Summer REUs: The Joester group regularly hosts undergraduate students through NU MRSEC's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. These research internships attract students from a range of schools and disciplines and give them first-hand research experience with the facilities and mentorship available at Northwestern. Most recently, in the summer of 2021:

  • Danielle Duggins mentored REU participant Dylan McAfee (Physics, Bates College). Dylan worked on imaging Acantharea spicules and a microfabricated cell sorting device.

  • Victoria Cooley and Dr. Paul Smeets (NUANCE) mentored REU participant Tarek Zaki (MSE, NU) during the summer of 2021. Tarek worked on FIB/SEM-tomography of etched enamel. Tarek presented a poster on his research at the NNCI REU Convocation

  • Jaron Ma mentored REU participant Samiha Syed (Chemistry, College of DuPage) during the summer of 2021. Samiha’s project involved DFT calculations on calcium and phosphate minerals for ab initio thermodynamic calculations.

Hilliard Symposium:


Bradley Moreno (Joester group) served as the chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI )committee, with Namrata Ramani (Mirkin group) and Ruth Lee (Stupp group) as members. The committee advised symposium chair Derk Joester on DEI issues in the context of the 38th annual Hilliard Symposium at Northwestern University, a capstone event for the graduating Ph.D students and alumni. With support from the NSF-supported SIREN Collaborative Grants Program (HRD-1647146, Dr. Bennett Goldberg, PI), the committee invited Dr. Michael Rawlings (Science and Engineering Lead, The Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS)) to deliver the inaugural DEI address at the symposium. The committee further organized a workshop on implicit bias within STEM academic and work environments, facilitated by Stephanie Hicks (HR, Northwestern University)

Mentorship: Bradley Moreno has been mentoring Maya Kompella (BME, Northwestern University) since 2019. Maya’s project focuses on mapping the spatial distribution of matrix proteins within the sea urchin embryo’s endoskeleton. Maya was awarded a summer undergraduate research grant in 2020, an academic year undergraduate research grant in 2021, and the Fletcher award for the best Academic Year Undergraduate Research Project in 2021. Congratulations! In addition, Maya was admitted as a 2021 summer intern at Delpor, a startup company in the area of drug delivery and implants.

Mike Whittaker mentored intern Laura McGinn (Northside College Prep High School) in 2016.

Mike Whittaker mentored REU participant Keara Saud (NCSU) during the summer of 2016. Keara investigated the possibility to stabilize water in oil emulsions using phospholipid bilayers to make microfluidic droplet reactors more like biological environments. She presented her work at the NSF-funded REU-Symposium in Arlington, Virginia in 2014.
Mike Whittaker mentored REU participant David Cadena (UTSA) during the summer of 2014. David went on to win an NSF GRFP award. Congratulations!

Emmie Campbell mentored REU participant Lexi Rindone (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) during the summer of 2014.
Chantel Tester mentored Kathryn Halpern as an intern in 2013, and a a NU freshman in 2014

Haley Sproull extracts plant phytoliths for analysis with polarization microscopy, SEM-EDS and FT-IR spectroscopy.

Haley and her mentor, Chantel Tester, at the Regional Science Fair

Chantel Tester mentored High School junior, Haley Sproull, who studied strontium sequestration in plant phytoliths as a model for phytoremediation of radioactive waste. She presented her award-winning project at the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Haley competed successfully at the the world’s premiere pre-collegiate science competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), winning a 4th prize in 2012 and a 3rd place Grand award in 2013.

Haven Middle School students discover science using our mobile lab. Here, they set up their experiment involving ACC synthesis in live sea urchin embryos.
Chantel and Ann developed a mobile lab "sea urchin embryo" module and used it to run experiments at Haven Middle School in Evanston as part of the Haven and Northwestern Discover Science (HANDS) program.
Ann Wu mentored intern Rhiannon Flanagan-Rosario, an Evanston Township High School (ETHS) student in the context of her honors biology course. We hosted numerous lab tours, among others for the "Saturday Enrichment Program" of the Center for Talent Development and the "Take our daughters to work day" at NU.

High School Junior Rhiannon Flanagan-Rosario (left and her mentor Ching Hsuan "Ann" Wu (right) working on a Hitachi S4800 HR-FESEM as part of Rhiannon's project.

Mr. Manuel Almazan, a bilingual Mexican-American teacher at a high school with a large minority student body who participated in the NU NSEC RET program worked with Chantel in the summer of 2009.

Jan Brückner, a German participant of the MRSEC REU program stayed with us in the summer of 2009, working with Chantel.

We are delighted to partner with the Chicago Botanic Garden for outreach to a broad audience in Chicagoland. In collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Schwarz and Dr. Patrick Herendeen at the CBG, rising freshman Kathryn Halpern initiated the development of a "Murder Mystery" activity in the summer of 2010. We are currently looking for interns and/or undergraduates interested in further developing this activity (see Employment)

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Northwestern University
Materials Science and Engineering Department
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