Nicole Rogus is a rising second-year majoring in Neuroscience and Biology. She currently works in the LEARN Lab.

Tell me about your SURG topic.

Rogus: I’m part of the LEARN Lab, which is a lab at Northwestern that focuses on cognitive neuroscience and how to best analyze and understand child’s language acquisition through different neurological techniques and understanding what in the brain causes a child to acquire language in different ways, and the different implications from that that we can use to support parents and support teachers and educators. My project specifically looks at the role of parental responsiveness in a child’s interactions with their parent and how that can influence a child’s language development and later on their literacy development as well. Through this research, I’m looking at two parts to that question. [First], the ways in which a parent interacts with their child – specifically the way they respond to their child – how that influences the child’s ability to acquire language and use language properly according to different language-based assessments. And after looking at that data, how that could potentially lead to improved literacy development later on in their education.

What inspired you to apply for the SURG?

Rogus: I’ve always been really interested in research. In high school I did research through the AP Capstone program and I was pretty involved with that and knew that was something that I wanted to continue with in college. This lab is very fitting to what I want from a lab in terms of what it looks at and the flexibility and everything. I want to get the chance to pursue my research further and do an independent project, but also with the assistance of Ph.D. students who have studied this so much more than I have. The introduction I got into research and developing my own project in high school and then knowing that I’m so passionate about neuroscience and medicine and everything related to that, I think all of that combined made me really interested in wanting to do a SURG.

How do you think doing this research will impact you in the long term?

Rogus: This is my first step into research at the undergrad level. I definitely plan to continue even beyond that. I don’t know exactly if I would extend with this lab, but I definitely want to use this lab as the groundwork for potentially researching in other labs that are maybe more extensive and more tailored to the specific science side of things because this is more of a behavioral-based lab but I’m also interested in wet lab research and doing more of the hardcore science stuff. I definitely plan to continue building off of the SURG and I think it’s my first introduction. I want to see the other connections and people I can meet through the SURG that are older and mentors for me.

Meet the other SURG Recipients!