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STEM Education Stories Archives

Goal 1: Facilitate P–16 STEM Education Outreach

Science Olympiad student demonstrates his exhibit.Illinois Science Olympiad seeks your vote/funding via Pepsi’s Refresh Project

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois), one of the leading science and engineering institutions in the United States, and nationally-recognized Science Olympiad have announced plans to establish a long-term partnership. Science Olympiad is a 27-year-old national science competition that focuses on student teams working together on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) challenges.

Student using Fab Lab to create.C-U Fab Lab fosters creativity in local youth

A local young Tom-Edison-in-the-making with an inclination toward invention needs to look no further than the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab. Located on the University of Illinois campus, this fabrication laboratory contains state-of-the-art, computer-controlled manufacturing tools designed to foster creativity and innovation in local inventors, both young and old. Would-be inventors can dream up a design, create it on a computer via easy-to-use design software, then use lab tools to create it. Another key feature is the Fab Lab network, an online community which allows local Lab users to present their problems and get advice from Fab Lab users around the world.

Students working on problemCollege of Education math students host fifth annual GeoJam

This event which was held on May 13 at Champaign Central High School invited math students at Central High School and Edison Middle School in Champaign, along with families and friends, to compete in teams of five to eight to complete various tasks, such as rebuilding the ruins of Palenque using life-size Soma cubes, teamwork and mathematic principles. Each challenge station drew on a different theme and a different mathematical theory. Activities were slated for 6 - 8 p.m.

Boys working on Science Olympiad project.Science Olympiad National Tournament turns K-12 students' attention to STEM

Around 3000 STEM-inclined middle- and high-school students from around the country converged on the Illinois campus May 21–22, 2010 to participate in the National Science Olympiad Tournament.

high school science labI-STEM is facilitating campus participation in National Lab Day

National Lab Day initiative, part of President Obama’s new Educate to Innovate Campaign, is more than a day. It’s a nationwide initiative to build local communities of support (hubs) that will foster ongoing collaborations among volunteers, students and educators.

Science Olympiad participant in Vet Med on south campus tour.National Science Olympiad competition to be at Illinois in 2010

Both the Science Olympiad Illinois state tournament and the national tournament will be held at Illinois next spring. The state tournament is scheduled for April 10, 2010; next year's national tournament will be held on May 20–22, 2010.

Bugscope imageBugscope gives area students personal look at insects

The Bugscope project provides free interactive access to a scanning electron microscope (SEM) so that students anywhere in the world can explore the microscopic world of insects.
STORY: News-Gazette; link to News-Gazette slideshow

Orpheum Children's MuseumGSLIS Fellow Meadow Jones promotes informal science education at Orpheum Children’s Science Museum

Meadow Jones, a GSLIS Fellow in Community Informatics who is interested in informal science education and the role of museums in supporting and enhancing science education, organized a series of events at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum in summer 2009 that featured a mystery mural: Dino Detective Days. Jones’ goal was “To facilitate scientific thinking through innovative and creative programming.”

Tristesse JonesIllinois Ag student Tristesse Jones is STEM education success story

Tristesse Jones, a senior majoring in crop sciences and preparing to be a research biologist, followed the STEM education pipeline to the University of Illinois.

Science Olympiad participant in Vet Med on south campus tour.National Science Olympiad

Science students from around the state of Illinois participate in the Illinois Science Olympiad tournament, which was held at Illinois in spring 2009.

Goal 2: Improve STEM Teacher Training and Professional Development Quality

MathLinkIt's not your parents' math class anymore!

LAS’ popular online program, Math Teacher Link, which has helped hundreds of instructors nationwide, is bringing math instruction into the computer era.

Honeybee (Apis mellifera) collecting pollen.Illinois’ Pollinatarium, a Discovery Science Center, is abuzz about pollination

Illinois’ new Pollinatarium is the first free-standing Discovery Science Center in the nation devoted to flowering plants and their pollinators.
STORY: News-Gazette slideshow: Life of a Beekeeper

Goal 3. Foster Undergraduate and Graduate STEM Education Reform

appleU of I students reach Final Four in healthy food development competition

Four Illinois food science and human nutrition students experienced their own shining moment when the children's snack food they had created reached the Final Four in a national product development competition. Their product, "Snow White's Apple Puffs," which provides a full serving of apple in a sweet, crunchy snack form, was recognized in the Nutritious Food for Kids category of Disney's Institute of Food Technologists Student Association's product development competition.
STORY: ACES News: U of I students reach Final Four in healthy food development competition

Gloriana GonzálezGloriana González study advocates using technology to teach high school geometry

Study by University of Illinois math education expert Gloriana González indicates that using technology not only makes teaching high school geometry easier, but also empowers students to discover new mathematical ideas.

image of male student using laptopITI in first year of NSF grant as "Research Experiences for Undergraduates" (REU) Site

The Information Trust Institute (ITI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has received a $357,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a “Research Experiences for Undergraduates” (REU) site.

Project examines Hispanic-Serving Institutions' practices to encourage Latino success in STEM fields

NSF-funded project funds examines practices of Hispanic-Serving Institutions with high numbers of Latino students receiving doctoral degrees in STEM fields. The researchers' goal was to identify and examine the practices of 25 colleges who produce a greater number of Latino STEM graduates than peer institutions with similar characteristics.
STORY: Inside Higher Ed website: Recalculating Latino STEM Success

female students at IllinoisStudy reports that eliminating gender stereotypes more effectively attracts women to male-dominated academic majors than presence of female faculty members

Study finds that while female faculty members serving as role models attract women to fields with few women, a more useful policy to attract female student is to change social attitudes and remove stereotypes, such as, "Females are not as good as males in math."
STORY: Inside Higher Ed website: Role Models and Stereotypes

i>clickeri>clicker clicks further

i>clicker, an innovative classroom technology invented by Illinois physics faculty, is continuing its successful trajectory in the commercial world.

UI Solar Decathlon houseUI team is top U.S. finisher in Solar Decathlon competition

A solar-powered house designed by University of Illinois students took second place in a competition sponsored by the Department of Energy.
STORY: The Illinois News Bureau
STORY: Washington Post Video Gallery of Solar Decathlon competition
STORY: The News-Gazette.com

Anne BarangerChancellor's Fellow Anne Baranger to Study evaluation methods for STEM departments

Dr. Anne Baranger, Associate Professor in Chemistry, has recently been named an I-STEM Chancellors Fellow for fiscal year 2010. Her mission is to develop a method to evaluate teaching and instruction in STEM departments and to establish a campus STEM education task force.

Goal 4. Shape Policy and Advocate for STEM Education

Image of man and woman in lab at Illinois.Business and industry launch STEM Education Coalition

Today a group of organizations representing business and industry, large and small, announced they will join forces to address the growing challenges for America's future workforce. The Business and Industry STEM Coalition announced its commitment to doubling the number of graduates with bachelor's degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) to 400,000 from 200,000 by 2020.
STORY: WASHINGTON, March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire: Nation's Employers Commit to Building a Stronger U.S. Workforce

Barack ObamaObama announces federal agencies to partner with APLU

Responding to a letter from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) pledging to do more to improve U.S. competitiveness in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), President Obama announced a partnership between APLU and federal agencies. APLU pledged to increase the number of science/math teachers they train as part of the "Educate to Innovate" campaign.
STORY: The Chronicle of Higher Education website: Universities Pledge to Train Thousands More Math and Science Teachers by 2015

President Obama with K-12 students.President Obama’s new campaign, Educate to Innovate, meshes well with campus STEM ed goals

Other STEM Education

Poster demonstrating how to kill insects without insecticides. (Poster provided by Dr. Ibrahim Baoua of INRAN [Maradi, Niger].)New information-sharing website on sustainable practices under development

What do African cowpea farmers, Indian street vendors, and Peruvian llama farmers all have in common? They will all be engaging in an applied STEM education project, benefitting from a new interactive, peer-reviewed, information-sharing website that disseminates educational materials designed to help subsistence farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs learn and adopt sustainable practices in different parts of the world. Currently being developed at Illinois, the Sustainable Development Virtual Knowledge Interface (SusDeViki), a “distributed knowledge” network, will collect, review, organize, and distribute educational materials that promote sustainable development, such as the above poster demonstrating how to kill insects without insecticides. SusDeViki is the brainchild of three Illinois educators involved in international projects working with aid organizations to develop and share agricultural and economic information with people around the world.


Ethics Center Director C.K. GunsalusIllinois to develop National Center for Professional and Research Ethics

Illinois has received a 5-year, $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to fund a national center and portal for professional and research ethics in science, mathematics and engineering. Providing information about ethics, research integrity, ethical challenges in practice, and ethics and compliance policies, the online center's resources will be available to teachers, students, researchers, administrators and other audiences.

STORY: Coordinated Science Lab: University of Illinois to Develop National Center for Ethics in Science, Mathematics and Engineering:
STORY: National Science Foundation: NSF Leads Effort to Make Ethics Resources Available to Researchers: