McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University
About the Program
The Murphy Institute is a program that enables a group of McCormick's best undergraduates to engage in self-directed activities of interest to them, with support from faculty advisors. These activities could include on-campus research, involvement with design projects, entrepreneurship, or engagement in off-campus scholarly work. A Murphy Institute Scholar may follow an existing curriculum, or the Scholar may design his or her own curriculum with individual interests in mind through the Combined Studies degree program.
The program offer students several unique opportunities:
Murphy Institute Scholars are able to define and pursue a research or design project throughout their four years at Northwestern. Laboratory research, design, entrepreneurial activities, and public policy are among the many possibilities that Scholars might choose to explore.
- Mechanical engineering student Marrisa Krotter simulates the mixing of materials using computer models. Her work with senior associate dean Richard Lueptow has implications that range from pharmaceuticals to geophysical science.
- Rachel Scholes is synthesizing and evaluating new molecular structures for adsorbing butanol in the production of next-generation biofuels in Professor Justin Notestein's laboratory.
- Three Murphy Scholars, Mark Fischer, Xiongfan (Sail) Wu and Jingwei Lou are designing the Wildcat Weather Balloon to measure the power output of a photovoltaic solar cell as a function of altitude. The helium-filled balloon will transport a payload of HD video cameras, a data acquisition system, and GPS and APRS radio tracking system to an altitude of approximately 100,000 ft.
Each Murphy Institute Scholar receives an award that is intended to cover supplemental expenses. On-campus activities may be enhanced through summer internships or international programs. For example, Sail Wu was awarded a Research in Science and Engineering (RISE) Scholarship to study at the Technical University of Munich for a summer. Samantha Hopkins got a glimpse of the aerospace industry during her two summers with The Boeing Co.
Murphy Institute Scholars are advised by an interdisciplinary team of Faculty Fellows, which is assembled with the interests of the Scholars in mind. Some members of the advising team may be from other Northwestern schools, from outside the University, or from Northwestern's alumni base.
Murphy Institute Scholars take part in an interdisciplinary seminar series, Engineering Dialog, organized and presented by Murphy Institute Faculty Fellows and Scholars. Presentations cover diverse topics and change with each quarter. To name just a few examples, Professor David Kelso described fighting disease in Africa with engineering solutions. Professor Elizabeth Gerber, along with Murphy Scholar Nana Ohene Adu, discussed their roles in Design for America. Professor Hani Mammisani talked about solutions for traffic gridlock, while Professor Katherine Faber described the McCormick School's role in research at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Murphy Institute Scholars follow the course curriculum of their chosen major or design a curriculum specifically chosen to their interests. In the Engineering First® series, Murphy Scholars enroll in a special section of Engineering Design and Communication I and II that incorporates concepts from Engineering Analysis. One group of Murphy Scholars recently developed a new prosthetic fitting device for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Some Murphy Scholars add a second major or a certificate program in Engineering Design or from the Kellogg School of Management, for example, to supplement their studies.
Murphy Scholars are involved in a wide variety of other activities on campus and throughout the community. Taiyo Sogawa served as President of the Residential College Executive Board, and has chaired Welcome Week's "Rock the Beach." Bryanna Yeh spends her Saturdays on the football field as part of the NU Marching Band.
Becoming a Murphy Scholar
Participation in the Murphy Institute is by invitation only. Students are invited to serve as Murphy Institute Scholars on the basis of their Northwestern applications.
In the News
Solutions could aid patients at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
An undergraduate demonstrates additive manufacturing, with a Northwestern touch.
As a mechanical engineering major, Mark studies corrosion in automobile parts.
Lizzie Conger combines her love of science and performance.
Nana plans to improve sustainability in Ghana.
Cindy researches improvements in medical devices.