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Final - Sophomore nursing major Vanessa Saldana of Highland Park, IL, and senior psychology major Bianca Hernandez of DeKalb, IL, came together as pilot cohorts in the NIU Service Leaders program and as colleagues at Sycamore High School. They choose “Civic Engagement” as their undergraduate research project because they wanted to get students interested in civic involvement by showing them the importance of being involved in their community. Saldana said they got creative with their research project by playing games with the students, “and [offering] some bribes with candy to keep it fun,” she admits. But at the end, their results were positive. Since the NIU Service Leaders program is new to campus this year, Saldana and Hernandez feel accomplished paving the way for future students who wish to join the program. Having the positive feedback from the students was also a great reward. “It’s cool to see those results and see we were effective,” Hernanadez said. Saldana said there was a lot of value coming into the program as a transfer student to see and interact with the community. “You get to see your experience change lives,” Saldana said. “It’s amazing.”


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