northeastern university seal
EXPLORE NORTHEASTERN

The Sum Total: A Collection of COVID-19 Stories Across COS

When COVID-19 emerged as global threat, it demanded action, and COS heard the call.

Seemingly overnight, a fleet of professors, researchers, technicians, staff, and students mobilized to fight on the front lines of science. Together, and in every discipline of science, they were able to make significant contributions to the collective good, such as: developing epidemic models, serving as advisors to local and national government, studying the virus’ proteins, developing methods for contact tracing, creating the infrastructure for on-campus testing, and more. Even as the pandemic continues, so does their work. 

Thanks to [email protected]‘s exceptional team of journalists and photographers, we are now able to present a retrospective of the COS communities efforts.

Here’s a look at the first six months of COVID-19 and how COS fought back.


| March 2, 2020

How Can We Stop The Spread Of False Rumors About COVID-19? Better Math.

Alessandro Vespignani is Sternberg Family distinguished university professor of physics, computer science, and health sciences, and director of the Network Science Institute at Northeastern. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Research from the Network Science Institute uses mathematical equations to track how “social contagions” spread. This data shows how to follow false news and rumors about COVID-19, and why gossip spreads like a disease itself.

Featuring: Jessica Davis (PhD student), Alessandro Vespignani
Topics: Mathematics, Network Science


| March 6, 2020

Closing Borders Can Delay, But Can’t Stop the Spread of COVID-19, New Report Says

The Network Science Institute published a study showing that closing borders and travel bans might slow the spread of COVID-19, but will not stop the spread. Their study used Wuhan travel bans as an example for America.

Featuring: Jessica Davis (PhD student), Ana Pastore y Piontti, Alessandro Vespignani
Topics
: Network Science


| March 20, 2020

Here’s Why Washing Your Hands With Soap for 20 Seconds Protects You From COVID-19

Thomas Gilbert explains the simple chemistry behind washing your hands with soap and why it’s so effective at killing virus’s and bacteria. Further, why the twenty second rule is important, and how soap can fight the lipid casings of bacteria (that plain water can’t dissolve).

Featuring: Thomas Gilbert
Topics: Chemistry and Chemical Biology


| March 27, 2020

He’s Preparing the ER for a Surge of COVID-19 Patients. There’s Nowhere Else He’d Rather Be.

Abhishek Mogili is a Biology co-op student helping prepare hospitals for the incoming onslaught of patients. Acting as an extra set of hands, he helps brace for impact with COVID, a common theme among pre-med co-ops.

Featuring: Abhishek Mogili (Co-op student)
Topics: Biology


| April 1, 2020

Here’s How to Combat the Feat Caused By a Barrage of COVID-19 News

David DeSteno explains how rumors and fear, while useful, can get blown out of proportion. DeSteno goes on to show how this applies to the pandemic, and how to combat our basic instincts.

Featuring: David DeSteno
Topics: Psychology


| May 15, 2020

The Coronavirus Might Have Hidden Weak Spots. Machine Learning Could Help Find Them.

Using machine learning, coupled with their knowledge of the disease’s amino acids, Mary Jo Ondrechen and Penny Beuning locate the weak points of COVID-19, helping create possible vaccines down the line.

Featuring: Penny Beuning, Mary Jo Ondrechen
Topics: Chemistry and Chemical Biology


| June 1, 2020

When My Brothers Table Needed Help, the Marine Science Center Faculty Stepped Up

Volunteers work at My Brother’s Table, the largest soup kitchen on Boston’s North Shore, to provide meals for takeout and delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

With less volunteers to assist food shelters during the pandemic, the Marine Science Center researchers stepped up, helping to keep meals flowing for those in need.

Featuring: Torrance Hanley, Randall Hughes
Topics: Marine and Environmental Science


| June 3, 2020

COVID-19 Misconceptions Are Hard to Fight. Cognitive Psychology Might Help Spot Why People Get the Coronavirus Wrong.

John Coley explains how psychological misconceptions about COVID-19 arise. He goes on to explain how to fight these misconceptions with that same psychology.

Featuring: John Coley
Topics: Psychology


| July 27, 2020

Scientists Still Don’t Have all the Answers About the Coronavirus—and That’s a Sign of Progress

As researchers study SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 at breakneck speeds, one key aspect to keep in mind is that the research is happening while everyone watches. “The public is getting front-row seats to the scientific method, probably in a way they never imagined they would’ve experienced,” says Samuel Scarpino, who runs the Emergent Epidemics Lab at Northeastern.

Featuring: Sam Scarpino
Topics: Marine and Environmental Science


| August 5, 2020

Northeastern’s Life Sciences Center is a Cutting Edge Laboratory That Will Process the University’s Coronavirus Tests

The Northeastern Life Science Center receives permission to process the university’s coronavirus tests. This tremendous project is led by Jared Auclair, who runs the Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Laboratory.

Featuring: Jared Auclair
Topics: Biotechnology


| August 6, 2020

How to Talk to Others About Healthy Habits Like Face Masks and Distancing

William Sharp discusses the stresses “mask vs no mask” interactions can cause, and shares how to start the important conversations surrounding them.

Featuring: William Sharp
Topics: Psychology

 

Effective Altruism Application Deadline

Graduate International Student Q&A with COS Dean Sive

Please join us for a Question and Answer session with College of Science Dean Hazel Sive and the Graduate Admissions and Student Services team. Dean Sive was an international student and wants to respond to any questions you have about joining Northeastern University as a graduate student Fall semester. We understand that the pandemic has caused hardship, and we are here to support you. We look forward to answering your questions.

 

Please visit our online resource center for information.

‘We Find Ourselves Asking Scientists to Do More than Simply Study the Virus’

We find ourselves asking scientists to do more than simply study the virus,” said Mark Patterson, associate dean for research and graduate affairs in Northeastern’s College of Science, in a conversation streamed on Facebook Live. “In state houses, in cable news interviews, and on social media, they’re translating their data into insights, recommendations, and even advocacy.”

Patterson spoke to Samuel Scarpino, head of Northeastern’s Emergent Epidemics lab, to discuss how science is being communicated during this pandemic. Scarpino has been working on modeling the coronavirus since January and has been sharing his insights with lawmakers, community groups, and news anchors for months.

Read the full story here.

Our Drinking Water Was Always Full Of Microbes. Are The Wrong Ones Thriving In The Pandemic?

Zooming in where only a microscope can see, Northeastern researchers are trying to determine how the lifestyle changes caused by COVID-19 might be helping harmful bacteria grow in our drinking water. Many buildings have been largely unoccupied for months, and their water supplies have been sitting relatively still. That stagnation means that water stays warm for longer periods of time.

As people slowly repopulate large buildings for work, school, and other activities, the potential overgrowth of pathogens in the water of those buildings could put people at risk, says Ameet Pinto, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northeastern.

Joining forces with Kelsey Pieper, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at, and Aron Stubbins, an associate professor of marine and environmental sciences at Northeastern, the three address how to best deal with this growing pathogen dilemma as people return to these buildings.

This story was originally published June 25, 2020 on [email protected] To continue reading, click here.

Meet the New Dean of the College of Science

Northeastern University has appointed Hazel Sive as the new dean of the College of Science. An accomplished leader in the scientific community, Sive is also a passionate innovator in higher education. She comes to Northeastern from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she has held leadership roles within the institute’s research enterprise.

“Northeastern has the spirit and the record of being a place that is actively thinking about the future of higher education,” said Sive, who has been a professor of biology at MIT, “and doing it in a truly innovative way that allows the readout of lots of interesting and productive ideas, and I’m really excited to become part of that whole landscape.”

Sive said she was drawn Northeastern’s innovative, no-boundaries approach to higher education, laid out in Northeastern 2025, the university’s strategic plan, which creates a globally networked ecosystem for learning, research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. It is a concept of lifelong and experiential learning that will liberate students from outdated career models and give them the opportunity to prosper over the course of their lives.

“Hazel Sive’s work and career exemplify the Northeastern approach,” said Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern. “She is truly a scientist engaged with the world. Her experience as a scientist and her record of leadership make her the ideal person to lead the College of Science.”

Sive, who is also a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and an associate member of the Broad Institute, has spent her career pushing for innovative approaches in higher education. In her 28 years at MIT, she developed a training program to help new faculty improve their teaching skills, founded and directed an initiative that facilitates research and collaboration with countries in Africa, and worked to increase opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in science.

Sive also served as the chair of the biology department undergraduate program at MIT for three years and the associate dean of science for seven, and she was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow for her skill and innovation as a teacher and mentor to undergraduates.

“Dr. Sive brings a commitment to research excellence, a commitment to teaching excellence, and innovation to our community,” said James C. Bean, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Sive has established herself as a leading researcher in the field of vertebrate development. While researching how the brain forms its characteristic shape and the production and movement of cerebrospinal fluid, Sive uncovered several fundamental processes, including a previously undescribed way that cells change shape.

She also identified a region of a developing embryo, which she named the extreme anterior domain, that is responsible for proper formation of the face and mouth. And her research group has been using zebrafish as a tool to understand human mental health disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as investigating the relationship between metabolism and mental health.

“Research is always a moving target,” Sive said. “Outstanding research is always aspirational. You are never there—you’re always trying to make it even more rigorous, even more groundbreaking. That is a framework in which I look forward to working with colleagues in the college.”

She will be succeeding Michael Pollastri, professor of chemistry and chemical biology, who has been serving as the interim dean since February, when Ken Henderson, the previous dean, took on a new role as chancellor and senior vice president for learning at the university.

“We look forward to building on the substantial progress made in the College of Science under Dean Henderson and interim Dean Pollastri,” Bean said.

Sive will start at Northeastern on June 1, 2020.

“The college is in a very strong position,” Sive said. “It’s a wonderful start for me to be able to work with a college that is in such a healthy state, with a terrific strategic plan and outstanding faculty and students, and then to build on that to even greater excellence.” 

This story was originally published on [email protected] on December 13, 2019

Meet Northeastern's First Chancellor

On Monday, Ken Henderson takes on a new role as Northeastern’s first chancellor leading a broad portfolio of teaching and learning functions.Henderson, who had been serving as dean of the College of Science since July 2016, was previously a professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame.
In this new role, Chancellor Henderson will oversee undergraduate and experiential learning, student affairs, enrollment management, digital and mobile learning, lifelong learning—including our regional campuses—and the university’s PhD Network.
Northeastern’s provost and chief academic officer, Jim Bean, will continue to lead all of the university’s schools and colleges as well as oversee the research enterprise. He will also continue to lead academic affairs, academic finances, and information technology, and will remain chair of the Faculty Senate.
Chancellor Henderson sat down with David Filipov, executive editor of [email protected], to discuss his new assignment and vision for the university.

You are the first chancellor at Northeastern University. Tell us about your new role.

As Chancellor of Northeastern University and senior vice president for learning, I look after all aspects of that learning ecosystem. It is a holistic role that fulfills the strategic plan for learners as it is laid out in Northeastern 2025. The strategy is to look at learners even before they are enrolling at the university, all the way up to lifelong learners in the workplace.
Integration across the university is key. We have an aspiration of one Northeastern that is one brand, one faculty, and it is critical as the chancellor and as the provost position evolve together.

Tell us about your vision for the university’s lifelong learning strategy.

Our differentiation is experiential education. What we look to do for learners is provide them with the opportunity to learn in a real-world context that provides them with a new set of skills in order that they can either advance their career, or, importantly, change careers, which is becoming more and more common as jobs change and as artificial intelligence and machine learning become more prevalent throughout the workforce.
What we bring to the table is new types of opportunities, where learners can actually learn from practitioners. That includes learning from a practitioner in a classroom setting. Or learning through projects where those learners actually work with industry in real-world settings in order to gain skills.

Are employers increasingly looking for additional qualifications that go beyond degrees when they’re looking for talent?

There is absolutely no question. In order for somebody to be able to transition into a new position, they’re actually competing with people coming out with a higher level or a new set of skills. For example, maybe 10 years ago, someone would graduate with a biology degree to work in the biotech industry. Now, in order for that person to progress, not only in their career, but to have transferability between companies, they may actually be looking for a bioinformatics background. Not that they are bioinformaticists themselves, but they can actually do the programming, and understand how to utilize those programs in order to do the job.
So that is more upscaling of existing employees, which is an area that traditional higher education has not focused on.

And what about the learners? Are they increasingly open to the idea of exploring different majors and combining data, technological, and human literacies?

Yes, and especially when we look at the student population at Northeastern. If you look at our undergraduate programs here, by far the fastest growing sector of undergraduate degrees are combined degrees. Those degrees are the essence of humanics. These are combined degrees where we are taking the core content of multiple degrees, or two-degree programs, with an integration piece between those two.
The market is telling us very clearly that is what student learners want now, because they want that combined skill set. They want that depth of knowledge, but they also want to have flexibility and agility as they move into the workforce.

What kind of impact can the humanics curriculum have on a learner’s education and career?

What we are trying to do here is bring humanics to life. And what that means is, do you have skill sets that are beyond only that deep discipline?
The deep disciplinary knowledge is still the foundation of all that we do. But you need to have different dimensions to that, and it’s our role and responsibility as educators to provide that to you. It will be important that you can navigate your career beyond that one dimension. So that will be looking at things that are involving more technical aspects, so that you understand and can assess things like data, or you can assess issues associated with, say, risk, which are complex issues. We should be providing you with the platforms and the knowledge base in order that you can achieve that.
It is not only about employment; it’s about success in life. It’s that you can make well-informed decisions given the complexity of the environment that we are evolving into. So by having those other elements of humanics that involve cultural agility as well as the nimbleness of thought, the ability to be able to use a combination of skills that make us uniquely human, those are the points which are important for you in terms of your career. But it’s also important for you in terms of you personally navigating through your life, so that you are able to adapt as circumstances change.

How do Northeastern’s regional campuses and sites across North America and in London, England fit into this strategy?

They are an integrated part of the university. The concept here is that we are a global university system, and those locations are areas around the world where we have particular expertise or vantage points.
They feed back value into the university. So it is not us exporting our programs to those sites. As those sites are individualized, they are personalized, and they have their own particular value that they can add into the whole ecosystem of Northeastern.
We are going to learn from one another through this network system, as opposed to seeing ourselves as the center of the universe, where everybody needs to come to learn. We are flipping the model on its head, from a centralized model to a decentralized model, and really using those areas, those networks, that are out there, to bring things back that we can’t do on our own.
We’re also going to get talent sets of students who otherwise would not have the ability to move, because of issues associated with the costs of moving, family situations. We will now be able to actually interact, educate, have those people as part of our community, with whom otherwise we would not be able to enrich the whole university system.

Northeastern’s global university system includes locations with booming industries and global tech giants. Take the Seattle campus for example in the backyard of Amazon and Facebook.

That’s an example of where we are looking at developing partnerships with industry, between Northeastern as an entity and Amazon as an enterprise. So having those campuses is not just about student mobility, and it’s not just about programming. Research is a fundamental component of it.

The chancellor and the provost each oversee critical components of the university’s learning and research infrastructures. Tell us about the synergy between the two.

The provost is in charge of the colleges, in charge of faculty life, and is the formal academic officer of the university. And therefore all the approvals, the formalism of academic controls over quality of programs and assessment, that’s the provost. The chancellor’s position is that of an enabler.
So the way to think about this is a matrix. The verticals in the matrix are the colleges and the faculty, they drive the education, they do the research, they teach the classes. The provost is in charge of those verticals. The horizontals in the matrix are the chancellor’s responsibility. So those are experiential and undergraduate education, that’s things like teaching support, undergraduate student mobility, internationalization, those are all independent of colleges or serve the colleges. The Honors Program, undergraduate research, all of those things are independent and cross all the colleges.
I’ll go back to the PhD network, it is a student support service, the horizontal, it crosses across and serves the entire university. Student affairs, athletics, these are horizontals that cross the university.

The traditional higher education model is going through a major disruption. How is Northeastern leading in this space from your perspective?

Once you come here as a student, we are expecting to have you as a learner throughout your entire career, your entire life.
There are different ways and modalities to gain education. Right now the standard model is come for four years, 18 to 22, get a degree, and leave; maybe you do a master’s degree for two years and a PhD for five. That model is being disrupted right now, and we are part of that disruption.
We are providing stackable certificates that allow learners to get educated in specific areas that are of value to them, but allow them to build on that over time in a way that’s flexible to that learner depending on their current circumstances. They can stack those certificates together in order to get things like master’s degrees.
This is a lifelong learning experience. It may be that we interact with a learner only once for a six-week program. It may be, over the course of that person’s life, they’re coming back here for years and years of study. So we want to be flexible in the way that we supply that education to the learners throughout their life.

Is there a correlation between your own life story and the Northeastern story?

I went to university in Glasgow—the University of Strathclyde. Interestingly, its motto is, “Useful learning.” So it has some resonance. It is an urban campus in the middle of Glasgow.
It is a place that really cares about preparing students for life. And this is clearly one of the things that resonated with me when the opportunity for Northeastern came across to me. That component has always been part of my DNA. It is preparing students to ensure that they will succeed. Careers are one piece of it, but it’s also about succeeding in life. That was a really critical inflection point to decide to go there.
Another one was I was fortunate to spend two years at Brown University after I did my PhD. That allowed me to understand internationalization in terms of mobility. It opened up the world to me. If I did not have that opportunity to spend a couple of years at Brown, I definitely would not be here today. I would not have thought about working in a different country.
That’s the type of opportunity that I want to supply to students to ensure that they can see as many opportunities as they possibly can. And that they can continue to take those opportunities as they progress through their careers. And that’s our responsibility as educators.
This story was originally published by [email protected] on February 11th, 2019.

Meet Northeastern’s First Chancellor

On Monday, Ken Henderson takes on a new role as Northeastern’s first chancellor leading a broad portfolio of teaching and learning functions.Henderson, who had been serving as dean of the College of Science since July 2016, was previously a professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame.

In this new role, Chancellor Henderson will oversee undergraduate and experiential learning, student affairs, enrollment management, digital and mobile learning, lifelong learning—including our regional campuses—and the university’s PhD Network.

Northeastern’s provost and chief academic officer, Jim Bean, will continue to lead all of the university’s schools and colleges as well as oversee the research enterprise. He will also continue to lead academic affairs, academic finances, and information technology, and will remain chair of the Faculty Senate.

Chancellor Henderson sat down with David Filipov, executive editor of [email protected], to discuss his new assignment and vision for the university.

You are the first chancellor at Northeastern University. Tell us about your new role.

As Chancellor of Northeastern University and senior vice president for learning, I look after all aspects of that learning ecosystem. It is a holistic role that fulfills the strategic plan for learners as it is laid out in Northeastern 2025. The strategy is to look at learners even before they are enrolling at the university, all the way up to lifelong learners in the workplace.

Integration across the university is key. We have an aspiration of one Northeastern that is one brand, one faculty, and it is critical as the chancellor and as the provost position evolve together.

Tell us about your vision for the university’s lifelong learning strategy.

Our differentiation is experiential education. What we look to do for learners is provide them with the opportunity to learn in a real-world context that provides them with a new set of skills in order that they can either advance their career, or, importantly, change careers, which is becoming more and more common as jobs change and as artificial intelligence and machine learning become more prevalent throughout the workforce.

What we bring to the table is new types of opportunities, where learners can actually learn from practitioners. That includes learning from a practitioner in a classroom setting. Or learning through projects where those learners actually work with industry in real-world settings in order to gain skills.

Are employers increasingly looking for additional qualifications that go beyond degrees when they’re looking for talent?

There is absolutely no question. In order for somebody to be able to transition into a new position, they’re actually competing with people coming out with a higher level or a new set of skills. For example, maybe 10 years ago, someone would graduate with a biology degree to work in the biotech industry. Now, in order for that person to progress, not only in their career, but to have transferability between companies, they may actually be looking for a bioinformatics background. Not that they are bioinformaticists themselves, but they can actually do the programming, and understand how to utilize those programs in order to do the job.

So that is more upscaling of existing employees, which is an area that traditional higher education has not focused on.

And what about the learners? Are they increasingly open to the idea of exploring different majors and combining data, technological, and human literacies?

Yes, and especially when we look at the student population at Northeastern. If you look at our undergraduate programs here, by far the fastest growing sector of undergraduate degrees are combined degrees. Those degrees are the essence of humanics. These are combined degrees where we are taking the core content of multiple degrees, or two-degree programs, with an integration piece between those two.

The market is telling us very clearly that is what student learners want now, because they want that combined skill set. They want that depth of knowledge, but they also want to have flexibility and agility as they move into the workforce.

What kind of impact can the humanics curriculum have on a learner’s education and career?

What we are trying to do here is bring humanics to life. And what that means is, do you have skill sets that are beyond only that deep discipline?

The deep disciplinary knowledge is still the foundation of all that we do. But you need to have different dimensions to that, and it’s our role and responsibility as educators to provide that to you. It will be important that you can navigate your career beyond that one dimension. So that will be looking at things that are involving more technical aspects, so that you understand and can assess things like data, or you can assess issues associated with, say, risk, which are complex issues. We should be providing you with the platforms and the knowledge base in order that you can achieve that.

It is not only about employment; it’s about success in life. It’s that you can make well-informed decisions given the complexity of the environment that we are evolving into. So by having those other elements of humanics that involve cultural agility as well as the nimbleness of thought, the ability to be able to use a combination of skills that make us uniquely human, those are the points which are important for you in terms of your career. But it’s also important for you in terms of you personally navigating through your life, so that you are able to adapt as circumstances change.

How do Northeastern’s regional campuses and sites across North America and in London, England fit into this strategy?

They are an integrated part of the university. The concept here is that we are a global university system, and those locations are areas around the world where we have particular expertise or vantage points.

They feed back value into the university. So it is not us exporting our programs to those sites. As those sites are individualized, they are personalized, and they have their own particular value that they can add into the whole ecosystem of Northeastern.

We are going to learn from one another through this network system, as opposed to seeing ourselves as the center of the universe, where everybody needs to come to learn. We are flipping the model on its head, from a centralized model to a decentralized model, and really using those areas, those networks, that are out there, to bring things back that we can’t do on our own.

We’re also going to get talent sets of students who otherwise would not have the ability to move, because of issues associated with the costs of moving, family situations. We will now be able to actually interact, educate, have those people as part of our community, with whom otherwise we would not be able to enrich the whole university system.

Northeastern’s global university system includes locations with booming industries and global tech giants. Take the Seattle campus for example in the backyard of Amazon and Facebook.

That’s an example of where we are looking at developing partnerships with industry, between Northeastern as an entity and Amazon as an enterprise. So having those campuses is not just about student mobility, and it’s not just about programming. Research is a fundamental component of it.

The chancellor and the provost each oversee critical components of the university’s learning and research infrastructures. Tell us about the synergy between the two.

The provost is in charge of the colleges, in charge of faculty life, and is the formal academic officer of the university. And therefore all the approvals, the formalism of academic controls over quality of programs and assessment, that’s the provost. The chancellor’s position is that of an enabler.

So the way to think about this is a matrix. The verticals in the matrix are the colleges and the faculty, they drive the education, they do the research, they teach the classes. The provost is in charge of those verticals. The horizontals in the matrix are the chancellor’s responsibility. So those are experiential and undergraduate education, that’s things like teaching support, undergraduate student mobility, internationalization, those are all independent of colleges or serve the colleges. The Honors Program, undergraduate research, all of those things are independent and cross all the colleges.

I’ll go back to the PhD network, it is a student support service, the horizontal, it crosses across and serves the entire university. Student affairs, athletics, these are horizontals that cross the university.

The traditional higher education model is going through a major disruption. How is Northeastern leading in this space from your perspective?

Once you come here as a student, we are expecting to have you as a learner throughout your entire career, your entire life.

There are different ways and modalities to gain education. Right now the standard model is come for four years, 18 to 22, get a degree, and leave; maybe you do a master’s degree for two years and a PhD for five. That model is being disrupted right now, and we are part of that disruption.

We are providing stackable certificates that allow learners to get educated in specific areas that are of value to them, but allow them to build on that over time in a way that’s flexible to that learner depending on their current circumstances. They can stack those certificates together in order to get things like master’s degrees.

This is a lifelong learning experience. It may be that we interact with a learner only once for a six-week program. It may be, over the course of that person’s life, they’re coming back here for years and years of study. So we want to be flexible in the way that we supply that education to the learners throughout their life.

Is there a correlation between your own life story and the Northeastern story?

I went to university in Glasgow—the University of Strathclyde. Interestingly, its motto is, “Useful learning.” So it has some resonance. It is an urban campus in the middle of Glasgow.

It is a place that really cares about preparing students for life. And this is clearly one of the things that resonated with me when the opportunity for Northeastern came across to me. That component has always been part of my DNA. It is preparing students to ensure that they will succeed. Careers are one piece of it, but it’s also about succeeding in life. That was a really critical inflection point to decide to go there.

Another one was I was fortunate to spend two years at Brown University after I did my PhD. That allowed me to understand internationalization in terms of mobility. It opened up the world to me. If I did not have that opportunity to spend a couple of years at Brown, I definitely would not be here today. I would not have thought about working in a different country.

That’s the type of opportunity that I want to supply to students to ensure that they can see as many opportunities as they possibly can. And that they can continue to take those opportunities as they progress through their careers. And that’s our responsibility as educators.

This story was originally published by [email protected] on February 11th, 2019.

Staff Spotlight: Chelsea D’Aprile & Ilana Zeltser, Graduate Programs Coordinators, Graduate Admissions and Student Services

What do you like most about working at Northeastern?
Chelsea & Ilana: We enjoy that Northeastern is a truly global university and community. We like the innovative and collaborative spirit of the students, faculty, and staff. We truly appreciate being able to work with such a diverse group of dedicated and hard-working individuals, and love meeting people from around the world. It is really rewarding to be a helpful resource and friendly face for students.
In our roles as Graduate Programs Coordinators, we get to work with students from the application process, all the way through graduation. We regularly volunteer for graduate commencement ceremonies, and it is always exciting to see COS students accomplish their goals and watch them graduate!

What is your favorite thing about the Boston campus?

Chelsea:I love that we have a beautiful campus that feels secluded, yet is conveniently located near the heart of Boston. One of my favorite activities is visiting the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), which is just a quick walk from campus. Also, I am a big fan of the free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at Centennial Common during the summer semester!
Ilana:I definitely have to agree with Chelsea on the free ice cream! I also really enjoy the amount of artwork spread throughout the campus. There are always new installations being added and something new to see!

What is your favorite part about Boston?

Ilana: I love going to sporting events, especially hockey games (Boston Bruins). I also find myself in the North End on a regular basis eating pastries!
Chelsea: Some of my favorite parts of Boston are the North End (I love Italian food), the MFA, and the Charles River Esplanade. Boston is a small city with a lot to offer!

What advice would you give to new and current COS graduate students?

Chelsea & Ilana:Take advantage of all the resources and events that Northeastern has to offer while you are studying. Meet and network with people, both inside and outside of your academic department. If you have a question, we are always here to help!
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Chelsea: I was a theatre major in college, and studied abroad in London!
Ilana: I am an avid Boston sports fan! Go Patriots!

Staff Spotlight: Chelsea D’Aprile & Ilana Zeltser, Graduate Programs Coordinators, Graduate Admissions and Student Services

What do you like most about working at Northeastern?

Chelsea & Ilana: We enjoy that Northeastern is a truly global university and community. We like the innovative and collaborative spirit of the students, faculty, and staff. We truly appreciate being able to work with such a diverse group of dedicated and hard-working individuals, and love meeting people from around the world. It is really rewarding to be a helpful resource and friendly face for students.

In our roles as Graduate Programs Coordinators, we get to work with students from the application process, all the way through graduation. We regularly volunteer for graduate commencement ceremonies, and it is always exciting to see COS students accomplish their goals and watch them graduate!

What is your favorite thing about the Boston campus?

Chelsea:I love that we have a beautiful campus that feels secluded, yet is conveniently located near the heart of Boston. One of my favorite activities is visiting the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), which is just a quick walk from campus. Also, I am a big fan of the free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at Centennial Common during the summer semester!

Ilana:I definitely have to agree with Chelsea on the free ice cream! I also really enjoy the amount of artwork spread throughout the campus. There are always new installations being added and something new to see!

What is your favorite part about Boston?

Ilana: I love going to sporting events, especially hockey games (Boston Bruins). I also find myself in the North End on a regular basis eating pastries!

Chelsea: Some of my favorite parts of Boston are the North End (I love Italian food), the MFA, and the Charles River Esplanade. Boston is a small city with a lot to offer!

What advice would you give to new and current COS graduate students?

Chelsea & Ilana:Take advantage of all the resources and events that Northeastern has to offer while you are studying. Meet and network with people, both inside and outside of your academic department. If you have a question, we are always here to help!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

Chelsea: I was a theatre major in college, and studied abroad in London!

Ilana: I am an avid Boston sports fan! Go Patriots!

New $4.4M National Science Foundation grant supports minorities in fast-track biotechnology program

Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will announce Tuesday that a program developed by Northeastern and Middlesex Community College to offer students a fast track to earning associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in biotechnology and preparing for careers in life sciences has received a $4.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will fund scholarships that support low-income and underrepresented minorities—a critical focus for industry, government, and higher education institutions as they work together to increase the number of students in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

“Students who are able to take advantage of this associates to masters’ opportunity will be prepared for success in the region’s biotech industry through paid internships, research experience, and other career opportunities,” said Governor Baker. “The partnership between Northeastern University and Middlesex Community College is an exciting and creative way to provide students an affordable path to a degree.”

The federal grant will fund approximately 530 scholarships of up to $10,000 per year per student in the Associates to Masters program. The scholarships, when combined with federal financial aid and other assistance, will completely cover or significantly reduce students’ out-of-pocket tuition costs. It will also prepare students for the region’s biotechnology job market by providing them with research experiences, paid internships, mentorship, and academic and career advising.

France A. Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, spoke at the official opening of Northeastern’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex last year, where she praised Northeastern for sharing an interest in breaking down barriers between disciplines, fostering new collaborations aimed at solving great societal challenges, and educating the next generation of scientists and engineers.

“At Northeastern, we are committed to meeting learners wherever they are in their educational journey,” Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun said. “This includes creating innovative pathways for adult learners of all backgrounds to pursue careers in biotechnology. I want to thank Governor Baker, Dr. Córdova, and President Mabry for their vision and their leadership. By joining forces, we are providing valuable educational opportunities and renewing a fundamental social compact.”

In addition to Northeastern’s global network of employer partners, Northeastern and Middlesex Community College have formed partnerships with biotech companies and organizations to provide scholarship recipients with these resources and help tailor the program to the specific workforce needs in the biotech industry.

President Aoun and Governor Baker will formally announce the grant Tuesday afternoon at Northeastern’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex. Other speakers will include Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III., Middlesex Community College President James Mabry, and Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, chairman, president, and chief operating officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

The announcement comes as Massachusetts marks its inaugural STEM Week, which is focused on boosting students’ interest in education and careers in the STEM fields.

Massachusetts’ life sciences industry is expected to add nearly 12,000 more new jobs by May 2023, according to a report released earlier this year by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation. The job market is increasingly in need of workers with the degrees and skills to fill these positions. The report found that the pace of growth in entry-level positions since 2010 has outpaced the growth of graduates from industry-related programs.

There is also a need for greater diversity in jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women represented 47 percent of the country’s total workforce in 2015 but held only 24 percent of jobs in the STEM fields. Black and Hispanic workers also continue to be underrepresented in the STEM workforce, according to the Pew Research Institute; among employed adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, black and Hispanic workers hold 7 percent and 6 percent of STEM jobs, respectively.

The Associates to Masters program builds upon Northeastern’s efforts to make college accessible and inclusive for low-income and underrepresented minority students, develop flexible academic programs that meet students’ needs and allow them to be lifelong learners, and broaden opportunities for students to pursue degrees and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The representation of women in many of Northeastern’s STEM-focused programs is above the national average. In the College of Science, 66 percent of undergraduate and 50 percent of graduate students are women, while the total enrollment of female students in the College of Engineering is at 32 percent compared to the national average of 21 percent.

As for the university’s biology and  biotechnology bachelor’s degree programs that will benefit from the new funding, women represent more than half of the student population while underrepresented minorities and low income populations are at 48 percent and 60 percent, respectively. The grant from the NSF will help increase these numbers significantly.

Northeastern’s ALIGN program, which offers a master’s degree in computer science for non-computer science majors, is another example of the university’s commitment to helping lifelong learners expand their skill sets and to making information technology and computer science careers accessible to diverse populations of learners, including women and underrepresented minorities. Last month, the university also announced a partnership with Google in which people who complete Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate can now receive credit toward a bachelor’s degree in information technology.

A gift from the Herb and Maxine Jacobs Foundation will further reduce the costs for students by helping cover the remaining tuition costs for the master’s program.

Northeastern student Tayaba Naz is one of the first two students awarded scholarships through the program. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

The new grant will also defray students’ out-of-pocket costs by providing free textbook and laptop loan programs, stipends for academic tutoring, and assistance with parking and public transportation passes. In addition, it will fund a new staff position at Northeastern to support scholarship recipients throughout the program.

The grant also includes a research component. A team led by faculty at Northeastern will study how much the pathway program increases students’ success in obtaining STEM degrees and preparing for their careers.

Through Associates to Masters, students earn an associate’s degree in Middlesex Community College’s Biotechnology Technician program. Next, they can transfer their college credit and matriculate into the bachelor’s completion program in biotechnology in the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern. Then, while still in their undergraduate program, students can apply to the “PlusOne” biotechnology master’s program, in which they can take four graduate-level courses in the College of Science at undergraduate tuition rates.

Northeastern student Tayaba Naz, one of the first two students awarded scholarships through the program, graduated from Middlesex Community College with her associate’s degree in biotechnology in the spring of 2017. She matriculated to the Northeastern biotechnology bachelor’s program last fall, and in January, started her master’s program.

Naz said being a graduate student helped her land a research internship at MilliporeSigma, a life sciences company based in Burlington, Massachusetts. Following her three-month internship this past summer, MilliporeSigma offered her a new job on the communications team.

She said the program offers many benefits to students, including significant savings on tuition, experience, mentorship, and connections in the biotech industry. “This [program] will differentiate them from many other candidates who come into the field,” Naz said.

The scholarships are available to full-time students in good academic standing who are eligible for federal Pell Grants, and who are U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, or have been granted refugees status in the United States. While the accelerated pathway program is designed for students to earn all three degrees, students can apply for scholarships at any point while enrolled in one of the three degree programs.

Northeastern will stream Tuesday’s event live on its Facebook page.

This story was originally published by [email protected] on October 23, 2018.

Northeastern's Brain Awareness Week underscores need to "make world a healthier, more informed place"

There are blood tests for diabetes. There are tools for measuring heart rate and blood pressure. But there’s no vital sign for mental health disorders or measuring tool for cognitive processes. Newton Howard, a neuroscientist and the keynote speaker at Northeastern’s Brain Awareness Week, is working to change that.
Howard will deliver a talk on Wednesday evening called “The Future of Brain Sensors and Implants,” where he will explain how we can use machine learning algorithms and computational analyses to model complex cognitive activity, from emotional states to higher order functioning.
Howard is director of the Synthetic Intelligence Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His lecture is part of a weeklong series of events celebrating Brain Awareness Week, hosted by the Northeastern NEURONS student organization.

“NEURONS is a group of students across all disciplines. We have business majors, we have finance majors, engineers. It’s students coming together for their mutual love and interest of the brain,” said Fae Kayarian, S’19, a behavioral neuroscience major and vice-president of NEURONS.

Kayarian organized the week of events, which includes a blood drive on Tuesdayin collaboration with the Brigham and Women’s Blood Drive truck, Howard’s keynote address on Wednesday, and a talk on Thursday with Li-Huei Tsai, director of a lab at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.
Tsai’s research has found that flashing LED lights at the gamma frequency—40 times per second—cleared plaques from the brains of mice that are known to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease. She is now working to see how the technique might be applied to humans.
Events during Brain Awareness Week are free and open to the public. Kayarian said the talks are meant to be accessible to anyone with an interest in learning more about the brain.

“Neuroscience isn’t just cells firing—it can inform every aspect of life,” Kayarian said. “It’s as small as one cell’s behavior and as big as global and social communities. It can unite us and excite us about learning about each other and making the world a healthier and more informed, vibrant place.”

Originally published in [email protected] on March 27, 2018.

Northeastern’s Brain Awareness Week underscores need to “make world a healthier, more informed place”

There are blood tests for diabetes. There are tools for measuring heart rate and blood pressure. But there’s no vital sign for mental health disorders or measuring tool for cognitive processes. Newton Howard, a neuroscientist and the keynote speaker at Northeastern’s Brain Awareness Week, is working to change that.

Howard will deliver a talk on Wednesday evening called “The Future of Brain Sensors and Implants,” where he will explain how we can use machine learning algorithms and computational analyses to model complex cognitive activity, from emotional states to higher order functioning.

Howard is director of the Synthetic Intelligence Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His lecture is part of a weeklong series of events celebrating Brain Awareness Week, hosted by the Northeastern NEURONS student organization.

“NEURONS is a group of students across all disciplines. We have business majors, we have finance majors, engineers. It’s students coming together for their mutual love and interest of the brain,” said Fae Kayarian, S’19, a behavioral neuroscience major and vice-president of NEURONS.

Kayarian organized the week of events, which includes a blood drive on Tuesdayin collaboration with the Brigham and Women’s Blood Drive truck, Howard’s keynote address on Wednesday, and a talk on Thursday with Li-Huei Tsai, director of a lab at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.

Tsai’s research has found that flashing LED lights at the gamma frequency—40 times per second—cleared plaques from the brains of mice that are known to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease. She is now working to see how the technique might be applied to humans.

Events during Brain Awareness Week are free and open to the public. Kayarian said the talks are meant to be accessible to anyone with an interest in learning more about the brain.

“Neuroscience isn’t just cells firing—it can inform every aspect of life,” Kayarian said. “It’s as small as one cell’s behavior and as big as global and social communities. It can unite us and excite us about learning about each other and making the world a healthier and more informed, vibrant place.”

Originally published in [email protected] on March 27, 2018.

From plastics to hockey pucks: an alumni profile

Northeastern alumnus Dr. Joe Krackeler has kept busy since receiving his PhD in polymer chemistry in 1967. From consulting in polymers and molding materials throughout the Silicon Valley, to owning a cheesecake company, to being on the championship Team USA Hockey Team over 80 – he has done it all.  

EDUCATION 

After receiving his Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from Villanova University, and his Master’s in Engineering from Princeton University, Krackeler went to work at research contracting company Arthur D. Little.  While working there, he decided to pursue more chemistry courses back at school. Starting off part time, busy with work and three young children at home, Krackeler began taking classes at Northeastern like organic and inorganic chemistry, and polymer chemistry. In 1964, Krackeler entered Northeastern as a full-time student of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, pursuing the PhD in polymer chemistry. With the help from a NASA fellowship and three experienced polymer chemists on faculty, he quickly moved through his courses with strong motivation.  

“My outlook attending school was a little different than a lot of the other students, because they were younger and very social, and I had more experience,” he said. Krackeler was inspired by the knowledgeable faculty working in polymer chemistry, whose background in industry helped guide Krackeler’s interests further along the same path.  

Krackeler made the most out of his time at Northeastern. He recalls working out of his office on the fourth floor of Richards Hall. He was able to conduct research with the help of assistants and build off of his experience working in the industry.  

“Northeastern for me always had an outstanding reputation with the co-op program,” he said. “At Arthur D. Little, we had several co-ops working with us. They were helping us all of the time, and they were really capable. They took it upon themselves to learn how to do things, and do them right – that’s what Northeastern is teaching them. And that’s unbelievable!” 

POST DOCTORATE CAREER  

After graduating, Krackeler found himself in Menlo Park, California, working for the Raychem Corporation as a polymer chemist, moving through several management and marketing positions. After 20 years there, Krackeler decided to venture in new directions on his own.  

“I took the opportunity to pursue a number of areas that I had always been interested in,” he said. “I did a lot of consulting in polymer chemistry in California. I also owned a cheesecake company, a baseball lithograph company, I started a real estate investment newsletter, and even began to do some investing of my own in Northern California.” 

As an independent consultant in the middle of Silicon Valley, Krackeler found himself busy. While his background was not centered around computer and electrical engineering as many professionals in Silicon Valley, Krackeler’s expertise in polymer chemistry was still useful to them. Krackeler built up several local clients who looked to him for guidance in the chemistry of the materials used for different applications, like formulating different plastics with additives that would help enhance their properties.  

Outside of consulting, Krackeler also spent time teaching both chemistry and property management at a local junior college in California for 11 years.  

STAYING ACTIVE 

But if you thought that wasn’t enough for one person to accomplish – there’s more.  

Krackeler is an active member of the Team USA Hockey over 80 team, which last October, beat Team Canada at a tournament in Ottawa, Canada.  

Courtesy photo.

“It was a really big event for us,” said Krackeler. “There had never been an 80-year-old hockey team playing internationally before, and the U.S. had never been part of something like this before.” 

Krackeler has been playing pond hockey since he grew up in the Boston area, and continued in upstate New York until he was no longer a teenager.  

“I was fortunate enough to know the fellow putting together the team of 80-year-old hockey players around the country, so I got to be involved,” he said. “Senior hockey where I am starts at 35, so this was really exciting for me. And we won!” 

When he’s not playing hockey, you can find Krackeler spending time with his seven children and 13 grandchildren between him and his second wife. This February, the whole family went on their 23rd annual ski trip to Deer Valley, Utah. Despite all of his grandchildren now being in college themselves, the family still finds time for this long-lasting tradition.  

“Skiiing there is the best of the best,” said Krackeler. “All my grandkids have learned to ski there, and it’s sort of a family ritual now to spend the time.”