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NIU Innovators Recognized for Ideas, Products

April 16th, 2014
Lesley Rigg, acting vice president of research, shakes hands with Nicholas Pohlmann, an NIU innovator.

Lesley Rigg, acting vice president of research, shakes hands with Nicholas Pohlman, an NIU innovator.

NIU’s Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships recognized seven leaders on Tuesday for their innovation in the development of novel ideas, technologies, processes, products and services to meet the needs of society and expand opportunities.

“At NIU, we define innovation as new knowledge put to new use and we focus on the many ways in which NIU faculty, staff and students move ideas out into the world through the process of innovation,” said Lesley Rigg, acting vice president of research.

NIU was among the inaugural 16 institutions nationwide designated as an innovation and economic prosperity university by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. The designation, announced in October, acknowledges universities working with public and private sector partners in their states and regions to support economic development through innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer, and talent, workforce and community development.

Tuesday’s event included a poster presentation from candidates and a certificate presentation to the following students, staff and faculty for their contributions in the area of innovation:

Excellence Seal3CT Lin: “Molecular fan cooling: Heat dissipation for efficiency-enhanced LED module”

The molecular fan is an innovative thermal management technology to cool junction temperature and heat-sink and enhance device performance. The baseline technology in research and product development of the fan has generated two U.S. patents, two Ph.D. dissertations and four scientific publications.

Lichuan Liu: “BANM (bonding, attenuated noise, monitoring) system”

This is an electronic device that can attenuate noise, provide a two-way communication bonding opportunity and monitor an infant’s physical condition noninvasively in incubators/beds. The system provides a safe, quiet environment for newborns in incubators, noninvasive health monitoring and bonding opportunities for infants and parents inside and outside an intensive care unit.

Shannon Sohl: “Digital Financial Reporting Technology”

This technology can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of government and nonprofit financial reporting. DFR leverages existing automated technologies to collect, validate, share and analyze large volumes of data in an open source environment. Shannon has been working with NIU and external partners to determine the feasibility of digitalizing financial information by governments and nonprofits.

Sherrie Taylor: “IllinoisData.com”

In recent years federal and state data has become more difficult to access, understand and interpret. To help people find the information they need quickly, relate it to other useful information and produce quality maps and tables, Taylor has reimagined the IllinoisData.com website. She has created a data portal that uses a series of drop-down menus to help users quickly generate the needed information.

Nicholas Pohlman: “Development of CEET Honors Program”

Before the development of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology Honors Program, only 35 CEET students were enrolled in University Honors. The result is more than 111 current CEET students in the honors program, helping the college recruit high-quality students.  The model is published in a journal and could be emulated by other colleges at NIU.

Beth Towell: “Business Passport Program”

Through the Business Passport Program, students engage in a variety of learning activities that are designed to contribute to their success while learning and after graduating. The purpose of program is to broaden students’ business perspective and enhance their success in the job market. It allows students to gain meaningful hands-on experience, network and connect with professionals, create their own brand, enhance personal and professional development, build a stronger resume and develop well-rounded interests and expertise.

Jodi Heitkamp and Philip Young: “NIU Geovisual Mapping Laboratory”

The Geovisual Mapping Laboratory has significantly impacted NIU students and surrounding communities, based on the variety of projects produced in the lab. The lab has procured site licenses for two of the major GIS software companies (ESRI & Intergraph) and was designated one of seven centers of excellence in mapping in the United States. Most importantly, the GML provides pedagogy for student involvement, including internships and assistantships.