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During Illinois Space Day 2019, a Mahomet Seymour 7th grader prepares to test his team's egg drop lander
During Illinois Space Day 2019, a Mahomet Seymour 7th grader prepares to test his team's egg drop lander.

About Us

Our vision for Illinois as a land-grant institution is to foster accessible, effective STEM teaching and learning—rom preschool through graduate education—at local, state, and national levels, thereby preparing a highly able citizenry and diverse STEM workforce to tackle pressing global challenges.


As we become more reliant on advances in science, technology, and engineering to meet challenges in national defense, climate change, health, energy, economic growth, safe and accessible food, and environmental protection, the demand for highly able scientists, engineers, and health professionals reaches unprecedented levels.

National Academy of Sciences, 2008


A local visitor to Ciencias! plays with slime at the States of Matter station; Ciencias! is a program supported by university groups such as I-MRSEC, an NSF Center I-STEM evaluates, and SACNAS, a Hispanic student organization.

Why a Campus Focus on STEM Education?

Our world increasingly relies on science and technology to solve some of today’s most intractable problems. As noted in the National Science and Technology Council report, Federal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Strategic Plan (2013), improving STEM education will continue to be a high priority. In addition, as noted by the Committee on STEM Education of the National Science & Technology Council (2018), the character of STEM education “has been evolving from a set of overlapping disciplines into a more integrated and interdisciplinary approach to learning and skill development.” Perhaps at no time in our nation’s history has a strong, comprehensive system of education been so essential in order to promote STEM literacy for the individual, for schools, and for all society in the 21st century. As challenges mount in such areas as national defense, climate change, health, energy, economic growth, food safety and accessibility, and environmental protection, so does the demand for highly able scientists, engineers, and health professionals. As the flagship campus of one of the nation’s premier land-grant research universities, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to playing an active role in the improvement of innovative, multidisciplinary STEM education at all levels.

What is STEM?

The acronym STEM refers to four broad fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This can include teaching, learning, conducting research, or working in one, or a combination, of these areas.

What is I-STEM?

The I-STEM Education Initiative (I-STEM)—a campus coalition grounded in Education and led by the Office of the Provost under the CITL (Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning) umbrella—involves Liberal Arts & Sciences, Education, Engineering, Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Applied Health Sciences, Medicine, Library and Information Sciences, Social Work, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, the Institute for Genomic Biology, and other units. I-STEM collaborates with Illinois campus units and external organizations locally and around the world to meet three goals:

  • Foster STEM Citizenship Through STEM Communication & Public Engagement.
  • Foster Undergraduate & Graduate STEM Education Reform.
  • Advocate for STEM Education; Disseminate Evaluation Information.

I-STEM works with internal and external partners to evaluate STEM education programs, provide news coverage of STEM initiatives and events; facilitate the development of education and outreach programs; serve as advocates for STEM education in the state and the nation, such as at national conferences; and to disseminate results regarding STEM Education evaluations.



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

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

Love of Science

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

SWE’s Engineering Exploration Outreach Lives Up to Its Name.

ChiS&E’s Family STEM Day

ChiS&E’s Family STEM Day

Helps Chicago Youngsters Progress Along the STEM Pipeline Toward Engineering.

Kathny Walsh

Kathy Walsh

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

ChiS&E student

ChiS&E CPS Students

Illinois Undergrads Encourage ChiS&E CPS Students Toward Possible Careers in Engineering.

I-MRSEC’s Music Video

CISTEME365 Provides Year-Round PD/Community

to Illinois Teachers in Support of Informal STEM Education Efforts to Underserved Students.