ‘22 is a sophomore majoring in Journalism and Global Health. She began doing ChemE research in high school studying effective and environmentally friendly ways to purify groundwater. Lydia then continued this research at Northwestern over the last summer and fall quarter doing engineering research studying how to convert enzymes into other useful products more efficiently for use in pharmaceuticals and fuel production. After graduation, she plans on working toward a masters in public health to be qualified to work as an epidemiologist, but would like to pursue a career in media. Lydia also runs a music blog and enjoys cross-stitching.
Managing Editor, NURJ (Paper), incoming 2020; Associate Managing Editor, NURJ (Online), 2019
Niva Razin ’22 is studying computer science and applied mathematics in McCormick. She enjoys studying languages and hopes to pursue a career that combines her passions for science, engineering, and languages.
Managing Director, NURJ Development, 2019
Managing Director, NURJ Web Development, 2018, 2019
Spencer Levitt ’22 is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science. Spencer served as the Managing Director for Web Development in 2018 and 2019. He is a resident co-founder in The Garage on Northwestern’s campus. Previously, Spencer interned at Under Armour and was a web developer at an EdTech startup in Baltimore for two years.
Managing Editor, NURJ (Online Design)
Sakke Overlund ‘21 is a junior majoring in Journalism and Psychology. She is a full-time journalist and part-time designer.
Managing Editor, NURJ Online Design
Managing Editor, NURJ (Outreach), incoming 2020; Associate Managing Editor, NURJ (Outreach), 2019
Joy Zheng ‘22 is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and Cognitive Science with a concentration in Linguistics. For the past year, she has been a research assistant in the Cognition and Communication Lab and plans to carry out her own project this summer. Right now, Joy has plans of pursuing a PhD in Psychology and is hoping to conduct further research in psycholinguistics. Outside of research and academics, Joy often bakes, usually cakes, for her friends and family and always enjoys binging Youtube videos during the process.
Managing Editor, NURJ (STEM), incoming 2020; Associate Managing Editor, NURJ (STEM), 2019
Jonic Zhehao Zhu ‘22 is a sophomore majoring in Chemistry and pursuing the Segal Design Certificate. He serves as the Managing Editor for the NURJ’s STEM team. Since entering Northwestern, he has been working with Prof. Emily Weiss in the Chemistry Department on artificial photosynthesis and photochemistry. Jonic loves boxing and running, and works on several photography projects on his own time.
Managing Editor, NURJ (Design), incoming 2020; Associate Managing Editor, NURJ (Paper Design, Online Design), 2019
Sarah Tani ‘22 is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Linguistics. She is the incoming Managing Editor of the NURJ (Design) and previously served as the Associate Managing Editor of the NURJ (Paper Design, Online Design) in 2019. Last summer, she completed a URAP with Prof. Jillana Enteen, studying changes to websites related to Transgender-related medical tourism in Thailand. She presented an analysis of the methodology of this project with a poster presentation at the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science in November 2019. Sarah hopes to pursue the field of Computational Linguistics after graduation, but in the meantime is focusing on her B.A. and research at the undergraduate level.
Associate Managing Editor, NURJ (Design), incoming 2019
Juntang Qian ‘23 is a freshman majoring in Journalism and Psychology, and minoring in Art Theory and Practice. She is a research assistant in the Yang Qu Lab, researching school motivation, emotional development and psychological well-being. During summer 2020, she investigated indigenous-owned food businesses in Vancouver with the support of the Office of Undergraduate Research at Northwestern. Juntang currently sees herself going into investigative journalism when she graduates, but this goal is subject to change. She has an interest in collecting tickets, and has been doing that for 15 years.
Associate Managing Director, NURJ Development, incoming 2020
Soumya Jhaveri ’23 is a freshman majoring in Neuroscience and Journalism on the Pre-Med track. She joined the NURJ this year as a part of the STEM team. Soumya began her interests in research in high school with independent projects on diversity in journalism and teenage entrepreneurial characteristics. She is currently a research assistant in the Amato Lab through the URAP program working on microbiome research with both non-human and human primate samples. Soumya is interested in exploring how better design and communication can be used to enhance healthcare. After graduation, she hopes to work in scientific journalism or a health startup for a year before attending medical school.
Managing Director, NURJ Web Development, incoming 2020
Tony Luo ‘23 is a freshman majoring in Computer Science and possibly Statistics. Apart from being the head of Web Development with the NURJ, Tony is a part of the research team in NU Blockchain Group that focuses on the use-case of decentralized apps in clinical research. After graduation, Tony envisions himself working in the software industry or pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. Outside of research, Tony loves cooking and is a chef at Northwestern Culinary Arts Club – Cookology.
Associate Managing Editor, NURJ Online, incoming 2020
Shreyas Iyer ’21 is a junior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Data Science. Shreyas has worked for both the political science and history departments over the past three years as a research assistant. He has also worked in a research capacity as a legal intern at Cisco Systems in 2019. Although his post-graduation plans are uncertain, Shreyas aspires to a career in law, the nonprofit field, politics, or in the public sector.
Associate Managing Director, NURJ Development, 2019, incoming 2020
Ina Huang ‘22 is a sophomore majoring in Economics and Psychology with a minor in Business Institutions. She served as an Associate Managing Director for NURJ Development in 2019 and will continue to do so this year. In the past, Ina has done research on the effects of the Belt and Road Initiative on the economic growth of developing countries. She plans on pursuing a career in finance after graduation.
Associate Managing Director, NURJ Outreach
Associate Managing Director, NURJ (Paper), incoming 2020
Sally Hong ‘22 is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and International Studies and minoring in Chinese. Although she does not have any past research experience, she hopes to gain some in the near future and is thinking of going to law school post-graduation, hopefully exploring career paths at the intersection of the legal and psychological fields.
Managing Director, NURJ Development, incoming 2020
Kevin Bai ’22 is a sophomore double majoring in MMSS and Economics. His previous research experience includes pursuing a summer URG project involving the diversity of repertoire performed by orchestral organizations. After graduation, he aspires to work in early-stage ventures or management consulting. Kevin is also an amateur violinist of 15 years, with recent performances including faking Richard Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony at the BBC Proms.
Associate Managing Editor, NURJ (Outreach), incoming 2020
Alex Solivan ’23 is a freshman majoring in Biological Sciences and Science in Human Culture. Alex is a research assistant in the Mirkin Research Group studying nanoparticle cancer vaccines and has performed ovarian cancer research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. After graduation, Alex hopes to continue research and attend medical and graduate school.
Managing Editor, NURJ Development, incoming 2020, Associate Managing Editor, NURJ Development, 2019
John Cao ’22 is a sophomore majoring in Mathematics, MMSS, and Piano Performance, and pursuing the Financial Economics Certificate in the Kellogg Certificate Program for Undergraduates. On campus, in addition to NURJ, John is also active with AAIV. John hopes to work as a consulting actuary or in quantitative trading after graduation. In his free time, he enjoys powerlifting, singing opera, and playing with his pet bird Mochi.
Associate Managing Editor, NURJ (Outreach), 2019, incoming 2020
Khaled Abughoush ’21 is a junior majoring in Industrial Engineering. Khaled received a McCormick Research Assistant grant in summer 2019. Khaled is going to work in supply chain logistics after graduation and hopes to become a consultant afterwards.
Associate Managing Editor, NURJ Development, incoming 2020
Jenna Greenzaid ’23 is a sophomore majoring in Journalism and pursuing an Integrated Marketing Certificate and Business Institutions Certificate. Jenna hopes to work pushing the boundaries of interactive journalism and challenging the way readers experience news and media through online platforms.
Associate Managing Editor, Design
Siying Luo, Class of 2023, is undecided in WCAS. She joined the Journal in fall 2019, and has since been promoted to AME of Design. She is interested in science and hopes to start research when she returns to campus.
OUR 2019-2020 TEAM
Editors-in-chief: Andrew Y. Cao, Emily Suen
Managing Editors of the NURJ: Leslie Bonilla; Irene Chang
Managing Editors of the NURJ Online: Zhesi Zhuang
Managing Editor of NURJ (Paper) Design: Maia Brown
Managing Editors of NURJ Online Design: Andrew Cortner, Sakke Overlund
Associate Managing Editor NURJ (Paper): Haley Chang
Associate Managing Editor NURJ (Online): Lydia Rivers
Associate Managing Editor NURJ (STEM DEPT.): Jonic Zhehao Zhu
Associate Managing Editor for Paper and Online Design: Sarah Tani
Managing Director of Development: Lucy Yuan
Managing Director of Web Development: Spencer Levitt
Associate Managing Director Development (“Society” Liaison): Shreya Sriram
Associate Managing Director Development (NU-Q Liaison): Khaled Abughoush
Senior Editor (NURJ Paper): Amanda Murphy
Senior Editor (NURJ Paper): Joy Zheng
Senior Editor (NURJ Online): Niva Razin
Senior Editor (NURJ Online): Shreyas Iyer
Senior Designer: Maggie Zhang
Senior Staff (DEV-HR): John Cao
Senior Staff (DEV-Marketing): Gab Tsoi
Senior Staff (DEV-Finance): Ina Huang
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Editor David Zane
Editor Shreyas Iyer
Editor Pranav Baskar
Editor Daisy Conant
Editor Hongrui He
Editor Yuchen Liu
Editor May Nguyen
Editor Alex Gallard
Publisher: Prof. Allen Taflove
2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
Office: (847) 491-4127
Fax: (847) 491-4455
OUR 2018-2019 TEAM
Editor-in-chief: Andrew Y. Cao
Publisher: Prof. Allen Taflove
2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
Office: (847) 491-4127
Fax: (847) 491-4455
Managing Editor: Leslie Bonilla
Associate Managing Editor: Amanda Barraza-Murphy
Managing Editor: Emily Suen
Associate Editor: Jagoda Rachwal
Associate Managing Editor: Zhesi Zhuang
Director of Web Development: Lucy Yuan
Graphic Design Team:
Director: Stephanie Shin
Associate Director: Andrew Cortner
Associate Director: Sakke Overlund
Editor Niva Razin
Editor Joy Zheng
Editor Haley Chang
Editor Lydia Rivers
Editor David Zane
Editor Shreyas Iyer
Editor Pranav Baskar
Editor Daisy Conant
Artist Sarah Tani
Artist Coco Huang
Artist Maggie Zhang
Artist Maia Brown
Counsel Jonic Zhehao Zhu
Counsel Yuchen Liu
Special Counsel Irene Chang
Outreach Coordinator Shreya Sriram
Outreach Coordinator May Nguyen
Development Staff (PR) Alex Gallard
Development Staff (PR) Amanda Davis
Development Staff(Finance & Strategy) Khaled Abughoush
Development Staff (Marketing) Gabrielle Tsoi
Development Staff (Marketing) Ina Huang
Development Staff (HR) John Cao
Web coordinator Spencer Levitt
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