NNSI Profiles: Kevin Qiu (’20), Will Deschler (’21), and Cara Savin (’22)

This fall, NNSI is excited to welcome back three returning research assistants for the 2019-20 school year: Kevin Qiu (‘20), Will Deschler (‘21), and Cara Savin (‘22). 


Hailing from Bellevue, WA, Kevin Qiu is a senior majoring in computer science. He first heard about NNSI through a friend and followed up on the research assistant opening as he was interested in learning more about the intersection of nonprofits and data analytics. 

Qiu’s favorite part about working at NNSI “is the collaborative and helpful atmosphere that everyone [in the lab] contributes to.” In regards to his outlook on the upcoming year, he says he is “excited to learn more data analytics skills, especially as we work through all the data we’ve collected.” 

Qiu is also the editor-in-chief for the Northwestern Business Review. 

Throughout the summer, Qiu worked as a software engineering intern in Washington, DC, and also had the opportunity to visit friends and family in Philadelphia. 


Will Deschler, a junior from Lexington, MA, is a Learning & Organizational (LOC) major, Business Institutions (BIP) minor, and pursuer of both the Integrated Marketing (IMC) and Segal Design Institute certificate. He is also involved with Northwestern Intramural Sports and is a member of Phi Delta Theta. 

Deschler originally heard about NNSI through an opportunity posed by a TA for a communications studies class. 

“I love being able to have conversations with such a wide variety of people across the country who are committed to improving educational outcomes,” he says. 

This year, Deschler says he is most excited about “learning more about education networks’ outcomes and [looking back at our] progress after last year.” 

Over the summer, Deschler spent time in San Francisco working for a nonprofit called Net Impact, which “strives to build and empower a network of professionals with the vision, connections, and resources they need to drive positive change.” 

A Cook County native just a short drive from campus, Cara Savin comes to us from Wilmette, IL. She is a sophomore majoring in communications studies, minoring in Art Theory Practice, and pursuing the IMC certificate. 

Aside from her work with NNSI, Savin is involved with a multitude of clubs and organizations on campus, including Delta Gamma Clubs, NUDM, Institute for Student Business Education (ISBE), NU Club Tennis, and CATalyst. 

Savin first heard about NNSI upon reaching out to professors within the School of Communications in search of research opportunities as a first-year. When NNSI director Michelle Shumate responded back with research assistant position openings, she was excited to jump at the chance to perform research within the education sector. 

“My favorite part about working at NNSI is the ability to learn about multiple facets of a research project, from the grant proposals to the policies of the lab,” says Savin. Like Qiu and Deschler, she also is most looking forward to reviewing all the finalized data collected at the end of this year. 

During the summer months, Savin spent her break coaching tennis for Northwestern Tennis.