NIU Experts Guide for the News Media

NIU experts are frequently consulted by local, regional and national media to comment on matters that are making headlines. Our faculty and staff, drawing on their extensive research and knowledge, can provide insight into an issue or trend, helping an audience better understand the story. For assistance with locating an expert, contact Media & Public Relations at 815-753-1681 or email

Featured Experts

Jahred Adelman

experts-guide-jahred-adelmanWhether discussing new discoveries in the world of physics or exploring the science behind the game of baseball, NIU physicist Jahred Adelman is an adroit source able to explain complex science to the layman. Adelman is an integral member of NIU’s team involved with the ATLAS experiment at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. He can talk as knowledgably about particle physics and the world’s most powerful accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, as he can fastballs, curveballs and the science behind what makes pitchers such as Jake Arrieta stand out. Adelman’s academic credentials include a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has been a member of the Huskie team since 2014, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses. Read More

walker-ashleyWalker Ashley

Widely quoted in the media for his expertise, Walker Ashley is an atmospheric scientist and physical geographer with interests in geophysical hazards and societal interactions, severe storms, applied climatology and meteorology, and the use of geographic information systems in the atmospheric sciences.

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Gregory Barrett

Whether on stage or in the classroom, Gregory Barrett is an internationally respected clarinetist and educator. Having performed in China, Finland, Japan and throughout the U.S., the current Northern Illinois University professor most recently performed with the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra. Read More





experts-guide-barry-bodeBarrie Bode

When reporters have questions about cancer and cancer research, NIU professor of biological sciences Barrie Bode has answers. Will there be a cure for cancer in our lifetimes? Bode said while it’s a long road, there is good news for cancer patients. Read More




Ferald Bryan

Whether discussing presidential rhetoric or offering commentary on political topics, Ferald Bryan is the voice of reason. For more than two decades, the NIU associate professor of communication has been analyzing a plethora of political topics, from campaign speeches and debates to television spots and presidential addresses. His specialties include the history of American public address. Read More





David Changnon

Neither snow nor rain nor heat slows Dave Changnon down. In fact, when Mother Nature conjures up unusual weather conditions, the NIU professor of geographic and atmospheric sciences is ready to take the complicated climatology and make it easy for everyone to understand. Read More




Heather Corwin

Actor and director Heather Corwin doesn’t just talk the talk, she moves. After nearly a decade performing and directing in Los Angeles, the assistant professor and head of movement for actor training at NIU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts shares her real world experiences with a future generation of thespians. Read More



Kenton Clymer

Kenton Clymer is a Distinguished Research Professor in the NIU Department of History and a leading scholar in the history of American relations with South and Southeast Asia. Over the course of his career, he has traveled to more than 30 countries, conducting extensive archival research in India, Cambodia, the Philippines, Australia and Great Britain. Read More




Suzanne Degges-White

When it comes to discussing the nuances of intimate relationships, Suzanne Degges-White provides clarity. The NIU professor and licensed counselor is a recognized expert and co-author of several books, including “Friends Forever,” “Toxic Friendships” and “Mothers and Daughters: Living, Loving and Learning Over a Lifetime.” Her latest book, “Sisters & Brothers for Life,” will be published later this spring. Read More



Michelle Demaray

experts-guide-michelle-demarayBullying is a serious matter for children and teens. NIU professor of psychology Michelle Demaray has spent more than a decade examining bullying and victimization in schools. Her research interests include cyber-bullying and cyber-victimization and the role of bystanders in the bullying situation.

A respected expert, Demaray has authored and co-authored numerous peer reviewed journal articles. She has presented her research at professional conferences throughout her career and has been featured on WGN-TV. She serves as the editor for the Journal of School Psychology, a leading journal in the field that is managed by the Society for the Study of School Psychology. Read More


Heide Fehrenbach

experts-guide-heide-fehrenbachA specialist in the history of modern Europe, Heide Fehrenbach has spent her career asking provocative questions, using photography and film in her scholarship, and illuminating aspects of history that have been largely overlooked or even uninvestigated. Fehrenbach is an award-winning educator, scholar and author specializing in 20th century Europe and U.S.-German relations. She is internationally recognized for groundbreaking work on the social and cultural effects of World War II and the military occupation on Germany, issues of race, and most recently, the visual culture of humanitarianism. Her books on those topics are being taught in advanced courses at leading universities worldwide. Read More



dan-geboDaniel Gebo

Daniel Gebo is an internationally renowned comparative anatomist and paleontologist, specializing in evolution of monkeys, apes, humans and lower primates. His research has shed light on how limbs and bodies adapt over time, with a particular focus on the evolution of foot anatomy and locomotion.

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Allison Gladfelter

How do we learn to say new words? This is a question Allison Gladfelter is trying to solve. As an assistant professor of Allied Health and Communications Disorders at Northern Illinois University, Gladfelter is an expert in the field of language acquisition in children with and without language impairments. Her research explores factors that influence how children with autism spectrum disorder and specific language impairment learn new words, with the ultimate goal of developing more evidence-based language interventions. Read More


William Goldenberg

William Goldenberg is an internationally acclaimed piano soloist and chamber musician who has performed over 1,000 concerts worldwide. Concert tours have taken him throughout Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia/New Zealand, and numerous universities. Goldenberg is currently a Distinguished Teaching Professor and Chair of Piano at Northern Illinois University. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Kappa Lambda, he has won several research grants and published for Clavier.

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Mark Groza

Mark Groza is an internationally respected expert in topics like sales management, corporate sponsorship and corporate social responsibility. Currently an Enterprise Holdings Professor of Sales a Northern Illinois University, Groza is also a research fellow at the ENAE Business School in Murcia, Spain. He actively conducts a variety of consultative research projects related to optimizing sales force performance through NIU’s Office of Selling Effectiveness for firms like Two Much Research (Madrid, Spain), Code SixFour (Chicago, Ill.) and FASTENAL Industrial suppliers (Winona, Minn.). Read More




gunkel-370David Gunkel

David Gunkel is an award-winning educator, scholar and author specializing in the study of information and communication technology with a focus on ethics. Formally educated in philosophy and media studies, his teaching and research synthesize the hype of high-technology with the rigor and insight of contemporary critical analysis.

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Jason Hanna

experts-guide-Jason-HannaWhat is morally right and morally wrong?
Jason Hanna is an associate professor of philosophy at Northern Illinois University who explores tough topics like normative ethics, applied ethics and political philosophy. At a time when ethical dilemmas and politics are at the forefront of conversations, Hanna is poised to share his expertise. His two current projects delve into the defense of paternalism and the challenges for non-consequentialist views that appeal to the distinction between doing harm and merely allowing harm.

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Lindsay Harris

Lindsay Harris, an assistant professor of Educational Psychology at Northern Illinois University, taught English in Japan and in the New York City public schools before earning a doctorate in cognitive psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. Her experience as a teacher in two countries sparked her research interest in what happens in the brain while it reads.

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Molly Holmes

Molly Holmes is on a mission. Since assuming the role as director of the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center at Northern Illinois University, she has led the charge on advocacy and equity for all genders and sexual identities. And with LGBTQ topics becoming ever present in today’s media, Holmes is a valued source in her field both locally and nationally.

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Mitchell Irwin



When it comes to monkey business, Mitchell Irwin, a biological anthropologist specializing in primate ecology and behavior, is your guy. As a world-renowned lemur conservationist and researcher, the NIU professor has focused on the ecological adaptations of Madagascar’s lemurs and how habitat disturbance affects the ecology, behavior and health of individuals and populations. Having lived and worked there since 2000, he knows Madagascar, its people, culture and environment. Irwin has been featured in numerous publications and media outlets such as the Discovery Channel, PBS, Science and National Geographic news.

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Eric Johnsonexperts-eric-johnson


When the topic is choral music and music education, Eric Johnson is an authoritative voice. An internationally acclaimed educator, writer, conductor and clinician, Johnson is Northern Illinois University’s director of choral activities and founding artistic director of Cor Cantiamo,  a touring chamber choir in residence at NIU.

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Laura Ruth Johnson

Laura Ruth Johnson understands the importance of civic engagement and community involvement among Latino and African American youth in Chicago –especially young mothers. In her research, the associate professor in the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University collaborates with staff and students at an alternative high school in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community. Her teaching and research also focus on the creation of community-university partnerships and the engagement of graduate students in community-based research projects. Read More




Paul Kassel

Whether on stage or in the classroom, Paul Kassel shines. An acclaimed professional actor, director, and writer, Kassel is currently the dean of Northern Illinois University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, and a member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Screen Actors’ Guild/American Federation of Radio and Television Artists. Read More




Stacy Kelly

Stacy Kelly is a champion for those who are visually impaired. The NIU associate professor worked as a disability policy researcher in Washington, D.C., and taught Chicago-area students who were blind or visually impaired, before joining NIU as a faculty member in the Department of Special and Early Education’s Vision Programs. Read More




Anita Maddali

If you are looking for answers regarding immigration law, Anita Maddali has them. The associate professor of law and the director of Clinics at NIU College of Law writes and speaks about the unique issues faced by immigrant parents and children when immigration and family law intersect. Maddali knows what she’s talking about because she represented women and unaccompanied minors fleeing persecution from Latin American, African and Middle Eastern countries after law school. In addition, she litigated education, employment, and immigration cases in federal and state court for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and developed a poverty law clinic in Chicago.

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Brian McCormick


Happy wife, happy life? Or is it happy wife, happy employee? Much of Brian McCormick's research has focused on the unique traits that employees – men and women - bring to the workplace every day and how bosses and their employees interact with and influence one another at work. An assistant professor in NIU’s College of Business, McCormick teaches managerial leadership, staffing and human resource management courses. He also consults with companies and executives to aid them with training, leadership development, selection and recruitment.

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Chad McEvoy

Chad McEvoy's got game.  The Northern Illinois University professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education’s has been featured in more than 100 media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Higher Education, “PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” New York Daily News and USA Today. McEvoy earned a doctorate in sport administration form the University of Northern Colorado with a doctoral minor in applied statistics and research methods. He holds a master’s degree in sport management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a bachelor’s degree in sport management from Iowa State University, and has conducted research projects for clients at the college, Olympic and professional sport levels. Read More


Kirk Miller

experts-guide-kirk-millerKirk Miller is an expert on current topics in law enforcement. Recently, the NIU sociologist has focused his research on the contemporary phenomenon of citizen- and police-generated video that has the power to influence public opinion about police legitimacy.

In a broader sense, Miller’s research is concerned with aspects of police decision-making, socio-historical and political forces affecting the police industry, intellectual property law and its violation, and gun culture. He specializes in the study of race, class and gender inequalities within the criminal justice system.

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Christine Mooney

experts-guide-christine-mooneyChristine Mooney is all business. Whether it’s discussing entrepreneurship, social enterprise, impact investing or the rising trend of interim CEOs, this NIU business professor is ready to weigh in. Her research interests are diverse, and have been published in the Journal of Management, Academy of Management Learning and Education, and Organization Dynamics. She leads the university’s entrepreneurship program and teaches courses that include social venture consulting, social enterprise development, and creativity and innovation. Her expertise includes developing business models, creative problem solving and the importance of failure in the business cycle.

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Kristen Myers

experts-guide-kristen-myersKristen Myers is a highly regarded professor of sociology and director of NIU’s Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality. She specializes in inequality issues related to gender, race and sexuality. Myers has authored numerous journal publications and one book, and has served as editor of another. Her research has tackled tough topics, such as the reframing of masculinity, antifeminist messages in television programming for young girls and the perpetuation of racism through private discourse. She has been interviewed by the likes of Fox News in Chicago.

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Eunha Myung

Eunha Myung knows that sustainability is essential for the future of our environment, and she makes sure others do to. The associate professor in NIU’s College of Health and Human Sciences is an expert on sustainability in the hospitality industry and being green when it comes to restaurants, hotels and tourism.

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Z Nicolazzo

Long before Caitlyn Jenner or the TLC show “I am Jazz” brought transgender issues into mainstream conversations, Z Nicolazzo was exploring these issues. An assistant professor in Adult and Higher Education and faculty associate in the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Northern Illinois University, Nicolazzo is a respected expert and award-winning faculty member. Hir research agenda focuses on mapping gender across college contexts, with particular attention to transgender collegians and the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and disability.

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Tracy Nunnally

People can fly. Tracy Nunnally makes sure of it. For nearly 30 years, Nunnally has worked in professional theater and is recognized as an industry expert in motion control, rigging, pyrotechnics, special effects, scenery construction and technical design. At Northern Illinois University, he shares his talents with students as the technical director and head of design and technology for the School of Theatre and Dance.

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Sarah O’Connor

Sarah O’Connor speaks volumes when it comes to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The clinical assistant professor in NIU’s department of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders has shared her expertise regarding severe speech or language problems and using AAC to supplement existing speech or replace speech that is not functional, and at building early communication skills with beginning communicators.

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Michael Oswalt

Michael Oswalt gets down to business. As an associate professor, Oswalt teaches Torts, Labor Law, Employment Law, and Workers’ Compensation at NIU’s College of Law. His expertise on current issues like the minimum wage, strikes, the employee status of Uber drivers and the future of organized labor have made him a sought after speaker and contributor.

Oswalt’s research focuses on the relationship between law and activism in the workplace, and his work has been published in the California Law Review, the Cardozo Law Review, the NYU Review of Law and Social Change Harbinger, the UC Irvine Law Review, the Minnesota Law Review, the Duke Law Journal, and the Journal of Catholic Legal Studies. He has also been a featured expert in the Huffington Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Rockford Register Star and on WGN Radio. Read More



Thomas Pingel

Maps can tell us much more than how to travel from place to place. Ask Thomas Pingel, a researcher and professor in the geography department at Northern Illinois University. He'll map it out for you. Read More





ross-powellRoss Powell

Ross Powell is a veteran NIU professor and internationally known geologist whose work is shedding light on the global history of climate change. He has gone to great lengths – from Arctic fjords to the bottom of the Antarctic sea – to recover sediments that he and other scientists use to interpret how ice sheets behaved millions of years ago and how they will react to global climate change in the future.

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Deborah Riddell


Deborah Riddell Riddell is a pioneer and champion when it comes to women’s health. An assistant clinical professor of NIU’s Graduate School of Nursing, Riddell has over three decades of experience as a clinician and educator, and is credited with bringing nurse midwifery to communities and hospitals where it didn’t exist.

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Mark Rosenbaum

Mark Rosenbaum is an award-winning educator, researcher and author specializing in the study of retailing, customer service issues and non-medical health care services. But when the NIU professor of marketing accepted a Fulbright scholarship to teach and research in Nepal, he didn’t imagine he would be part of the massive earthquake that struck that nation in April 2015.

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Karen Samonds

When it comes to finding fossils, Karen Samonds isn’t afraid to get a little dirt under her fingernails. The work of the internationally acclaimed researcher and NIU biology professor has shed light on the origin and evolutionary history of Madagascar’s modern wildlife – and closed a 65-million-year gap in the fossil record.

In more than 20 years of researching vertebrate species native to Madagascar, Samonds has discovered more than 30 fossil-producing sites and found the remains of fish, sharks, crocodiles, turtles and even the first marine fossil mammal from the period. Her team is also finding land-dwelling animals, such as bats and lizards.

In addition to studying extinct animals, Samonds’ research has examined dental development, life history and growth in non-human primates. Read More

Brad Sagarin

Brad Sagarin will take you well beyond the birds and the bees. The professor of social and evolutionary psychology at Northern Illinois University is a noted expert on social influence, resistance to persuasion, deception, jealousy, infidelity, and human sexuality. His study of consensual bondage/discipline/dominance/submission (BDSM) – think “50 Shades of Grey” – has garnered national attention and he has delivered lectures on the topic to academic and non-academic organizations.

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Alicia Schatteman

Alicia Schatteman understands nonprofit organizations. With more than a decade of experience working in the nonprofit and public sectors in Canada and the U.S., she now teaches, consults, and conducts research in the areas of nonprofit strategic planning, financial management, and technology. Schatteman serves as an associate professor of nonprofit management in the Department of Public Administration and the Center for NGO Leadership and Development in the School of Public and Global Affairs at Northern Illinois University. She is a respected speaker, educator and researcher. Read More




Reed Scherer

As a youngster in Brooklyn, N.Y., Reed Scherer loved the ocean and the diversity of its creatures. By age 7, he had started collecting fossils, and by fifth grade, classmates had affectionately dubbed him the “mad scientist.” From those childhood interests blossomed a research specialty that is helping scientists better understand one of the most pressing problems of our day: climate change.

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Mark Schuller

Mark Schuller was an activist long before becoming a professional anthropologist. He now holds a joint appointment with NIU’s Department of Anthropology and Center for Non-Governmental Organization Leadership and Development, and is an affiliate of the State University of Haiti. Schuller has been researching Haitian nongovernmental organizations and the effects of foreign aid for 15 years. As an activist for Haiti solidarity and other global-justice efforts, Schuller has presented before Congress, the World Bank, USAID and international agencies in Haiti. Read More



Federico Sciammarella

There are many dimensions to NIU associate professor Federico Sciammarella, who is on the cutting edge of manufacturing and 3-D printing. An award-winning author, scholar and researcher, the NIU associate professor and 2014 NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology Faculty of the Year Award winner is at the forefront of research to better control the properties of metal 3-D printing, earning a $2.4 million grant from the National Institute for Standards and Testing (NIST) to conduct that research. Read More


Pam Smith

Pam Smith means business. The KPMG professor of Accountancy at Northern Illinois University’s College of Business is an internationally acclaimed business expert whose research and teaching focuses on accounting and reporting related to business combinations, valuation, consolidation and derivatives and hedging. Smith is nearly as well known for her work as a champion of ethics education and her efforts in creating NIU’s Building Ethical Leaders using an Integrated Ethics Framework (BELIEF) program and delivers ethics training to organizations such as the Illinois Government Finance Officers Association. Read More




Laura Vazquez

An award-winning documentary filmmaker and professor in the Department of Communication, Laura Vazquez examines some of society’s most pressing issues, including the plight of homeless families, the often cloaked issue of college sexual assault and the challenges facing people with disabilities. She is active nationally in film organizations such as the University Film and Video Association. On campus she serves in leadership roles, including with the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, where she is a vocal advocate for diversity and social justice. Read More


David Walker

David Walker is a numbers guy. And when it comes to breaking down the most complex statistics and research methods, the Northern Illinois professor of Research and Assessment makes sure it all adds up. Walker teaches courses in statistics, research design, and measurement. Some of his research interests include bootstrap methods, effect sizes, multivariate analyses, and statistical programming. He presents research studies at professional conferences, such as the American and the Mid-Western Educational Research Associations, and also consults as an evaluator on grants that examine various K-12 questions. Read More


Artemus Ward

Artemus Ward bleeds red, white and blue. The professor of political science at Northern Illinois University is a respected expert on U.S. politics, and he has done extensive research on topics related to the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. government. An avid Chicago Cubs fan, he also teaches a course on politics and baseball and is extremely knowledgeable about the game’s history, particularly as it relates to legal issues. Read More


Eric Zeemering

Eric Zeemering knows local government inside and out. He holds a Ph.D. in political science, served as an elected city council official and writes on topics such as municipal service delivery and sustainability. He also conducts research on local governance, collaborative public management and intergovernmental relation. Read More

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