Peer Research Mentor Program

The Office of Undergraduate Research Peer Research Mentor Program connects students undertaking research for the first time with a community of their peers and a mentor.


What do the Peer research mentors do?

Peer Research Mentors cultivate a sense of community among Northwestern's student researchers, by serving as an example of the high-quality research currently undertaken by Northwestern undergraduates. They also serve as peer mentors for recipients of OUR summer research grants who are undertaking independent research for the first time over the summer.


Peer Research Mentors, 2016

Camille Calvin. I am a McCormick senior from Maryland. My major is biomedical engineering and I conduct biomechanics research at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. I am a co-op student and work as a engineer in medical device R&D. I am also very passionate about STEM education and volunteer with the National Society of Black Engineers and other STEM outreach groups

Sarah Rappaport. I'm a dual-degree junior in Materials Science and Engineering and French Horn Performance. I work in the lab of Prof. Lincoln Lauhon, studying two-dimensional material growth for energy production.

Tiffany Fang. I am a junior studying psychology and creative writing. Since freshman year, I've been involved in research and aspire to go on to graduate school for clinical psychology and conduct therapy one day. Broadly speaking, my research interests center on the factors that influence mental illness development. In my free time, I love going to shows in Chicago and discovering new music.

Rachel Ng. I’m a junior majoring in Biology and Political Science. I received a summer URG in 2015, and my current research at the Wignall Lab focuses on the role of a mid-bivalent ring complex in regulating meiosis in C.elegans.

Joseph Nicolas. I am a junior premedical student, majoring in Economics and minoring in Global Health. With an Academic Year URG I was awarded in 2015, I investigated the potential protective effect of probiotic species against intestinal cell apoptosis. 

Jordan Todes. I’m a sophomore majoring in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Integrated Science. My research interests span from geobiology – where I examine the membrane composition of extremophile microbes – to seismology, in which I investigate the relation between frequency and magnitude in deep earthquakes.

Aislinn McMillan. I am a junior chemistry major and global health minor.  Since my freshman year, I have been conducting biochemical research.  Last summer, I conducted public health field research in Arusha, Tanzania.

Emily Comstock. I'm double majoring in Social Policy and Gender and Sexuality studies. Outside of class, you can find me working with friends on meaningful projects (like Cranes for Courage) or working on a pint of ice cream. I guzzle coffee by the espresso shots and cups just to keep up with life's amazing journey!

Gustavo Berrizbeitia. I am a junior/rising senior majoring in both political science and philosophy. I have done extensive research into voter ID laws and race, the influence of the ultra-wealthy in American democracy, and neoliberalism and immigration law. Outside of the classroom I am active in student theater, and this summer you can find me on one of the beaches and/or working on my thesis.

Sarah Johnson. I'm a junior majoring in psychology and cognitive science. Working in three psychology labs on campus, my research involves body image and the thin-ideal, infant cognition and language development, and personality development during childhood.

Yilan Wang. I'm a sophomore majoring in Biology and ISP. When I'm free, I watch performances with friends, play badminton, and do music with my sorority. My current research is on protein interactions in mitochondrial tethering structures in budding yeast.

Jessica Hua. I am a junior majoring in Biology and minoring in Global Health. I currently work in a neurobiology lab and research temperature sensation in fruit flies.



Peer Research Mentor Alumni, 2015

Danica (Nikki) Rosengren. I'm a Junior theatre and psychology double major with a concentration in Theatre for Young Audiences. I'm from lil' old Glen Rock, New Jersey. Last summer, I received a URG to travel to the UK and study Spectacle and Engagement in theatre for young people.

Jack Cavanaugh. I am a junior studying materials engineering. For two years, I have researched bone growth from a materials science perspective in Derk Joester’s biominerals engineering lab.

Kristen Scotti. I'm a biology major with a focus on materials science. My current research focuses on utilizing a freeze-casting technique to improve solar cell electrodes and as a potential route for space-based manufacturing.

Sarah Rappaport. I'm a dual-degree junior in Materials Science and Engineering and French Horn Performance. When not in class, I'm also heavily involved in materials research, Greek life, and Habitat for Humanity.

Margaret Shavlik. I'm a junior majoring in Psychology and Cognitive Science. Working in two psychology labs on campus, my research involves Body Image and the Media (social psychology), and Infant Cognition and Language Learning (developmental psychology).

Kenny Mok. I am a junior majoring in Political Science and Economics. I received a Summer URG in 2014 which allowed me to travel to Dakar, Senegal (West Africa) where I conducted political science surveys of 90 young people. I learned a lot about the unexpected challenges that come up with research and international research in particular.



Apply by April 10


The OUR funds all kinds of research, so we need Peer Research Mentors with all kinds of experience! Students from the Natural Sciences, Engineering, Social Sciences, Arts, Humanities, and Design; with experience in labs, archives, creative projects, interviews, quantitative and qualitative methods, and more; based abroad, in Evanston, elsewhere in the US, or online.


Eligible students will be sent an email inviting them to apply. To apply to be a Peer Research Mentor in 2017 you a) must have received an Academic Year or Summer URG from the Office of Undergraduate Research; 2) preferably be on campus in Spring and Fall Quarter 2017; 3) be available to conduct online or in-person office hours during the summer. If you have not received an invitation to apply but believe you are eligible, please contact Mary Leighton