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

Local kids play Orphy's Escape to Space in the Orpheum's new Astronomy Kids' CornerOrpheum Launches New Astronomy Kids' Corner With Help from Community Friends

June 19, 2018

"My overall philosophy is that the museum is here really as an educational resource for the community. So that's what you elevate. That's what you focus on, and that's what we raise the bar on.” – Doug Brauer, Orpheum Children’s Science Museum Executive Director

Kids who dream of exploring "a galaxy far, far away," are intrigued with “launching” rockets, or who long to do astronaut stuff like mining asteroid rocks or climbing into a lunar lander, might want to visit the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum’s new Astronomy Kids' Corner. With some help from Busey Bank and a number of Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) seniors who designed two space-related exhibits, the Orpheum in downtown Champaign launched the first stage of its new astronomy exhibit at a grand opening on Thursday, June 7th. The exhibit is part of Executive Director Doug Brauer’s efforts to expand the museum’s role as an educational resource for the community.

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Suzanne PetersonAerospace Engineering Junior Suzanne Peterson Returns to G.A.M.E.S. Camp

June 13, 2018

Most undergraduates rarely get an opportunity to participate in an immersive experience relating to their future career paths as early as high school. But rising senior Suzanne Peterson is a 5-time veteran of the University of Illinois G.A.M.E.S. camp, having first attended when it was still open to middle school students. Girls’ Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science (G.A.M.E.S.) is an annual, week-long event which allows high school girls to explore scientific ideas through demonstrations and activities. This year, Peterson will be on the other side of the event as a lab assistant who teaches several classes and sessions. Her own experiences at these camps as a young girl opened up the possibility of studying engineering, and she wants to pay it forward, saying, “I'm really passionate about outreach, and I would like to be [an inspiration] for somebody else.”

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SPHERES 2018 CohortSPHERES Fosters the Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers Via Research Opportunities for Local High School Students

June 4, 2018

Are you a local high school students who'd like to get paid to assist world-renowned scientists with their cutting-edge research plus expand your horizons while preparing for college? If so, you might want to consider SPHERES (Sparking High Schoolers’ Excitement for Research in Engineering and Science), which sounds like a win-win, both for Illinois and the students. New this summer, SPHERES aims to engage local community high school students in an opportunity to gain research experience at a world-class research university under the mentorship of several people who are invested in fostering the next generation of scientists and engineers.

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By Women, for Women: Kristina Allen Discusses Her Research in Women’s Health

June 4, 2018

When most people think of anthropology majors, they may not picture them in a research lab. But rising senior Kristina Allen doesn’t let stereotypes cramp her style. She studies biological anthropology, which explores concepts ranging from human evolution to human biosocial variation from a scientific perspective. Her research focuses on reproductive ecology, and she jokes that she may be the first woman to ever say, “I love menstruation.” Allen held a love for science throughout her school years, and originally wanted to be a doctor, but switched out of premed after taking a few anthropology courses and realizing that her passion lay elsewhere. She seems to have found her niche, saying “I love what I do now.”

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OUR Seeks to Change the Perception of What Undergraduate Research at Illinois Looks Like

June 4, 2018

Exactly what is undergraduate research at Illinois? Is it one undergrad working in a lab? Is it a research-focused course with a capstone project? Is it not just a project, but a process? To all of the above, Karen Rodriguez’G, both the Interim and the Associate Director of the university’s Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) says, “Yes!”

Rodriguez’G wears a couple of different hats at OUR. As Associate Director, she oversees the day-to-day function of the office. But as Interim Director, she describes her role as “forward facing for the campus—I am essentially the person in the office that faces everyone on campus.” For example, she works with higher ups, such as the heads of the university’s eleven research institutes, to discover what undergrad research looks like for them, what sort of partnerships can be put in place, and how her office can help to provide opportunities for students. Plus, she serves on several committees that address these issues as well.

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Building a Bridge to a Better Tomorrow: The 2018 National Student Steel Bridge Competition

June 1, 2018

Would you participate in a national competition to build bridges simply for braggin’ rights? Barkin Kurumoglu, the National Co-director of the 2018 National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC) and a student here at the University of Illinois, certainly seems to think so. He claims “The unspoken goal is for schools to show who is better at civil engineering”. Lafayette College walked away with that honor, followed by California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo in second place, and École de technologie supérieure in third place. The participants of the 42 teams in this year’s competition came from all over the nation, based on their scoring in the regionals. Some teams were even from other countries such as Canada, Puerto Rico and China.

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The (Future) Doctor is in the House: Meet the only Illinoisan in the Inaugural Carle Illinois medical program

May 30, 2018

What do being a librarian and a doctor have in common? Elizabeth Woodburn has considered both as potential careers. But it is the latter that she will be pursuing as a member of the first ever Carle Illinois College of Medicine class. She is the only one of her 32 peers to hail from the state of Illinois. Coming from Winnetka, IL, Woodburn graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Bioengineering this May. Although her parents encouraged her to look outside the state, she followed in their footsteps and became an Illini. At first, joining a large institution like Illinois seemed daunting, but Woodburn found what she calls “wonderful, small pockets of people within the big school”.

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I-MRSEC’s Alda Scientific Communication Workshop Trains Scientists to Relate to Their Audience

May 30, 2018

What might fun, team-building exercises have to do with communicating? In keeping with one of its chief goals—improving science communication—the Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (I-MRSEC)) held “Making the Choice to Connect,” an all-day workshop on Friday, May 18th. Presented by Lydia Franco-Hodges from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, the workshop sought to improve participants’ communication skills by training them to practice relating to others.

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Illinois Robotics in Space Launches Conversation on NASA and Member Experience

May 23, 2018

The word “lunatic” comes from madness caused by the moon, and the students here at Illinois are certainly crazy for the Illinois Robotics in Space (IRIS). A multidisciplinary RSO (registered student organization), IRIS recently participated in the NASA Robotic Mining Competition on May 14–18, 2018 at the NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral where they were one of 56 teams this year. The goal of the competition was for the robots to autonomously mine gravel as if they were on Mars. In the future, these models could be used to mine icy regolith on the Red Planet, which could potentially help provide oxygen, fuel, and water for settlers.

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Centennial High Sophomores Experience Engineering/Entrepreneurship Courtesy of ME598 Grad Student Mentors

May 22, 2018

Dream of being on Shark Tank in a few years, lauding the merits of the unique product you designed and are marketing? Some budding young entrepreneurs from Centennial High School just might. For the second year in a row, these students in the AVID program had a chance to be mentored by Illinois Engineering grad students as part of the spring 2018 ME 598: Sustainable Engineering Outreach course. Facilitated by IRISE (the Illinois partnership for Respecting the Identities of Students in Engineering), the course was a win-win for both groups of participants. The six grad students had a chance to share their love of engineering and gain some skills regarding engineering outreach to underserved students. The Centennial 10th graders not only learned more about engineering and what it takes to be an entrepreneur, but networked with college students who could serve as mentors, not just now, but in the coming years. Plus, they gained some poster-making, presentation skills as they presented their posters at I-RISE’s May 2nd Final Poster Presentation/Awards Ceremony.

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Urbana High Athletes Explore Careers in Applied Health Sciences During AHS Day

May 21, 2018

On Friday, May 4th, around 20 Urbana High School athletes, along with their coaches, visited Illinois’ College of Applied Health Sciences (AHS) for I-STEM’s first ever AHS Day. During their visit, students were introduced to folks from the four different AHS departments (Speech & Hearing Science; Community Health/Health Sciences; Kinesiology; and Recreation, Sport, & Tourism). There, the high school students not only learned some things they hadn’t known before about the various presenters’ research areas, but they were also introduced to some possible college majors they’ve most likely never considered before. Plus, they also got to meet some of the College’s students, including a few athletes, and find out what it’s like to be a student in AHS at Illinois.

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An ME370 student prepares to race his automaton.ME370’s Final Competition—March of the Automata—Fosters MechSE Students’ Creativity, Perseverance, and Teamwork

May 11, 2018

It was noon on Wednesday, May 2nd on Engineering Quad, and the hopes and dreams of a group of Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) students were riding on the little robot they’d built for the ME370 projects course final competition: the March of the Automata. Their motivation? If their team’s automaton won the race, they’d not only have bragging rights, but they’d get a bye on the upcoming final exam.

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Joy Chen at work in Professor Erik Nelson's lab (photo courtesy of Ashley Lawrence). ResearcHStart Promotes the Next Generation of Scientists by Exposing Local High School Students to Cancer Research

May 9, 2018

When the American Cancer Society discontinued its program exposing high school students to cancer research in laboratories, philanthropists Deborah and Ira Cohen, he's an Illinois CS alumni and she's a huge advocate for cancer research, said to each other: “I wonder if we could do something about that?” So they did. In 2015, they began researcHStart, a program which allows Illinois high school students to discover what a career in cancer research might be like via authentic research experiences in cutting-edge laboratories at Illinois and other campuses in the state.

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Tyler Haddock (left) and a STEAM Studio student watch as two marshmallows expand as a vacuum is created in the bell jar.Van der Veen Team Teaches STEAM Studio Students Why Air Pressure Variations and Vacuums Warrant Wacky Weather

May 3, 2018

What happens to balloons in a bell jar when you remove the air pressure and create a vacuum? What happens to marshmallows? The liquid in a barometer? How do these relate to our weather?

A number of STEAM Studio third–fifth graders discovered the answers to these questions and more when two PhD students from Chemistry Professor Renske van der Veen’s lab visited on Wednesday, April 25th and Friday, April 27th. Because the goal of Next Generation Schools’ after-school program is to emphasize STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math [STEM], along with Art), Tyler Haddock and Ryan Cornelius dropped by to present some scientific demos about air pressure—and how these different air pressure and vacuum effects are related to the weather—as part of Steam Studio’s Wacky Weather Week.

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Undergrad presents his research during the undergraduate research week symposiumUndergraduate Research Week Showcases Illinois Undergraduate Students' Research

May 1, 2018

“The research process includes presentation; that’s something you need to learn how to do!” – Karen Rodriguez'G

As part of their research experience, around 1000 undergraduate students from across campus got a chance to hone their presentation skills during Illinois’ fourth annual Undergraduate Research Week on April 15th–21st. Students from a variety of disciplines across campus presented the research they’ve been conducting over this past semester or academic year. While the week featured a variety of events showcasing research or capstone projects in a number of units, its signature event was the Undergraduate Research Symposium, where the students who presented shared that along with learning a great deal about their topic and specific research methodology, their research experience also gave them insight into what they might want to do careerwise.

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ISUR Poster Expo Showcases Engineering Scholars' Research

April 25, 2018

On Wednesday, April 18th, 26 engineering students who have been participating in the Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) program had a chance to present about the research they’ve been conducting during the 2017–2018 academic year. For the scholars, the opportunity to do research in the lab of one of Illinois' world-class researchers not only exposed them to what research is like, but gave them a window into whether research itself, or the topic they'd been studying over the last year, might be a part of their career plans down the road.

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