NM Discovery Program Greater DeKalb County Chapter

Discovery Program Greater DeKalb Chapter

NM Discovery Program Greater DeKalb County Chapter

In order to meet increasing demand and to better serve our expanding health care system, we are excited to announce the newest chapter of the NM Discovery Program – the Greater DeKalb County Chapter! The Northwestern Medicine Discovery Program aims to create a pathway for the next generation of NM leaders by drawing on the talents of our incredible team of health care professionals to provide STEM career exposure. Throughout the two-year Program, students will be exposed to a broad range of health care careers through activities including tours, guest speakers, group discussion, and hands-on projects. In addition, the Program fosters character and professional development, cultivates life skills, provides community service and leadership experience, and offers mentorship and networking opportunities.

The Program’s Greater DeKalb County Chapter is open to high school students who meet the below eligibility criteria and who reside in DeKalb, Kendall, LaSalle, Lee and Ogle counties, Meetings are held once a month at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb, IL, with occasional opportunities to visit other NM locations. Generally, meetings are held during the school year on Saturdays from 9:00 am-12:00 pm, however, some meetings will be on weekdays when students are generally out of school. All participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from each meeting. Please note, meeting dates, day of the week, times, and topics are subject to change.


First Year Applicants must:

  • Be at least 15 years of age.
  • Be a resident of DeKalb, Kendall, LaSalle, Lee and Ogle counties
  • Be entering sophomore or junior year of high school.
  • Have an academic GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 GPA scale or 3.8 on a 5.0 GPA scale.
  • Commit to the two year program, including attendance at all Discovery Program meetings and community service activities. No more than two excused absences are permitted per year.
  • Commit to abide by all Discovery Program Guidelines and Policies.
  • Submit the completed First Year Applications to the appropriate Chapter.

Please note that if you live in DeKalb, LaSalle, Kendall, Ogle or Lee counties and are returning as a Second Year, please re-enroll to Discovery West. Discovery Greater DeKalb is only accepting First Year students this year.

First Year Application Requirements

Applicants must submit the following. Incomplete applications, applications sent piecemeal in multiple emails, or applications directed to the wrong location, will NOT be reviewed. Please read the following directions carefully as the application process has changed.

  • Completed Application Form
  • Personal statement: Describe why you are interested in discovering careers in healthcare.
    • Successful applicants will be specific in their response
    • Statement must meet the following criteria:
      • Typed in essay format
      • 300-500 words
      • Grammatically correct
      • Name and school at the top of every page submitted as a Word or PDF document. No Photos or Google docs.
  • Essay question: You are required to spend the next year of your life in either the past or the future. What year would you travel to and why?
    • Successful applicants will fully answer the question including: what and why.
    • Statement must meet the following criteria:
      • Typed in essay format
      • 300-500 words
      • Grammatically correct
      • Name and school at the top of every page submitted as a Word or PDF document. No Photos or Google docs.
  • Academic recommendation
    • Submit one (1) letter of recommendation; additional letters will NOT be reviewed
    • MUST be from an academic reference (teacher, counselor, principal, etc.)
    • Letters of recommendation can either be sent with the application or directly from the school via email to NMDiscoveryProgramGreaterDeKalb@nm.org
  • Official school transcripts
    • MUST be signed, sealed and sent from the school. If the transcript is submitted by mail, it must be postdated prior to the application deadline OR your school can submit your transcript through a third party processing company or by email to NMDiscoveryProgramGreaterDeKalb@nm.org by the application deadline.
    • Unofficial transcripts will NOT be accepted and will render your application incomplete.
  • Proof of Participation in free/discounted lunch program (or similar) when applicable
    • If you participate in a free/discounted lunch program (or similar) at school, please attach proof of participation to your application; if accepted into the program, your participation fee will be waived
    • MUST be attached and submitted via your application email unless your school policy restricts it, then they can be submitted by email to: NMDiscoveryProgramGreaterDeKalb@nm.org
  • Completed application, with essay and personal statement will need to be submitted in one email to: NMDiscoveryProgramGreaterDeKalb@nm.org
    • Academic recommendation and fee waiver should also be submitted with the completed application unless your school policy restricts it, then they can be submitted by email to: NMDiscoveryProgramGreaterDeKalb@nm.org
    • ONLY official transcripts may be submitted via mail by the school – if third party processing or email is not available – to the following address:

      NM Kishwaukee Health and Wellness Center
      Attn: Jennifer Rink
      Community Health Services
      626 Bethany Road
      DeKalb, IL 60115

Participation Requirements for all Participants (for your information only as an applicant)

In addition to the Application Requirements, those applicants accepted into the Discovery Program will be required to submit the following before/at Orientation.

Do NOT send with application

  • Program fee (ONCE ACCEPTED): $50 (includes all NM-sponsored activities and a t-shirt)
    • Check or money order only (no cash)
    • Fee waived with proof of free/reduced lunch program (or similar) when submitted via application email
  • Northwestern Medicine Discovery Program Greater DeKalb Chapter Guide Signature Page
    • Signed by BOTH participant and parent/guardian/legal representative
  • Northwestern Medicine Discovery Program Greater DeKalb Chapter Consent Form
    • Signed by participant’s parent/guardian/legal representative


Only complete applications, containing all requirements listed above, will be reviewed.

  • All parts of the application should be submitted together via email:
    1. Written application (PDF)
    2. Personal statement (Word or PDF attachment)
    3. Essay question (Word or PDF attachment)
    4. Proof of participation in free/discounted lunch program (if applicable and can also be sent directly from the school via email)
    5. Letter of recommendation (can also be sent directly from the school via email)
    6. Official School transcript (unless mailed/emailed directly from school/third party company)
    7. NO Google Docs or Photos of documents will be accepted.


Applications will NOT be reviewed for the following reasons.

  • Application is not received by the deadline (i.e. is late)
  • Application is incomplete or sent piecemeal
  • Applicant does not follow the directions

Application Deadline

Applications for Class of 2019-2020 are now closed.


All complete applications are carefully reviewed by a committee. Applicants should not expect to hear from the Discovery Program regarding participation until late October 2019 via email.

Due to the volume of applications, transcripts, and recommendation letters sent we are not able to notify students and school staff that we have received their email. For confirmation that your email was received, we recommend that you set the option of Request a Delivery Receipt on your email.


For questions about the application process, please call or email Jennifer Rink at 815.756.1521 x146304 or Jennifer.Rink@nm.org.