Spotlight on Illinois Students
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rodriguez-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.
Suarez & Josek Use Insects & Robots to Teach Bioinspiration at STEAM Studio
October 14, 2015
Taking a short break from their entomology research, Illinois Professor Andy Suarez and Ph.D. student Tanya Josek visited Next Generation School’s STEAM Studio, an after-school program that incorporates art into its STEM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Math). There they taught the students about bioinspiration— how biology can inspire engineering. The two incorporated a variety of hands-on activities guaranteed to engage the youngsters, teaching them about a couple of their favorite subjects: insects and insect-inspired robots.
Aerospace Engineering Freshman Katie Carroll's Trek Along the STEM Pipeline
October 21, 2015
Kids tend to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Judy Garland’s daughter, Lisa Minelli, became a singer too. Goldie Hawn's daughter, Kate Hudson, became an actress. Racecar driver A.J. Foyt's son races cars. George Bush senior’s sons are all politicians. And just like Mom and Dad, Katie Carroll is studying to become an aerospace engineer. But while some might say she’s just following in her folks' footsteps, others might claim that her early and repeated exposure to STEM along the STEM Pipeline had something to do with it.
Two Illinois Students to Make Low-Cost Bionic Prosthetics More Accessible
April 30, 2015
Patrick Slade, a junior in MechSE, and Aadeel Akhtar, a Ph.D. student in Neuroscience, have the same tastes in a lot of things. For one, they both like to play guitar. They listen to the same kind of music. Members of the Bretl Robotics and Neuroscience Research Group, they both research bionic prostheses. And they both decided that someone should build more low-cost prostheses, so even people in third-world countries can have access to the technology. So in their spare time, they've started a company, PSYONIC. And they're on their way: Akhtar and Slade and their fledgling company recently won the Cozad New Venture Competition held on Friday, April 24 at the Illini Union; the prize: $25,000 to begin their company and start building prostheses like the ones they've been designing—only better, and at a lower cost!
Kelsie Kelly Gives Back to the Community Via STEM Outreach and Mentoring
March 30, 2015
Kelsie Kelly’s goal in a lot of what she does is to pay it forward.
A Ph.D. student in Community Health, Kelly has lofty career aspirations which appear to have been influenced by her own experiences. For one, she would eventually like to start a women’s clinic—no doubt influenced by the many outreach programs in which she participated growing up. Her other dream—starting a non-profit organization that mentors underrepresented students—probably came about because both mentoring and being mentored were so important early on in her life...and still are: "I have a bunch of mentors in Milwaukee whom I still talk to regularly to make sure I'm staying on track," she admits.
MechSE's Benjamin Sohn Gives Local Kids a Taste of Engineering
December 2, 2014
Benjamin Sohn, an Illinois Ph.D. student in Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE), devoted his lunch hour several Tuesdays this fall to sharing his love of engineering with local youngsters at Champaign Unit 4’s Dr. Howard School. Working with students in Ellen Elrick’s 3rd grade class, Sohn taught the students some engineering principles while showing them how fun engineering can be.
From Moon Rocks to Test Tubes: Arzeena Ali Exemplifies the STEM Pipeline in Action
September 3, 2014
Chemistry Merit Scholar and Nano@Illinois REU participant Arzeena Sultana Ali has never met a STEM subject—or STEM program—she didn't like. Exposure to science early on piqued her interest, and from then on, she was hooked. "I always knew I wanted to do science from a very young age," Ali admits. So it was just a matter of figuring out which discipline.
Imani Palmer—One of the Good Guys in the Digital World
May 15, 2014
“The only assumption about digital security that you can make is that nothing is truly secure.” –Imani Palmer
As most of us are aware, our increasingly digital society has given rise to cybercriminals who can commit a crime with far-reaching impacts from anyplace the world. All they need is a computer and the internet. That’s why the newly-emerging field of Digital Forensics (DF) is so important. In order to catch and stop the bad guys, the good guys need to be just as good—maybe even better.
MechSE's Dostart Hopes to Influence Local Youngsters to Choose Engineering
December 9, 2013
Nathan Dostart, a senior in Mechanical Science and Engineering, spent some early mornings at Stratton School this fall, showing Zanne Newman's fourth graders "that engineering is really cool."
MechSE Senior Christine Littrell Poised to Change the World
November 5, 2012
"Frankly, she's just a tremendous advocate for the department. She is one heck of a good ambassador for us." Bob Coverdill
What was it that first made Christine Littrell stand out from the crowd as a freshman, besides her stunning, could-have-been-a-model good looks? According to Bob Coverdill, Director of Advancement for Mechanical Science and Engineering, she always wore purple—and had a matching purple laptop to boot.
EBICS REU Student Contributes to Research on Neuron Cells
September 27, 2012
Rather than lazing the summer away like some of his peers, Ryan Tapping, an Illinois undergraduate student, spent his productively—making a significant contribution to research. The experiment? Studying how neuron cells from a rat brain form clusters.
Participating in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, Tapping worked with faculty member Martha Gillette, who is part of EBICS (Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems)...
From WIE Camp to Seniors: Two Future Engineers Credit Illinois' Community of Support
September 5, 2012
Ann Zuzuly and Val Laguna were poster children for Women in Engineering's Freshman Orientation Camp this fall. Their mothers wrote a letter to parents of incoming freshman women, encouraging them to send their daughters to the camp by describing how their own daughters had benefitted from it. The camp could have received no better recommendation.
High School Student Experiences Life in an Illinois Lab
July 2, 2012
Nathan Beauchamp jangles the key from his pocket, unlocks the double door and reaches towards the four light switches wrapped around the adjacent wall. The 15-year-old flips the lights with the blind cool only muscle memory can foster. The Unit Operations Lab in the basement of Roger Adams Laboratory at the University of Illinois bursts awake.
Beauchamp is tired today—he stayed up late completing a poster he will present on Friday while explaining his research in the field of 3D printing—and walks to his computer more laboriously than usual.
Illinois Ag student Tristesse Jones is STEM education success story
December 9, 2009
Tristesse Jones, a senior majoring in crop sciences and preparing to be a research biologist, followed the STEM education pipeline to the University of Illinois.