Stories about...Women in Engineering (WIE)

WIE Orientation: Across Many Years, Ameliorations, It’s Still the Best Ticket in Town for Fostering Connections Among Engineering Women

August 31, 2020

Connections. This was the message 308 incoming female Engineering Freshmen received during the 18th WIE (Women in Engineering) Orientation, the fall 2020 semester kickoff designed to connect incoming freshmen with resources and foster relationships. The idea behind the August 19th and 20th event was to arm freshmen with the wisdom of upperclassmen, who had been in their shoes just a few short years ago; introduce them to both advisors and faculty in their departments to whom they could go for advice; and to foster relationship building among fellow freshmen in their departments and even in their courses.

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Illinois Alums Laguna and Zuzuly Encourage Women in Engineering During WIE Orientation

October 23, 2019

BFFs. Best friends forever. Even though Illinois alums Val Laguna and Ann Zuzuly graduated from Mechanical Science and Engineering six years ago, the close friendship they developed while here at Illinois is still intact. And though they now live and work several states apart, they still get together periodically to catch up. One of those times, probably the highlight of the summer for both, was coming back to their old stomping grounds to co-present as Keynote Speakers at the 2019 WIE Orientation in late August. There they had a chance to catch up with some old friends, encourage the next generation of women engineers, and possibly even recruit a few to their current companies as well.

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Fall 2019 WIE Orientation Introduces Engineering Freshmen Women to a Support System, Possibly Life-Long Friends

September 27, 2019

Simplicity. That was how the planners of the Women in Engineering (WIE) Orientation described their event for incoming female freshman engineering students. Their goal? To provide the same awesome program as in previous years—but condensed: only the evening of Wednesday, August 21st and all day Thursday the 22nd. Orientation sought to: introduce freshmen to their departments and to campus resources and where they could be found; provide sage advice, including from keynote speakers Ann Zuzuly and Valerie Laguna; and foster community-building, both with fellow freshmen and with mentors—older and wiser female engineering students who had successfully navigated the many challenges freshmen face. Of course, the icing on the cake was early move-in, avoiding the insanity of all-campus move-in day.

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Becoming Engineers at Illinois Triple the Fun for the Ponicki Sisters

September 26, 2018

When identical triplets Frances, Mary, and Theresa Ponicki were growing up, there wasn’t a huge push to get girls interested in STEM. But the three, currently seniors in the Systems Engineering and Design (SED) program in Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering (ISE) loved playing with Legos. Mind you, these weren’t the dumbed-down pink ones the toy manufacturer currently makes for girls, assuming they can’t handle the same kind of stuff boys can. This Lego kit was a hand-me-down from their older sister who had been interested in industrial design before switching to education— complete with gears that encouraged them to design and build machines. Frances claims that playing with Legos “kind of got us into STEM without us really even realizing it.” “We're really focused on design,” adds Theresa, “so it kind of runs in the family.”

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Amy Doroff sitting in front of the Quintessential Engineer statue.Alumna Amy Doroff Gives Back to Illinois Women in Engineering

September 4, 2018

Being a freshman woman in engineering at the University of Illinois is not an easy task. Not only are the classes especially challenging, but their populations tend to have many more males than females, which can be quite intimidating for freshman girls. This is exactly why Illinois alumna Amy Doroff decided to return to the university as a keynote speaker at the Women in Engineering (WIE) freshman orientation this fall. Doroff’s college experience certainly wasn’t easy, but she had received support from various people to help her push through it. Now, it’s her turn to be the one giving support to students. “I'm three years out of college now and I want to remind people that I made it to this point, but also that it wasn't because there weren't any challenges and I want to be part of their story now.”

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Hahn and Wolters’ New Book About Women Engineers at Illinois Poised to Inspire, Retain, and Recruit Women Engineers

August 30, 2018

Several years ago, Laura Hahn (currently the Director of Engineering’s Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education [AE3]) stumbled across the book, Men and Ideas in Engineering: Twelve Histories from Illinois. On her way to show it to Angie Wolters (current Director of Women in Engineering), she had an epiphany, and determined, “Oh, I know what we have to do: we have to write a sequel!” So she asked Wolters, “Do you see this?” and at that moment, the idea for Women and Ideas in Engineering: Twelve Stories from Illinois was born.

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Freshman Women in Engineering Get Ahead of the Curve At WIE Orientation

August 28, 2018

Avoiding the insanity of campus move-in day, 275 female freshman engineering students participated in the 16th annual WIE (Women in Engineering) orientation on August 21st– 23rd. Moving in early was a nice perk— they got to avoid being stuck waiting with mom and dad in a long line to unload one’s car at the dorm. However, most girls would say that wasn’t their main reason for coming. They hoped to get acquainted with campus, find out about their major and resources available to them, and to start building community. They hoped to see a familiar face the first day of class.

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Engineering Freshman Women Get Familiar With Campus, Learn About Illinois Resources, and Build Community at WIE Orientation

September 25, 2017

The “WIE by the Numbers” slide presented during the introductory session of WIE (Women in Engineering) Orientation, from August 22–24, 2017, says it all. Since its inception 15 years ago, 2,724 female freshman engineering students have participated in Orientation, with 268 students from the fall 2017 freshman class attending. Another impressive number? The 268 women attending Orientation were a just bit more than half of the total number of female engineering students in the fall 2017 class. This represents the largest number (496) and percentage (25%) of women ever in a freshman engineering class at Illinois—a milestone for Women in Engineering and a cause for celebration. And celebrate they did, as they arrived on campus a few days ahead of all-campus-move-in day, eager to get a head start—to get familiar with campus, make friends and build a community, and to receive sage advice from some older and wiser women in engineering.

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Mariano, Pace Encourage Female Engineering Students: "You Too Can Succeed!"

August 29, 2017

On August 22–24, two rising stars at Texas Instruments (TI) were back at their Alma Mater for the Women in Engineering (WIE) Freshman Orientation, an event designed to give incoming female engineering students a jump start on their semester. Since one of the program’s objectives was for older and wiser women to impart wisdom to the rookies, these two recent (May, 2016) ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering) graduates, Paula-Angela Mariano and Molly Pace, were the Keynote Speakers for the event, plus taught a workshop related to internships with TI. The two were on hand to share not only about their triumphs, but their somewhat rocky beginnings; to recommend resources that helped them overcome challenges they encountered; and to pass on some sage advice about how to not just survive but thrive at Illinois. Their main goal? To encourage their younger sisters that they, too, would someday be proud Engineering graduates.

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New Female Engineer Statue to Inspire Women— Past, Present, and Future—to Embrace Engineering

May 30, 2017

Confident. Passionate. Intelligent. Courageous. Innovative. Resilient. Pioneering. Successful. Inspirational. These character traits describing Illinois’ women engineers are emblazoned on the platforms which support the Quintessential Engineer, Illinois’ newest statue: a female engineer. Unveiled on April 28, 2017, the statue, located just east of MNTL, was four years in the making. While Engineering grad student Sakshi Srivastava is quick to credit Texas Instruments, artist Julie Roblatt Amrany, and the many folks across campus who helped to bring it about, it was Srivastava who first dreamed of a statue to serve as a role model for young women. And it was Srivastava's courage, confidence, and determination (plus a little help from her friends) that helped that dream become a reality.
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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).
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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.

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At WIE Orientation, Engineering Freshman Women Experience Campus, Build Community

September 13, 2016

The week before classes began for the Fall 2016 Semester, 251 Engineering freshman women sacrificed their last week of summer vacation to attend Women in Engineering (WIE) Orientation on August 16–18. These future engineers showed up early hoping to get a jump start on the fall semester…and they did.

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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.

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WIE Lead Fosters Leadership in Illinois' Women in Engineering

March 22, 2016

“I just want to ensure that these women have a chance to develop these additional personal skills, professional skills, so they feel empowered to be leaders.” Angie Wolters

The Women in Engineering (WIE) organization in the College of Engineering prepares women to succeed in engineering. While a major focus of WIE is to help them be successful at Illinois, the organization also seeks to help them be successful beyond Illinois by providing them with the skills they will need to get ahead in their future careers. So in the 2015–2016 academic year, WIE leaders began a new leadership series called WIE Lead, which features monthly workshops highlighting students, faculty, and alumni who share their stories about how they've grappled with specific leadership principles.
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An engineering student turns in her team's completed Lego structure.WIE Orientation 2015 Shows Female Engineering Freshmen the Ropes

September 9, 2015

To get a head start on their first year in Engineering at Illinois, 257 young women attended the 2015 Women in Engineering (WIE) Orientation on August 18–19, 2015. One perk of participating? Getting to move in early to avoid the traffic jam that is move-in day. But more importantly, these freshmen got a head start on community building and networking with peers, especially in their engineering disciplines. Other WIE Orientation goals were to introduce the girls to key folks in their departments, acquaint them with campus, plus provide practical tips to help them be successful students.
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During the Faith Walk exercise, the WIE camper who must keep her eyes shut is led across a bridge by her partner who cannot speak to give her instructions.WIE Camp 2014: Creating Community for Female Engineering Students

August 25, 2014

Dean Susan Larson recalls that when she took over as the Director of Women in Engineering (WIE) in 2003, she thought, "The women need something to get started. They're a minority, but if they know one another, they'll be ok. They'll form a community; they'll make those connections." So, hoping to "bring them all together to get to know one another and get to know the campus and some of the instructors and advisors here," she started WIE Camp.
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Val Laguna and Ann ZuzulyFrom 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.
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Women in Engineering Camp Facilitates Relationship Building

August 30, 2012

On Monday, August 20th, 200+ women enrolled in the College of Engineering at Illinois converged on Loomis Lab for breakfast and orientation sessions, then toured campus and experienced relationship building at Allerton Park as a part of the Women in Engineering Freshman Orientation Camp. According to Angie Wolters, Assistant Director of Women in Engineering, the purpose of the camp was to "engage them, introduce them to the College of Engineering on campus, and give them an opportunity to all come together and create a cohort for their incoming freshman class of women."
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Nobel Project’s End-of-Year Zoom Bash Recaps Learning

February 1, 2022
The STEM Illinois Nobel Project held a special, end-of-the-year Zoom event celebrating its participating students’ achievements.
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It’s not magic, it’s physics

January 26, 2022
In Franklin STEAM Academy, Musical Magnetism program makes STEM fun, approachable.
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Program prepares STEM educators to teach all students

November 30, 2021
This summer, a group of educators gathered to learn about engaging STEM activities they can do with their students.
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Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program

November 11, 2021
Undergrads get a taste of research through I-MRSEC’s REU program.
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Goldstein’s Renaissance Engineering Summer Camp

November 1, 2021
Goldstein’s Renaissance Engineering Summer Camp Incorporates Art, Design, Mechatronics, and Mentoring
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TechTogether Chicago to Redefine the Hacker Stereotype

July 10, 2021
New workshops that can help inspire students to pursue careers in technology..
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Aerospace Engineering Launches Virtual Summer Camps to Pique Students’ Interest in Aero.

July 2, 2021
Design an aircraft then watch it soar after launching it with a huge rubber band. Build a Mars lander to safely transport a real egg, then test the contraption by dropping it from a second story window.
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Undergrads Experience Materials Science Research Courtesy of the I-MRSEC REU

June 16, 2021
Ten undergraduate students are spending the summer of 2021 discovering what research is like.
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MatSE Afterschool Academy

MatSE Afterschool Academy

June 14, 2021
MatSE Afterschool Academy to Introduce Students to Materials Science and Beyond.
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Taylor Tucker Embraces Multidisciplinary Interest

Taylor Tucker Embraces Multidisciplinary Interest

June 14, 2021
Taylor Tucker Embraces Multidisciplinary Interest While Researching Task Collaboration.
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Exposes Franklin Middle Schoolers to Science, CS

What Studying Engineering at Illinois is Like?

May 25, 2021
NSBE’s Michaela Horn Exposes Franklin Middle Schoolers to Science, CS, and What Studying Engineering at Illinois is Like.
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Jenny Saves a Convertible.

Children’s-Book-Writing Duo/

May 19, 2021
Convertibles and Thunderstorms—Children’s-Book-Writing Duo on Their Way Thanks to Illinois Training and Encouragement from Mentors.
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Improve Learning in Engineering

Improve Learning in Engineering

May 17, 2021
Liebenberg Espouses Mini-Projects to Engage Students Emotionally, Improve Learning in Engineering.
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Joshua Whitely makes an adjustment to the 3D Bioprinter during the demo.

BIOE435 Capstone Projects

May 12, 2021
BIOE435 Capstone Projects - BIOE Seniors Use Knowledge/Skills to Problem Solve.
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Elani and Gonzalo shine a UV light on a rose that has absorbed a solution that has made it fluorescent.

Illinois Scientists Shine a (UV) Light on Fluorescence

May 7, 2021
What is fluorescence? What causes it?
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Joshua Whitely makes an adjustment to the 3D Bioprinter during the demo.

HackIllinois 2021 “Rekindled Connections” With The Tech Community

May 5, 2021
Annual student hackathon HackIllinois with the aim of developing projects on current problems facing society.
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A Shane Mayer-Gawlik image of the Bridger Aurora, part of his Night Skies photography collection exhibited at the Art-Science Festival.

The Art-Science Festival

April 26, 2021
Illinois Art-Science Festival: Illuminating the Universe...from the Quantum World to the Cosmos.
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Joshua Whitely makes an adjustment to the 3D Bioprinter during the demo.

Illinois Engineering Seniors Prepared to Change the World

April 22, 2021
Ready. Set. Go! Illinois Engineering Seniors Prepared to Change the World.
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HML 2021 Virtual Health

HML 2021 Virtual Health

April 19, 2021
Make-a-Thon Gives Citizen Scientists a Shot at Making Their Health-Related Innovations a Reality.
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I-MRSEC’s Music Video

I-MRSEC’s Music Video

April 7, 2021
I-MRSEC’s Music Video for EOH ’21 Plugs Graphene, 2D Materials
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Health Make-a-Thon Orientation

HML 2021 Health Orientation

March 30, 2021
HML 2021 Health Make-a-Thon Orientation Prepares Finalists for Competition.
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Andrea Perry shows Franklin students how to take apart the magnetic drawing board they received in their kit

Musical Magnetism

March 25, 2021
Musical Magnetism: Encouraging Franklin Middle Schoolers to Express Science Via the Arts.
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Carmen Paquette street performing.

Love of Science

March 9, 2021
Paquette Conveys Her Love of Science, Dance to Franklin STEAM Students Via Musical Magnetism.
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An Engineering Exploration participant exhibits the tower they built as part of the engineering challenge related to Civil Engineering

Engineering Exploration

March 2, 2021
SWE’s Engineering Exploration Outreach Lives Up to Its Name.

ChiS&E’s Family STEM Day

ChiS&E’s Family STEM Day

February 23, 2021
Helps Chicago Youngsters Progress Along the STEM Pipeline Toward Engineering.

Kathny Walsh

Kathy Walsh

February 17, 2021
On Her First Foray into STEAM, Kathy Walsh Acquaints Franklin Students with Microscopy, Haiku.

ChiS&E student

ChiS&E CPS Students

January 19, 2021
Illinois Undergrads Encourage ChiS&E CPS Students Toward Possible Careers in Engineering.

I-MRSEC’s Music Video

CISTEME365 Provides Year-Round PD/Community

January 4, 2021
to Illinois Teachers in Support of Informal STEM Education Efforts to Underserved Students.