NIU Student Highlight

Ashely Sands is a sophomore at NIU, majoring in Spanish Language and Literature with a double minor in Japanese and Art.  This is her second year participating in the Research Rookies program, where she has now taken on the role of a Peer Leader.

The Research Rookies Program links undergraduate first-year, sophomore, and transfer students with faculty mentors in their major or area of interest to conduct a small-scale research project (view the website here  As a Peer Leader for this program, Ashley’s role is to serve as a guide and resource for first-year Research Rookies, while simultaneously continuing her own research.

Ashley Sands with faculty mentor, Dr. Karen Lichtman

Ashley’s past research explored the psychological effects of grandparents on their grandchildren.  Her research this year with Dr. Karen Lichtman of the Foreign Language & Literature department focuses on studying the differences of implicit and explicit learning on adult language learners.

“My current research will hopefully impact society by giving adults who want to learn languages more hope because my mentor and I will have figured out better learning conditions for adults.  They will see that at any age it is possible to pick up a new language, it's just about how you approach the task.”                 -Ashley Sands


In the future, Ashley aspires to earn a PhD as she continues this research by looking into other related factors that affect adult language learning.




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