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Stories about... Externally Funded Projects

POETS’ Education Program Introduces Students of All Ages to Interdisciplinary Research in Electro-Thermal Systems

August 31, 2017

In addition to cutting-edge research in electro-thermal systems, the NSF-funded POETS (Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems) Engineering Research Center has educational programs that expose students (as well as the teachers) to POETS’ research via educational activities, research, and courses that foster interdisciplinary collaboration and expose learners to the unique research that takes place in the Center.


POETS Seminar, ENVISION, Seek to Get Grad Students Hooked on Outreach

April 26, 2017

The objective of the contest? To use a pizza box to build a solar oven capable of heating up a marshmallow to the hottest temperature possible. But in a room full of 50 or so talented and competitive engineering graduate students from four POETS universities, the challenge wasn’t so much the design itself. It was about finishing first and getting one of the coveted, optimal spots in front of a limited number of lights!

Young Scholars Program Exposes Local High School Students to Research, the University

August 2, 2017

Instead of spending their summers working at McDonalds, or lounging by the pool, twelve rising juniors and seniors from Centennial and Central High Schools in Champaign spent the summer learning about things like photon quantum mechanics, dark matter detectors, and the biochemistry of swimming bacteria. Part of the Young Scholars Program, a new, six-week summer research opportunity, the students got to experience authentic, cutting-edge research in some of Illinois' premier research labs. Begun by the Nuclear Physics Laboratory in the Physics Department, who joined forces with the POETS Engineering Research Center to broaden and strengthen the program, Young Scholars received funding from multiple sources: ICR funds from the NSF NPL grant, the NSF-funded POETS, the Physics Department itself, and the College of Engineering (which provided funding for one student). The fledgling program was begun to help students discover what research is actually like, determine if research might be in their futures, plus give them an idea of what college is like.


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.

Bioengineering Undergrads Build Biobots in New BIOE 306 Course

December 16, 2015

Biobots. The word smacks of scientific breakthroughs in the distant future, or the subject matter of some futuristic, sci-fi movie. But Illinois researchers are currently building and studying biobots as part of their research in this emerging field. However, they're not the only ones. This past semester, Illinois' Bioengineering department piloted a brand new course, BIOE 306, BioFabrication Lab, that teaches undergraduate students how to build them too. Developed as part of the NSF-funded EBICS (Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems) Science and Technology Center, the course distilled down cutting-edge EBICS research and initiated eight Bioengineering juniors and seniors into the mysteries of building with biology. In addition, the idea for this class was developed in part due to the Illinois Innovation Prize, which emphasized the need to teach the next generation of engineers and scientists how to "build with biology."

POETS PI Andrew Alleyne POETS, New NSF Center at Illinois, Poised to Revolutionize Electro-Thermal Systems

October 19, 2015

"The new Center...uniting expertise across disciplines, will focus research on what truly is possible and achievable rather than working within the limitations of what currently exists. And what better place to do it than the University of Illinois?” –University of Illinois President Timothy Kileen

Marking the official beginning of the $18.5 million, NSF-funded POETS (Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems) Engineering Research Center, National Science Foundation (NSF) and University leaders, POETS collaborators, and interested members of the University community attended the October 15, 2015 “Kickoff Event.” Headed up by PI Andrew Alleyne, Ralph & Catherine Fisher Professor in Mechanical Science and Engineering, the Center’s goal is to improve the power density of next generation electro-thermal systems.

PI Roy Campbell and Masooda Bashir, one of the Co-PIs on the project, at the recent Digital Forensics workshop.Campus Experts to Develop a Digital Forensics Undergraduate Curriculum

May 31, 2013

Want to become a digital detective? There's a new course on campus this fall: CS 498, Special Topics. Despite the course's nondescript rubric, it invites students from a number of disciplines, including computer science, criminal justice, and even law, to investigate the exciting, up-and-coming field of Digital Forensics.

Rochelle Gutierrez interacts with a local middle school students at Noyce's iMATHS club.Noyce Scholars: Taking Student-Centered Math to High-Needs Schools

May 14, 2013

"Noyce is probably the best decision I've made professionally, and as far as my college career goes." Liz Denz

Liz Denz has wanted to teach math ever since her freshman year in high school. And Illinois' NSF-funded Noyce program, which provides scholarships for talented mathematics majors who want to become K-12 math teachers, is helping to make her and other Noyce scholars' dreams come true.

Rochelle Gutierrez interacts with a local middle school students at Noyce's iMATHS club.Noyce: Training Math Teachers Who Foster Equity in the K-12 Classroom

May 2, 2013

This is Rochelle Gutiérrez' hope for her Noyce scholars when they finally become K-12 math teachers: that when they look at themselves in the mirror every day, they will be able to say, "I'm doing what I wanted to do when I went into education."

Douglas JonesIGERT Trains Students at the Intersection of Neuroscience and Engineering

December 6, 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.

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.

VINTG IGERT fellow Beryl JonesVINTG IGERT Students Receive Outside-of-the-Box Training in Genomics

November 16, 2012

Nine new doctoral students arrived on campus this fall to receive a new kind of training in genomics that "thinks outside the box." The premise of this training model: to produce a new generation of biologists on the cutting edge of genome-enabled science, who can specifically address how genomes interact with the environment to create diversity.

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.

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.

College student in chemistry lab.Chemistry Receives Funding to Improve Services to Undergraduate Students

Get students interested in chemistry! While the goal of Chemistry at Illinois may be simply stated, to achieve it, the Department has taken on a task that is not so simple: to design and implement a new undergraduate chemistry curriculum. Besides fostering student interest in chemistry, the Department hopes to give students a solid foundation in chemical competencies, attract under-represented students to STEM majors, and provide students in introductory chemistry with a knowledge of chemical research problems.

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

October 15, 2009

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