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Stories from... 2012

OLLI participant Jo Pride working in Illinois lab.OLLI Offers Mature Adults Learning and Research Opportunities

February 12, 2012

Unlike some senior adults who, after retiring from full-time jobs also retire from learning, a group of local retirees are continuing to learn—not only in the classroom—but in some more unusual places: Illinois' research labs. These seniors are participants in the OLLI Scientist Program, sponsored by Illinois' Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, more commonly referred to simply as OLLI, which is a program of learning opportunities for adults age 50 or older. These opportunities range from classes offered on campus to lab work, a lecture series, and overseas travel.
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Booker T. Washington Students Down on the Prairie Fruits Farm

April 25, 2012

As a part of its partnership with Booker T. Washington STEM Academy, I-STEM arranged a field trip to Prairie Fruits Farm on April 18-19, 2012. The trip gave BTW students the opportunity to learn about science on the farm, from goats to how cheese is made using something acidic to make the milk separate into curds and whey, to the science of growing things.
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May BerenbaumFolks From Cradle to Retirement Home Connect With Nature at Pollinatarium

May 1, 2012

Imagine a lush green prairie oasis filled with wildflowers. Bees are busily buzzing. Hummingbirds are hovering. A butterfly in search of nectar gracefully floats through the air to alight upon a brightly-colored blossom. Imagine a place where, armed with butterfly nets, "city folks" longing to escape the concrete can get back to nature. Although it sounds too good to be true, it's not an imaginary place; it's Illinois' Pollinatarium, and it's just a few minutes away on the southern edge of campus.
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Chancellor WiseChancellor Fosters STEM Education in St. Louis...and Recruits on the Side

May 1, 2012

In a recent trip to St. Louis, Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise proved that she is not only an able spokesperson for STEM education and ambassador for the University…but a passionate recruiter as well.
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Dean Charles Tucker explains SIIP project.Illinois' Engineering to Revamp Targeted Undergraduate Courses

May 18, 2012

Despite being highly-ranked nationally, the College of Engineering is not content to rest on its laurels. Striving to improve aspects of its undergraduate education programs by specifically targeting large courses (sometimes dubbed by students as "weed-out courses"), the College recently initiated the Strategic Instructional Initiatives Program (SIIP). Its goal: to renovate specific undergraduate courses to improve student engagement and learning outcomes.
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BTW students get to operate one of Mechanical Science's hexapod robots.Outreach-Minded Engineering Students Hope to Steer Local Youth into STEM

May 29, 2012

On a handful of Monday afternoons this past spring, a few students left the cloistered confines of Illinois' Engineering campus to initiate nearly 80 local elementary students into the mysteries of mechanical engineering. A love of both kids and engineering prompted these Mechanical Sciences and Engineering (MechSE) students to devote their Monday afternoons volunteering at the newly organized Technology Club of Booker T. Washington STEM Academy.
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textBioE Students Shine in Senior Design

June 4, 2012

After several years of learning principles and how to apply what they had learned to come up with practical solutions for real-life problems, Bioengineering students were given the opportunity to do just that.

Sponsored by industry, university faculty, area medical clinics, and/or the community, Bioengineering seniors participating in this capstone design course over the past academic year completed projects that ranged from diagnosing cancer to designing a prothsesis that will enable below-elbow amputees to swim.
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Project NEURON participant during a professional development session.Project NEURON Creates Connections

June 6, 2012

Speaking in front of a marker board littered with red and black writing, Barbara Hug leads a collection of 15 Illinois teachers through Tuesday morning's lesson plan. Bright, circular stickers bring life to the white walls of room 120 in Col. Wolfe School. The teachers in attendance hope for a similar effect in their classrooms—to bring them to life.

Hug, a clinical assistant professor in the College of Education, serves as a project leader for Project NEURON (Novel Education for Understanding Research on Neuroscience), along with coPIs Donna Korol from the Neuroscience Program and George Reese from MSTE (Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education).
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Jesse Miller performs a demonstration with hydrogen peroxide and soap.Local Scouts Discover Chemistry is Fun!

June 12, 2012

Although they had just recently gotten out of school, local Cub Scout Pack 402, as well as some area girl scouts, took time out in the midst of a fun-filled week at a Cub Scout Day Camp to do something just as fun—learn about chemistry.

Like a magician pulling rabbits out of a hat, Jesse Miller from Illinois' Department of Chemistry pulled one trick after another out of his bag of chemistry magic tricks...
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EnLiST teachers participate in physics professional developmentEnLiST Science Teachers Improve Pedagogy During Summer 2012 Professional Development

June 22, 2012

During the past couple of weeks, STEM teachers from around the state converged on campus. They could be found in Noyes conducting chemistry labs, performing physics experiments in the halls of Loomis Lab, and doing a host of nanotechnology activities, including working with gold and silver nanoparticles, in Mechanical Engineering Lab. Participants in EnLiST (Entrepreneurial Leadership in STEM Teaching & Learning), an NSF-funded Math Science Partnership ($5M/5 years), these teachers have been participating in intensive professional development over the last several weeks (and years) to gain cutting-edge scientific content, research experience in Illinois laboratories, and effective pedagogy with diverse learners.
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Nathan BeauchampHigh School Student Experiences Life in an Illinois Lab

July 2, 2012

Nathan Beauchamp jangles the key from his pocket, unlocks the double door and reaches towards the four light switches wrapped around the adjacent wall. The 15-year-old flips the lights with the blind cool only muscle memory can foster. The Unit Operations Lab in the basement of Roger Adams Laboratory at the University of Illinois bursts awake.

Beauchamp is tired today—he stayed up late completing a poster he will present on Friday while explaining his research in the field of 3D printing—and walks to his computer more laboriously than usual.
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Students work in a group during a Merit section at Illinois.S-STEM Grant to Provide Scholarships for Biology, Chemistry, & Math Merit Students

July 2, 2012

She wants to study chemistry at Illinois. She's familiar with the university because her mom went to school here. But because she lives out of state, it's too expensive. So instead, she's been going to a local college. However, she's been quite discouraged, because she wants to come to Illinois.
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David Gong analyzes bone samples in Dr. Kristin Hedman's lab.High Schoolers Gain Authentic Research Experience at Illinois

July 9, 2012

For some students, participating in this summer's I-STEM High School Summer Research Experience confirmed their inclination to pursue a career in a specific STEM field. For others, STEM is now a viable career option. For others still, it convinced them that the field in which they conducted research is the last field they would ever consider for a career. Every student came out with a better understanding of STEM. Just as intended.
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Joe Muskin and EnLiST teacher during professional development.Joe Muskin & Team: Nano-CEMMS Ambassadors for STEM Education

July 9, 2012

If you make the rounds of campus outreach very often, you will soon discover that one of the constants in the STEM-education-outreach universe is Joe Muskin…and company. Part of the education arm of Nano-CEMMS (the Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems), Joe and his crack team, educator Carrie Kouadin, graduate student Matt Alonso, and Joe's girl Friday, Athena Lin...
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I-STEM Evaluators Visit Coal Mines to Evaluate Coal Education Program

July 10, 2012

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor gloom of coal mine can keep an evaluator from her appointed rounds.

With this slight adaptation, the mail carrier's creed might apply to the dedication of I-STEM evaluators. For instance, Lizanne DeStefano, the Director of I-STEM rode for 45 minutes in a truck traveling three and a half miles down into a coal mine. Luckily she didn't have to ride on the back of a flat-bed truck like the miners do.

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Uni High student in Illinois lab.Uni High Students Experience
Cutting-Edge Research at Illinois

July 11, 2012

On the northeastern edge of campus, University Laboratory High school’s proximity to Illinois’ myriad research facilities made it an ideal partner for I-STEM’s pilot project offering summer research opportunities to high school students. Of the 50 or so students who applied, 19 were chosen on the basis of both their performance in science and math and of their application, which included an essay on their interest in science and how participating would prepare them for a possible career in science.
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Emily RabeSummer Research Experiences Steer Undergrads Toward STEM Careers

July 27, 2012

Instead of lounging by the pool this summer, a number of undergraduate students have been in Illinois labs—not only conducting research—but possibly figuring out what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
Participants in the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, these students are experiencing what real research is like. For many of them, this experience has also exposed them to what graduate school is like. For others...
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iRISE grad student presents lessons to teachers during PD.iRISE and Denos Work to Get Students Hooked on Science in Middle School

July 31, 2012

One of Sharlene Denos' passions is to expose middle school students to hands-on activities in order to pique their interest in science so it becomes a life-long interest—possibly even a career. Denos hopes to give today's middle school student opportunities she didn't have at that age.
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Power House team poses by the prototype of their power-generating stationary bicycle.Engineering's Summer Scholars Creates Small-Campus Feel for Freshmen

August 6, 2012

"Imagine coming to campus as a part of a group of twenty-two, and you have six RPAs and essentially have the resources of this university for 40,000 people, and you're here in the summer when it's nice and quiet and small." – Bruce Litchfield
Create a small-campus feel. This was the goal of Assistant Dean/Director Bruce Litchfield and IEFX Program Coordinator Michelle Adeoye...
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Uni High summer campers and Bob Coverdill prepare to launch bottle rocket.Father-Son Team Helps Youngsters Discover—Engineering Is Cool

August 8, 2012

The temperatures weren't the only thing that soared during University Laboratory High School's Summer Enrichment Camp 2012. In a session on aeronautical engineering taught by a local father and son team, some middle school students got a chance to fly gliders they constructed themselves. Despite the hot temperatures, they found out engineering can be cool.
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Illinois to Participate in AAU Initiative to Improve Undergraduate STEM Education

August 16, 2012

As the nation's need for more STEM graduates has increased, so has the need to improve our undergraduate STEM education. The Association of American Universities (AAU), of which Illinois is a member, has established a 5-year initiative on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) undergraduate teaching. Particularly focused on the first two years of college, the initiative seeks to help higher education institutions assess the quality of STEM teaching, share best practices, and encourage the use of the most effective STEM teaching methods.
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CPS student experiences electrifying effect of Van de Graaff generator.CPS Students Discover Campus...and That Learning Can Be Fun

August 22, 2012

Some smoke. A little loud noise. A physics gizmo that makes one's hair stand on end. Mutilating a Pepsi can with the force of air. Tramping around hunting insects in the great outdoors armed with a butterfly net. Illinois scientists pulled out all the stops to show a group of Chicago students that exploring science at a world-class university can be fun!
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Taiwanese trainees work in Illinois lab.B3 Summer Institute Provides Interdisciplinary Training

August 28, 2012

"So it's a good two-week, very intense, but very "get-your-feet-wet" sort of experience. The speaker list is phenomenal... You name the campus, and you've got all the big leagues from anywhere, from this campus and other campuses all over." Irfan Ahmad
Nicknamed B3SI by the planners, the two-week-long BioSensing BioActuation BioNanotechnology Summer Institute 2012, held at the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory (MNTL) from July 30–August 10, 2012, was intended to train participants at the intersection of biology and engineering and to foster networking with other researchers...
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MIST Teachers collaborate on activity during biology session.MIST Workshop Trains Teachers in Merit Instructional Style

August 29, 2012

For three days at the beginning of August, the MIST (Merit Immersion for Students and Teachers) program hosted the MIST Summer Teacher Workshop for 52 high school and community college teachers. After being exposed to training by the directors of Illinois' Merit Program, the teachers returned home armed with new strategies and materials...
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Women in Engineering Camp Facilitates Relationship Building

August 30, 2012

On Monday, August 20th, 200+ women enrolled in the College of Engineering at Illinois converged on Loomis Lab for breakfast and orientation sessions, then toured campus and experienced relationship building at Allerton Park as a part of the Women in Engineering Freshman Orientation Camp. According to Angie Wolters, Assistant Director of Women in Engineering, the purpose of the camp was to "engage them, introduce them to the College of Engineering on campus, and give them an opportunity to all come together and create a cohort for their incoming freshman class of women."
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Two Illinois undergraduate engineering studentsIllinois To Participate in WitsOn—Online Class for Female STEM Undergrads

September 4, 2012

To help promote retention of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), Illinois will be participating in WitsOn (Women in Tech Share Online), an online class for female undergraduate STEM students. A joint project by Harvey Mudd College and Piazza, a course-management website...
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Val Laguna and Ann ZuzulyFrom WIE Camp to Seniors: Two Future Engineers Credit Illinois' Community of Support

September 5, 2012

Ann Zuzuly and Val Laguna were poster children for Women in Engineering's Freshman Orientation Camp this fall. Their mothers wrote a letter to parents of incoming freshman women, encouraging them to send their daughters to the camp by describing how their own daughters had benefitted from it. The camp could have received no better recommendation.
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Irfan AhmadThe Face of Nanotechnology at Illinois, CNST Promotes Interdisciplinary Collaboration

September 14, 2012

Illinois' Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) works to provide training and to foster collaboration in nanotechnology at the intersection of engineering and biology. Why should engineers need to learn about biology? According to Irfan Ahmad, Executive Director of CNST, the national academies have identified the 21st century as the century of biology.
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Illinois engineering students who attended the Engineering Ambassadors Workshop (left to right): Chuma Kabaghe, Christine Littrell, Edgar Uribe, and Asha KirchhoffEngineering Ambassadors: Poised to Change the Way Engineering is Presented

September 18, 2012

"When engineering and STEM educators talk about 'changing the conversation,' it's a huge step forward to even be thinking about communicating science and engineering as a conversation instead of as a boring, one-sided, monotonous lecture where one person is talking, or worse, reading off a slide filled with bulleted lists and long chunks of text." Leslie Srajek
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Ryan TappingEBICS REU Student Contributes to Research on Neuron Cells

September 27, 2012

Rather than lazing the summer away like some of his peers, Ryan Tapping, an Illinois undergraduate student, spent his productively—making a significant contribution to research. The experiment? Studying how neuron cells from a rat brain form clusters.

Participating in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, Tapping worked with faculty member Martha Gillette, who is part of EBICS (Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems)...
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Mike Philpott, Paul Hummon, & Katie Birkel with the Baja SAEHands-On Experience With Cars Prepares Students to Problem Solve Down the Road

October 10, 2012

For the last five years at least, Illinois' Mike Philpott has been working double shifts. Most days, the Interim Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs may be found in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, or teaching ENG 491. Evenings, weekends, and probably part of Christmas break, however, this race car enthusiast can be found supervising students at the Engineering Students Project Lab, watching students navigate cars around cones on Assembly Hall's parking lot, keeping his fingers crossed in downtown Houston in hopes that his team will travel six miles on a miniscule amount of gas, or holding his breath lest the Formula SAE car break down during the main competition in Michigan.
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State and University Leaders Meet with Members of the P-20 Council to Discuss the Future of Education in Illinois

October 25, 2012

Governor Pat Quinn joined Chancellor Phyllis Wise, President Robert Easter, and leaders in education policy from across the state for a meeting of the Illinois P-20 Council at the University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) on October 24.
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Ishan MurphyAnnual Gathering for Gardner Event Celebrates Recreational Mathematics

October 30, 2012

If Captain Jack Sparrow has 100 gold doubloons, how can he distribute them amongst his ship's crew so that he keeps the largest share and still keeps the crew happy enough to avoid walking the plank himself?
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Sua Myong works with Allegra Amos during lesson on plasmids.Myong, BioE Undergrads Expose Middle Schoolers to DNA/Cell Measurement

October 31, 2012

On Wednesday afternoons, a number of Illinois bioengineering undergrads can be found at Jefferson Middle School teaching seventh and eighth graders about science. The brain child of Bioengineering professor Sua Myong, this year-long, after-school outreach program funded by the Center for the Physics of Living Cells meets once a week to expose students to techniques used to measure things in cell biology.
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Illinois STEM Educators Participate in French-American Science Festival

November 1, 2012

On October 29–30, 2012, several representatives from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign participated in the second annual French-American Science Festival held at Northwestern University in Chicago. This year's two-day festival drew upon French and U.S. expertise to address topics on the theme "Sustainable Development." The Festival was funded by the French Consulate in Chicago and organized by Adèle Martial of the French Consulate's Office for Science and Technology.
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Christine LittrellMechSE Senior Christine Littrell Poised to Change the World

November 5, 2012

"Frankly, she's just a tremendous advocate for the department. She is one heck of a good ambassador for us." Bob Coverdill

What was it that first made Christine Littrell stand out from the crowd as a freshman, besides her stunning, could-have-been-a-model good looks? According to Bob Coverdill, Director of Advancement for Mechanical Science and Engineering, she always wore purple—and had a matching purple laptop to boot.
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Juliana TrachEBICS Offers High Schoolers Research at the Intersection of Biology & Engineering

November 27, 2012

In summer 2012, three high school students had the opportunity to participate in authentic summer research opportunities at the intersection of biology and engineering. Sponsored by EBICS (Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems), these students participated in its High School Research Program, which seeks to increase the number of students who choose careers in the discipline by exposing high school students (especially those underrepresented in STEM fields) to research opportunities in the new discipline.
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