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

A Chic Tech participant gets cozy with her stuffed animal during Girls' Night.ChicTech Introduces High School Girls to Computer Science—Other Girls Who Are Passionate About It Too

December 6, 2018

Excited to interact with other girls (and women) interested in computer science, high school girls from all over the state showed up at ChicTech, a two-day event designed to expose girls to computer science (CS), some possible careers in CS, and to show them that they would have a ready-made community, the WCS (Women in Computer Science) group, should they matriculate to Illinois. And more importantly, during the workshops, they learned that, yes, indeed, they can do computer science. One of the main goals of Chic Tech was to give participants a chance to learn that they can do computer science. The event featured three different workshops designed for girls with different levels of expertise.

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During Sonia Math Day, a participant writes down data as they participate in the Local Girls Make Strides In Mathematics During AWM’s Sonia Math Day

December 3, 2018

On Saturday, November 10, 2018, during Sonia Math Day, a number of math grad students from the Association of Women in Mathematics (AWM) put into practice the “Say what you know” idea, taken from the life philosophy of Sonya Kovalevsky. The annual event celebrates the life of Kovalesvsky, the greatest female mathematician prior to the twentieth century, and her impact—that women can succeed in and contribute to the field of mathematics. Benefitting from the AWM women’s wisdom (and that of some male students who support women in math), were five local girls who did some unique, math-related activities probably quite different from what they normally are exposed to in school. Plus, they not only met other local girls also interested in math, but networked with some role models during the event, women who are currently on a trajectory to careers in math.

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Assistant Professor Chenhui Shao (left), with the student who guessed the shape of her cookie with the fewest toothpicks.Paper2Tree Plants Trees, Sows Seeds Regarding Potential Careers in Engineering

November 28, 2018

On Thursday, November 15th, a number of community-minded Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) Professors participated in Mattia Gazzola’s Paper2Tree project, some for the second year in a row. The goal of the project is to enable these faculty to give back to the community in a couple of ways. First, as the Paper2Tree name implies, the professors hoped to make amends for the number of trees used up when publishing by having crews from two partners, the Urbana and Champaign Park Districts, on hand to plant two trees. The event also allowed these educators to give back to the community by sharing what they’re passionate about— teaching and research. But instead of working with today’s college students, they were interacting with tomorrow’s—fourth and fifth graders at Martin Luther King Elementary School in Urbana and fourth graders at Booker T. Washington STEM Academy (BTW) in Champaign.

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Integrative Biology Instructor Joanne Manaster shares an anecdote about learning to use Twitter with the audience.How Tweet It Is! I-MRSEC Workshop Helps Scientists Incorporate Twitter into Their Scientific Communication Repertoire

November 20, 2018

Are you passionate about communicating science, but a bit behind on the latest technology, like Twitter? Do you have an inkling what Twitter is and does, and are interested in finding out about how Twitter might be helpful to you as a scientist? Do you have a Twitter account, but haven’t quite gotten the hang of how to use it? A number of university folk who fit in one or more of the above categories showed up at the Physics Interaction Room on November 14th for a workshop: “Social Media for Scientists: #Tweetyourscience.” As the title implies, workshop participants hoped to find out more about how they might use social media—especially Twitter—to communicate science. Sponsored by I-MRSEC (Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Consortium), Beckman Institute 21st Century Scientists, and Illinois’ Graduate College, the workshop featured a talk by the Grad College’s Mike Firmand, a panel of researchers from Illinois’ science community who have a good Twitter following, plus some small groups based on participants’ level of Twitter expertise.

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A high schooler shows off the device he and hs teammate created.BMES Provides Biomedical Engineering Resources to Students of All Ages

November 14, 2018

One of the main goals of Illinois’ Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) is to shape well-rounded Bioengineering (BioE) students by providing a variety of resources and opportunities for its members. However, almost as important to BMES members is their desire to maintain the BioE pipeline by interesting high school students (and even younger ones) in going into the field—possibly at Illinois. This was the goal of one of their major outreach events of the year—Bioengineer Your Impact—which recently took place on Saturday, November 10th. The 13 high schoolers who showed up on campus for the event discovered what Bioengineering is about through a variety of different activities and interactions.

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A Cena y Ciencias participant shows the balloon that he completely put a stick through.Polímeros! Cena y Ciencias Program Teaches About Materials Through a Supper & Science Night

November 14, 2018

A group of around 80+ mostly Hispanic K–5 students and their families showed up for the November 5th Cena y Ciencias (Spanish for “Supper and Science”) at Dr. Preston Williams Elementary School in Urbana. Jointly sponsored by SACNAS and I-MRSEC, the program is addressing materials such as polímeros (Spanish for polymers)—the star of the November outreach. And while the free pizza most likely provided some incentive for families to take part, based on the youngsters’ excitement, it was apparent that participating in the different hands-on science activities led completely in Spanish was their main focus during the evening.

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An IGL student (standing) looks upon as Central High students work on creating their knot.IGL Links Central High Students to the More Knotty Aspects of Mathematics

November 12, 2018

Everyone is familiar with knots. There are simple knots, such as those we master when we’re five-year-olds learning to tie our shoelaces. Then there are some not-quite-as-simple knots, such as those sailors use when tying rope. But on Thursday, November 1st, a team of Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL) students visited Central High School’s AMSO club (Appplied Math and Science Outreach) to introduce the students to knot theory, with its even more complex mathematical knots and links, including Brunnian links. This unique learning opportunity was made possible thanks to the founder and President of the club, Anna Kinderman, who began the club in order to challenge her classmates in STEM, and who reached out to the IGL folks and organized the event.

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Fourth grade teacher Jennifer Simmons looks on as two of her students test their solar car.Dr. Howard Fourth Graders Learn Engineering, Problem-Solving, While Building Solar Cars

November 6, 2018

Design. Build. Test. Tweak. Test again. These are the engineering design process steps three Illinois Engineering seniors, Peter Sokalski, George Popovic, and Cameron Harris, have been underscoring during their Fall 2018 visits to Dr. Howard School in Champaign. Their goal: introduce Jennifer Simmons’ fourth grade students to engineering via a fun solar car project. In addition to the kids learning about engineering and adding skills related to construction and problem solving, the three visitors, along with Ms. Simmons, also hoped that the students would grow personally in regards to their perseverance, communication skills. and self-confidence. Plus, their long-range goal was to show the kids that they too have what it takes to become engineers when it’s time to think about careers.

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Mashruba Haque shows a young MakerGirl visitor the 3D printers.MakerGirl Seeks to Expand the STEM Pipeline by Getting Middle School Girls Interested in STEM

November 2, 2018

Excited about having some pre-Halloween fun with STEM, six local middle-school girls showed up at the Armory’s Innovation Lab on Tuesday, October 30th, for MakerGirl. During the two-hour session, the 7–10-year-old girls learned how to use Tinker-CAD, a computer-aided-design application for kids, discovered how 3D printers work, then 3D printed Halloween-related designs they’d made. Plus, currently all the rage and completely apropos for Halloween, they made some ooey-gooey slime. MakerGirl is a STEM education outreach program whose mission is to inspire girls to be active in STEM, to “live and dream as unstoppable forces that say yes to the challenges of the future.” Its ultimate goal? To channel more girls into the STEM Pipeline in order to foster “gender equality in all workplaces,” especially the STEM workforce.

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SWE’s Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day Encourages High School Girls to Embrace Stranger Things—Such as a Career in Engineering

October 30, 2018

Embracing the Stranger Things!—this was the theme (based on the popular Netflix TV series: Stranger Things!) for the fall 2018 Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day. So, hoping to do just that, around 80 Illinois 9th–12th grade high school girls, mostly from the Chicago area, showed up at Loomis Lab on Saturday, October 27, 2018, with their parents in tow. Some of the stranger things the girls hoped to explore were finding out what engineering is like, what different engineering disciplines do, and whether engineering might be the career for them. So the all-day event, sponsored by the Illinois chapter of SWE (Society for Women Engineers), exposed the girls to hands-on activities in various engineering disciplines, gave them a chance to pick the brains of current engineering students as to what being a student at Illinois is like, and during the Design Challenge, discovered what working with a team of engineers might be like.

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Vet Med Hackathon Fosters Interdisciplinary Thinking to Solve Common Problem Faced by Cat Owners: Feline House Soiling

October 23, 2018

Having issues with your cat, Fluffy, peeing on your favorite rug? You’re not alone. Hoping to come up with some solutions to this prevalent problem plaguing cat owners everywhere, two current veterinarians, Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine alums, Drs. Aaron Smiley (DVM ’07) and Brooke Fowler (DVM ’08), organized the recent Hackathon: Thinking Outside the Box About Feline House Soiling, which was held on Wednesday, October 10th. Sponsored by Purina, Elanco, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Medici, the Hackathon offered a $2,500 grand prize as an incentive, which attracted 39 participants interesting in coming up with a solution (and winning the prize).

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Bennett Lamczek with his border collie, Kahn.Vet Med Open House Gives Visitors Up-Close and Hands-On Introduction to Animals, Veterinary Medicine

October 17, 2018

Animal lovers of all ages flocked to the College of Veterinary Medicine on Sunday, October 7, to experience the biggest and best petting zoo around…the annual Vet Med Open House. The event featured myriads of activities ranging from seeing and touching animals, to learning how to care for them, to getting one’s favorite animal painted on one’s face. Most exhibits were staffed by VetMed students who were proud to share with the visitors what goes on in the College, what it’s like to be a student at Illinois, and some of what they’ve been learning as they study to become veterinarians. For the numerous youngsters who showed up with parents in tow, the students hoped to not only inform them and give them a good time, but possibly recruit some future veterinarians into the field.

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A participant prepares for the showing of A Beautiful World.Roger Ebert Symposium Explores Science Communication to Foster Empathy for the Universe, Earth, and Its Inhabitants

October 15, 2018

The Inaugural Roger Ebert Symposium, Empathy for the Universe: Storytelling and Data Visualization, not only sought to create empathy for the entire universe, but zeroed in on our little corner of it, Planet Earth. The October 1st symposium targeted media currently at the forefront of science communication: interactive storytelling, data visualization, and, of course, video and cinema. Treating participants to a taste of the premium movie-going experience, IMAX 3D, the highlight of the day featured a screening of the IMAX release, A Beautiful Planet.

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Jeremy TysonNew Math Department Head Faces Challenges: Fostering Community, Math Pipeline Retention, and Making Space

October 10, 2018

In his 17th year at Illinois, first as a Professor, then as Interim Head, and now the new Head of Illinois’ Mathematics Department since August of 2018, Jeremy Tyson is pretty familiar with both his department’s achievements as well as the challenges it faces. As with most newly installed Heads, he has big plans for down the road. But before addressing areas that could use improvement, he first takes stock of the department’s strengths. For instance, he’s proud of the faculty’s work to date, and lauds their instructional expertise. “I am really impressed with all of my colleagues and the efforts that they put into their teaching and into their mentoring of students,” he shares. “There's a lot of good things going on in this department already.”

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Illinois’ SWE Helps Shape Well-Rounded Female Engineers Via a Plethora of Opportunities

October 2, 2018

According to Abby Pakeltis, president of the Illinois Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, SWE is “a one-stop shop in a student organization.” Through SWE, its membership of more than 200 female undergraduate engineering students can grow professionally, including networking with companies and their representatives; technically, through Team Tech; personally, and socially. “We have a lot of committees that can satisfy everything you're looking for,” she continues. For instance, helping SWE members grow and get connected professionally is SWE’s Professional Liaison Committee, led by its director, Jenny Marten. This committee’s job is to connect with companies in order to bring some of their representatives to campus for workshops, talks, and other events which help SWE members both grow professionally and network with the companies.

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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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MechSE’s Leon Liebenberg, SIIP Team Use Play-in-Learning Elements to Engage Students, Foster Learning

September 19, 2018

We’ve all seen toddlers learn about shapes by trying to place a round object into a toy’s square hole, and vice versa. We’ve also seen children learn basic structural engineering principles by building a tall tower of blocks or Legos with insufficient structural support, only to have it crash to the floor. If small children can learn through play, couldn’t much older students, such as undergraduates in Illinois Engineering courses? Leon Liebenberg, a MechSE Professor, and a team of colleagues who are part of his “Play-in-Learning: Cognition, Emotion, and Playful Pedagogy” SIIP proposal all seem to think so. However, Liebenberg reports, “Not everyone is convinced that play belongs in engineering…Some people are cynical or suspicious about the prospective benefits of play in engineering.”

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Fall 2018 Career Fair Is a Win-Win, Both for Illinois’ Engineering Students and Industry Recruiters

September 13, 2018

Armed with a list of companies they were interested in working for, a list of questions they intended to ask, and probably a revised resume, a steady stream of Illinois engineering students—dressed to the nines—made their way across campus to the ARC for the Engineering Career Fair on September 11–12. Their goal: network with company representatives and land an internship, or even more importantly, a job for once they graduate. For the recruiters, their goal was to romance the coveted Illinois engineering students, possibly attracting the best and the brightest to their companies.

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Illinois Space Society members with their rocket.Illinois Space Society Provides Members Stellar Technical and Leadership Experiences to Prepare Them for Careers in Space Technology

September 11, 2018

For the 150 or so members of the Illinois Space Society (ISS), the organization forms a community on campus where, according to ISS Director Sarah Legg, the “rocket nerds” from Aerospace Engineering (Aero) and beyond can get to know each other: “I've made my best friends here,” she acknowledges. “They're all rocket nerds.” In order to prepare members for careers in the field of space exploration, ISS also offers professional activities, including the opportunity to attend national conferences. To give its members hands-on, technical experience in rockets and space technology, ISS sponsors several different projects, many related to national competitions. Finally, to ensure that the next generation gets as excited about space as the ISS members are, its educational outreach experiences allow members to share their passion for space and rockets with interested youngsters of all ages. One of their biggies is coming up on October 6—Illinois Space Day.

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A NRES junior, Alondra Estrada.NRES Junior Alondra Estrada Passionate About Environmental Science, Research, and…Turtles!

September 11, 2018

Growing up in Adison Illinois, Alondra Estrada, a first-generation Hispanic college student, wasn’t even sure she’d be going to college. Then she came to an Illinois summer camp and, as a result, she changed her mind about becoming a veterinarian and decided to study environmental science in Then, for the last two summers, she participated in the WE CAN which further muddied the waters regarding her next step career wise. Should she become an animal photographer, go to grad school and become an environmental scientist, or, go for her dream job, an environmental lawyer? While she isn’t sure what the future holds, she does know this: her many experiences have given her a lot of great career options.

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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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Shelana Martin with her poster at the end-of-the summer Poster Session at NCSA.SPIN Introduces Shelana Martin to Cybersecurity and the Open Source Platform, Moodle

September 4, 2018

How did Shelana Martin, who’s not a computer science major, end up in an NCSA internship? The rising senior in education technology under the College of Education’s Learning and Education Studies program was part of NCSA’s SPIN (Students Pushing Innovation) internship program. SPIN fosters interdisciplinary collaboration, encouraging Illinois undergraduate students, and not just computer science students, to do challenging research related to cutting-edge new technology. The new technology Martin learned was Moodle, an open-source learning management system. Plus she also learned quite a bit about cybersecurity too.

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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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Vet Med Students Experience Veterinary Research During Summer Research Training Program

August 23, 2018

Nineteen Vet Med students participated in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Summer Research Training Program (SRTP) this past summer. They not only conducted research, but made a poster and had a chance to present it at a number of venues. According to the director, Lois Hoyer, SRTP is intended to be a pipeline into veterinary research. Its goal is “to identify the students who have a potential interest in a research-focused career or a career that has some research component to it, and then start them out early.” Because many SRTP students are just finishing their first year of the veterinary program, they can find another research opportunity next summer to continue to build their research credentials.

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Youngster shows the item he 3D printed.MechSE’s Joe Muskin Enlightens Local Youngsters About 3D Printing During Champaign Public Library Event

August 17, 2018

Does learning about STEM have to stop just because it’s summer vacation? Several local youth (and their moms) say, “No!” So on July 25, some teens (and preteens) showed up at the Champaign Public Library (CPL) to learn about, then experiment with, 3D printing. Courtesy of Mechanical Science and Engineering’s Joe Muskin, the participants first learned a bit about the technology. They explored the equipment used and how and why Stereolithographic 3D printing works, including about the light spectrum. But even more fun was doing the printing itself; plus, they left the CPL armed with a couple of 3D printed objects they could whip out as proof when boasting about the activity to friends and family.

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Alexandra MoorePOETS REU Fosters Innovative Thinking to Change the Future of Power Dense Electronic Systems

August 15, 2018

Ever wonder what the future of electronics could look like—say over the next decade? As part of the POETS (Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal Systems) ERC's 10-week, NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), 15 students were able to explore the possibilities through authentic research experiences. Additionally, the students were exposed to a variety of educational programs that not only enhanced their knowledge base, and supplemented their research, but also exposed them to and prepared them for STEM careers.

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Alondra EstradaIllinois Summer Research Symposium Showcases Undergraduates’ REU Experiences

August 14, 2018

On July 19–20, 2018, over 150 undergraduate students and pre-doctoral students presented posters at the 2018 Illinois Summer Research Symposium (ISRS) as a culmination of their summer research experiences at Illinois. The students not only conducted studies in the labs of some of Illinois’ world-renowned researchers, but many of them were part of undergraduate programs that also partnered with SROP, the Graduate College’s Summer Research Opportunities Program. This allowed the undergrads to participate in professional development activities, many of them in preparation for possibly continuing their education and research in graduate school, and also provided the students networking opportunities.

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Lisa KanburUndergrads Experience Open Source Software & Interdisciplinary Research Via INCLUSION REU

August 13, 2018

Twelve undergraduate students participated in the second summer of NCSA’s NSF-funded INCLUSION (Incubating a New Community of Leaders Using Software, Inclusion, Innovation, Interdisciplinary and OpeN-Science) REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates). Students gained skills they hope employ down the road, including coding in a new programming language and using Open Source Software. Plus, they got the chance to prepare a poster and present their research at the July 25th end-of-the-summer Poster Session at the NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications). Participants also made some new relationships.

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GBAM GAMES camper demonstrates her team's prosthetic device. GBAM GAMES Camp Gets High School Girls Geared Up for Mechanical Engineering

August 9, 2018

“Lots of times, engineering is kind of this abstract sort of thing where someday I guess I'll be an engineer, but I'm not sure what they are, or what they do, or whatever, and I think it might be interesting. It's great to get [students] here and get them doing and seeing what [engineering] really is and how impactful it can really be.” – Joe Muskin, MechSE Educational Coordinator.

That’s exactly what 24 high school girls experienced when they attended the 6th annual GBAM (Girls Building Awesome Machines) GAMES (Girls’ Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp from July 8–17, 2018.

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CS GAMES Camp Embraces Creativity in High School Girls Through Computer Science

July 25, 2018

Computer Science is a lot more than just sitting in front of a computer and coding. This is what 19 high school girls from Illinois and beyond discovered when they participated in the Computer Science (CS) GAMES (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp from July 8–14, 2018. So, according to camp Co-Coordinator Dot (Dorothy) Silverman, the main emphasis of the camp was not just software and hardware, but encouraged creativity.

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Undergrad Brione Griffin Gets One Step Closer to Her Dream of Becoming a Doctor Via REACH RCEU

July 25, 2018

Brione Griffin’s career goals have always been “to be a doctor—be a doctor and help people out.” So when she learned about REACH (Research and Education for the Advancement of Compassionate Health Care) RCEU (a Research Experience for Undergraduates with an added clinical component), sponsored and funded by the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine, she was intrigued. "I think it's something I've loved all my life,” Griffin says regarding her passion for science, biology, and medicine. She shares an anecdote about how she got interested in those.

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WE CAN REU Provides Minority Students an International Experience, Research at the Intersection of Engineering and Agriculture

July 20, 2018

The six minority undergraduate students who participated in the USDA-funded WE CAN (Wildlife Engineers Co-managing Agriculture in Nature) REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates), spent the summer of 2018 learning what conducting research is like. However, because We CAN is a two-summer program, this summer’s research opportunity followed on the heels of last summer’s 4-week trip to South Africa where participants collaborated with South African students to do ag-related engineering projects. According to Agricultural and Biological Engineering Assistant Professor Paul Davidson, the focus of WE CAN was to recruit underrepresented minorities and train them for careers in agriculture. Of the six WE CAN fellows, three are African American, and three are Hispanic. And it just so happens that all six are female. “That wasn’t on purpose,” Co-PI Michelle Green, a Research Assistant Professor in Animal Sciences, qualifies, “but they were our best matches for the program.”

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Underrepresented Minority Undergraduate Students Gain Research, Clinical Experience Via the Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s New REACH RCEU

July 19, 2018

There’s a new RCEU in town, REACH (Research and Education for the Advancement of Compassionate Health Care), sponsored and funded by the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine. What’s an RCEU? It’s an REU (a Research Experience for Undergraduates) with a clinical component in addition to the research. The REACH participants not only gained research and clinical exposure, but a better understanding of the breadth and interdisciplinary nature of the health care system, and research that impacts it.

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REACH Program’s Emphasis of Research Plus Clinical Confirms Alexis Chamorro-Ortiz’s Career Goals: To Both Treat and Research Cancer

July 18, 2018

Alexis Chamorro Ortiz didn’t just wake up one morning and decide he wanted to spend the summer after his sophomore year at the University of Puerto Rico doing cancer research at Illinois as part of the REACH (Research and Education for the Advancement of Compassionate Health Care), a new USDA-funded RCEU (Research Experience for Undergraduates with an added clinical component). For most of his childhood, he had watched his grandfather first overcome a brain tumor, then lose his battle with brain cancer when Ortiz was a freshman in high school. “He passed away so quickly, and it made me want to help other people who are like my grandpa,” Ortiz explains.

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Aerospace Engineering Camps Seek to Ignite High Schoolers’ Interest in Aerospace, STEM

July 17, 2018

Remember building and flying a kite as a kid? Remember the exhilaration you felt as you watched it soar way up high? Even more rewarding is the feeling participating 9–12th grade high school students are getting this summer as they launch the gliders and rockets they designed and built during Aerospace Engineering’s (AeroE) three residential camps: Aerospace Engineering GAMES and two Illinois Aerospace Institutes (IAI). Eyes focused heavenward, the campers watch them soar (or let’s be realistic—“crash and burn!”) during the end-of-the-week launch event—all courtesy of the coordinator of the three camps, Brian Woodard, and his AeroE team.

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Mid-GLAM Camp Exposes Middle School Girls to Materials Science and Engineering

July 11, 2018

What better way to get a bunch of middle school girls excited about Materials Science and Engineering than to let them explore color and making things pretty? That’s exactly what Mid-GLAM, named after its sister camp GLAM (Girls Learn About Materials) did by exposing them to different hands-on activities and design challenges. Mid-GLAM is a summer day camp for middle school girls interested in learning about Materials Science and Engineering. It made a second annual debut from June 25 – June 29 and served students from all over the state.

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High School Students Experience Nuclear Engineering—and More—at the New Exploring NPRE Camp

July 6, 2018

Exactly what is nuclear engineering? It has to do with power plants, right? The 18 high school students, rising juniors and seniors mostly from the Chicagoland area, who were on campus the week of June 25–29th for the first-ever Exploring NPRE camp discovered that nuclear power is just one emphasis of NPRE (the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering). And the high schoolers who attended NPRE’s week-long, residential camp not only learned about nuclear engineering, but plasma and radiological engineering as well, and how they impact our lives. Plus, they learned a bit about Illinois, and what it might be like to be an engineering student on campus.

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ChBE GAMES Camp Introduces High School Girls to Chemical and Molecular Engineering

July 3, 2018

It is time to change the status quo in the male-dominated STEM fields, and Illinois is definitely impacting chemical engineering in this regard through the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) GAMES (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp. So with the goals of increasing the number of women in chemical engineering, and of helping participants understand what chemical engineering actually is, the ChBE GAMEs camp brought 24 rising high school freshmen through seniors to campus from June 17–23, 2018. The camp not only helped the girls to explore concepts in chemical engineering, but was the deciding factor in some choosing careers in the field as a result.

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