Freshman Fellows Research Projects

Fellows conduct research all across campus in all departments. Read on for more on individual student projects and their collaboration with faculty at NMU. For more information on faculty research interests at NMU, download our faculty research interests directory

Felicia "Riley" Johnston


Hometown: Riverside, California
Major: Computer Science
Minors: Mathematics and Religious Studies
Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Horn - Computer Science and Mathematics


Why NMU?

I chose NMU for many different reasons, but the most important to me was to go to a place where I can not only escape the confines of where I am already familiar with but to also be secure in my future at whichever school I attended. The Freshmen Fellowship program is one of the big parts of Northern that made me feel as though this was the right choice for me in order to succeed.



I focused on a few projects during my time as a Freshman Fellow since my area of study was too vast for me to quickly pinpoint a specific study I was interested with at the start. I delved into robotics with research in AI,environmental adaptability, and speech conversion that could be implemented in the robot known as “Blaze”, I developed a website to record my research and my thought process throughout my endeavors, and finally I began coordinating an event that will work like a programming and robotics workshop that will connect the younger generation of STEM students with our students at Northern to create a learning environment for all participating. 



What am I most interested in and how much can I accomplish?
How can I spread knowledge to younger generations about the CS world?
How to document my projects and spread awareness?
How to increase the functionality of Blaze?



Overall my projects have had difficulties due to small but impactful aspects such as limited knowledge and funding, as well as my own personal trial with the change of such a big personal responsibility over my own project with no structure to guide me.



I believe my experience with the Freshmen Fellowship project will greatly impact my undergrad career as well as my outlook on jobs and research in the future more so by the end of the term than it already has part of the way through. I have a deeper understanding for the processes needed to research, plan events, and the importance of personal responsibility in the workplace. This experience has given me an opportunity of a lifetime that lays a solid foundation for me to build upon with my undergrad and hopefully graduate studies.

Read more about Riley's work at her project webpage:

2016/2017 Research

2015/2016 Research

2014/2015 Research

2013/2014 Research 

2012/2013 Research 

2011/2012 Research