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Stories about... Graduate STEM Outreach

BioE’s Carlos Renteria: Passionate About Education, Curing Alzheimer’s, and Outreach— Particularly Exposing Hispanics to STEM

October 27, 2017

The more you learn, the more you can do. – Carlos Renteria

This was the attitude Carlos Renteria’s dad instilled into him growing up. And it appears to have worked. Currently a PhD student in Bioengineering (BioE) and conducting research in Professor Stephen Boppart’s Biophotonics Imaging Lab, Renteria dreams of becoming a university professor to both teach and do research. And while he’s worked hard to get to where he is today—studying for a Ph.D. at a top engineering school— Renteria says he owes a lot of it to his dad.

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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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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Rodriguez-OteroRodriguez-Otero Says SROP Puts a Face With an Application, Fosters Relationships

November 10, 2015

So how did Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) grad student Jannette Rodriguez-Otero from San Juan, Puerto Rico, go from studying to be a barber in a local vocational school to working on a Ph.D. in molecular sciences in MCB's Cellular Developmental Biology Department? She claims that there’s one reason she’s at Illinois: SROP.
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Adrian Gomez, a chemistry undergrad at Cal State, L.A.Under-Represented Students Visit Campus, Feel “At Home” at Illinois During ASPIRE

September 24, 2015

“We believe in the mission of trying to broaden participation; we believe in the value of diversity.” –Daniel Wong, Associate Director of the Graduate College's Educational Equity Program

With the Graduate College and individual departments, who helped provide meals, footing the bill, under-represented undergraduate students from all over the U.S. visited Illinois on September 20–22, 2015, as part of ASPIRE, a campus visit and early application program of the Graduate College’s Educational Equity Program.
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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.
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Taiwanese trainees work in Illinois lab.B3 Summer Institute Provides Interdisciplinary Training

August 28, 2012

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