STEM Education Stories Archives
Goal 1: Facilitate P–16 STEM Education Outreach
Mommy, Me, & SWE: Middle School Girls Find Out About Engineering While Finding Dory
December 6, 2016
As its name implies, Illini Aerospace Outreach (IAO) is all about Illinois Aerospace students sharing their love of aerospace engineering with local students. IAO’s goal? To pique students’ interest in aerospace—or STEM in general.While IAO members do numerous outreach events themselves, the organization also serves as the main point of contact for organizations and schools seeking outreach from one of Aerospace Engineering’s numerous RSOs (Registered Student Organizations).
Local K–5 Students Learn about DNA and Genomic Research at IGB's Genome Day
November 30, 2016
Around 500 visitors, both young and old, spent their Saturday afternoon on November 12th at Genome Day, learning more about DNA and genes. Sponsored by the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB), the event featured fun, engaging, hands-on activities taught by 120+ Illinois students, staff, and researchers associated with IGB who were on hand at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, where they shared their passion for genomics and introduced the visitors to the world of IGB's research.
Mommy, Me, & SWE: Middle School Girls Find Out About Engineering While Finding Dory
November 13, 2016
Engineering is not only fun, but can be used to help solve practical, real-world problems—even not-so-real problems— like finding Dory. This is the message Mommy, Me, and SWE sought to convey on Saturday, November 12th, to the 30 local middle school girls (and their moms) who participated. During the all-day event, mother-daughter teams were exposed to a number of the different engineering disciplines via fun and engaging hands-on activities that brought engineering down to a level the kids (and even the moms) could understand.
ChicTech Seeks to Increase the # of Women in Computer Science—and Is Succeeding!
November 16, 2016
Computer Science is only for guys who are nerdy geeks and who sit glued to their computers 24/7! This is one of the myths about computer science (CS) that the fall 2016 ChicTech outreach set about to dispel, while showing 61 visiting high school girls (up from 50 last year) that CS is cool. Held November 12–13, the event, hosted by Illinois’ Women in Computer Science (WCS), was designed to show girls that they too can do CS, that it’s lots of fun, what it’s like to be a CS student at Illinois, and what a CS career might be like.
Engineering for Social Justice Scholars Program Helps Students Rethink Engineering's Role in Society
November 10, 2016
Are you passionate about righting historical inequities in our society? Do you have a penchant for STEM outreach to multi-ethnic middle-schoolers? For 18 engineering undergrads, the answer to both of these questions was a resounding “Yes!” So this fall, they signed up for Engineering’s new, two-semester-long Engineering for Social Justice (ESJ) Scholars Program.
Illinois Students Help Youngsters Learn Science, Have Fun at Orpheum’s Spooktacular
November 3, 2016
Decked out in their Halloween costumes, a number of local youngsters and their folks showed up for some pre-Halloween fun at Spooktacular, an event held at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum on Saturday, October 29th. While the youngsters appreciated getting to wear their costumes and, of course, access to the ubiquitous Halloween candy which was liberally sprinkled around throughout the museum, they also had fun learning about science and interacting with Illinois students who were present to make the day special.
SWE's Rockin' Engineering Round Robin Tells Girls: "You Can Be An Engineer and Still Be Yourself!"
October 17, 2016
SWE’s (Society of Women Engineers) Engineering Round Robin, an outreach designed to expose girls to the different engineering disciplines, isn’t just for high school girls any more. Of the 45 girls who converged on Illinois’ Siebold Center on Saturday, October 8th, 20 were middle school students. Also different from past years was the interdisciplinary emphasis. Not only cutting across engineering disciplines, the program had a hint of STEAM (STEM + Art = STEAM). The goal? To show girls that they could become engineers and still be themselves.
BMES Outreach Exposes High School Students to Career Possibilities in Bioengineering
October 25, 2016
What is a bioengineer? What do bioengineers do? This is what 20 high school students from around the state hoped to find out at “Bioengineer Your Impact" on Saturday, October 22, 2016. Hosted by BMES, the (Biomedical Engineering Society), a student organization for Bioengineering (BIOE) undergrads, it was the organization’s first large outreach for high school students and was designed to pique the young visitors' interest in Bioengineering.
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).
MERGE Program Gives Students a Glimpse of Grad School at Illinois
September 30, 2016
The goal of MERGE (Multicultural Engineering Recruitment for Graduate Education) and the engineering departments who invited these African-American, Latino/a, Native American, and female students for the weekend was that they might experience Illinois—its research, resources, and students—get their questions answered, and ultimately come to graduate school here.
Illinois’ Kenny Long and the Global Health Initiative Promote Global Health
September 27, 2016
For Illinois Engineering student Kenny Long, just being an engineer wasn’t enough. He wanted to approach problem-solving with a more interdisciplinary, holistic approach— not just fix a community’s impure water supply, but solve some of the residents’ medical issues related to having drunk the water. And just solving problems in his immediate vicinity wasn’t enough either. Recognizing that ours is a global village, Long embraced his global citizenship and is now seeking to solve problems in some of the more distant reaches of our village. And one way Long is doing that is through the Global Health Initiative and its INSIGHT (Illinois-Njala Sustainable & Innovative Global Healthcare Technologies) program.
Engineering Career Fair Fosters Networking, Helps Students Land Internships and Jobs
September 19, 2016
Did you notice that on September 7th and 8th, campus was inundated with scores of students who, instead of sporting the traditional September garb of shorts and orange t-shirts, were dressed to the nines in professional business attire—guys looking sharp in suits, ties, and shiny shoes, girls in stylish black business suits and even heels? If so, it was most likely some of the 6000 or so Engineering students who ventured south of Green Street to attend Illinois’ Engineering Career Fair (ECF) at the ARC.
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.
At WIE Orientation, Engineering Freshman Women Experience Campus, Build Community
September 13, 2016
The week before classes began for the Fall 2016 Semester, 251 Engineering freshman women sacrificed their last week of summer vacation to attend Women in Engineering (WIE) Orientation on August 16–18. These future engineers showed up early hoping to get a jump start on the fall semester…and they did.
LaViers' RAD Lab Uses Robots/Dance to Study Movement, Provide Automation
September 8, 2016
Surrounded by a crowd of laughing, cheering GAMES campers, NAO, an adorable little white and red robot, strutted its stuff, doing the moves the girls had choreographed and which it had been programmed to do. Then, like a chorus line, the team of high schoolers who had developed the routine lined up behind NAO and performed it along with the robot, amid gales of laughter.
nano@illinois RET's Tatiana Stine Hopes to Help Expose Youngsters to Nanotechnology
September 5, 2016
An instructional coach at a local school, Tatiana Stine is passionate about helping her teachers implement the Next Generation Science Standards—especially engineering. A participant in the nano@illinois RET program this past summer, she got to work with innovative nanotechnology while conducting research on graphene. And she not only learned a lot of new things, she developed teaching modules she plans to take back to her teachers. And one day, while waiting for gold nanoparticles to deposit on her device, she came up with a fun and novel way to teach youngsters about nanotechology—Gene the Graphene.
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.
STEAM Studio's STEAMcation Students Visit RailTEC...Learn All About Trains
August 17, 2016
Remember the excitement you felt as a youngster when you heard the shrill whistle of a train in the distance? Remember the magic of sitting at a railroad crossing, watching a train zoom by, waiting to shout, “The caboose!”?
Knowing that trains still engender excitement in youngsters, at RailTEC, Illinois’ Rail Transportation and Engineering Center, staff and students tap into youngsters' love of trains to teach them some STEM principles. And on August 3, 2016, a group of 24 local 3rd through 5th graders from STEAMcation, STEAM Studio’s 9-week summer program, visited RailTEC and experienced it firsthand. They spent the day learning about railroads; did a variety of fun, yet educational, hands-on activities related to railroads; plus had the chance to interact with some great role models—real, live engineers, who shared their passion for railroads and engineering with the youngsters.
Illinois' MCBees Expose STEAM Studio's STEAMcation Students to Medieval Science
August 16, 2016
On July 25th, 24 local youngsters spent the morning doing some hands-on activities learning about science —in medieval times and today—as part of STEAMcation, the 9-week summer program of STEAM Studio, Next Generation School’s after-school and summer program. And taking the morning away from their labs to sharing their scientific expertise and passion about their field with the youngsters were a number of outreach-minded Ph.D. students who are members of the MCBees, a graduate student group from MCB (Molecular and Cellular Biology).
STEAMcation Provides Summer STEAM ...With a Little Help from Illinois Friends
August 16, 2016
The 48 local youngsters who spent the summer at STEAMcation doing activities which incorporated art into a variety of STEM-related activities not only had a lot of fun. They learned some STEM principles too. And helping teach the youngsters about some of these topics were a number of outreach-minded University of Illinois folk, such as the MCBees, a graduate student group from MCB (Molecular and Cellular Biology), and RailTEC, the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center.
Girls Learn About Materials Science at the 2016 GLAM G.A.M.E.S. Camp
August 9, 2016
The 2016 Environmental Engineering and Sustainability G.A.M.E.S. Camp was a perfect experience for 20 high school girls who have a passion for saving the planet. This one-week camp addressed many facets of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), ranging from water quality, air quality, renewable energy, and sustainability, and gave the girls some exposure to what a career in environmental engineering might be like.
The 2016 Environmental Engineering and Sustainability G.A.M.E.S. Camp was in its sixth year of operation... FULL STORY
G.A.M.E.S. Campers Passionate about Saving the Planet Learn About Environmental Engineering
August 4, 2016
The 2016 Environmental Engineering and Sustainability G.A.M.E.S. Camp was a perfect experience for 20 high school girls who have a passion for saving the planet. This one-week camp addressed many facets of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), ranging from water quality, air quality, renewable energy, and sustainability, and gave the girls some exposure to what a career in environmental engineering might be like.
The 2016 Environmental Engineering and Sustainability G.A.M.E.S. Camp was in its sixth year of operation... FULL STORY
Rosado Continues to Improve Engineering Camps, Grow the STEM Pipeline to Illinois
July 27, 2016
Sahid Rosado is a STEM outreach force to be reckoned with on the University of Illinois campus. After starting out as just an instructor for an Environmental Engineering G.A.M.E.S. camp session a few years ago, she is now the Outreach Coordinator for the College of Engineering and is in the process of not just improving but revolutionizing Illinois’ Engineering camps via the addition of middle school students as she seeks to grow the STEM pipeline to the University.
AERO G.A.M.E.S Campers Soar with New Aerospace Knowledge
July 26, 2016
rom July 10th–16th, 30 girls from Illinois and a few other Midwestern states attended Aerospace G.A.M.E.S. (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp. Besides learning about the diversity of an aerospace engineering degree, they also had what was most likely another new experience for most of them—being with a large group of girls who have a similar interest in STEM.
G-BAM Girls Learn to Make a Difference Via Engineering
July 22, 2016
Many of today’s young people want careers that allow them to make a difference in other people's lives. During the 2016 G-BAM (Girls Building Awesome Machines) G.A.M.E.S. (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp, the 24 high school girls who participated from June 19th–25th not only did high-tech, hands-on activities, such as building a 3D printer and using CAD to design and 3D print a key chain, and fun stuff, such as writing a program for a robot, then watching it do the dance moves they had designed.
G.A.M.E.S. Campers Learn about Bioengineering While Breaking Down Stereotypes
July 20, 2016
For one week this summer, 32 high school girls were exposed to the world of bioengineering (BioE) at the Bioengineering G.A.M.E.S. camp (July 10th–15th). They learned about many aspects of bioengineering research, such as cell culture, health disparity, biometrics and 3D printing, MRIs, ethnography, synthetic biology, and much more.
MechSE's WYSE Camp Helps High School Students Explore Mechanical Engineering
July 19, 2016
WYSE campers design and build a 3D printer. Many of the 24 high school students who participated in the 2016 Exploring Mechanical Engineering camp held June 26–July 2, are pretty much set on careers in engineering… They’re just trying to figure out in which discipline. And MechSE’s (Mechanical Science and Engineering's) WYSE camp appears to have the potential to assist them in their decision-making process.For one, unlike Illinois' other WYSE (Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering) camps, most of which offer a brief introduction to a variety of engineering disciplines, MechSE’s spends the entire week exposing the campers to some of the fun stuff in mechanical engineering—from building their own 3D printer to designing a prosthetic device—and helping them learn how a career in engineering might allow them to make a difference in other people's lives.
Girls Experience Electrical Engineering First-Hand at the 2016 GLEE G.A.M.E.S. Camp
July 6, 2016
During the 2016 edition of the GLEE (Girls Learning Electrical Engineering) G.A.M.E.S. (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp the week of June 19th–25th, 19 campers from across the US (and even one international student) not only got their heads around what Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) is like...they got their hands around it too. First they learned about a range of things related to ECE, like circuits, signal processing, imaging, optics, antennas, etc., then implemented what they had learned in the classroom via some hands-on projects. The idea of the camp was to expose the girls to a variety of activities that would give them a taste of what Electrical and Computer Engineering is all about.
Highschoolers Learn About Global Health at CGS' First-Ever Global Health Camp
July 5, 2016
The week of June 12–17th, twelve high school students, mostly young women, visited campus to participate in the Center for Global Studies’ (CGS) first-ever Global Health summer camp, which focused on some health-related global issues like nutrition/diet and the spread, treatment, and prevention of disease. The camp also addressed global health solutions and organizations, and for students seeking ways they could be involved, careers in global health.
Highschoolers Experience Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at GAMES Camp
June 28, 2016
Twenty-four high school girls from all over the country converged on the Illinois campus the week of June 19th–25th for the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) GAMES camp. During the 2016 edition, they not only learned about chemical and biomolecular engineering, but got to try their hand at it. After hearing about a variety of interesting aspects related to chemical engineering, they got to do fun, hands-on activities related to them—including some geared toward things that might appeal to girls—like foaming face wash and shower gel. Plus, during field trips, the girls got to see first-hand what a career in chemical engineering might be like.
Sustainable Futures Campers Experience Sustainability In and Out of the Classroom
June 23, 2016
In its third year, the six-day 2016 Sustainable Futures camp from June 5th–10th, exposed ten high school students to sustainability, both in the classroom and in the real world via tours of local sustainability efforts. One key activity was students’ final group projects, 21st Century Scenarios, which they presented on Friday to camp leaders and several parents. What drew the students to the camp? In addition to learning more about sustainability, several acknowledged that they hoped to discover if a career related to it might be right for them.
CGS's Summer Camps Teach STEM With a Global Flavor; Act as a Bridge to College
June 7, 2016
While one might not think of Illinois' Center for Global Studies (CGS) as a STEM unit, two of its three summer 2016 camps address STEM topics…from a global perspective. Sustainable Futures, from June 5–10, addressed a number of topics regarding sustainability. Global Health, in its first year, will address communicable diseases and epidemics. (The third, non-STEM camp is Intensive Arabic.) CGS Outreach Coordinator, Jeremie Smith, admits that while their camps are a lot of work, they’re valuable in a number of ways.
Illinois Math Women Seek to Keep Kids, Especially Girls, in the STEM Pipeline
June 3, 2016
Like most women in STEM, math Ph.D. students Michelle Delcourt, Melinda Lanius, and Claire Merriman, are articulate, born leaders, passionate about math, and committed to outreach. Also like most STEM women, they want to make a difference…specifically to recruit more young people, especially girls, into their field—mathematics. So all three are actively involved in the Illinois chapter of Association of Women in Math (AWM) and in math outreach, like that of the Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL) and several outreach events sponsored by AWM: Sonia Math Day, the Summer Illinois Math Camp, and GEMS.
Cowell, BTW's Family Engineering Fair Send a Message: STEM = Fun
May 26, 2016
Booker T. Washington (BTW) Principal Ryan Cowell admits that he got the idea for his school's Family Engineering Fair during their Engineering Night this past winter. He recalls standing there watching the families having a good time, when the thought crossed his mind: “What if we waited for the weather to be nice and did this outside? And because it’s outside, we could do it much, much bigger!” So he immediately started the ball rolling.
SWE's "Save the World With Engineering" Outreach Targets Middle School Girls
May 16, 2016
Up to date on current research about STEM outreach, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at Illinois is aware that middle school is the crucial age to expose youngsters to STEM, and also that today’s young people want careers in which they can make a difference. So on April 16th, 2016, SWE held it’s first-ever SWE (Save the World with Engineering) event, an outreach that both targeted middle school girls and showed them that through careers in engineering, they can change the world.
CS @ ILLINOIS Sail Exposes Visitors to Computer Science at Illinois
May 12, 2016
What it’s like to be a computer science (CS) student at Illinois? On Saturday, April 9, 2016, around 250 high school students (and even some eighth graders), including 115 girls, from around the state and the nation participated in CS @ ILLINOIS Sail to find out. Sponsored by Illinois' Computer Science Department, the free, day-long event was filled with workshops about computer science and math theory, how to create websites, the ever-popular mobile and gaming apps, career opportunities in CS, and how to not just survive but thrive during one’s freshman year.
ECE's Kitt Peterson Exposes Local Middle Schoolers to Rapid Prototyping
May 6, 2016
While it will be several years before Champaign-Urbana’s current crop of middle school students get the keys to their own car, at least a number of them now have a key chain to put them on. And it’s one that they designed themselves, thanks to ECE graduate student Kitt Peterson and MechSE’s Education Coordinator, Joe Muskin, who developed a curriculum that introduces rapid prototyping to sixth graders. So during the 2015–2016 school year, around 90 middle school students at Jefferson, Franklin, and Edison Middle Schools learned how to use TinkerCAD, a free, online software, then designed key chains, which were then 3D printed.
Local Students Learn About DNA During I-STEM's DNA Day Outreach Event
May 3, 2016
A group of 29 mostly underrepresented local students from Urbana High School and several Champaign middle schools and high schools visited campus on Friday, April 29 to participate in "DNA Applications: Interdisciplinary Perspectives for STEM Careers."Hosted by the I-STEM Education Initiative as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored National DNA Day activities, the event, primarily via hands-on activities and tours, introduced the local students to DNA, some DNA research done on campus, and some careers that deal with DNA. Students were also encouraged that they, too, could go to college, and were apprised of several resources available to help them achieve that goal.
NGS Students on the Ball Teaching BTW Kindergarteners About Polymers
April 26, 2016
Garbed in rubber gloves and protective goggles, Next Generation School (NGS) eighth graders on a February 23rd field trip to Booker T Washington STEM Academy (BTW), shared with BTW kindergarteners the art of making bouncy balls. According to NGS Science Teacher Bryant Fritz, it was a win-win for both groups of students. His eighth graders experienced working with young children and how to take the principles they have learned down to a level younger students can understand. BTW youngsters were exposed to some lab principles, learned how to use scientific equipment, and, of course, ended up with a ball that they had made all by themselves (with a bit of help from their older mentors.) And they all had fun.
Students/Alumni Promote Engineering at Illinois During EOS 2016
April 15, 2016
Thousands of guests of all ages flocked to campus on March 11–12, 2016, to attend “The STEM of Innovation,” the College of Engineering’s 96th annual Engineering Open House (EOH). Among them were students from local schools on field trips, including some who showed up as guests of campus student groups, like WIE (Women in Engineering) and EOS (Engineering Outreach Society). Illinois engineering students had done projects with them earlier in the semester then brought them to EOH as a culminating event. Even some former students showed up representing their current companies, like Ford, to try to lure youngsters into engineering…or to entice current engineering students into their company. And of course, lots of Illinois engineering students showed up to strut their stuff.
2016 NGS Science & Engineering Fair Fosters to Research/Presenting to Experts
March 24, 2016
February 19th, 2016 was probably circled in red on the calendars of many Next Generation School students (and most likely their parents’ calendars, too). After weeks spent choosing a project, learning about their subject in depth, designing and conducting a research project, then making a poster, the day of the school’s Science and Engineering Fair had finally arrived. Projects completed, the students were excited to finally get to present their research—first, to a local expert, who gave them positive, and possibly negative, feedback—then later, to mom and dad during the evening session open to the public..
Denos' Uni High Engineering Class Designs Assistive Devices for Senior Citizens
March 14, 2016
Engineering is about more than just designing things; it’s about making a difference in people’s lives. This is one key principle Uni High Engineering teacher Sharlene Denos tries to instill in her students. So she’s always on the lookout for projects her class can do to give back to the community. Like the air maze they designed and built for the Orpheum in 2014. But they haven’t forgotten the older folks. Denos and company spent time in 2015 designing some devices that provide accessibility for senior citizens. Then in January of 2016, they presented their designs to stakeholders at Clark-Lindsey Retirement Village in Urbana, who vetted the designs and contributed constructive input on how they might be improved.
Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day Tells Girls: "You Can Be an Engineer, Change the World!”
March 10, 2016
On Saturday, February 20th, SWE’s Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day did just that. Around 150 high school girls (and their parents) who showed up at Illinois’ Loomis Lab for the day-long outreach were introduced to Engineering at Illinois by female engineering students who were excited to get to know the girls and to convey to them this dual message:
1) that they too could become engineers, and
2) that a career in engineering would give them the chance to make a difference. And of course, the Illinois students who helped out hoped to not only woo some of these potential recruits into engineering, but maybe even into their own particular fields.
Akono Exposes Intrinsic High Students to the Mechanical Properties of Materials
March 8, 2016
“How are we going to fuel our civilization in the next decades, especially knowing that we’re kind of running out of fossil reserves? It really boils down to having a fundamental understanding of the mechanical properties of materials.” – Ange-Therese Akono
Ange-Therese Akono, an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, is passionate about building innovative, strong, durable buildings. That’s why her research involves understanding the mechanical properties of materials used to construct them. Akono is also passionate about passing on her enthusiasm for materials to the next generation, particularly underserved students. So on January 18, 2016, Akono and eight of her graduate and undergraduate students hosted a Structural Mechanics Workshop for 28 juniors and seniors from Chicago’s Intrinsic High School.
ChiSE Program Exposes Chicago Public Schools Students to STEM...and Illinois
January 21, 2016
Instead of watching cartoons or sleeping in, several Saturday mornings a semester, 100+ Chicago Public School (CPS) 5th through 7th grade students can be found doing math and physics activities as part of Illinois' Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering (ChiSE) STEM enrichment program. Seeking to expose traditionally underserved students (and their parents) to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), ChiSE is comprised of a number of Illinois faculty, staff, and students who also devote their Saturdays to work with these youngsters in hopes of increasing their interest in STEM—and possibly even STEM careers.
SWE Outreach Seeks to Interest Kids in Engineering and Say, “You Can Do It Too!”
October 12, 2015
Not all kids have parents who will tell them, ‘Yes, you can do it...You’re smart enough to change the world!’ I want SWE outreach to be an organization that can do that for kids.” — Ashley May
The main goal of Lara Flasch & Ashley May, the 2015–2016 Outreach Co-Directors for the Illinois chapter of SWE (the Society of Women Engineers), is to help youngsters believe that they, too, can become engineers.
2015 Vet Med Open House Offers Visitors Hands-On Learning Opportunities
October 7, 2015
The thousands of visitors of all ages who attended the 2015 Vet Med open house on Sunday, October 4, found plenty to see and do tailored to their specific interests. For instance, pet owners got tips on how to train Rover or care for Fluffy. Folks hankering for the good ole’ days learned practical skills: how to milk a cow or a goat, or sheer a sheep. Parents who needed to get the kids out of the house found a plethora of educational yet entertaining activities, ranging from...
Chicago Youth Experience College, Fun STEM Activities at Illinois
September 24, 2015
“We believe college graduation is not an option, but an expectation.” – Wanikka Vance, Head of School
When 30 or so Chicago youngsters visited campus for a tour and some hands-on STEM activities on September 17th, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that the majority of the students were three, four, and five years old. According to Wanikka Vance, the founder and Head of Foundations 4 Advancement Christian College and Career Readiness Academy, it’s never too early to begin shaping youngsters into young entrepreneurs and inculcating into them this paradigm: they’re college-bound.
ChicTech Seeks to Foster High School Girls’ Interest in Computer Science
December 8, 2015
Why would a number of Illinois' female Computer Science (CS) students devote an entire weekend in early November hosting a group of high school girls as part of the 2015 ChicTech Retreat? Dedicated to increasing the number of women in their field, these CS students hoped many of the girls, who share their affinity for computer-related technology, might some day end up choosing CS as a career as a result of the experience.
Mommy, Me and SWE Strives to Convince Girls That They Can Be Engineers Too
November 13, 2015
Twenty-six 4th–6th grade girls and their mothers (plus one dad) visited campus this past Saturday (November 7th, 2015) as guests of SWE (the Society of Women Engineers) to participate in the group's fall outreach event, Mommy, Me and SWE. The goal of the dozens of female engineering students who participated in the event was to pique the girls' interest in engineering and show them that, like their "big sisters," they too have what it takes to become engineers.
MakerGirl Uses 3D Printing to Get Girls Interested in STEM
October 30, 2015
Local girls who participate in the MakerGirl after-school program are doing more than just 3D printing objects they’ve designed. Little do they know it, but while sitting there tinkering on kid-friendly Tinker CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software, they’re learning to think like the big girls in STEM disciplines, such as engineering, do. And if MakerGirl has its intended impact, the fun, creative STEM-related activities will, like the Pied Piper, "introduce girls to the magic of science" and lead them straight into the STEM pipeline.
Suarez & Josek Use Insects & Robots to Teach Bioinspiration at STEAM Studio
October 14, 2015
Taking a short break from their entomology research, Illinois Professor Andy Suarez and Ph.D. student Tanya Josek visited Next Generation School’s STEAM Studio, an after-school program that incorporates art into its STEM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Math). There they taught the students about bioinspiration— how biology can inspire engineering. The two incorporated a variety of hands-on activities guaranteed to engage the youngsters, teaching them about a couple of their favorite subjects: insects and insect-inspired robots.
Leal Kindergarteners Are “Engineers-in-Training” Thanks to SWE’s FKO Outreach
October 13, 2015
LaDonna Helm, kindergarten teacher at Leal School in Urbana, believes that of the 19 students in her kindergarten class…19 are potential engineers. So she brings in experts to help equip them: female engineering students from the University of Illinois who teach her students about engineering via the SWE (Society of Women Engineers) “For Kids Only” (FKO) program.
WYSE Camps Treat Guys and Gals to an Engineering Smorgasbord
July 27, 2015
Like Illinois' cutting-edge GAMES camps, the five summer 2015 WYSE (Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering) camps are designed to show high school students how fun and exciting engineering can be...and to encourage them to choose it as a career. What sets WYSE apart from GAMES camps, which are for girls only, is that it exposes guys to engineering too. What also sets these camps apart is that while two focus on specific disciplines (like GAMES), the other three are designed to give students a taste of all of the different types of engineering available—kind of like an engineering smorgasbord.
2015 GAMES Camps Recruit Girls to the STEM Pipeline...and Engineering
July 17, 2015
Just about everyone who helped run this summer’s eight, week-long GAMES (Girls’ Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camps from June 7th–July 18th would unashamedly admit hoping to influence the 199 high school girls who attended to choose engineering as a career—and to come to Illinois to learn all about it. And GAMES appears to have a pretty good track record of doing just that...
Rosado's Summer 2015 Camps Expose Young People to Engineering...and Illinois
July 1, 2015
Sahid Rosado never dreamed when she signed on to teach an Environmental Engineering G.A.M.E.S. camp session a few years ago that she would end up where she is today—the reigning Queen of Illinois’ Engineering camps. As Outreach Coordinator for the College of Engineering, Rosado is ultimately responsible for 356 campers this summer—and she loves it.
Burke Hopes to Cure Disease, "Hook" Students, Via Molecule-Making Machine
May 21, 2015
Marty Burke’s life-long dream was to become a doctor. Then one day, while chatting with a 22-year-old patient with cystic fibrosis whom he was helping to care for, he had an epiphany:
“We had this big conversation about her disease,” recalls Burke, “and I was telling her—because I had just learned about it—down to the molecular level, exactly what was wrong with her. And she said to me, ‘If you know exactly what’s wrong with me, why can’t you fix it?’ It was one of those totally life-changing conversations.”
Cena Y Ciencias: Supper and Science…and Role Models, Courtesy of SACNAS
May 18, 2015
The program, called Cena y Ciencias (it’s Spanish for Supper and Science), meets on Monday nights once a month. For supper, there's pizza. The science is presented by Illinois graduate students who are all SACNAS members. For the April session, the science was a hands-on activity about acid-base reactions. Wearing the conventional garb of scientists—white lab coats—the grad students shared their passion for science with excited Leal and Prairie School students who clustered around them, eagerly learning about acids and bases while glibly chattering in Spanish.
Leal Science Night Exposes Local Youngsters to STEM, Role Models
April 13, 2015
Instead of heading to the movies last Friday night, a number of local STEM students and professionals gathered at Urbana’s Leal School to share their passion for their respective fields with local students and their parents at the school’s annual Science Night.
Presenting at the April 10th event were a number University student groups and staff. For example, two undergraduate student outreach groups, Physics Van and Chemistry’s REACT group, shared activities with the visitors. In addition, MechSE undergraduate student Patrick Slade was on hand to demonstrate bionic prosthetics.
Engineering Open House 2015 Looks to the Future
April 6, 2015
The thousands of guests who visited campus on March 13–14, 2015, to attend “The Future Starts Here," the College of Engineering’s 95th annual Engineering Open House (EOH), were not only exposed to the many facets of engineering. Staffing the numerous exhibits were eager engineering students on hand to suggest to visitors that engineering at Illinois, and/or some of the technology being presented, could be in their future.
Kelsie Kelly Gives Back to the Community Via STEM Outreach and Mentoring
March 30, 2015
Kelsie Kelly’s goal in a lot of what she does is to pay it forward.
A Ph.D. student in Community Health, Kelly has lofty career aspirations which appear to have been influenced by her own experiences. For one, she would eventually like to start a women’s clinic—no doubt influenced by the many outreach programs in which she participated growing up. Her other dream—starting a non-profit organization that mentors underrepresented students—probably came about because both mentoring and being mentored were so important early on in her life...and still are: "I have a bunch of mentors in Milwaukee whom I still talk to regularly to make sure I'm staying on track," she admits.
2015 NGS Science & Engineering Fair Called the "Most Successful" Ever
February 18, 2015
Like a swarm of bees, a noticeable buzz of anticipation was in the air as students waited to present their science projects during Next Generation School's (NGS) Science and Engineering Fair. After weeks of prep both at home and in the classroom—it was finally the big day! The students would get to present their research to one of the local experts who had gathered for the event. The hope of the organizers was that these students would not only gain valuable feedback about their specific project, but that ultimately they would have gained a better understanding of the scientific process and possibly even a new passion to explore STEM fields when they grow up.
Grand Opening of Orpheum’s Air Maze Celebrates Fluid Mechanics, Rheology
February 2, 2015
On Wednesday, January 28th, a group of 16 third and second graders from Urbana’s Martin Luther King School (MLK) took a field trip to the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum to experience the unveiling of the museum’s new air maze, plus do some other engineering-related activities, including learn about funny fluids and fluid mechanics.
Uni High Engineering Class Makes Wind Maze for Orpheum Museum
January 22, 2015
"It's a real-world project: they're learning about engineering by actually being engineers." – Sharlene Denos, Uni High engineering teacher
This past summer, University Laboratory High School (Uni) teacher Sharlene Denos made a visit to Champaign's Orpheum Children's Science Museum to further cement the university's partnership with the museum. She told the interim director:
"I've got this new engineering class, and I'd really like them to do something that would benefit the community. We love the Orpheum; is there anything that we can design and build for you that would be useful for your museum?" The director promptly responded, "Yes, we really want an air maze."
Gulyash, MechSE Machine Shop Solve Problems, Save Money…and Recruit
January 20, 2015
“What I have is a lifetime of solving problems by building anything and everything that’s been given to me.” – Clifford Gulyash
Clifford Gulyash, who heads up MechSE’s Machine Shop, doesn’t have an engineering degree. “What I do have is a basic understanding of how to make things,” he modestly explains. And he’s been making things since he was a six-year-old.
He shares an anecdote about his early proclivity for making things: “I started building as soon as I could pick up a hammer, and when I was five or six, I built my first go-cart, put a sail on it, and ended up getting into trouble going down the street. That’s a true story.”
NanoSTRuCT Introduces BTW 3rd Graders to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
December 9, 2014
In 2014, Illinois graduate students have been sharing their expertise in nanotechnology with Booker T. Washington STEM Academy (BTW) 3rd graders as a part of a student-created/student-led outreach program called NanoSTRuCT (Nanoscale Science and Technology Resources for Community Teaching). The brain child of two Ph.D. students, Alex Cerjanic and Brittany Weida, NanoSTRuCT is partnering with BTW to do what its name suggests—teach the community (especially youngsters) about nanotechnology.
MechSE's Benjamin Sohn Gives Local Kids a Taste of Engineering
December 2, 2014
Benjamin Sohn, an Illinois Ph.D. student in Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE), devoted his lunch hour several Tuesdays this fall to sharing his love of engineering with local youngsters at Champaign Unit 4’s Dr. Howard School. Working with students in Ellen Elrick’s 3rd grade class, Sohn taught the students some engineering principles while showing them how fun engineering can be.
Open House Showcases MechSE for Prospective and Current Students
October 23, 2014
On Friday, October 17, 2014, Illinois’ Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) held its 3rd MechSE High School Visit Day/Open House so prospective high school students, plus new MechSE students (both freshmen and transfers), and their family members, could discover what Mechanical Engineering at Illinois is all about.
Sort of a mini-EOH (Engineering Open House), the event, held at the Mechanical Engineering Lab (MEL) gave visitors the chance to visit exhibits and lab demonstrations that showcase some of the exciting things that go on in the department, as well as meet some MechSE students, staff, and even some faculty.
Next Gen's STEAM Studio: An After-School STEM Program With a Dab of Creativity
October 20, 2014
Most folks have now heard of STEM by now, right? It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Well, Next Generation School (Next Gen) has come up with a new after-school program—and its accompanying revision of the STEM acronym—STEAM. What does the "A"stand for? According to Angela Nelson, the program's director, while the main thrust of the program is still STEM, they've included an additional component: Art.
MechSE's Gaurav Bahl Promotes Outreach and Undergrad Research
October 14, 2014
While MechSE Assistant Professor Gaurav Bahl is passionate about his research—opto-mechanics —he also believes university folk should get outside the four walls of their labs and impact the community. Plus, he's passionate about mentoring students, especially undergrads. So when he recently shared his expertise with some seniors at Uni High, he invited a couple of his students to tag along to share what they know and to experience outreach for themselves.
MechSE's Ewoldt Brings Rheology Down to a Level Learners of All Ages Can Grasp
October 6, 2014
"If you really understand something, you can explain it to somebody else in a simple enough way to bring it down to their level, wherever that level might be." – Randy Ewoldt
And what Assistant Professor Randy Ewoldt of Illinois' Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering understands really well is fluid mechanics, particularly rheology. Bringing it down to a level most folks could understand, he defines it as: "the study of how things squish and deform when you push on them."
Illinois Aerospace Institute Designed to Launch Campers into Aerospace Careers
July 30, 2014
For a high school student who might be considering a career in aerospace, spending a week at the 23rd annual Illinois Aerospace Institute (IAI) summer camp held the week of July 20–26, 2014, was a step in the right direction. Not only were the 40 students who attended briefed about different careers available, they learned some aerospace basics, including aerodynamics, rocket propulsion, UAVs, and orbits. But students did more than just gain some head knowledge; they got their hands on some fun stuff too...
2014 G.A.M.E.S. Campers Discover That Engineering Is Not Just for Boys Anymore
July 21, 2014
The week of July 14–18, 190 high school girls (a record number) converged on the engineering campus for the 2014 edition of G.A.M.E.S. (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp. Offering eight tracks, G.A.M.E.S. not only gave the campers an opportunity to delve into the mysteries of a specific engineering discipline, but also exposed them to female role models at all levels (undergraduate and graduate students, as well as practicing engineers)....
Sustainable Futures Workshop Stokes High Schoolers' Passion: Sustainability
June 27, 2014
What prompted 14 high school students to give up prime time lounging by the pool to attend the Sustainable Futures summer workshop? Some came to explore career options; however, others, whose career aspirations were not necessarily related to sustainability, didn’t. But no matter how disparate their career goals, they all had two things in common: they wanted to change their world, and they all were passionate about sustainability.
Consilience Project Teaches Technology by Capturing Students' Motion...and Attention
May 21, 2014
"Kids today are already familiar with motion capture technology...they just might not know it.
So when Wiley School 5th graders recently visited Krannert, Bruno Azeredo and Sandra Lopez from Illinois’ Consilience Project explained how it works. First students discovered that it's what tracks their movements when they play Wii and Kinect. Then they saw a clip of Avatar filmmakers using it to capture actors’ movements and facial expressions to animate the “avatars.” Already familiar with these technologies, the students immediately connected the dots…and were ready to experience it for themselves.
ChicTech: A Pipeline for Women in Computer Science
April 25, 2014
"This is the first time that I'm hearing her say, 'Yes, I'm considering computer science as a legitimate career field.'" –Kim Late, mother of 2014 ChicTech participant.
Based on this remark a mother made about her daughter during the ChicTech retreat's final activity, the outreach may be having the impact for which its organizers are striving: to recruit girls into Computer Science...
UMS STEM Night Exhibitors Hope Their Enthusiasm for STEM Is Contagious
April 25, 2014
Excited about sharing their passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) with Urbana Middle School students and their families, some area folks devoted a Thursday evening to participate in the school's fourth STEM Night on April 10, 2014. For example, members of the Fouke Research Group, the Society of Women Engineers, and Materials Advantage brought fun STEM hands-on activities with which to engage visitors.
Local Youngsters Experience Unity East's First-Ever Engineering Night
April 22, 2014
On Tuesday, April 8, many Unity East students headed back to school in the evening…with their families in tow. Participants at the school's first-ever Engineering Night had an opportunity to learn about engineering via a variety of fun, hands-on activities.
The night's activities were structured around four main events, which took around 30–45 minutes each. For instance, students (and their families) could dabble in 3D printing (see image to the left).
Memory Metal to Oobleck: NanoDays Makes Learning About Nanoscience Fun
April 10, 2014
Last weekend, 22 6th–8th grade students from Next Generation School (NGS) participated in NanoDays, a program offering unique hands-on learning experiences about nanoscale science. The two-day event was held at the Champaign Public Library on Friday, April 4th, and the Orpheum Children's Science Museum on Saturday, April 5th. The role of NGS students was to demonstrate to NanoDays visitors the unique properties of nanoscale materials...
NutrImpact: Encouraging Children (and Adults) to Choose Healthy Foods
March 17, 2014
During her time at Illinois, Lisa Shkoda, who recently graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Food Science and Nutrition, decided "the community needs nutrition education." So she founded NutrImpact.
Next Generation School's Science and Engineering Fair: Every Student Is a Winner
March 11, 2014
Compared to most science fairs, Next Generation School's Science and Engineering Fair is unique, in that no one student or team is designated the winner. After weeks researching and learning about a subject in depth, designing and conducting a research project, and finally making a poster presenting their results, during the February 21st fair, each student had the opportunity to present their research to a local expert for feedback—making all the students winners.
Engineering Students Enjoy Exposing Visitors to STEM During EOH 2014
March 14, 2014
Among the thousands of folks who made the pilgrimage to the Illinois campus to attend "Transform Your World," the 94th annual Engineering Open House (EOH) on March 14 and 15, 2014, were a couple of Springfield, Illinois mothers who wanted to give their sons a little extra exposure to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
Brady STEM Academy Provides Role Models for Local African-American Boys
March 5, 2014
Some outreach-minded folk in chemical engineering have begun a new after-school program, the St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy, hoping to make a difference in the lives of some local African-American boys. While programs providing hands-on STEM activities happen fairly frequently at Booker T. Washington STEM Academy (BTW), what sets this program apart is its emphasis on African-American role models—including the boys' own fathers.
Illinois Students Expose Youngsters to Engineering in BTW's After-School Club
February 13, 2014
The after-school Engineering Club at Booker T. Washington STEM Academy (BTW) is a fun, exciting way to expose youngsters to STEM—specifically engineering—early in their school careers…and to introduce the idea that they too might go to college—just like the Illinois engineering students who run the club.
First Lego League—More Than Just Robots
January 23, 2014
"Some people think that Lego League is just for nerds, but it's not. It's way more than robots." —Jessica Smith, First Lego League contestant.
With its carnival-like atmosphere more reminiscent of Mardis Gras than a STEM event, the recent First Lego League (FLL) Robotics Tournament held at the ARC on campus gave young robotics aficionados the opportunity to do more than just build and program robots. In addition to the fun of competition, camaraderie with one's teammates, and dressing alike or sporting wild and wacky costumes, hats, or paraphernalia), participants honed important life skills, such as public speaking, working on a team, and learning how to perform research.
Holiday Magic Show Helps Make the Season Merry and Bright
December 18, 2013
Area folks who attended this year's edition of the Holiday Magic Chemistry Demonstration Show discovered that learning about chemistry can not only be fun, but festive, a little loud, and quite bright. In fact, enjoying themselves as much as the rest of the audience were a couple of firemen—invited, no doubt, because of the pyrotechnic nature of many of the demos (and the slightly pyromaniacal tendencies of the performers).
iRobotics Engages Kids in the Sport to Pique Interest in Engineering
December 16, 2013
Is robotics a sport? According to the internet, it meets all of the criteria: team building, competition, awards, and the possibility of moving to a higher tournament or competition, and, thus, should be classified as a "sport of the mind." But no matter how it's classified, if a local event has something to do with robotics, it's a pretty sure thing that some students from iRobotics will show up.
While a few of iRobotics' 40 committed core members are from outside engineering, most are from Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. But they all have one thing in common—their love of robotics...
MechSE's Dostart Hopes to Influence Local Youngsters to Choose Engineering
December 9, 2013
Nathan Dostart, a senior in Mechanical Science and Engineering, spent some early mornings at Stratton School this fall, showing Zanne Newman's fourth graders "that engineering is really cool."
Danville School Experiences a "Night at the Museum" Courtesy of Illinois Researchers
November 25, 2013
Growing up in Chicago, Julia Ossler went to museums a lot. "I remember just loving it, and I didn't want to leave." she reminisces. "My brother and sister would hate it because I kept them there all day." While Ossler wanted the kids at Danville's South View Middle School to have those same kinds of opportunities, obviously taking them all to Chicago museums wasn't feasible. So, as part of her Chancellor's Public Engagement project, she arranged a Science Night and took the "museum" to them.
Next Generation School Pilots Project Lead the Way Elementary Curriculum
November 20, 2013
When the Big Bad Wolf shows up at the Three Little Pigs' houses to huff, puff, and blow them in, some Next Generation School kindergarteners concerned about the porkers' plight might now be able to do something about it. With the engineering principles learned through LAUNCH, Project Lead the Way's (PLTW) pilot program for elementary students, kindergarteners attempted to construct houses able to stand up to gale force winds (or a box fan, at least), thus ensuring the swine's safety.
IGB's Genome Day Exposes Visitors to Genomic Research
November 13, 2013
From watching themselves dance with plants on a video screen, to using a ProScope to examine coral and fossils, to measuring the temperature of a "Yellowstone National Park hot spring," around 500 area youngsters (and their parents) who attended Genome Day on Saturday, November 2, 2013, got to learn a whole lot about genomics.
REACT: Reaching and Educating Tomorrow's Chemists Today
October 31, 2013
Dressed in their brand-new Halloween costumes, dozens of pint-sized (and not-so-small) witches, goblins, princesses, and the like made their way to the Trick or Treat event at the Orpheum Children's Museum on Saturday, October 26th. Inside the dimly lit auditorium, they experienced all the expected Halloween ambience: the suspenseful, eerie soundtrack of SPEED looping in the background; a faux graveyard with a giant spider web; the ubiquitous Halloween candy; and something they might not have expected. As they participated in hands-on science activities led by Illinois REACT students, they discovered one more thing: learning chemistry can be fun.
Physics Van: A Whole Lot of Fun… Plus, You Get to Blow Stuff Up
October 16, 2013
Kids who attend a Physics Van show will come away with more than just a good time. Though kids can only learn so much science in an hour-long show, they will never forget the physics principles introduced during the Van's entertaining hybrid of slap-stick comedy and scientific wizardry. Something else they'll come away with? Physics can be fun.
Vet Med Open House Appeals to Young and Old Alike
October 9, 2013
It appears that McDonald's no longer has a monopoly on the marketing strategy that has made the fast-food chain practically a household word. The Vet Med Open House seems to have stumbled upon their secret: "Get 'em when they're young." Like most campus open houses, it's designed to acquaint the public with what their unit does and to recruit students to Illinois…with one notable exception. Instead of targeting mostly high school students and adults, the outreach also appeals to youngsters...of all ages.
G.A.M.E.S. Campers Experience Bioengineering—and Have Fun
September 24, 2013
The 30 high school girls who attended the 2013 version of the Bioengineering G.A.M.E.S. camp this past summer (July 15–19) were exposed to some cutting-edge research, such as how bioengineering is addressing the delivery of drugs in cancer patients, or microfluidics—how fluids can be constrained to nano-scale devices to study them. However, the main intent of camp co-directors Jenny Amos and Olivia Cangellaris wasn't to recruit the girls into their field. They simply wanted to expose campers to some fun engineering.
GLEE Campers Learn How Electrical Engineering Impacts Their Everyday Lives
September 19, 2013
During the GLEE (Girls Learning Electrical Engineering) G.A.M.E.S. camp this summer, July 15–19, fourteen high school girls learned a bit about electrical and computer engineering and got to practice what they learned during some hands-on projects working with circuits. The goal was to take something near and dear to the hearts of teenage girls—their cell phones—and help them understand some of the principles that make them work.>
G-BAM Sends Campers This Message:
Girls Make Awesome Engineers
August 22, 2013
"I've talked to some of our undergraduates, and you hear them say, 'Engineering's not like what I really thought it was. I somehow wound up here, and actually it's really cool now that I'm here.' I always think, 'Oh, if only we could have told them beforehand that it's going to be this fun.'" Matt West
During the first-ever G-BAM (Girls Building Awesome Machines) G.A.M.E.S. camp this summer, Associate Professor Matt West got his wish. He and Assistant Professor Elif Ertekin, who co-directed the camp...got to tell 16 high school girls beforehand how much fun mechanical engineering is.
GLAM Seeks to Capture Girls' Imagination About Materials
August 21, 2013
In its third year, the GLAM (Girls Learning About Materials) G.A.M.E.S. camp exposed 18 high school girls to a wide variety of materials, beginning with the perennial favorite of females of any age—chocolate.
Environmental Engineering G.A.M.E.S. Camp Encourages Girls to Think Green
August 12, 2013
For high school girls whose dream is to save the planet, the 2013 Environmental Engineering and Sustainability G.A.M.E.S. Camp was a perfect fit. The one-week camp addressed many aspects of environmental engineering, including water quality, air quality, waste, renewable energy, and sustainability. For the final project, the girls dreamed up a concept for a sustainable campus, then incorporated engineering aspects to create a 0-emissions dorm.
From Go-Carts to Bird Banding—Science Camp Takes Hands-On to Another Level
August 16, 2013
Ever put the pedal to the metal driving a go-cart that runs on biofuel? Or hold a wild female cardinal (who has a stick tightly clenched in her beak, so she won't peck you)? Or learn how archaeologists analyze centuries-old bones? These are just a few of the exciting things twelve high school students got the opportunity to experience while participating in the inaugural run of the Prairie Research Institute Science Camp the week of July 15–19.
2013 G.A.M.E.S. Camp Gives Girls a Taste of Engineering—and College Life
August 8, 2013
For the 167 high school girls who attended G.A.M.E.S. camp the week of July 15–19, College of Engineering folk ranging from professors, to students, to even alumni, pulled out all the stops to showcase their disciplines and to communicate this truth: Engineering isn't just for boys anymore..
G.A.M.E.S. Camp Seeks to Navigate Girls into Aerospace Engineering
August 7, 2013
The temperature wasn't the only thing going up on July 19th, the final afternoon of the 2013 G.A.M.E.S. Aerospace Engineering camp. On one of the hottest afternoons of the summer, nothing could keep the 20 girls who attended the camp; Brian Woodard, the camp director; and his enthusiastic Aerospace Engineering team from braving the heat to launch the rockets and gliders the girls had built, most of which soared high into the clouds above Dodds' Park.
Pollen Power: Exposing Girls to Pollen—and Possibly STEM Careers
July 24, 2013
The 27 middle school girls who participated in Pollen Power camp July 8–12 not only learned about the importance of pollen. They were exposed to the technology researchers use to study it, and to female researchers and graduate students, who both taught them and served as role models. In using mostly women, Pollen Power organizers sowed this seed that they hope comes to fruition in these girls' lives: they too can follow in these women's footsteps.
Summer Camp Helps Students Discover Architecture
July 22, 2013
Is architecture art? Or is it engineering? Or computer-aided design? Or math or geometry?
While the 68 young people who came to Discover Architecture camp for the two, two-week sessions this summer might not be able to answer these long-debated questions, they will definitely have a better idea of what studying architecture at Illinois is like. And some will end up coming back one of these falls to try to solve the mystery themselves.
I-STEM Program Gives Local High Schoolers Research Experience at Illinois
July 11, 2013
Instead of tanning in the sun and playing video games all day, a group of high school students chose to devote part of their summer vacation to research in Illinois labs.
This summer 24 students from University Laboratory High School participated in the third annual I-STEM High School Research Experience...
GEMS: Steering Middle School Girls Toward Careers in Computer Science
June 19, 2013
Briana Chapman is a prime example of how exposing youngsters to STEM (science, technology, engineering, & math) at an early age can lead to a life-long interest—and possibly culminate in a career in STEM. Chapman, who attended GEMS (Girls Engaged in Math and Science) camp as a youngster, is not only helping coordinate this summer's edition of the computer-science-focused camp for middle school girls. Her career plans are "to somehow change the world"...via computer science.
4-H Robotics: Working to Make a STEM Career Down the Line Automatic
May 13, 2013
"My whole goal in this is to get more kids in STEM," 4-H Educator Bob Smith unashamedly acknowledges. In charge of 4-H Robotics for the state of Illinois, Smith provides training, expertise, and curricula for county-level 4-H club leaders and also oversees 4-H's state-wide robotics competition.
4-H Exposes Youth to STEM Via Informal Education
May 7, 2013
Fifty years ago, 4-H used to be synonymous with youngsters competing to see who could raise the largest pig or bake the tastiest pie for the county fair. No longer your father's 4-H (or your mother's), some of the youth-development organization's clubs today are devoted entirely to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and have 20th Century topics, such as geospacial technology, video film-making, computer science, wind power, and even robotics.
Champaign's Central, Centennial High Schools compete at ICTM Math Contest
May 6, 2013
High school students from across the state—more than 3,000 of them—flooded the Quad on Saturday morning. These students, representing more than 200 schools, came to Illinois for the annual state finals of the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) High School Math Contest. Each team practiced their math skills throughout the year and qualified at one of 22 regional contests in order to make it to the state-wide contest.
Marie Murphy School: A Day in the Life of an Illinois Science Olympiad Team
April 20, 2013
This reporter's foray into the behind-the-scenes world of the Illinois Science Olympiad State Tournament held on campus this past weekend happened by chance. After photographing one of the first events of the day, I stumbled onto Marie Murphy School's homeroom in Noyes Lab, where the team's coaches, 30 contestants (fifteen kids on the Varsity team, fifteen on the JV team, which does trial events), plus parents/chaperones were preparing to compete, planning out their strategy for the day, glued to computers (cramming?), or playing games to kill time.
Wang, Microsoft Promote Computer Science in Schools Via TEALS Program
April 12, 2013
Kevin Wang of Microsoft is on a mission. He'd like to see every high school student in America have the chance to take a computer science course. But that requires that every high school in America offer a computer course. So he's been tackling the problem…one school at a time. Now his Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program is in 35 schools and seven states. However, according to the last national study he saw, out of the 45000 high schools in America, around 38,000 don't offer computer science at all.
During Wang's April 9, 2013 campus visit, sponsored by the iRISE program, he stressed that TEALS specifically targets computer science (CS), which he says has been left out of the recent push for STEM education that has swept across America...
Illinois Geometry Lab: Changing the Shape of Math Research...and Outreach
April 10, 2013
Armed with handfuls of brightly colored geometric shapes, three ambassadors from the Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL) have been dropping by Centennial High School's Tap-In after-school program on Thursdays to share their love of mathematics—specifically geometry—with the students.
Naturally Illinois Expo Uses Hands-on Activities to Interest Students...in Science, Naturally
March 15, 2013
Pet Cecil, a real live tarantula. Dig for million-year-old fossils. Hold a gargantuan grasshopper. Experience the circus atmosphere of an exhibit showcasing Illinois river otters and pet the vivacious ringmaster's stuffed otter.
These are some of the fun things a grandfather and his three grandkids found to see and do at the Naturally Illinois Expo the weekend of March 8–9. In addition to these four visitors, the Expo attracted 1900+ more, including around 1100 students, teachers, and chaperones from 12 schools and 40 classrooms.
Betabrain Makes Learning Engineering and Science Fun
March 13, 2013
Instead of sleeping in on Saturday morning, around 400 McClean County middle school and high school kids showed up at Normal High School in Bloomington on March 8 to participate in Betabrain, a science competition involving hands-on, problem-solving challenges. In its second year, the competition changed its emphasis from solely IT/engineering to include biology, chemistry, and physics.
BTW Kindergarteners Have a Ball Learning About Polymers, Manufacturing
March 11, 2013
Amidst lots of glitter and armed with rubber gloves and goggles, Booker T. Washington STEM Academy (BTW) kindergarten students recently had the opportunity to make superballs—and were exposed to one type of manufacturing process while doing so. Assisting Nano-CEMM Education Coordinator Joe Muskin, who used his knowledge of nanotechnology and his teaching expertise to guide the youngsters through the process, were about six University pre-service teachers and a team of Next Generation middle school students who sacrificed their day off of school to help mentor the kindergarteners.
Next Generation School Fair: Tomorrow's Scientists & Engineers Meet Today's
March 8, 2013
When Next Generation School needed some people knowledgeable about science and engineering to serve as judges for its 2013 Science and Engineering Fair, it didn't have far to look. Lucky enough to be in the same community as a world-class university, the school found plenty of folks willing to donate some time and energy to help shape some of tomorrow's scientists and engineers.
Local Teacher Uses Project Lead the Way to Prepare Next Generation of Engineers
February 20, 2013
"Mr. Fritz, I'm going to be an engineer!"
This is what science teacher Bryant Fritz's middle school students are telling him when they greet him in the hallway these days. For a couple of years now, Next Generation School in Champaign has been incorporating Project Lead the Way STEM curriculum as part of its science curriculum for the 6th–8th grades, and it seems to be leaving an impression.
MechSE Gives Back to the Community
February 19, 2013
When Next Generation School science teacher Bryant Fritz needed a little help with a Project Lead the Way design and modeling unit involving computer-aided drafting (CAD) and printing 3D models, he knew just whom to call. He contacted the school's big brother to the north—the Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) Department on the Engineering campus of the University of Illinois.
MechSE Senior Christine Littrell Poised to Change the World
"Frankly, she's just a tremendous advocate for the department. She is one heck of a good ambassador for us." Bob Coverdill
What was it that first made Christine Littrell stand out from the crowd as a freshman, besides her stunning, could-have-been-a-model good looks? According to Bob Coverdill, Director of Advancement for Mechanical Science and Engineering, she always wore purple—and had a matching purple laptop to boot.
EBICS Offers High Schoolers Research at the Intersection of Biology & Engineering
In summer 2012, three high school students had the opportunity to participate in authentic summer research opportunities at the intersection of biology and engineering. Sponsored by EBICS (Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems), these students participated in its High School Research Program, which seeks to increase the number of students who choose careers in the discipline by exposing high school students (especially those underrepresented in STEM fields) to research opportunities in the new discipline.
Myong, BioE Undergrads Expose Middle Schoolers to DNA/Cell Measurement
On Wednesday afternoons, a number of Illinois bioengineering undergrads can be found at Jefferson Middle School teaching seventh and eighth graders about science. The brain child of Bioengineering professor Sua Myong, this year-long, after-school outreach program funded by the Center for the Physics of Living Cells meets once a week to expose students to techniques used to measure things in cell biology.
GIRRRLS Camp Exposes Local Middle School Girls to Engineering
"This is the kind of camp that you'd want your own kid to go to." This was the impression of Nano-CEMMS educator Carrie Kouadio, who taught a number of sessions in this summer's 2012 GIRRRLS Exploring Science and Engineering Camp. Held in the heart of campus at the Campus Middle School for Girls, the week-long camp, which ran from July 30 through August 3, 2012, gave 28 rising fifth, sixth, and seventh grade local girls a taste of a variety of engineering disciplines.
Campers Experience Ooey-Gooey Science
School isn't the only place youngsters can learn about science. Kids who experienced Indian Acres Day Camp's Ooey Gooey Science Week in July discovered that you can use ordinary, everyday things most people have at home to do science experiments—some ooey gooey, but all of them fun!
Father-Son Team Helps Youngsters Discover—Engineering Is Cool
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.
High School Girls Experience Illinois Engineering During G.A.M.E.S. Camp
The annual Girls Adventures in Math, Engineering, and Science (G.A.M.E.S.) camp brought approximately 140 high school girls to campus this week. Girls from around the nation traveled to Champaign-Urbana in the name of higher learning in engineering—and a little recruiting:
High Schoolers Gain Authentic Research Experience at Illinois
For some students, participating in this summer's I-STEM High School Summer Research Experience confirmed their inclination to pursue a career in a specific STEM field. For others, STEM is now a viable career option. For others still, it convinced them that the field in which they conducted research is the last field they would ever consider for a career. Every student came out with a better understanding of STEM. Just as intended.
High School Student Experiences Life in an Illinois Lab
Nathan Beauchamp jangles the key from his pocket, unlocks the double door and reaches towards the four light switches wrapped around the adjacent wall. The 15-year-old flips the lights with the blind cool only muscle memory can foster. The Unit Operations Lab in the basement of Roger Adams Laboratory at the University of Illinois bursts awake.
Beauchamp is tired today—he stayed up late completing a poster he will present on Friday while explaining his research in the field of 3D printing—and walks to his computer more laboriously than usual.
Local Scouts Discover Chemistry is Fun!
Although they had just recently gotten out of school, local Cub Scout Pack 402, as well as some area girl scouts, took time out in the midst of a fun-filled week at a Cub Scout Day Camp to do something just as fun—learn about chemistry.
Like a magician pulling rabbits out of a hat, Jesse Miller from Illinois' Department of Chemistry pulled one trick after another out of his bag of chemistry magic tricks...
Folks From Cradle to Retirement Home Connect With Nature at Pollinatarium
Imagine a lush green prairie oasis filled with wildflowers. Bees are busily buzzing. Hummingbirds are hovering. A butterfly in search of nectar gracefully floats through the air to alight upon a brightly-colored blossom. Imagine a place where, armed with butterfly nets, "city folks" longing to escape the concrete can get back to nature. Although it sounds too good to be true, it's not an imaginary place; it's Illinois' Pollinatarium, and it's just a few minutes away on the southern edge of campus.
Outreach-Minded Engineering Students Hope to Steer Local Youth into STEM
On a handful of Monday afternoons this past spring, a few students left the cloistered confines of Illinois' Engineering campus to initiate nearly 80 local elementary students into the mysteries of mechanical engineering. A love of both kids and engineering prompted these Mechanical Sciences and Engineering (MechSE) students to devote their Monday afternoons volunteering at the newly organized Technology Club of Booker T. Washington STEM Academy.
Uni Seniors Take an Initial Look at the LEGO® DNA Learning Center Set
"Legos? Cool!!!" This was the reaction of one student at the University of Illinois Laboratory High School (Uni High). The LEGO DNA Learning Center Set had arrived. The class's curiosity was definitely piqued, wondering what the double helix might look like in LEGO pieces.
The materials in question were not the usual LEGO toys, but molecular designs developed and field-tested by Dr. Kathleen Vandiver, an award winning Massachusetts science teacher and outreach director at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Environmental Health Sciences. These LEGO sets included DNA for building genes, amino acids for creating proteins, and mRNA and tRNA molecules for stepping through the processes of protein synthesis.
CPS Students Discover Campus...and That Learning Can Be Fun
Some smoke. A little loud noise. A physics gizmo that makes one's hair stand on end. Mutilating a Pepsi can with the force of air. Tramping around hunting insects in the great outdoors armed with a butterfly net. Illinois scientists pulled out all the stops to show a group of Chicago students that exploring science at a world-class university can be fun!
Booker T. Washington and Illinois:
Partnering to Improve STEM Education
One student carefully cradles a live, tickling insect in the palm of his hand. Another makes a rubber ball from scratch using polymers. One budding engineer builds a contraption designed to protect an egg, then she tests it by dropping it from a balcony. And yet another student forms a hypothesis about which surface will have greater friction to slow down a rolling object, then tests his hypothesis...
Uni High Outreach Focuses on Diversity
Instead of lounging by the pool to cool off and work on their tans, this past summer, University Laboratory High School staff and students were running a summer camp for local youngsters. Being a camp counselor is one of a Uni student's many outreach opportunities. For example, these community-focused students participate in both SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test) and Booker T. Washington tutoring programs and act as TAs in EnLiST, one of the University's teacher professional development programs, to name a few.
Physics Center Rises to the Challenge:
iRISE Makes Learning Science Fun
Does learning science have to be boring, or can it be not only educational, but fun? Educators in the iRISE project believe the latter. They have come together to create a unique program that gives graduate students the chance to create and teach science lessons for children, offers fun and educational programs for middle school students, and provides middle school teachers with lesson plans to use for their own classes.
Uni High Students Experience
Cutting-Edge Research at Illinois
On the northeastern edge of campus, University Laboratory High school’s proximity to Illinois’ myriad research facilities made it an ideal partner for I-STEM’s pilot project offering summer research opportunities to high school students. Of the 50 or so students who applied, 19 were chosen on the basis of both their performance in science and math and of their application, which included an essay on their interest in science and how participating would prepare them for a possible career in science.
STEM Pipeline Alive and Well as Science Olympiad Impacts
Former Contestant's STEM Career Choice
GET YOUNGSTERS HOOKED ON STEM when they're young, and when they're old, they'll choose STEM careers! Theoretically, that's how the STEM (science, engineering, technology and/or mathematics) pipeline is supposed to work, and Dr. Jennifer Docktor's journey along the pipeline is a perfect example. She began her voyage by getting involved in Science Olympiad at the age of 12 and credits her years in the science competition as playing a big part in her decision to enter the field of physics education.
Illinois Science Olympiad seeks your vote/funding via Pepsi’s Refresh Project
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois), one of the leading science and engineering institutions in the United States, and nationally-recognized Science Olympiad have announced plans to establish a long-term partnership. Science Olympiad is a 27-year-old national science competition that focuses on student teams working together on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) challenges.
C-U Fab Lab fosters creativity in local youth
A local young Tom-Edison-in-the-making with an inclination toward invention needs to look no further than the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab. Located on the University of Illinois campus, this fabrication laboratory contains state-of-the-art, computer-controlled manufacturing tools designed to foster creativity and innovation in local inventors, both young and old. Would-be inventors can dream up a design, create it on a computer via easy-to-use design software, then use lab tools to create it. Another key feature is the Fab Lab network, an online community which allows local Lab users to present their problems and get advice from Fab Lab users around the world.
College of Education math students host fifth annual GeoJam
This event which was held on May 13 at Champaign Central High School invited math students at Central High School and Edison Middle School in Champaign, along with families and friends, to compete in teams of five to eight to complete various tasks, such as rebuilding the ruins of Palenque using life-size Soma cubes, teamwork and mathematic principles. Each challenge station drew on a different theme and a different mathematical theory. Activities were slated for 6–8 p.m.
Science Olympiad National Tournament turns K-12 students' attention to STEM
Around 3000 STEM-inclined middle- and high-school students from around the country converged on the Illinois campus May 21–22, 2010 to participate in the National Science Olympiad Tournament.
I-STEM is facilitating campus participation in National Lab Day
National Lab Day initiative, part of President Obama’s new Educate to Innovate Campaign, is more than a day. It’s a nationwide initiative to build local communities of support (hubs) that will foster ongoing collaborations among volunteers, students and educators.
National Science Olympiad competition to be at Illinois in 2010
Both the Science Olympiad Illinois state tournament and the national tournament will be held at Illinois next spring. The state tournament is scheduled for April 10, 2010; next year's national tournament will be held on May 20–22, 2010.
Bugscope gives area students personal look at insects
The Bugscope project provides free interactive access to a scanning electron microscope (SEM) so that students anywhere in the world can explore the microscopic world of insects.
STORY: News-Gazette; link to News-Gazette slideshow
GSLIS Fellow Meadow Jones promotes informal science education at Orpheum Children’s Science Museum
Meadow Jones, a GSLIS Fellow in Community Informatics who is interested in informal science education and the role of museums in supporting and enhancing science education, organized a series of events at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum in summer 2009 that featured a mystery mural: Dino Detective Days. Jones’ goal was “To facilitate scientific thinking through innovative and creative programming.”
Illinois Ag student Tristesse Jones is STEM education success story
December 9, 2009
Tristesse Jones, a senior majoring in crop sciences and preparing to be a research biologist, followed the STEM education pipeline to the University of Illinois.
National Science Olympiad
Science students from around the state of Illinois participate in the Illinois Science Olympiad tournament, which was held at Illinois in spring 2009.