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Stories about...Illinois Legacies

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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Aerospace Engineering's Katie Carroll: Poised to Explore Andromeda…and Beyond

September 17, 2019

When someone graduates, it’s usually a poignant mix of nostalgic reflection on the past and a hopeful gaze into the future. In May 2019, Katie Carroll graduated from Aerospace Engineering. And just as this writer couldn’t help but do an article about Carroll’s voyage down the STEM pipeline when she was a freshman, I felt it was only fitting that I close the chapter on her time at Illinois with a walk down memory lane, looking at the things she considered most significant in her past, and a bit of a look into what’s in her future.

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Adriana CoaritiAdriana Coariti Passionate About STEM Outreach, Cooking Up a Multidisciplinary Masterpiece

“I love multidisciplinary work. I think that brings the best of every world together. It's like cooking. You get all of your best ingredients, and if you know some type of cuisine and you can combine it with another, you can cook something great.” – Adriana Coariti

August 8, 2019

When high schoolers in the WYSE (Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering) camp were struggling with how to insert a bubble inside another bubble, Adriana Coariti was there to help the students trouble shoot. And when youngsters at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum’s Creative Science Camp couldn’t get the wand they’d designed to make rectangular bubbles, she was by their side, effervescently encouraging them to follow their intuition. Extremely passionate about multidisciplinary engineering, Coariti is just as passionate about STEM outreach. So she got involved with the two summer 2019 outreach opportunities in hopes of helping the youth build their scientific intuition.

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May '19 Industrial and System Engineering grads, Frances Ponicki, Teresa Ponicki, Mary Ponicki, and Siobhan Fox, ready for graduation.Female Industrial and Systems Engineering Graduates Poised to Make a Difference

May 17, 2019

Ready. Set. Go! It’s May, and a new batch of Illinois engineers, including Siobhan Fox and Frances, Teresa, and Mary Ponicki, with whom I-STEM has had significant interactions during their tenure at Illinois, are chomping at the bit to go out and change the world. The top of their respective high school classes, upon arriving on campus as freshmen, they discovered that it was a whole new ball game. They all experienced failure in one form or another, or encountered challenges that they had to work to overcome. But through the community here at Illinois, including some amazing Engineering professors, they overcame those challenges and have emerged prepared for the future—well-trained, inspired, and excited to use their knowledge and skills to problem solve and to make the world a better place.

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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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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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ACES Family Academies Shows Youngsters: "It's Not Your Parents'
(or Your Grandparents') ACES Anymore!"

July 19, 2017

“To be able to tell our story, I think that's what's so important—so people can see all of these opportunities and see what ACES is today.” – ACES Family Academies Director, Tina Veal

They came from near and far, back to their Alma Mater…back to ACES, where they got prepared for their careers and for life. The trip was nostalgic—visiting old haunts, reminiscing, and marveling at the many changes on campus. But as they returned with their children (or grandchildren) in tow, they had a greater purpose: to introduce the next generation to the center of learning that helped to make them who they are today, to bond with them while doing a variety of fun learning activities, and to possibly do a little recruiting to Illinois.
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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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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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Aeronautical Engineering freshman Katie CarrollAerospace 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.
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Uni High summer campers and Bob Coverdill prepare to launch bottle rocket.Father-Son Team Helps Youngsters Discover—Engineering Is Cool

August 8, 2012

The temperatures weren't the only thing that soared during University Laboratory High School's Summer Enrichment Camp 2012. In a session on aeronautical engineering taught by a local father and son team, some middle school students got a chance to fly gliders they constructed themselves. Despite the hot temperatures, they found out engineering can be cool.
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