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Stories from... 2016

(Note: Web articles are organized chronolocially)

ChiSE Program Exposes Chicago Public Schools Students to STEM...and Illinois

January 21, 2016

Instead of watching cartoons or sleeping in, several Saturday mornings a semester, 100+ Chicago Public School (CPS) 5th through 7th grade students can be found doing math and physics activities as part of Illinois' Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering (ChiSE) STEM enrichment program. Seeking to expose traditionally underserved students (and their parents) to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), ChiSE is comprised of a number of Illinois faculty, staff, and students who also devote their Saturdays to work with these youngsters in hopes of increasing their interest in STEM—and possibly even STEM careers.

FULL STORY


Akono Exposes Intrinsic High Students to the Mechanical Properties of Materials

March 8, 2016

“How are we going to fuel our civilization in the next decades, especially knowing that we’re kind of running out of fossil reserves? It really boils down to having a fundamental understanding of the mechanical properties of materials.”  – Ange-Therese Akono

Ange-Therese Akono, an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, is passionate about building innovative, strong, durable buildings. That’s why her research involves understanding the mechanical properties of materials used to construct them. Akono is also passionate about passing on her enthusiasm for materials to the next generation, particularly underserved students. So on January 18, 2016, Akono and eight of her graduate and undergraduate students hosted a Structural Mechanics Workshop for 28 juniors and seniors from Chicago’s Intrinsic High School.

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Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day Tells Girls: "You Can Be an Engineer, Change the World!”

March 10, 2016

On Saturday, February 20th, SWE’s Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day did just that. Around 150 high school girls (and their parents) who showed up at Illinois’ Loomis Lab for the day-long outreach were introduced to Engineering at Illinois by female engineering students who were excited to get to know the girls and to convey to them this dual message:
1) that they too could become engineers, and
2) that a career in engineering would give them the chance to make a difference. And of course, the Illinois students who helped out hoped to not only woo some of these potential recruits into engineering, but maybe even into their own particular fields.

FULL STORY


Denos' Uni High Engineering Class Designs Assistive Devices for Senior Citizens

March 14, 2016

Engineering is about more than just designing things; it’s about making a difference in people’s lives. This is one key principle Uni High Engineering teacher Sharlene Denos tries to instill in her students. So she’s always on the lookout for projects her class can do to give back to the community. Like the air maze they designed and built for the Orpheum in 2014. But they haven’t forgotten the older folks. Denos and company spent time in 2015 designing some devices that provide accessibility for senior citizens. Then in January of 2016, they presented their designs to stakeholders at Clark-Lindsey Retirement Village in Urbana, who vetted the designs and contributed constructive input on how they might be improved.

FULL STORY


POETS Seeks to Change the Attitudes, Shape of Students in the STEM Pipeline

March 18, 2016

Andrew Alleyne, PI of the NSF-funded Center for Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal System (POETS), says the Center’s educational components are “all hypothetical at this point” and just “plans in people’s heads.” However, his plans and those of POETS’ Co-Directors of Education, Fouad Abd-el-Khalick (K-12 students) and Phil Klein (undergraduate/ graduate students), and Education Coordinator Joe Muskin appear to be well thought out and seek to strategically strengthen the education of targeted populations along the STEM pipeline.

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WIE Lead Fosters Leadership in Illinois' Women in Engineering

March 22, 2016

“I just want to ensure that these women have a chance to develop these additional personal skills, professional skills, so they feel empowered to be leaders.” Angie Wolters

The Women in Engineering (WIE) organization in the College of Engineering prepares women to succeed in engineering. While a major focus of WIE is to help them be successful at Illinois, the organization also seeks to help them be successful beyond Illinois by providing them with the skills they will need to get ahead in their future careers. So in the 2015–2016 academic year, WIE leaders began a new leadership series called WIE Lead, which features monthly workshops highlighting students, faculty, and alumni who share their stories about how they've grappled with specific leadership principles.
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2016 NGS Science & Engineering Fair Fosters to Research/Presenting to Experts

March 24, 2016

February 19th, 2016 was probably circled in red on the calendars of many Next Generation School students (and most likely their parents’ calendars, too). After weeks spent choosing a project, learning about their subject in depth, designing and conducting a research project, then making a poster, the day of the school’s Science and Engineering Fair had finally arrived. Projects completed, the students were excited to finally get to present their research—first, to a local expert, who gave them positive, and possibly negative, feedback—then later, to mom and dad during the evening session open to the public..

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Community of Scholars Successfully Woos Underserved Undergrads to Illinois

April 6, 2016

Seeking to increase the number of underserved students who attend graduate school at Illinois, the Graduate College invited undergraduate minority students from around the country to experience Illinois during Community of Scholars (COS), its spring campus visit program on March 6–8. Like its name implies, the goal of COS is to show visitors that, should they come to graduate school here, they would be valued members of a much larger community of scholars and would have access to numerous resources.
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Students/Alumni Promote Engineering at Illinois During EOS 2016

April 15, 2016

Thousands of guests of all ages flocked to campus on March 11–12, 2016, to attend “The STEM of Innovation,” the College of Engineering’s 96th annual Engineering Open House (EOH). Among them were students from local schools on field trips, including some who showed up as guests of campus student groups, like WIE (Women in Engineering) and EOS (Engineering Outreach Society). Illinois engineering students had done projects with them earlier in the semester then brought them to EOH as a culminating event. Even some former students showed up representing their current companies, like Ford, to try to lure youngsters into engineering…or to entice current engineering students into their company. And of course, lots of Illinois engineering students showed up to strut their stuff.

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MCBees Help Provide Student Support, Recruit, & Share the Joy of Science

April 26, 2016

In the past, new graduate students coming into Illinois' 10-year-old School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) didn’t have much interaction with other grad students who had been in MCB for a while. During their first six months at Illinois, they were somewhat isolated as they rotated from lab to lab to find their niche, then got further divided as they entered one of MCB’s four departments: Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular and Integrative Physiology (MIB). Then, once that first semester was done, they didn’t really come into contact with their classmates any more, “because you kind of get busy with your work," admits Biochemistry grad student Amruta Bhate, "and you only meet people from your department."
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NGS Students on the Ball Teaching BTW Kindergarteners About Polymers

April 26, 2016

Garbed in rubber gloves and protective goggles, Next Generation School (NGS) eighth graders on a February 23rd field trip to Booker T Washington STEM Academy (BTW), shared with BTW kindergarteners the art of making bouncy balls. According to NGS Science Teacher Bryant Fritz, it was a win-win for both groups of students. His eighth graders experienced working with young children and how to take the principles they have learned down to a level younger students can understand. BTW youngsters were exposed to some lab principles, learned how to use scientific equipment, and, of course, ended up with a ball that they had made all by themselves (with a bit of help from their older mentors.) And they all had fun.

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Lynette StricklandVInTG IGERT Inspires Ph.D. Student Lynette Strickland to Choose a Career in Research

May 2, 2016

How did a little girl who had never been further than her home state of Texas and dreamed of being a veterinarian end up a researcher at Illinois, who also spends large blocks of time in Panama and is passionate about studying, in particular, the colorful Chelymorpha, or tortoise beetle? Lynette Strickland, an Animal Biology Ph.D. student who works in the lab of Illinois researcher Carla Caceres, credits the NSF-funded VInTG (Vertically Integrated Training with Genomics) IGERT.
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Local Students Learn About DNA During I-STEM's DNA Day Outreach Event

May 3, 2016

A group of 29 mostly underrepresented local students from Urbana High School and several Champaign middle schools and high schools visited campus on Friday, April 29 to participate in "DNA Applications: Interdisciplinary Perspectives for STEM Careers."Hosted by the I-STEM Education Initiative as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored National DNA Day activities, the event, primarily via hands-on activities and tours, introduced the local students to DNA, some DNA research done on campus, and some careers that deal with DNA. Students were also encouraged that they, too, could go to college, and were apprised of several resources available to help them achieve that goal.

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ECE's Kitt Peterson Exposes Local Middle Schoolers to Rapid Prototyping

May 6, 2016

While it will be several years before Champaign-Urbana’s current crop of middle school students get the keys to their own car, at least a number of them now have a key chain to put them on. And it’s one that they designed themselves, thanks to ECE graduate student Kitt Peterson and MechSE’s Education Coordinator, Joe Muskin, who developed a curriculum that introduces rapid prototyping to sixth graders. So during the 2015–2016 school year, around 90 middle school students at Jefferson, Franklin, and Edison Middle Schools learned how to use TinkerCAD, a free, online software, then designed key chains, which were then 3D printed.

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CS @ ILLINOIS Sail Exposes Visitors to Computer Science at Illinois

May 12, 2016

What it’s like to be a computer science (CS) student at Illinois? On Saturday, April 9, 2016, around 250 high school students (and even some eighth graders), including 115 girls, from around the state and the nation participated in CS @ ILLINOIS Sail to find out. Sponsored by Illinois' Computer Science Department, the free, day-long event was filled with workshops about computer science and math theory, how to create websites, the ever-popular mobile and gaming apps, career opportunities in CS, and how to not just survive but thrive during one’s freshman year.

FULL STORY


SWE's "Save the World With Engineering" Outreach Targets Middle School Girls

May 16, 2016

Up to date on current research about STEM outreach, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at Illinois is aware that middle school is the crucial age to expose youngsters to STEM, and also that today’s young people want careers in which they can make a difference. So on April 16th, 2016, SWE held it’s first-ever SWE (Save the World with Engineering) event, an outreach that both targeted middle school girls and showed them that through careers in engineering, they can change the world.

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Lynette StricklandMechSE Grads Milner & Armstrong Trade in Sports Outreach for STEM Via ENVISION

May 20, 2016

Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) graduate students Matt Milner and Ashley Armstrong were both student athletes while getting their undergrad degrees in STEM. And they both cut their teeth on athletics outreach— but back then, they did sports camps, not STEM camps. So when they arrived at Illinois to continue their education, both were sensing an outreach-shaped vacuum in their lives and felt it was important that they share their passion about STEM. But since there didn’t appear to be a vehicle through which they could do STEM outreach, they decided to build one—called ENVISION.
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Cowell, BTW's Family Engineering Fair Send a Message: STEM = Fun

May 26, 2016

Booker T. Washington (BTW) Principal Ryan Cowell admits that he got the idea for his school's Family Engineering Fair during their Engineering Night this past winter. He recalls standing there watching the families having a good time, when the thought crossed his mind: “What if we waited for the weather to be nice and did this outside? And because it’s outside, we could do it much, much bigger!” So he immediately started the ball rolling.

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Illinois Math Women Seek to Keep Kids, Especially Girls, in the STEM Pipeline

June 3, 2016

Like most women in STEM, math Ph.D. students Michelle Delcourt, Melinda Lanius, and Claire Merriman, are articulate, born leaders, passionate about math, and committed to outreach. Also like most STEM women, they want to make a difference…specifically to recruit more young people, especially girls, into their field—mathematics. So all three are actively involved in the Illinois chapter of Association of Women in Math (AWM) and in math outreach, like that of the Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL) and several outreach events sponsored by AWM: Sonia Math Day, the Summer Illinois Math Camp, and GEMS.

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Sustainable Futures campersCGS's Summer Camps Teach STEM With a Global Flavor; Act as a Bridge to College

June 7, 2016

While one might not think of Illinois' Center for Global Studies (CGS) as a STEM unit, two of its three summer 2016 camps address STEM topics…from a global perspective. Sustainable Futures, from June 5–10, addressed a number of topics regarding sustainability. Global Health, in its first year, will address communicable diseases and epidemics. (The third, non-STEM camp is Intensive Arabic.) CGS Outreach Coordinator, Jeremie Smith, admits that while their camps are a lot of work, they’re valuable in a number of ways.

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Students Acquire High-Performance Computing Skills During Blue Waters’ Petascale Institute

June 20, 2016

NCSA (the National Center for Supercomputing Applications) is changing the millennial generation and the future of big data with the Petascale Insititute. During the two-week institute, students go from knowing fairly nothing about HPC (High-Performance Computing) language to knowing enough to complete amazing research projects using the Blue Waters supercomputer. From May 22nd to June 3rd, 19 Blue Waters interns (undergraduate students), 10 XSEDE scholars (both undergraduate and graduate students), and four additional undergraduate and graduate students participated in the institute

FULL STORY


Sustainable Futures Campers Experience Sustainability In and Out of the Classroom

June 23, 2016

In its third year, the six-day 2016 Sustainable Futures camp from June 5th–10th, exposed ten high school students to sustainability, both in the classroom and in the real world via tours of local sustainability efforts. One key activity was students’ final group projects, 21st Century Scenarios, which they presented on Friday to camp leaders and several parents. What drew the students to the camp? In addition to learning more about sustainability, several acknowledged that they hoped to discover if a career related to it might be right for them.

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Highschoolers Experience Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at GAMES Camp

June 28, 2016

Twenty-four high school girls from all over the country converged on the Illinois campus the week of June 19th–25th for the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) GAMES camp. During the 2016 edition, they not only learned about chemical and biomolecular engineering, but got to try their hand at it. After hearing about a variety of interesting aspects related to chemical engineering, they got to do fun, hands-on activities related to them—including some geared toward things that might appeal to girls—like foaming face wash and shower gel. Plus, during field trips, the girls got to see first-hand what a career in chemical engineering might be like.

FULL STORY


Highschoolers Learn About Global Health at CGS' First-Ever Global Health Camp

July 5, 2016

The week of June 12–17th, twelve high school students, mostly young women, visited campus to participate in the Center for Global Studies’ (CGS) first-ever Global Health summer camp, which focused on some health-related global issues like nutrition/diet and the spread, treatment, and prevention of disease. The camp also addressed global health solutions and organizations, and for students seeking ways they could be involved, careers in global health.

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Girls Experience Electrical Engineering First-Hand at the 2016 GLEE G.A.M.E.S. Camp

July 6, 2016

During the 2016 edition of the GLEE (Girls Learning Electrical Engineering) G.A.M.E.S. (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp the week of June 19th–25th, 19 campers from across the US (and even one international student) not only got their heads around what Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) is like...they got their hands around it too. First they learned about a range of things related to ECE, like circuits, signal processing, imaging, optics, antennas, etc., then implemented what they had learned in the classroom via some hands-on projects. The idea of the camp was to expose the girls to a variety of activities that would give them a taste of what Electrical and Computer Engineering is all about.

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MNTL and its Role in Shaping our Future

July 18, 2016

The Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory (MNTL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the largest and most advanced facilities of its kind in the country, home to 16 cleanrooms, 46 general purpose labs, as well as a biosafety level-2 complex, is playing a significant role in solving real world problems and helping bridge the gap between the developing and developed world.

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MechSE's WYSE Camp Helps High School Students Explore Mechanical Engineering

July 19, 2016

WYSE campers design and build a 3D printer. Many of the 24 high school students who participated in the 2016 Exploring Mechanical Engineering camp held June 26–July 2, are pretty much set on careers in engineering… They’re just trying to figure out in which discipline. And MechSE’s (Mechanical Science and Engineering's) WYSE camp appears to have the potential to assist them in their decision-making process.For one, unlike Illinois' other WYSE (Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering) camps, most of which offer a brief introduction to a variety of engineering disciplines, MechSE’s spends the entire week exposing the campers to some of the fun stuff in mechanical engineering—from building their own 3D printer to designing a prosthetic device—and helping them learn how a career in engineering might allow them to make a difference in other people's lives.

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G.A.M.E.S. Campers Learn about Bioengineering While Breaking Down Stereotypes

July 20, 2016

For one week this summer, 32 high school girls were exposed to the world of bioengineering (BioE) at the Bioengineering G.A.M.E.S. camp (July 10th–15th). They learned about many aspects of bioengineering research, such as cell culture, health disparity, biometrics and 3D printing, MRIs, ethnography, synthetic biology, and much more.
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G-BAM Girls Learn to Make a Difference Via Engineering

July 22, 2016

Many of today’s young people want careers that allow them to make a difference in other people's lives. During the 2016 G-BAM (Girls Building Awesome Machines) G.A.M.E.S. (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp, the 24 high school girls who participated from June 19th–25th not only did high-tech, hands-on activities, such as building a 3D printer and using CAD to design and 3D print a key chain, and fun stuff, such as writing a program for a robot, then watching it do the dance moves they had designed.
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AERO G.A.M.E.S Campers Soar with New Aerospace Knowledge

July 26, 2016

rom July 10th–16th, 30 girls from Illinois and a few other Midwestern states attended Aerospace G.A.M.E.S. (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp. Besides learning about the diversity of an aerospace engineering degree, they also had what was most likely another new experience for most of them—being with a large group of girls who have a similar interest in STEM.
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Rosado Continues to Improve Engineering Camps, Grow the STEM Pipeline to Illinois

July 27, 2016

Sahid Rosado is a STEM outreach force to be reckoned with on the University of Illinois campus. After starting out as just an instructor for an Environmental Engineering G.A.M.E.S. camp session a few years ago, she is now the Outreach Coordinator for the College of Engineering and is in the process of not just improving but revolutionizing Illinois’ Engineering camps via the addition of middle school students as she seeks to grow the STEM pipeline to the University.
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Undergrads in Bioimaging REU Experience What Research, Graduate School Is Like

July 29, 2016

Ten undergraduate students from around the country participated in the NSF-funded Bioimaging Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). Working alongside researchers in Illinois labs, they discovered the exciting world of bioimaging research, got a taste of what graduate school is like, and some might have discovered what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

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Wendy Reyes Learns Life Skills in Bioimaging REU

July 29, 2016

When rising junior Wendy Reyes spent the summer doing research in Professor Michael Insana’s Ultrasonic Imaging Lab as part of the 2016 Bioimaging REU, she learned a lot.She learned some research skills: how to train software to recognize cancer in the images of breast tissue.

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Bioimaging REU's Matt Kavanaugh Experiences Cancer Research at Illinois

July 29, 2016

Matt Kavanaugh had originally applied to Illinois as an undergraduate, but finances prevented him from coming here. So he matriculated to the University of Kansas, where the rising junior is majoring in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Biomedical. However, when searching for something productive to do over the summer, he came across the NSF-funded Bioimaging Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Illinois.

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G.A.M.E.S. Campers Passionate about Saving the Planet Learn About Environmental Engineering

August 4, 2016

The 2016 Environmental Engineering and Sustainability G.A.M.E.S. Camp was a perfect experience for 20 high school girls who have a passion for saving the planet. This one-week camp addressed many facets of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), ranging from water quality, air quality, renewable energy, and sustainability, and gave the girls some exposure to what a career in environmental engineering might be like.
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Girls Learn About Materials Science at the 2016 GLAM G.A.M.E.S. Camp

August 9, 2016

As its name implies, during the 2016 edition of GLAM (Girls Learning About Materials) G.A.M.E.S. camp, 19 high school girls did just that. From July 10th–16th, the girls learned about a wide variety of materials, ranging from polymers, to biomaterials, to a material that's a favorite of girls everywhere— chocolate. Plus, and probably more importantly, the girls were exposed to numerous female role models in materials engineering.
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Undergrads Consider Nanotechnology Careers Thanks to nano@illinois REU

August 10, 2016

During the summer of 2016, ten undergraduate students learned about nanotechnology as part of the NSF-funded nano@illinois Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). While spending the summer performing research in the labs of some of Illinois’ premier researchers, the students not only learned a lot about the area in nanotechnology that they were studying; they learned what grad school is like and got some pointers on how to apply. Finally, many of them discovered that they liked research…a lot. In fact, some even decided that the area they researched over the summer was the area they wanted to concentrate on in the future.
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2016 Chemistry REU Offers Undergraduate Students a Glimpse of Grad Life

August 16, 2016

This summer at Illinois, five undergraduate students were chosen to be a part of the Chemistry REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program to get a glimpse of what research in graduate school looks like. Allison Fout, the PI for this REU, which currently is solely funded by 3M, said that out of 270 applicants, only five were chosen. According to Fout, applicants were selected based upon the following criteria: “Their grades, their letters of recommendation, their experience. (You could really gain experience by coming here)" she adds. Plus, she indicates that the final criteria was: "students that were interested in pursuing chemistry in the future. All of those things were part of what we were looking at.”

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STEAMcation Provides Summer STEAM ...With a Little Help from Illinois Friends

August 16, 2016

The 48 local youngsters who spent the summer at STEAMcation doing activities which incorporated art into a variety of STEM-related activities not only had a lot of fun. They learned some STEM principles too. And helping teach the youngsters about some of these topics were a number of outreach-minded University of Illinois folk, such as the MCBees, a graduate student group from MCB (Molecular and Cellular Biology), and RailTEC, the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center.
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Illinois' MCBees Expose STEAM Studio's STEAMcation Students to Medieval Science

August 16, 2016

On July 25th, 24 local youngsters spent the morning doing some hands-on activities learning about science —in medieval times and today—as part of STEAMcation, the 9-week summer program of STEAM Studio, Next Generation School’s after-school and summer program. And taking the morning away from their labs to sharing their scientific expertise and passion about their field with the youngsters were a number of outreach-minded Ph.D. students who are members of the MCBees, a graduate student group from MCB (Molecular and Cellular Biology).
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STEAM Studio's STEAMcation Students Visit RailTEC...Learn All About Trains

August 17, 2016

Remember the excitement you felt as a youngster when you heard the shrill whistle of a train in the distance? Remember the magic of sitting at a railroad crossing, watching a train zoom by, waiting to shout, “The caboose!”?

Knowing that trains still engender excitement in youngsters, at RailTEC, Illinois’ Rail Transportation and Engineering Center, staff and students tap into youngsters' love of trains to teach them some STEM principles. And on August 3, 2016, a group of 24 local 3rd through 5th graders from STEAMcation, STEAM Studio’s 9-week summer program, visited RailTEC and experienced it firsthand. They spent the day learning about railroads; did a variety of fun, yet educational, hands-on activities related to railroads; plus had the chance to interact with some great role models—real, live engineers, who shared their passion for railroads and engineering with the youngsters.
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Illinois’ Chris Barkan and RailTEC Convey the Message: “Trains—They Run on 'STEAM' and They're Terrific!”

August 22, 2016

Chris Barkan, a Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, is passionate about trains. He knows about railroad technology and history—both in America and elsewhere in the world. Here at Illinois, he leads RailTEC, the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center, a world-class railroad research and educational program studying ways to make trains safer, faster, and more efficient— environmentally, economically, and energy-wise. Barkan is also devoted to educating the next generation of railway engineering professionals. And to make sure that railroads (and RailTEC) have a steady supply of bright young students, he, along with his colleague, Tyler Dick, and their rail engineering students teamed up with Angela Nelson at Next Generation School's STEAM Studio to organize and host STEAMvention 2016, where they used the fascinating and fun aspects of railroads to attract youngsters to a journey on the STEM pipeline.

FULL STORY


POETS REU Helps Illinois Undergrad Sabrina Yin Choose Her Career Path

August 22, 2016

Most REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) participants have an opportunity to conduct research for 8–10 weeks during the summer. Their experience then culminates in a poster session—the highlight of the summer—which gives the undergrad the chance to hone his or her skills while creating a research poster and reporting results. However, POETS REU participant Sabrina Yin, a rising junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Illinois, is doing more than just a couple of months worth of research in the summer. Yin began working in researcher Nenad Miljkovic’s Energy Transport Research Lab in March, participated in the REU this summer, and will continue her research in the lab this fall and beyond. “This research project that I’m working on will run for another two years approximately. So I’ll be staying in the lab to help out with the research,” she explains.

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Vet Med Students Gain Knowledge, Skills During Summer Research Training Program

August 24, 2016

This past summer, 14 Illinois Veterinary Medicine (Vet Med) students participated in the 2016 College of Veterinary Medicine Summer Research Training Program, which provided students a chance to get hands-on research experience in their prospective fields and also gave many of them a better idea of what they want to pursue regarding their future careers. Over the course of the summer (May 23–July 29, 2016), participants not only learned a great deal about the area they were researching, developed new skills and techniques which will be beneficial both in their college and professional careers, but grew personally as well.

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Engineering Career Services Helps Students Prepare for Careers, Upcoming Career Fair

August 26, 2016

"It’s never too early to come to the Career Services offices." Deon Robin, Assistant Director for Employer Engagement, Engineering Career Services

On September 7th and 8th, around 6,000+ Illinois engineering students will get a jump start on finding the perfect job by attending the Engineering Career Fair. And according to Deon Robin, Assistant Director for Employer Engagement, Engineering Career Services has a raft of materials/events to help students not just prepare for the upcoming Career Fair itself, but figure out what career is perfectly suited for them and then land that dream job. Materials/events ECS has developed/offers include: a pamphlet outlining ECS events and services, the Lunch & Learn series, a Mock Career Fair: “Prepare for the Career Fair,” RésuméMania, Engineering Career Fair, i-link, the Career Fair Plus app, Pre-Career Fair Virtual Meet-Up, ECS Workshops, and the Job Shadow Program.

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nano@illinois RET Teachers Discover Nanotechnology's Big Impact—Hope Their Students Will Too

August 31, 2016

If you get them hooked early, the kids will think graphene is so cool, and that spark could make them the next big nano scientist.” – Tatiana Stine

This summer 11 teachers of varying grade levels and backgrounds participated in the nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET) funded by the National Science Foundation. While participating in research in a wide range of areas, these teachers’ eyes were opened to the intricate world of nanotechnology and all the possibilities it offers. But while the research is important, that’s not the program's only goal. It is expected that these teachers will then take all that they learned through their research on nanotechnology and, with support from staff and other teachers, translate it into lesson modules they can use with their students back home. It is hoped that as they are able to successfully teach their students what they’ve learned, they’ll not only be exposing them to STEM, but some of its cutting-edge possibilities, like nanotechnology, that their students may never been exposed to before because of a variety of factors, including their socioeconomic background.
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Cindy and Stephanie Richartz—Keeping It in the Illinois Engineering Family

September 1, 2016

Mother-daughter duo Cindy and Stephanie Richartz, the keynote speakers at the 2016 WIE Orientation (August 16–18), are both Illinois graduates. Both majored in industrial engineering. One major difference? While mother Cindy has been in industry and at Abbott for a while, Stephanie just recently graduated (May, 2015) and began her journey in industrial engineering. However, despite the difference in number of years in engineering, both were delighted to come back to their Alma Mater to share about their respective journeys—Cindy’s years of experience as a woman engineer in industry, Stephanie’s more recent experience at Illinois and finding a job. Both are also committed to giving back to Illinois, especially the Women in Engineering (WIE) program, to ensure that Engineering keeps producing a steadily increasing flow of bright young women engineers through the Illinois pipeline.

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nano@illinois RET's Tatiana Stine Hopes to Help Expose Youngsters to Nanotechnology

September 5, 2016

An instructional coach at a local school, Tatiana Stine is passionate about helping her teachers implement the Next Generation Science Standards—especially engineering. A participant in the nano@illinois RET program this past summer, she got to work with innovative nanotechnology while conducting research on graphene. And she not only learned a lot of new things, she developed teaching modules she plans to take back to her teachers. And one day, while waiting for gold nanoparticles to deposit on her device, she came up with a fun and novel way to teach youngsters about nanotechology—Gene the Graphene.
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LaViers' RAD Lab Uses Robots/Dance to Study Movement, Provide Automation

September 8, 2016

Surrounded by a crowd of laughing, cheering GAMES campers, NAO, an adorable little white and red robot, strutted its stuff, doing the moves the girls had choreographed and which it had been programmed to do. Then, like a chorus line, the team of high schoolers who had developed the routine lined up behind NAO and performed it along with the robot, amid gales of laughter.

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At WIE Orientation, Engineering Freshman Women Experience Campus, Build Community

September 13, 2016

The week before classes began for the Fall 2016 Semester, 251 Engineering freshman women sacrificed their last week of summer vacation to attend Women in Engineering (WIE) Orientation on August 16–18. These future engineers showed up early hoping to get a jump start on the fall semester…and they did.

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Devon Goszkowicz: Following Dad's Footsteps to Engineering at Illinois—Blazing Her Own Trail in STEM Outreach

September 15, 2016

Devon Goszkowicz, a junior in Engineering, didn’t attend any STEM camps or outreach activities when she was little. However, one very important person in her life—her father—was an engineer. And now, here she is at Illinois, studying to become one too. And though she didn’t attend any STEM camps or outreach activities herself when little, she currently participates in several that expose girls of all ages and backgrounds to engineering. She's hoping to not just expose them to STEM, but to help them reach their potential, and to possibly even influence them to become engineers themselves.

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Engineering Career Fair Fosters Networking, Helps Students Land Internships and Jobs

September 19, 2016

Did you notice that on September 7th and 8th, campus was inundated with scores of students who, instead of sporting the traditional September garb of shorts and orange t-shirts, were dressed to the nines in professional business attire—guys looking sharp in suits, ties, and shiny shoes, girls in stylish black business suits and even heels? If so, it was most likely some of the 6000 or so Engineering students who ventured south of Green Street to attend Illinois’ Engineering Career Fair (ECF) at the ARC.

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Illinois’ Kenny Long and the Global Health Initiative Promote Global Health

September 27, 2016

For Illinois Engineering student Kenny Long, just being an engineer wasn’t enough. He wanted to approach problem-solving with a more interdisciplinary, holistic approach— not just fix a community’s impure water supply, but solve some of the residents’ medical issues related to having drunk the water. And just solving problems in his immediate vicinity wasn’t enough either. Recognizing that ours is a global village, Long embraced his global citizenship and is now seeking to solve problems in some of the more distant reaches of our village. And one way Long is doing that is through the Global Health Initiative and its INSIGHT (Illinois-Njala Sustainable & Innovative Global Healthcare Technologies) program.

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MERGE Program Gives Students a Glimpse of Grad School at Illinois

September 30, 2016

“What’s it like to be a graduate student at Illinois?” “What kind of funding is available?” “How cold does it get here?” These are some of the questions that the 48 students who participated in the College of Engineering’s MERGE program hoped to get answered during their campus visit on September 30–October 1, 2016. The goal of MERGE (Multicultural Engineering Recruitment for Graduate Education) and the engineering departments who invited these African-American, Latino/a, Native American, and female students for the weekend was that they might experience Illinois—its research, resources, and students—get their questions answered, and ultimately come to graduate school here.

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Pakeltis Sisters Hope to Increase the Number of Women—Change the World Through Engineering

October 7, 2016

While the old Irving Berlin song, “Sisters, Sisters,” may not exactly be the theme song of the two Pakeltis sisters, a couple of lines fit Grace and Abby to a T. One is the last phrase of: "Two different faces, But in tight places, We think and we act as one." For instance, they’re both studying Engineering at Illinois. Grace, the oldest, is a senior in Materials Science Engineering (MatSE), while sophomore Abby is in Mechanical Science & Engineering (MechSE).
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SWE's Rockin' Engineering Round Robin Tells Girls: "You Can Be An Engineer and Still Be Yourself!"

October 17, 2016

SWE’s (Society of Women Engineers) Engineering Round Robin, an outreach designed to expose girls to the different engineering disciplines, isn’t just for high school girls any more. Of the 45 girls who converged on Illinois’ Siebold Center on Saturday, October 8th, 20 were middle school students. Also different from past years was the interdisciplinary emphasis. Not only cutting across engineering disciplines, the program had a hint of STEAM (STEM + Art = STEAM). The goal? To show girls that they could become engineers and still be themselves.
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BMES Outreach Exposes High School Students to Career Possibilities in Bioengineering

October 25, 2016

What is a bioengineer? What do bioengineers do? This is what 20 high school students from around the state hoped to find out at “Bioengineer Your Impact" on Saturday, October 22, 2016. Hosted by BMES, the (Biomedical Engineering Society), a student organization for Bioengineering (BIOE) undergrads, it was the organization’s first large outreach for high school students and was designed to pique the young visitors' interest in Bioengineering.
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Illinois Students Help Youngsters Learn Science, Have Fun at Orpheum’s Spooktacular

November 3, 2016

Decked out in their Halloween costumes, a number of local youngsters and their folks showed up for some pre-Halloween fun at Spooktacular, an event held at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum on Saturday, October 29th. While the youngsters appreciated getting to wear their costumes and, of course, access to the ubiquitous Halloween candy which was liberally sprinkled around throughout the museum, they also had fun learning about science and interacting with Illinois students who were present to make the day special.
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New ENG 198 Course Teaches Freshmen the Engineering Process, Teamwork, While Addressing Personal Mobility

November 9, 2016

The idea behind ENG 198, the new Engineering course being piloted in fall 2016, is to give freshmen a chance to discover what it’s like to be an engineer early on…with a few caveats. Working as part of an interdisciplinary team, students are to come up with an innovation of benefit to society in the area of personal mobility. Plus, despite the students being freshmen, course planners don't intend to smooth out the path for the students; they want the students to navigate some bumps in the road—just like real engineers do. The goal? For students to learn the engineering process, experience teamwork, and come up with an end product that—while not necessarily 100% successful—lets them experience having contributed to society.

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Engineering for Social Justice Scholars Program Helps Students Rethink Engineering's Role in Society

November 10, 2016

Are you passionate about righting historical inequities in our society? Do you have a penchant for STEM outreach to multi-ethnic middle-schoolers? For 18 engineering undergrads, the answer to both of these questions was a resounding “Yes!” So this fall, they signed up for Engineering’s new, two-semester-long Engineering for Social Justice (ESJ) Scholars Program.
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Mommy, Me, & SWE: Middle School Girls Find Out About Engineering While Finding Dory

November 13, 2016

Engineering is not only fun, but can be used to help solve practical, real-world problems—even not-so-real problems— like finding Dory. This is the message Mommy, Me, and SWE sought to convey on Saturday, November 12th, to the 30 local middle school girls (and their moms) who participated. During the all-day event, mother-daughter teams were exposed to a number of the different engineering disciplines via fun and engaging hands-on activities that brought engineering down to a level the kids (and even the moms) could understand.
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ChicTech Seeks to Increase the # of Women in Computer Science—and Is Succeeding!

November 16, 2016

Computer Science is only for guys who are nerdy geeks and who sit glued to their computers 24/7! This is one of the myths about computer science (CS) that the fall 2016 ChicTech outreach set about to dispel, while showing 61 visiting high school girls (up from 50 last year) that CS is cool. Held November 12–13, the event, hosted by Illinois’ Women in Computer Science (WCS), was designed to show girls that they too can do CS, that it’s lots of fun, what it’s like to be a CS student at Illinois, and what a CS career might be like.
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Local K–5 Students Learn about DNA and Genomic Research at IGB's Genome Day

November 30, 2016

Around 500 visitors, both young and old, spent their Saturday afternoon on November 12th at Genome Day, learning more about DNA and genes. Sponsored by the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB), the event featured fun, engaging, hands-on activities taught by 120+ Illinois students, staff, and researchers associated with IGB who were on hand at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, where they shared their passion for genomics and introduced the visitors to the world of IGB's research.
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Outreach About Aerospace Engineering Takes Off With Support from Illini Aerospace Outreach

December 6, 2016

As its name implies, Illini Aerospace Outreach (IAO) is all about Illinois Aerospace students sharing their love of aerospace engineering with local students. IAO’s goal? To pique students’ interest in aerospace—or STEM in general.While IAO members do numerous outreach events themselves, the organization also serves as the main point of contact for organizations and schools seeking outreach from one of Aerospace Engineering’s numerous RSOs (Registered Student Organizations).
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Chemistry's Holiday Magic Show Does a Bang-Up Job Saying, “Merry Christmas!”

December 14, 2016

The standing-room-only crowd crammed into 100 Noyes Lab for the final Holiday Magic Show of the season discovered that even chemistry can be magical around the holidays. And after experiencing some demonstrations by several of Chemistry's top instructors, they learned that Chemistry can not only be merry, but bright…and quite loud!
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