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Stories about... Summer Research

nano@Illinois RET Teachers Experience Cutting-Edge Nanotechnology Research—Introduce It to Their Students

September 18, 2017

In its fourth and final year, the nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET), funded by the National Science Foundation, offered eleven P–20 STEM teachers the opportunity to do cutting-edge research in the field of nanotechnology under some of Illinois’ premier researchers in the field. The second emphasis of the RET was for teachers to develop modules related to their research that could be used in their own and other classrooms. The goal of the RET is that, based on teachers’ resulting enthusiasm, content knowledge, and increased familiarity with possible careers in the field, along with the modules they develop, which will be available for use by other teachers as well, a larger number of students will be exposed to the field.


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’ 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.


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.


Bioimaging REU Exposes Undergrads to Imaging Research, What Grad School is Like

July 18, 2017

In its third summer, the Bioimaging Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) allowed four undergraduate students to experience research on imaging. Not only did they learn about the specific area they were researching; but they acquired new skills related to imaging; gained professional skills, such as how to present their research; plus learned what graduate school is like. For some, it confirmed that graduate school/research was in their future.


At Blue Waters Institute, Students Use Parallel Computing, Super Computer, to Speed Up Research

June 28, 2017

With the goal of learning High-Performance Computing (HPC), 26 students were on campus from May 29th through June 9th as part of the 2017 Blue Waters Institute. While some were graduate students from the XSEDE project, 18 were undergraduate Blue Waters Interns. Not only did these interns spend two weeks learning about parallel computing, but over the next year, they will continue to use their newly acquired HPC skills—and the Blue Waters Super Computer—to analyze data for their Blue Waters research projects back at their home institutions.


nano@illinois RET's Tatiana Stine Hopes to Help Expose Youngsters to Nanotechnology

September 5, 2016

An instructional coach at a local school, Tatiana Stine is passionate about helping her teachers implement the Next Generation Science Standards—especially engineering. A participant in the nano@illinois RET program this past summer, she got to work with innovative nanotechnology while conducting research on graphene. And she not only learned a lot of new things, she developed teaching modules she plans to take back to her teachers. And one day, while waiting for gold nanoparticles to deposit on her device, she came up with a fun and novel way to teach youngsters about nanotechology—Gene the Graphene.

nano@illinois RET Teachers Discover Nanotechnology's Big Impact—Hope Their Students Will Too

August 31, 2016

If you get them hooked early, the kids will think graphene is so cool, and that spark could make them the next big nano scientist.” – Tatiana Stine

This summer 11 teachers of varying grade levels and backgrounds participated in the nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET) funded by the National Science Foundation. While participating in research in a wide range of areas, these teachers’ eyes were opened to the intricate world of nanotechnology and all the possibilities it offers. But while the research is important, that’s not the program's only goal. It is expected that these teachers will then take all that they learned through their research on nanotechnology and, with support from staff and other teachers, translate it into lesson modules they can use with their students back home. It is hoped that as they are able to successfully teach their students what they’ve learned, they’ll not only be exposing them to STEM, but some of its cutting-edge possibilities, like nanotechnology, that their students may never been exposed to before because of a variety of factors, including their socioeconomic background.

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 Consider Nanotechnology Careers Thanks to nano@illinois REU

August 10, 2016

During the summer of 2016, ten undergraduate students learned about nanotechnology as part of the NSF-funded nano@illinois Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). While spending the summer performing research in the labs of some of Illinois’ premier researchers, the students not only learned a lot about the area in nanotechnology that they were studying; they learned what grad school is like and got some pointers on how to apply. Finally, many of them discovered that they liked research…a lot. In fact, some even decided that the area they researched over the summer was the area they wanted to concentrate on in the future.

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.


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.


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.

Rumya Raghavannano@illinois REU Undergrads Experience Growth Via Nanotechnology Research

August 27, 2015

"I definitely think the best learning experiences are those that push you out of your comfort zone." – Rumya Raghavan

Eleven undergraduate students spent the summer working in the labs of some of Illinois' world-class researchers as part of the 10-week nano@illinois REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates). Not only did participants perform nanotechnology research, but they were challenged both professionally and personally as they learned new things about nanotechnology, about life in a research lab, and about themselves. As a result of their experience, some decided that graduate school might be in their future; some even considering careers in nanotechnology research.

nano@illinois REU participant Sahil Nayyar REU Undergrads Experience Research, What Graduate School Is Like

August 25, 2015

Twenty-six undergrads helped with cutting-edge research at Illinois this past summer as part of three NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs: the nano@illinois, EBICS, and Bioimaging REUs. In addition to the research experience itself, as a side benefit, participants got to find out what being a graduate student is like and possibly decide if research—particularly the area they were studying this summer—might be the career for them.

EBICS REU participant Solomon McBride2015 EBICS REU Introduces Undergrads to the World of Research, Graduate School

August 25, 2015

While performing cutting-edge research at Illinois this past summer as part of the NSF-funded EBICS (Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Celllular Systems) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), the five students gained more than a deeper understanding of the subject they were studying; they learned time management, networked with researchers, and experienced what it's like to be graduate students.

REU participant Casey TroccoliSummer Research Experience Exposes Undergrads to Bioimaging at Illinois

August 24, 2015

One goal of the NSF-funded Bioengineering REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) was that students who participated this summer would consider going to graduate school, and hopefully in bioimaging—and it appears they might have achieved that goal. The ten undergrads who participated in the REU not only performed cutting-edge bioimaging research; they also found out what grad school is like, and some even decided that the area they researched this summer might be the career for them—and that Illinois is the place to prepare for it.

During the recent RET poster session, Azza Ezzat shares with a visitor about her research on receptor differences in cancer cells.RET Teachers Experience Multidisciplinary Nanotechnology Research via nano@illinois

August 3, 2015

When the twelve P-20 STEM teachers participating in this summer’s iteration of nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET) arrived on campus to do research in some of Illinois’ state-of-the-art labs under some of Illinois’ premier researchers, they learned a whole lot about their research topics. And while learning about converting 3D files to DNA brick objects, or receptor differences in cancer cells, or graphene, or that micro cavities can trap light between mirrors, they discovered one overarching fact about nanotechnology research at Illinois: it isn’t all housed in one particular department. While nanotechnology is about things that are really, really small, nanotechnology research on campus is really big and is spread out across numerous disciplines.

Bharathi Subramaniasiva performs research on Self-Rolled Up Membranes in the MNTL clean room.2015 nano@illinois RET Teachers Perform Nanotechnology Research, Make Modules

August 3, 2015

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET) offered eleven practicing P-20 STEM teachers and one pre-service teacher the chance to do research under some of Illinois’ premier researchers in their state-of-the-art labs. Over the next year, teachers are then to develop a module related to their nanotechnology research that can be used in their own or other classrooms. According to Program Coordinator Carrie Kouadio, the RET's main goal is “that the students will be impacted and can benefit from the teacher's increased enthusiasm, higher content knowledge, and ability to direct them in considering careers.”

XSEDE Scholar Wanda Moses, a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at Clemson UniversityPetascale Institute Introduces Students to High-Performance Computing

June 12, 2015

Most of the 34 students who attended the two-week Petascale Institute May 24th–June 5th are not in computer science; however, by the middle of the second week, they were glibly rattling off HPC (High Performance Computing) jargon, confidently referring to concepts most of us have either never heard of or have no idea what they actually are, like: OpenMP and MPI, vector accelerators, OpenACC, CUDA, debugging, optimization, and visualization. Their goal? To learn enough about parallel computing to be able to use Blue Waters or another supercomputer to analyze data for projects ranging from studying black holes, neutron stars, and galaxies, to natural language acquisition, visualization in cyber security, or protein folding using molecular dynamic simulations.

Local Biology Teacher to Introduce her Students to Research on Quantum Dots

July 10, 2014

“I teach in a very small school with limited resources," says science teacher Aubrey Wachtel, "so one of the best things that I can do is have experiences and then bring them back to the classroom." So this summer, Wachtel is experiencing nanotechnlogy while researching quantum dots."

2014 RET Participant Dan Reed, Local Science Teachers Experience Research in NanoTechnology

July 9, 2014

For the next three years, a number of area science teachers will have an opportunity to participate in the Nano@illinois RET, where they will not only learn about, but actually participate in, cutting edge research in nanotechnology and even adapt some of what they have learned for students in their classrooms.

A Blue Waters intern displays the tatoo she got during a tour of the Petascale facility. The message: Live free; code hardInterns Have an Up-Close-and-Personal Encounter With Blue Waters

June 24, 2014

Ever want to take a super-computer for a spin? Students from around the country who participate in the Blue Waters Student Internship Program recently got to do just that. After learning about parallel programming—the language of supercomputers—the interns being exposed to HPC (High-Performance Computing) got to run their program on the University of Illinois' Blue Waters, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world and the fastest on a university campus.

Hannah LantChemistry REU Increases Likelihood That Students Choose STEM/Research Careers

August 30, 2013

Fourteen young researchers from all over the U.S. were on campus this summer participating in a 10-week Chemistry REU program (Research Experience for Undergraduates) funded by the National Science Foundation. These undergrads experienced firsthand what research in chemistry is like at a world-class university— and what being a grad student might be like.

EBICS REU undergrad Madeline TolishEBICS REU Students Experience Research on Biological Machines

August 29, 2013

Not too long ago, the five undergrad students who spent the summer in Illinois labs could only have encountered biological machines in one place—straight out of Sci-Fi. But as part of EBICS' (Emergent Behavior of Integrated Cellular Systems) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, these students got to conduct research in ground-breaking new areas like biological machines and biomedical engineering.

Vikram Bagchi performing research on the navel orangeworm in the Berenbaum lab. I-STEM Program Gives Local High Schoolers Research Experience at Illinois

July 11, 2013

Instead of tanning in the sun and playing video games all day, a group of high school students chose to devote part of their summer vacation to research in Illinois labs.

This summer 24 students from University Laboratory High School participated in the third annual I-STEM High School Research Experience...

Juliana TrachEBICS Offers High Schoolers Research at the Intersection of Biology & Engineering

November 27, 2012

In summer 2012, three high school students had the opportunity to participate in authentic summer research opportunities at the intersection of biology and engineering. Sponsored by EBICS (Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems), these students participated in its High School Research Program, which seeks to increase the number of students who choose careers in the discipline by exposing high school students (especially those underrepresented in STEM fields) to research opportunities in the new discipline.

Ryan TappingEBICS 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)...

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...

Emily RabeSummer Research Experiences Steer Undergrads Toward STEM Careers

July 27, 2012

Instead of lounging by the pool this summer, a number of undergraduate students have been in Illinois labs—not only conducting research—but possibly figuring out what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
Participants in the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, these students are experiencing what real research is like. For many of them, this experience has also exposed them to what graduate school is like. For others...

David Gong analyzes bone samples in Dr. Kristin Hedman's lab.High Schoolers Gain Authentic Research Experience at Illinois

July 9, 2012

For some students, participating in this summer's I-STEM High School Summer Research Experience confirmed their inclination to pursue a career in a specific STEM field. For others, STEM is now a viable career option. For others still, it convinced them that the field in which they conducted research is the last field they would ever consider for a career. Every student came out with a better understanding of STEM. Just as intended.

Nathan BeauchampHigh 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.

Uni High student in Illinois lab.Uni High Students Experience
Cutting-Edge Research at Illinois

July 11, 2012

On the northeastern edge of campus, University Laboratory High school’s proximity to Illinois’ myriad research facilities made it an ideal partner for I-STEM’s pilot project offering summer research opportunities to high school students. Of the 50 or so students who applied, 19 were chosen on the basis of both their performance in science and math and of their application, which included an essay on their interest in science and how participating would prepare them for a possible career in science.

OLLI participant Jo Pride working in Illinois lab.OLLI Offers Mature Adults Learning and Research Opportunities

February 12, 2012

Unlike some senior adults who, after retiring from full-time jobs also retire from learning, a group of local retirees are continuing to learn—not only in the classroom—but in some more unusual places: Illinois' research labs. These seniors are participants in the OLLI Scientist Program, sponsored by Illinois' Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, more commonly referred to simply as OLLI, which is a program of learning opportunities for adults age 50 or older. These opportunities range from classes offered on campus to lab work, a lecture series, and overseas travel.

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.

Tristesse JonesIllinois 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.