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Stories about...POETS

Uni High Sophomores Build Infant Incubators Courtesy of POETS-RET-Developed Curriculum

June 11, 2019

During the spring semester, as a part of the POETS RET program’s ongoing curriculum development, University Laboratory High School (Uni High) students in science teacher David Bergandine’s chemistry classes tried out POETS’ Infant Incubator curriculum. Here's the scenario: students were to develop an infant incubator which could be used in the developing world in places where folks often can't use electricity. And because this was for a chemistry class, they were to use a chemical reaction to generate heat. Also as part of the curriculum, they were to create a poster and present at an end-of-the semester poster session, complete with judges and prizes.

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POETS Young Scholars Program Attracts High Schoolers to Research

May 28, 2019

POETS’ Young Scholars program does just what its name implies—it gives high school students the opportunity to engage in scholarly pursuits—conduct research and learn what it means to be part of a research team—just like their older counterparts. In fact, they’ve even gotten to present their research in a number of venues, including Young Scholars’ end-of-summer poster session, at the Emerging Researchers National Conference (ERN), and most recently, to the Champaign School Board. And for three local youth who have been a part of the program, Neha Hebbar, Darius Jackson, and Kerene Kombe, this extensive exposure to academia has pretty much sealed the deal: at least two of them want to continue the research path they’ve been pursuing once they get to college, and maybe even further.

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Natalie Beccera helps Wiley Elementary students test their solar car.Becerra and Muskin Expose Wiley Fifth Graders to Engineering Via Fun Solar Projects

March 7, 2019

On most Tuesday mornings since the end of January, Tanissa Tutwiler's 5th grade class at Wiley Elementary has been learning some things about mechanical, electrical, even environmental engineering via some cool hands-on projects, including making a solar cell and designing a solar car. The activities were presented by a couple of Illinois staff who are passionate about STEM education: Natalie Becerra, who currently works as Extra Help for the Graduate Office in Academic Affairs, but who dreams of doing STEM outreach permanently, and Joe Muskin, the Education Coordinator of the Mechanical Science and Engineering Department.

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Student looks through a telescopeSTEAM Studio AstroTech Unit Focuses on Telescopes Courtesy of Astronomy’s Wong

Feburary 22, 2019

When folks at STEAM Studio, Next Generation School's after-school program that emphasizes STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math [STEM], plus Art) were planning a curriculum on Astro-Technology, they recalled that the father of one of their students was an astronomer. So it made perfect sense for Illinois Astronomy Professor, Tony Wong, to come and present to Kristi Hiatt’s Tera class (3rd–5th graders). During his visit, Wong didn’t get to share much about his research in molecular clouds, star formation, or the evolution of galaxies, but he did get to zero in on a tool he uses on a pretty regular basis: the telescope. And not only did the students learn about different kinds of telescopes and what they’re good for, they actually got to put together some Galileo telescopes and look through them to see what they could see.

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A Monticello Middle School student assembles here teams incubator.Monticello Teacher Exposes Students to the Engineering Process Via a POETS-RET-Developed Curriculum

Feburary 20, 2019

For the last month or so, eighth graders in Jennifer Smith’s class at Monticello Middle School have been learning a whole lot about what being an engineer might be like. They’ve been designing infant incubators as part of a month-long curriculum Smith helped design when she participated in the POETS’ Research Experience for Teachers (RET). While doing so, they’ve not just learned some science and about the engineering process; they’ve experienced what working on a team is like.

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Joe Muskin explains an experiment to Cornerstone Christian Homeschoolers.Cornerstone Christian Homeschoolers’ Students Design Infant Incubators Using POETS RET-Developed Curriculum

January 24, 2019

Over the last several months, 7th through 12th grade students who are a part of a home school support group, Cornerstone Christian Homeschoolers, have not only been learning some things about engineering and heat, but they have been discovering that engineers work to solve real-world problems. Using a POETS RET-developed curriculum, Joe Muskin, Education Coordinator for the NSF-funded POETS (Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems) Engineering Research Center, has been working with the students who, after learning some of the science and engineering they might need to draw on, have been designing infant incubators for the developing world.

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Fourth grade teacher Jennifer Simmons looks on as two of her students test their solar car.Dr. Howard Fourth Graders Learn Engineering, Problem-Solving, While Building Solar Cars

November 6, 2018

Design. Build. Test. Tweak. Test again. These are the engineering design process steps three Illinois Engineering seniors, Peter Sokalski, George Popovic, and Cameron Harris, have been underscoring during their Fall 2018 visits to Dr. Howard School in Champaign. Their goal: introduce Jennifer Simmons’ fourth grade students to engineering via a fun solar car project. In addition to the kids learning about engineering and adding skills related to construction and problem solving, the three visitors, along with Ms. Simmons, also hoped that the students would grow personally in regards to their perseverance, communication skills. and self-confidence. Plus, their long-range goal was to show the kids that they too have what it takes to become engineers when it’s time to think about careers.

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Alexandra MoorePOETS REU Fosters Innovative Thinking to Change the Future of Power Dense Electronic Systems

August 15, 2018

Ever wonder what the future of electronics could look like—say over the next decade? As part of the POETS (Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal Systems) ERC's 10-week, NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), 15 students were able to explore the possibilities through authentic research experiences. Additionally, the students were exposed to a variety of educational programs that not only enhanced their knowledge base, and supplemented their research, but also exposed them to and prepared them for STEM careers.

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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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POETS’ REU Exposes Undergrad Students to Electro-Thermal Systems Research

August 21, 2017

Ever notice how much heat your electronic devices give off? Four undergraduate students had an opportunity this summer to not only learn about this issue, but possibly help do something about it as part of the 10-week REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) sponsored by the POETS (Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems) Engineering Research Center.

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Uni High Students Research Heat Pipes as Part of POETS’ RET Curriculum Development

May 31, 2017

Although they might not have realized it, during the spring 2017 quarter, students in David Bergandine’s three chemistry classes at University Laboratory High School (Uni High) did research projects about heat pipes that were part materials engineering, part physics, and part chemistry, along with a lot of science. While testing twelve different variables about heat pipes, they not only gained a lot of general knowledge related to heat flow and heat transfer, but gained some very in-depth knowledge about the specific area they researched. Plus, in addition to learning what research is like, his students got to present their research at POETS' 2017 High School Student Research Symposium on May 23rd..
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Local 8th Graders Build Solar Cars Courtesy of POETS' RET

May 23, 2017

After working for weeks designing solar cars, teams of eighth graders at University Laboratory High School and Next Generation School were either exultant or chagrined as they tested their cars to see if they would move when exposed to bright light. The project was part of the POETS’ RET program, where a team of four local science teachers were tasked with creating a multi-week curriculum unit related to power, heat, and power density that was aligned with Illinois’ Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

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POETS/ENVISION Seminar Seeks to Get Grad Students Hooked on Outreach

April 26, 2017

The objective of the contest? To build a pizza-box solar oven that would heat up a marshmallow to the hottest temperature possible. And in a room full of talented, competitive engineering graduate students in town for POETS’ second annual NSF Site Visit, the challenge wasn’t so much the design itself. It was being one of the first teams to finish in order to get one of the coveted, optimal spots in front of a limited number of lights! But for the leaders of the April 19th grad student outreach event, the more salient objective was to replicate their love of outreach in the participating grad students with the goal of increasing the number of youngsters exposed to STEM in the future.

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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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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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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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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.
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