E-mail and search functions

I-STEM Education Initiative

Return to I-STEM home page

Main Navigation

For those using screen readers: Disregard the following Javascript. It contains no content.

Top Stories

(Note: Web articles are organized in descending order from the newest to the oldest articles.)

STEAM Studio director Angela Nelson (right) works with a student making a headlampSTEAM Studio Uses Science, Technology, and Art to Go “Virtually Spelunking” in Caves—Exploring Everything From Spiders to Bats to 3D Cave Painting to GPS

November 16, 2017

It all started with a unit on insects. Then, not to overlook them, spiders were given equal coverage. Then one thing led to another, until recently, STEAM Studio, Next Generation School’s after-school program which incorporates art into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Mathematics), just finished doing an entire unit on caves which incorporated everything from identifying types of caves and how they’re formed, to sonar (how bats navigate through caves), to 3D cave painting, to exploring the world's caves through both GPS and virtual tours, and more.

FULL STORY


Moana-Themed Mommy, Me, and SWE Makes a Splash With Young Girls (and Their Moms), as They Learn About Engineering

November 14, 2017

From building a boat (then watching it sink), to building a house (then watching as it was demolished during a hurricane)—all scenarios Moana might have experienced—fourteen 4th–6th grade girls gathered at the John Deere Pavilion on Saturday, November 4, to participate in Mommy, Me, and SWE and learn a bit about engineering. While the main goal for this engineering outreach event hosted by Illinois’ chapter of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) was to educate girls about different engineering disciplines, they didn’t do it all alone. In a special twist, the girls’ moms were in attendance, too, participating in the activities right alongside the girls! The SWE members who participated hoped that this event might help the girls become interested in engineering, and that their mothers could learn more about it as well, in order to encourage them towards it.

FULL STORY


Paola Estrada during during the I-STEM Camp's MCB DayMCB’s Paola Estrada Passionate About Research, Getting Students Excited About Science

November 9, 2017

PhD students, as a general rule, have very little free time—most of their waking hours are spent holed up in some lab doing research. The precious little free time they do get, most choose to use it getting caught up on sleep or on food—or to socialize. Not Paola Estrada, however. This summer, the MCB PhD student took a break from her research to try to get 27 Urbana High School (UHS) students interested in science and engineering. Involved in MCB Day, the first day of I-STEM’s summer camp this August, Estrada helped to expose the high schoolers to some of the basics of microbiology. Ironically, it involved forensics. The MCBees used a classic detective game of “Whodunit?” in which students used science to solve the murder of a grad student, and forensics is what brought Estrada to the US and set her on her journey as a researcher of protein crystallography.

FULL STORY


DJ Jackson (left), Centennial sophomore, and his mom, Antonia Jackson, at the Pygmalion FestivalCentennial High AVID Students Present iRISE Engineering Projects at Pygmalion Festival

November 7, 2017

What do My Fair Lady, Pretty Woman, Family Guy, and Centennial High AVID students have in common? Pygmalion, a play created by George Bernard Shaw. The first three (or at least an episode or two) were based on the tale of Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins, who wants to make Eliza into a proper high-society lady to illustrate the point that no matter the social standing or different way of speaking, all people are the same. Similarly, the Pygmalion Arts Festival, held at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts from September 20–24, strives to convey a similar message by showcasing all that Champaign-Urbana has to offer, from local bands, to eateries, to innovators and entrepreneurs who work right around the corner. The AVID students who were part of the iRISE-Centennial High partnership fit into this category, and thus were invited to present their projects featuring motor-controlled wheelchairs at the Festival on September 21st.

FULL STORY


During SWE’s Round Robin, Girls of All Ages Become More Well-Rounded in Engineering's Disciplines

November 2, 2017

On October 7th, about 50 girls from all over the state of Illinois converged on Loomis Lab for Engineering Round Robin. Hosted by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the outreach program, with its appropos Robin (and Batman) theme, was designed to expose young women to “the different engineering disciplines," explains Katherine Kiang, the event's coordinator, plus "provide them some perspective on what it’s like to do engineering as a career.” Designed for girls in grades 6 through 9, the program allowed high school students of any age to attend but was primarily targeting younger girls in order to get them exposed and interested at an early age.

FULL STORY


Vet Med’s Summer Research Training Program Exposes Participants to What Careers in Veterinary Research Might Entail

October 31, 2017

Every year since 2003, the Summer Research Training Program (SRTP) has hosted 14–25 veterinary school students from the University of Illinois to conduct a research project for 10 weeks over the summer. The goal of the program? To facilitate the career progression of veterinary medicine students who have the ability and motivation to become research scientists. Each of the 14 participants who participated was paired with a mentor from the Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and helped design a research project, which they participated in from beginning to end. In addition to research, they also explored future available careers, trained in research ethics, and learned about proper scientific writing. Run by Professor Lois Hoyer, the SRTP lasted from May 22nd to July 28th.

FULL STORY


BioE’s Carlos Renteria: Passionate About Education, Curing Alzheimer’s, and Outreach— Particularly Exposing Hispanics to STEM

October 27, 2017

The more you learn, the more you can do. – Carlos Renteria

This was the attitude Carlos Renteria’s dad instilled into him growing up. And it appears to have worked. Currently a PhD student in Bioengineering (BioE) and conducting research in Professor Stephen Boppart’s Biophotonics Imaging Lab, Renteria dreams of becoming a university professor to both teach and do research. And while he’s worked hard to get to where he is today—studying for a Ph.D. at a top engineering school— Renteria says he owes a lot of it to his dad.

FULL STORY


Girls Explore Electrical and Computer Engineering During GLEE GAMES Camp

October 20, 2017

At the 2017 G.A.M.E.S. (Girls’ Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp during the week of June 18–24, 14 students attended the GLEE (Girls Learning Electrical Engineering) portion of the camp. These 14 girls included 7 from the suburbs of Chicago, 4 from out of state, and even one international student from Turkey. GLEE allowed girls to get their hands on electrical engineering components in a week-long adventure in circuitry and solar power.

GLEE has been run by ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering) professor Lynford Goddard for the past eight years. This year, his 14 students undertook a couple of projects to get them familiar with the core concepts of circuitry and electrical engineering.

FULL STORY


During I-STEM Camp’s NCSA Day, UHS Students Experience Data Visualization, Super Computers, and NCSA’s Research

October 17, 2017

Where’s the Popcorn? That was all that was missing when 27 Urbana High School (UHS) student athletes sporting 3D glasses lounged in the cushy, theater-quality seats of NCSA’s viewing room to preview some of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory’s (AVL) high-resolution, cinematic-quality, 3D data visualizations. They were at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications for NCSA Day, the final day of the first-ever, I-STEM Summer Camp: A Multidisciplinary Program. During the Friday, August 18th visit, students also toured the National Petascale Computing Facility and met the Blue Waters Super Computer up close, and also discovered more about what NCSA does while attending a panel discussion hosted by several NCSA researchers and programmers.

FULL STORY


UHS Students Gear Up for Mechanical Science and Engineering During I-STEM Summer Camp

October 13, 2017

A 24-year-old woman, Magdalena, who had bone cancer as a child and thus had an arm amputated needs a prosthetic in order to maintain her livelihood. This was the scenario presented to 27 Urbana High School (UHS) student athletes as a part of MechSE Day on Thursday, August 17, during I-STEM’s first-ever multidisciplinary summer camp. So the day’s main hands-on activity involved making a prosthetic device. And while the students learned a bit about prosthetics and Mechanical Engineering during the day’s events, they also learned some things about teamwork and what being a MechSE undergrad might be like.

FULL STORY


At I-STEM's Multidisciplinary Summer Camp, UHS Students Have Fun with Chemistry—Everything From Soap Making To Glow Sticks to Ice Cream

October 12, 2017

How cold do you like your ice cream? Just on the cusp of melting? Cold enough to start a major brain freeze? However you like to eat ice cream, using liquid nitrogen to freeze the ingredients will provide an instant, delicious dessert.

This was one of a number of chemistry topics that 27 Urbana High School (UHS) students got to explore and test on Tuesday, August 15, as a part of the brand new I-STEM Summer Camp, a multidisciplinary summer program that ran frm August 7–18. The camp was aimed at exposing underrepresented minorities to many STEM fields and job opportunities, as well as building teamwork and lab skills.

FULL STORY


UHS Students Explore Computer Science, Coding, During I-STEM Camp’s CS Day

October 10, 2017

For students from a generation that cut their teeth on computer and electronic games, what could be more fun that creating their own? So on Wednesday, August 16, 27 Urbana High School (UHS) students learned a bit about Computer Science and coding during CS Day at I-STEM’s multidisciplinary summer camp. And to put what they’d learned into practice, they each created their own game or story on Scratch.

FULL STORY


During I-STEM Summer Camp, Urbana High School Students’ Understanding of Aerospace Engineering Soars

October 9, 2017

Amidst cheering, laughter, and lots of little trash talking, the 27 Urbana High School (UHS) student athletes at I-STEM’s first-ever, multidisciplinary summer camp were attempting to launch (some successfully, some not so successfully) the balsa wood gliders and model rockets they had built. It was Aerospace Day on Monday, August 14. Students had learned some of the engineering and physics behind how airplanes and rockets fly: via several brief lectures, demonstrations, and tours and lots of hands-on activities, the students had learned about flight mechanics and jet engines, the basics of rocketry, and experienced the wind tunnel how the aerodynamics of various shapes are tested. Then, after designing and building their masterpieces, came the high point of the day—a chance to attempt to launch their aircraft.

FULL STORY


Math Day at I-STEM’s Multidisciplinary Summer Camp Adds Up to Fun

October 6, 2017

“Math should be painted in a fun light!” – Mathematics PhD student Vanessa Rivera-Quinones.

And that’s what the folks from Illinois’ math department did when 27 Urbana High School (UHS) athletes, mostly underrepresented minorities, participated in Math Day as part of the first-ever I-STEM Summer Camp. “This is math?” is a question that cropped up while, grinning from ear to ear, they raced against time to stop the spread of an epidemic on the VAX website, or wrestled with a challenging combinatorics activity, or struggled to get their mind around mathematical logic as Philip Hieronymi presented some virtually unsolvable brain teasers. So while participating in a variety of challenging, hands-on activities that showed them that math is useful in real-life situations and can be quite different from what they learn in school, they also learned to think outside the box where math is concerned and discovered that math can be fun.

FULL STORY


ECE Day at I-STEM’s Multidisciplinary Summer Camp: Soldering, Circuits, and Software

October 5, 2017

“The earlier you get exposed, the better you'll be at it…because it's something you've seen before.” —ECE Graduate Student Lonna Edwards

What is Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) anyway? On Thursday, August 10, 27 Urbana High School (UHS) student athletes found out a little about it at the I-STEM Summer Camp’s ECE Day, when ECE’s Lynford Goddard and several students from his lab exposed the campers to some activities related to ECE. Students learned about then did hands-on activities about research experiment design, how to solder, and how to build circuits. In addition to learning about the field, students also interacted with several ECE graduate students and discovered a bit about what being an engineering student might be like.

FULL STORY


G-BAM GAMES Camp Shows High School Girls What Mechanical Engineering is Like

October 4, 2017

On the cusp of making some important life decisions, like choosing where to go to college, what program to enroll in, and more importantly, what they want to do for the rest of their lives, 24 high school girls participated in G-BAM (Girls Building Awesome Machines) GAMES Camp might have had a few of their questions answered. Hosted by the Mechanical Science and Engineering Department (MechSE), the week-long engineering camp from June 18–24 exposed the girls to the kinds of things they might be doing should they choose a career in mechanical engineering.

FULL STORY