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Stories about...Engineering

During SWE’s Round Robin, Girls of All Ages Become More Well-Rounded in Engineering's Disciplines

November 2, 2017

On Saturday, October 7th, about 50 girls from all over the state of Illinois converged on Loomis Lab for Engineering Round Robin. Hosted by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the outreach program, with its appropos Robin (and Batman) theme, was designed to expose young women to different engineering disciplines. According to Katherine Kiang, a SWE Outreach Co-coordinator, they also hoped to "provide them some perspective on what it’s like to do engineering as a career.” Designed for girls in grades 6 through 9, although high school students of any age were allowed to attend, the program was primarily targeting younger girls in order to get them exposed and interested at an early age.

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Engineering Freshman Women Get Familiar With Campus, Learn About Illinois Resources, and Build Community at WIE Orientation

September 25, 2017

The “WIE by the Numbers” slide presented during the introductory session of WIE (Women in Engineering) Orientation, from August 22–24, 2017, says it all. Since its inception 15 years ago, 2,724 female freshman engineering students have participated in Orientation, with 268 students from the fall 2017 freshman class attending. Another impressive number? The 268 women attending Orientation were a just bit more than half of the total number of female engineering students in the fall 2017 clas. This represents the largest number (496) and percentage (25%) of women ever in a freshman engineering class at Illinois—a milestone for Women in Engineering and a cause for celebration. And celebrate they did, as they arrived on campus a few days ahead of all-campus-move-in day, eager to get a head start—to get familiar with campus, make friends and build a community, and to receive sage advice from some older and wiser women in engineering.

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Mariano, Pace Encourage Female Engineering Students: "You Too Can Succeed!"

August 29, 2017

On August 22–24, two rising stars at Texas Instruments (TI) were back at their Alma Mater for the Women in Engineering (WIE) Freshman Orientation, an event designed to give incoming female engineering students a jump start on their semester. Since one of the program’s objectives was for older and wiser women to impart wisdom to the rookies, these two recent (May, 2016) ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering) graduates, Paula-Angela Mariano and Molly Pace, were the Keynote Speakers for the event, plus taught a workshop related to internships with TI. The two were on hand to share not only about their triumphs, but their somewhat rocky beginnings; to recommend resources that helped them overcome challenges they encountered; and to pass on some sage advice about how to not just survive but thrive at Illinois. Their main goal? To encourage their younger sisters that they, too, would someday be proud Engineering graduates.

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New Female Engineer Statue to Inspire Women— Past, Present, and Future—to Embrace Engineering

May 30, 2017

Confident. Passionate. Intelligent. Courageous. Innovative. Resilient. Pioneering. Successful. Inspirational. These character traits describing Illinois’ women engineers are emblazoned on the platforms which support the Quintessential Engineer, Illinois’ newest statue: a female engineer. Unveiled on April 28, 2017, the statue, located just east of MNTL, was four years in the making. While Engineering grad student Sakshi Srivastava is quick to credit Texas Instruments, artist Julie Roblatt Amrany, and the many folks across campus who helped to bring it about, it was Srivastava who first dreamed of a statue to serve as a role model for young women. And it was Srivastava's courage, confidence, and determination (plus a little help from her friends) that helped that dream become a reality.
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ESJ Scholars’ End-of-Semester Pecha Kucha Address Social Justice Issues in Engineering

May 23, 2017

To showcase their final projects related to social justice issues they’re passionate about, eleven engineering undergrads who were part of the pilot for the new, two-semester-long Engineering for Social Justice (ESJ) Scholars program presented Pecha Kucha in an end-of-the-semester event. (In this Japanese presentation style, 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each, keeping presentations by multiple speakers concise and fast paced). On hand to witness the May 8 final event, were a number of interested Engineering administrators, faculty, and members of the Illinois community.
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Engineering Grad Students Introduce High Schoolers to Engineering Via IRISE

May 11, 2017

In spring 2017, IRISE (the Illinois partnership for Respecting the Identities of Students in Engineering) connected Illinois Engineering graduate students in the ME598EO course with local ninth-graders from Centennial High School’s AVID program. The goal was to use engineering to provide a solution to a problem in our local community. So the students sought to address obstacles athletes in the Illini Wheelchair Basketball Program encounter while training, competing, or just in everyday life. Not only did the grad students learn a lot about outreach; the high school students learned a bit about what engineers do, and a few even discovered that they might like to become one.>
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ME370 Students Find End-of-the-Semester Robot Races a Fun Learning Experience

May 9, 2017

There was a lot riding on the 36 little robots navigating the ropes stretched across Boneyard Creek for ME 370's final competition. Held just north of the Engineering Building at noon on Wednesday, May 3rd, the contest drew a crowd of interested spectators who vicariously experienced the little robots' ups and downs, "oohing" and "ahing" during the spectacle. For the students, the contest not only motivated them to show off their engineering prowess; it got their competitive juices flowing as they sought to beat the socks off their opponents. And as an added incentive, teams whose robots beat the time set by Professor Socie's robot got to skip the upcoming final exam.
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Alleyne and Wissa Foster Interdisciplinarity in New Biomimetics/ Bioinspiration Course

May 3, 2017

Folks in different disciplines, say engineering and biology, often don’t know how to talk to each other and, thus, have trouble collaborating. So Marianne Alleyne, a Research Scientist in Integrated Biology’s Entomology Department, and Aimy Wissa, an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE), have teamed up to try to change that. They’ve designed a new biomimetics/bioinspiration course, ME 498/IB496, which seeks to use an advanced design experience to foster an interdisciplinary mindset among students in the course.
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Leal's Career Grant: Research in Soft Materials, GLAM-Mid Camp for Girls, Workshop for Incarcerated Adults

April 24, 2017

Cecelia Leal, an Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE), was recently awarded a 5-year National Science Foundation Grant called, “CAREER: Nanostructured Soft Substrates for Responsive Bioactive Coatings,” to study key fundamental properties of biocompatible lipid materials. Because Career grants also require researchers to do an educational outreach component, in addition to the graduate students she’ll be training and mentoring, Leal will be doing a new summer camp for middle school girls and a workshop for incarcerated individuals as part of the Education Justice Project.
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Kelly Cross“Double Bind” Study Examines Obstacles Women of Color Face in Engineering

April 10, 2017

“You don’t want diversity just for the sake of diversity, don’t want them just for the sake of having them in the room. You want them for their perspective.” – Kelly Cross

Kelly Cross and several colleagues have begun a three-year study funded by the National Science Foundation to examine the experiences of women of color in engineering. Aptly named “The Double Bind of Race and Gender: A Look into the Experiences of Women of Color in Engineering,” the study Cross is conducting, along with Jenny Amos, Kathryn Clancy, Princess Imoukhuede, and Ruby Mendenhall, is looking at how women of color are doubly disadvantaged. They not only have to overcome historical gender inequities inherent in engineering, but also face the many challenges racial minorities encounter.
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EOH Visitors Discover that Engineering is Fun, Exciting, and Can Change the World

March 27, 2017

Making the pilgrimage to Illinois to take part in Illuminate New Horizons, the 2017 edition of Engineering Open House (EOH) were thousands of visitors, young and old, including mumerous classes on field trips, and lots of families. During the event, held on March 10–11, visitors encountered some of the many faces of engineering, ranging from current engineering students from all across campus, to alumni, who were excited to come back to their alma mater to show visitors some of the exciting projects they’re currently involved in, and possibly do some recruiting. It was clear that exhibitors hoped to engage visitors in their demonstrations and exhibits, many of which included interesting hands-on activities, to show them not only the breadth of the field of engineering, but that it’s fun and exciting, and that engineers can change the world.
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NGS Middle Schoolers Build Bridges, Experience Engineering During EOH Design Contest

March 23, 2017

It had all come down to this. It was crunch time—figuratively, and possibly literally, if their bridge built as part of the Engineering Open House (EOH) Middle School Design Contest collapsed while being tested. For weeks, three teams of eighth graders from Next Generation School (NGS) in Champaign had been designing bridges—building their prototypes, testing them, working out any kinks. Finally, Saturday, March 11th, the day of the contest, had arrived. With their fingers crossed, each team eagerly watched Illinois engineering students attach a bucket to their bridge then slowly fill it with sand. The idea was to see how much sand could be added before their bridge buckled. And whether they won an award or not, they’d learned a lot: about teamwork; about the engineering process; and what being a Civil Engineer might be like.
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Girls Discover that Engineering Is Sweet at Introduce-A-Girl-to-Engineering Day

March 7, 2017

About one hundred girls (and their parents) from around the state (and even a couple from out of state), showed up at the 2017 edition of SWE’s Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day (IGED). The largest SWE (Society of Women Engineers) outreach event of the year, it was held at Illinois on Saturday, February 22nd. Not only did the participants learn a bit about the different engineering disciplines, they learned that like many of the female role models at the event, they too could do engineering and make a difference in other peoples’ lives.

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Student Spotlight: Hani Awni–Engineering for Social Justice Scholar

March 1, 2017

Hani Awni was not always interested in the role engineering should play in regards to social justice, but after venturing into the real world, he realized there was more. Hani is an engineering student who studied what he found “technically interesting” during his undergraduate years, but following two years working in Silicon Valley, he was left looking for more.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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An engineering student turns in her team's completed Lego structure.WIE Orientation 2015 Shows Female Engineering Freshmen the Ropes

September 9, 2015

To get a head start on their first year in Engineering at Illinois, 257 young women attended the 2015 Women in Engineering (WIE) Orientation on August 18–19, 2015. One perk of participating? Getting to move in early to avoid the traffic jam that is move-in day. But more importantly, these freshmen got a head start on community building and networking with peers, especially in their engineering disciplines. Other WIE Orientation goals were to introduce the girls to key folks in their departments, acquaint them with campus, plus provide practical tips to help them be successful students.
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Clockwise from left: CEE grad student Jeevaka Somaratna explains CEE 398 to Ann Horton-Weis and Lizanne DeStefano of I-STEM.SIIP: Reforming Undergraduate Engineering to Engage Students

October 29, 2013

The goal of SIIP (the Strategic Instructional Initiatives Program) is to reform Engineering's core undergraduate courses to engage students and improve learning. How? By changing the way the courses are taught, then checking with students to see if it's been effective. Is it working? Based on feedback from educators at SIIP's recent Poster Showcase on Friday October 18, it appears to be.
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Douglas JonesIGERT Trains Students at the Intersection of Neuroscience and Engineering

December 12, 2012

"We're trying to develop a culture and a community of people here on campus that are interested in the intersection of neuroscience and engineering."

According to program coordinator Pat Grenda, this is the goal of the Neuroengineering IGERT at Illinois. Short for "Neuroengineering: A Unified Educational Program for Systems Engineering in Neuroscience," the five-year Ph.D. program is funded by a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant. In its fourth year, the IGERT currently has 45 students enrolled in four cohorts.
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Erik JohnsonNeuroengineering IGERT Students Experience Interdisciplinary Research

One student wants to discover how the brain enables complex thought, such as philosophy. Another wants a field rewarding enough to get him out of bed and to work every morning. Another student, who heard about the IGERT program while jogging, finds the psychology-engineering intersection intriguing and the engineering tools crucial to his work. Still another saw the IGERT as an opportunity to acquire resources, knowledge, and connections in the field of engineering that she wouldn't have had otherwise. No matter why students chose the Neuroengineering IGERT at Illinois, they find interdisciplinary research at the intersection of neuroscience and engineering to be challenging, yet exciting.
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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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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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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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