Stories from... 2012
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.
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.
BioE 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.
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).
EnLiST 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.
High 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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
Summer 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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
Illinois 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...
From 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.
The 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.
Engineering 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
EBICS 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)...
Hands-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.
Annual 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?
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.
MechSE 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.
EBICS 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.