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STEM Education Stories Archives

 

Goal 3. Foster Undergraduate and Graduate STEM Education Reform

New ENG 198 Course Teaches Freshmen the Engineering Process, Teamwork, While Addressing Personal Mobility

November 9, 2016

The idea behind ENG 198, the new Engineering course being piloted in fall 2016, is to give freshmen a chance to discover what it’s like to be an engineer early on…with a few caveats. Working as part of an interdisciplinary team, students are to come up with an innovation of benefit to society in the area of personal mobility. Plus, despite the students being freshmen, course planners don't intend to smooth out the path for the students; they want the students to navigate some bumps in the road—just like real engineers do. The goal? For students to learn the engineering process, experience teamwork, and come up with an end product that—while not necessarily 100% successful—lets them experience having contributed to society.

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Pakeltis Sisters Hope to Increase the Number of Women—Change the World Through Engineering

October 7, 2016

While the old Irving Berlin song, “Sisters, Sisters,” may not exactly be the theme song of the two Pakeltis sisters, a couple of lines fit Grace and Abby to a T. One is the last phrase of: "Two different faces, But in tight places, We think and we act as one." For instance, they’re both studying Engineering at Illinois. Grace, the oldest, is a senior in Materials Science Engineering (MatSE), while sophomore Abby is in Mechanical Science & Engineering (MechSE).
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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.

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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.

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Devon Goszkowicz: Following Dad's Footsteps to Engineering at Illinois—Blazing Her Own Trail in STEM Outreach

September 15, 2016

Devon Goszkowicz, a junior in Engineering, didn’t attend any STEM camps or outreach activities when she was little. However, one very important person in her life—her father—was an engineer. And now, here she is at Illinois, studying to become one too. And though she didn’t attend any STEM camps or outreach activities herself when little, she currently participates in several that expose girls of all ages and backgrounds to engineering. She's hoping to not just expose them to STEM, but to help them reach their potential, and to possibly even influence them to become engineers themselves.

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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.

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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.

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Cindy and Stephanie Richartz—Keeping It in the Illinois Engineering Family

September 1, 2016

Mother-daughter duo Cindy and Stephanie Richartz, the keynote speakers at the 2016 WIE Orientation (August 16–18), are both Illinois graduates. Both majored in industrial engineering. One major difference? While mother Cindy has been in industry and at Abbott for a while, Stephanie just recently graduated (May, 2015) and began her journey in industrial engineering. However, despite the difference in number of years in engineering, both were delighted to come back to their Alma Mater to share about their respective journeys—Cindy’s years of experience as a woman engineer in industry, Stephanie’s more recent experience at Illinois and finding a job. Both are also committed to giving back to Illinois, especially the Women in Engineering (WIE) program, to ensure that Engineering keeps producing a steadily increasing flow of bright young women engineers through the Illinois pipeline.

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Engineering Career Services Helps Students Prepare for Careers, Upcoming Career Fair

August 26, 2016

"It’s never too early to come to the Career Services offices." Deon Robin, Assistant Director for Employer Engagement, Engineering Career Services

On September 7th and 8th, around 6,000+ Illinois engineering students will get a jump start on finding the perfect job by attending the Engineering Career Fair. And according to Deon Robin, Assistant Director for Employer Engagement, Engineering Career Services has a raft of materials/events to help students not just prepare for the upcoming Career Fair itself, but figure out what career is perfectly suited for them and then land that dream job. Materials/events ECS has developed/offers include: a pamphlet outlining ECS events and services, the Lunch & Learn series, a Mock Career Fair: “Prepare for the Career Fair,” RésuméMania, Engineering Career Fair, i-link, the Career Fair Plus app, Pre-Career Fair Virtual Meet-Up, ECS Workshops, and the Job Shadow Program.

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Vet Med Students Gain Knowledge, Skills During Summer Research Training Program

August 24, 2016

This past summer, 14 Illinois Veterinary Medicine (Vet Med) students participated in the 2016 College of Veterinary Medicine Summer Research Training Program, which provided students a chance to get hands-on research experience in their prospective fields and also gave many of them a better idea of what they want to pursue regarding their future careers. Over the course of the summer (May 23–July 29, 2016), participants not only learned a great deal about the area they were researching, developed new skills and techniques which will be beneficial both in their college and professional careers, but grew personally as well.

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POETS REU Helps Illinois Undergrad Sabrina Yin Choose Her Career Path

August 22, 2016

Most REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) participants have an opportunity to conduct research for 8–10 weeks during the summer. Their experience then culminates in a poster session—the highlight of the summer—which gives the undergrad the chance to hone his or her skills while creating a research poster and reporting results. However, POETS REU participant Sabrina Yin, a rising junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Illinois, is doing more than just a couple of months worth of research in the summer. Yin began working in researcher Nenad Miljkovic’s Energy Transport Research Lab in March, participated in the REU this summer, and will continue her research in the lab this fall and beyond. “This research project that I’m working on will run for another two years approximately. So I’ll be staying in the lab to help out with the research,” she explains.

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Illinois’ Chris Barkan and RailTEC Convey the Message: “Trains—They Run on 'STEAM' and They're Terrific!”

August 22, 2016

Chris Barkan, a Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, is passionate about trains. He knows about railroad technology and history—both in America and elsewhere in the world. Here at Illinois, he leads RailTEC, the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center, a world-class railroad research and educational program studying ways to make trains safer, faster, and more efficient— environmentally, economically, and energy-wise. Barkan is also devoted to educating the next generation of railway engineering professionals. And to make sure that railroads (and RailTEC) have a steady supply of bright young students, he, along with his colleague, Tyler Dick, and their rail engineering students teamed up with Angela Nelson at Next Generation School's STEAM Studio to organize and host STEAMvention 2016, where they used the fascinating and fun aspects of railroads to attract youngsters to a journey on the STEM pipeline.

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2016 Chemistry REU Offers Undergraduate Students a Glimpse of Grad Life

August 16, 2016

This summer at Illinois, five undergraduate students were chosen to be a part of the Chemistry REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program to get a glimpse of what research in graduate school looks like. Allison Fout, the PI for this REU, which currently is solely funded by 3M, said that out of 270 applicants, only five were chosen. According to Fout, applicants were selected based upon the following criteria: “Their grades, their letters of recommendation, their experience. (You could really gain experience by coming here)" she adds. Plus, she indicates that the final criteria was: "students that were interested in pursuing chemistry in the future. All of those things were part of what we were looking at.”

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Undergrads Consider Nanotechnology Careers Thanks to nano@illinois REU

August 10, 2016

During the summer of 2016, ten undergraduate students learned about nanotechnology as part of the NSF-funded nano@illinois Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). While spending the summer performing research in the labs of some of Illinois’ premier researchers, the students not only learned a lot about the area in nanotechnology that they were studying; they learned what grad school is like and got some pointers on how to apply. Finally, many of them discovered that they liked research…a lot. In fact, some even decided that the area they researched over the summer was the area they wanted to concentrate on in the future.”

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Bioimaging REU's Matt Kavanaugh Experiences Cancer Research at Illinois

July 29, 2016

Matt Kavanaugh had originally applied to Illinois as an undergraduate, but finances prevented him from coming here. So he matriculated to the University of Kansas, where the rising junior is majoring in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Biomedical. However, when searching for something productive to do over the summer, he came across the NSF-funded Bioimaging Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Illinois.

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Undergrads in Bioimaging REU Experience What Research, Graduate School Is Like

July 29, 2016

Ten undergraduate students from around the country participated in the NSF-funded Bioimaging Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). Working alongside researchers in Illinois labs, they discovered the exciting world of bioimaging research, got a taste of what graduate school is like, and some might have discovered what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

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Wendy Reyes Learns Life Skills in Bioimaging REU

July 29, 2016

When rising junior Wendy Reyes spent the summer doing research in Professor Michael Insana’s Ultrasonic Imaging Lab as part of the 2016 Bioimaging REU, she learned a lot.She learned some research skills: how to train software to recognize cancer in the images of breast tissue.

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Bioimaging REU's Matt Kavanaugh Experiences Cancer Research at Illinois

July 29, 2016

Matt Kavanaugh had originally applied to Illinois as an undergraduate, but finances prevented him from coming here. So he matriculated to the University of Kansas, where the rising junior is majoring in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Biomedical. However, when searching for something productive to do over the summer, he came across the NSF-funded Bioimaging Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Illinois.

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MNTL and its Role in Shaping our Future

July 18, 2016

The Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory (MNTL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the largest and most advanced facilities of its kind in the country, home to 16 cleanrooms, 46 general purpose labs, as well as a biosafety level-2 complex, is playing a significant role in solving real world problems and helping bridge the gap between the developing and developed world.

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Students Acquire High-Performance Computing Skills During Blue Waters' Petsacale Institute

June 20, 2016

NCSA (the National Center for Supercomputing Applications) is changing the millennial generation and the future of big data with the Petascale Insititute. During the two-week institute, students go from knowing fairly nothing about HPC (High-Performance Computing) language to knowing enough to complete amazing research projects using the Blue Waters supercomputer. From May 22nd to June 3rd, 19 Blue Waters interns (undergraduate students), 10 XSEDE scholars (both undergraduate and graduate students), and four additional undergraduate and graduate students participated in the institute.

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Lynette StricklandMechSE Grads Milner & Armstrong Trade in Sports Outreach for STEM Via ENVISION

May 20, 2016

Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) graduate students Matt Milner and Ashley Armstrong were both student athletes while getting their undergrad degrees in STEM. And they both cut their teeth on athletics outreach— but back then, they did sports camps, not STEM camps. So when they arrived at Illinois to continue their education, both were sensing an outreach-shaped vacuum in their lives and felt it was important that they share their passion about STEM. But since there didn’t appear to be a vehicle through which they could do STEM outreach, they decided to build one—called ENVISION.
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Lynette StricklandVInTG IGERT Inspires Ph.D. Student Lynette Strickland to Choose a Career in Research

May 2, 2016

How did a little girl who had never been further than her home state of Texas and dreamed of being a veterinarian end up a researcher at Illinois, who also spends large blocks of time in Panama and is passionate about studying, in particular, the colorful Chelymorpha, or tortoise beetle? Lynette Strickland, an Animal Biology Ph.D. student who works in the lab of Illinois researcher Carla Caceres, credits the NSF-funded VInTG (Vertically Integrated Training with Genomics) IGERT.
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MCBees Help Provide Student Support, Recruit, & Share the Joy of Science

April 26, 2016

In the past, new graduate students coming into Illinois' 10-year-old School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) didn’t have much interaction with other grad students who had been in MCB for a while. During their first six months at Illinois, they were somewhat isolated as they rotated from lab to lab to find their niche, then got further divided as they entered one of MCB’s four departments: Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular and Integrative Physiology (MIB). Then, once that first semester was done, they didn’t really come into contact with their classmates any more, “because you kind of get busy with your work," admits Biochemistry grad student Amruta Bhate, "and you only meet people from your department."
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Community of Scholars Successfully Woos Underserved Undergrads to Illinois

April 6, 2016

Seeking to increase the number of underserved students who attend graduate school at Illinois, the Graduate College invited undergraduate minority students from around the country to experience Illinois during Community of Scholars (COS), its spring campus visit program on March 6–8. Like its name implies, the goal of COS is to show visitors that, should they come to graduate school here, they would be valued members of a much larger community of scholars and would have access to numerous resources.
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WIE Lead Fosters Leadership in Illinois' Women in Engineering

March 22, 2016

“I just want to ensure that these women have a chance to develop these additional personal skills, professional skills, so they feel empowered to be leaders.” Angie Wolters

The Women in Engineering (WIE) organization in the College of Engineering prepares women to succeed in engineering. While a major focus of WIE is to help them be successful at Illinois, the organization also seeks to help them be successful beyond Illinois by providing them with the skills they will need to get ahead in their future careers. So in the 2015–2016 academic year, WIE leaders began a new leadership series called WIE Lead, which features monthly workshops highlighting students, faculty, and alumni who share their stories about how they've grappled with specific leadership principles.
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Bioengineering Undergrads Build Biobots in New BIOE 306 Course

December 16, 2015

Biobots. The word smacks of scientific breakthroughs in the distant future, or the subject matter of some futuristic, sci-fi movie. But Illinois researchers are currently building and studying biobots as part of their research in this emerging field. However, they're not the only ones. This past semester, Illinois' Bioengineering department piloted a brand new course, BIOE 306, BioFabrication Lab, that teaches undergraduate students how to build them too. Developed as part of the NSF-funded EBICS (Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems) Science and Technology Center, the course distilled down cutting-edge EBICS research and initiated eight Bioengineering juniors and seniors into the mysteries of building with biology. In addition, the idea for this class was developed in part due to the Illinois Innovation Prize, which emphasized the need to teach the next generation of engineers and scientists how to "build with biology."
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Sohinee Oswal, a member of both the Innovation and Sustainability LLCs. No Longer Just for Sleeping, Illinois Residence Halls Provide Learning Via LLCs

November 13, 2015

It’s not your mother’s dorm any more. In fact, according to Alma Sealine, Director of University Housing, and Nathan Sanden, Assistant Director of Residential Life, in the university housing world, dorm is a four-letter word—and not just because of the number of letters it has.

“The 4-letter word dorm means that you only eat and sleep in that location,” explains Sealine, “whereas we like the terminology residence hall because it accounts for the living and learning that occurs, in addition to just sleeping there.” Thus, the name Living-Learning Communities, or LLCs.
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Rodriguez-OteroRodriguez-Otero Says SROP Puts a Face With an Application, Fosters Relationships

November 10, 2015

So how did Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) grad student Jannette Rodriguez-Otero from San Juan, Puerto Rico, go from studying to be a barber in a local vocational school to working on a Ph.D. in molecular sciences in MCB's Cellular Developmental Biology Department? She claims that there’s one reason she’s at Illinois: SROP.
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Aeronautical Engineering freshman Katie CarrollAerospace Engineering Freshman Katie Carroll's Trek Along the STEM Pipeline

October 21, 2015

Kids tend to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Judy Garland’s daughter, Lisa Minelli, became a singer too. Goldie Hawn's daughter, Kate Hudson, became an actress. Racecar driver A.J. Foyt's son races cars. George Bush senior’s sons are all politicians. And just like Mom and Dad, Katie Carroll is studying to become an aerospace engineer. But while some might say she’s just following in her folks' footsteps, others might claim that her early and repeated exposure to STEM along the STEM Pipeline had something to do with it.
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POETS PI Andrew Alleyne POETS, New NSF Center at Illinois, Poised to Revolutionize Electro-Thermal Systems

October 19, 2015

"The new Center...uniting expertise across disciplines, will focus research on what truly is possible and achievable rather than working within the limitations of what currently exists. And what better place to do it than the University of Illinois?” –University of Illinois President Timothy Kileen

Marking the official beginning of the $18.5 million, NSF-funded POETS (Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems) Engineering Research Center, National Science Foundation (NSF) and University leaders, POETS collaborators, and interested members of the University community attended the October 15, 2015 “Kickoff Event.” Headed up by PI Andrew Alleyne, Ralph & Catherine Fisher Professor in Mechanical Science and Engineering, the Center’s goal is to improve the power density of next generation electro-thermal systems.
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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.
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Adrian Gomez, a chemistry undergrad at Cal State, L.A.Under-Represented Students Visit Campus, Feel “At Home” at Illinois During ASPIRE

September 24, 2015

“We believe in the mission of trying to broaden participation; we believe in the value of diversity.” –Daniel Wong, Associate Director of the Graduate College's Educational Equity Program

With the Graduate College and individual departments, who helped provide meals, footing the bill, under-represented undergraduate students from all over the U.S. visited Illinois on September 20–22, 2015, as part of ASPIRE, a campus visit and early application program of the Graduate College’s Educational Equity Program.
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An engineering student turns in her team's completed Lego structure.WIE Orientation 2015 Shows Female Engineering Freshmen the Ropes

September 9, 2015

To get a head start on their first year in Engineering at Illinois, 257 young women attended the 2015 Women in Engineering (WIE) Orientation on August 18–19, 2015. One perk of participating? Getting to move in early to avoid the traffic jam that is move-in day. But more importantly, these freshmen got a head start on community building and networking with peers, especially in their engineering disciplines. Other WIE Orientation goals were to introduce the girls to key folks in their departments, acquaint them with campus, plus provide practical tips to help them be successful students.
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Rumya Raghavannano@illinois REU Undergrads Experience Growth Via Nanotechnology Research

August 27, 2015

"I definitely think the best learning experiences are those that push you out of your comfort zone." – Rumya Raghavan

Eleven undergraduate students spent the summer working in the labs of some of Illinois' world-class researchers as part of the 10-week nano@illinois REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates). Not only did participants perform nanotechnology research, but they were challenged both professionally and personally as they learned new things about nanotechnology, about life in a research lab, and about themselves. As a result of their experience, some decided that graduate school might be in their future; some even considering careers in nanotechnology research.
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nano@illinois REU participant Sahil Nayyar REU Undergrads Experience Research, What Graduate School Is Like

August 25, 2015

Twenty-six undergrads helped with cutting-edge research at Illinois this past summer as part of three NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs: the nano@illinois, EBICS, and Bioimaging REUs. In addition to the research experience itself, as a side benefit, participants got to find out what being a graduate student is like and possibly decide if research—particularly the area they were studying this summer—might be the career for them.
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EBICS REU participant Solomon McBride2015 EBICS REU Introduces Undergrads to the World of Research, Graduate School

August 25, 2015

While performing cutting-edge research at Illinois this past summer as part of the NSF-funded EBICS (Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Celllular Systems) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), the five students gained more than a deeper understanding of the subject they were studying; they learned time management, networked with researchers, and experienced what it's like to be graduate students.
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REU participant Casey TroccoliSummer Research Experience Exposes Undergrads to Bioimaging at Illinois

August 24, 2015

One goal of the NSF-funded Bioengineering REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) was that students who participated this summer would consider going to graduate school, and hopefully in bioimaging—and it appears they might have achieved that goal. The ten undergrads who participated in the REU not only performed cutting-edge bioimaging research; they also found out what grad school is like, and some even decided that the area they researched this summer might be the career for them—and that Illinois is the place to prepare for it.
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XSEDE Scholar Wanda Moses, a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at Clemson UniversityPetascale Institute Introduces Students to High-Performance Computing

June 12, 2015

Most of the 34 students who attended the two-week Petascale Institute May 24th–June 5th are not in computer science; however, by the middle of the second week, they were glibly rattling off HPC (High Performance Computing) jargon, confidently referring to concepts most of us have either never heard of or have no idea what they actually are, like: OpenMP and MPI, vector accelerators, OpenACC, CUDA, debugging, optimization, and visualization. Their goal? To learn enough about parallel computing to be able to use Blue Waters or another supercomputer to analyze data for projects ranging from studying black holes, neutron stars, and galaxies, to natural language acquisition, visualization in cyber security, or protein folding using molecular dynamic simulations.
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ME370's Drench-Your-Professor Competition Creates a Splash

June 9, 2015

Mechanical Engineering students who took ME370 in Spring 2015 were tasked with designing a couple of mechanisms that would allow them to dunk their professor. Giving students hands-on, practical experience, the course taught them how to work as a team to design something on CAD, then build that mechanism. Part of the process involved overcoming obstacles—students would design, unsuccessfully test, then have to go back to the drawing board and improve their product. And, oh, yes, as added motivation, they got to vie for the chance to pay their professor back for all of those long hours of study by dunking him or her in the dunking booth set up on the Quad.
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Lauren Amendola and Megan DevineSTRONG Kids Project Gives Undergrads a Research Opportunity in Children's Health

May 28, 2015

We constantly hear about the results of some well-known researcher's important study, and their findings often impact our lives and our choices. But over the last year, undergraduate students across a number of Illinois colleges and disciplines collaborated to perform important research themselves. As part of the Family Resiliency Center’s STRONG Kids program, students enrolled in an undergraduate research course, HDFS 494, conducted interdisciplinary research related to children’s health and obesity. Then, during the Undergraduate Research Symposium at the end of the Spring 2015 semester, they actually presented their research to the public
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Aadeel & SladeTwo Illinois Students to Make Low-Cost Bionic Prosthetics More Accessible

April 30, 2015

Patrick Slade, a junior in MechSE, and Aadeel Akhtar, a Ph.D. student in Neuroscience, have the same tastes in a lot of things. For one, they both like to play guitar. They listen to the same kind of music. Members of the Bretl Robotics and Neuroscience Research Group, they both research bionic prostheses. And they both decided that someone should build more low-cost prostheses, so even people in third-world countries can have access to the technology. So in their spare time, they've started a company, PSYONIC. And they're on their way: Akhtar and Slade and their fledgling company recently won the Cozad New Venture Competition held on Friday, April 24 at the Illini Union; the prize: $25,000 to begin their company and start building prostheses like the ones they've been designing—only better, and at a lower cost!
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Formula SAE: Shaping Engineers Who Think Outside the Box

December 19, 2014

It makes sense that three MechSE upperclassmen, senior Mike Bastanipour and juniors Alex Allmandinger and Keith Harris, some of the leaders of Illinois' Formula SAE racing team, want careers in the automotive industry or motor sports. They've spent the last several years designing and competing a high-performance racing car and interning at companies like Ford and Chrysler. But, they've been infatuated with cars since way before that.
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Sung Woo NamSungWoo Nam Creates Virtual Lab, Promotes Undergraduate Research

November 19, 2014

SungWoo Nam, an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Science and Engineering, appreciates the little things—the really little things—like on the nanoscale or the atomic level. However, when it comes to STEM education, he likes to work with students across the entire spectrum: graduate students, undergraduates, and even high school students. But his passion is exposing a sometimes overlooked group—college sophomores—to the wonders and the rewards of research, like his own research on nanoscale devices and materials, particularly graphene.
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Daniel WassermanECE's Daniel Wasserman Does "Whatever It Takes to Get Students to Learn"

September 23, 2014

Assistant Professor Daniel Wasserman of Illinois' Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) has never met a STEM education challenge he hasn't liked. While he enjoys working with Illinois engineering students (whom he says "are, of course, top, top students, and they're fantastic"), for a change of pace—and maybe a challenge—he likes to work with non-engineering college students, high school students, even grade-schoolers.
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SWE OfficersSWE: A Support System for Illinois' Female Engineering Students

September 23, 2014

While the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is a national organization, for many of the 400 female engineering students at Illinois who are members, it's a whole lot more than just a professional organization. It's a support system that began when they were still in high school, deciding which school to attend. And once they arrived on campus, SWE became a ready-made family and even helped shape who they became during their time at Illinois. Finally, SWE helps its members in their quest for careers once they leave here. And in between? SWE members say it makes Engineering at Illinois a lot more fun.>
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Arzeena AliFrom Moon Rocks to Test Tubes: Arzeena Ali Exemplifies the STEM Pipeline in Action

September 3, 2014

Chemistry Merit Scholar and Nano@Illinois REU participant Arzeena Sultana Ali has never met a STEM subject—or STEM program—she didn't like. Exposure to science early on piqued her interest, and from then on, she was hooked. "I always knew I wanted to do science from a very young age," Ali admits. So it was just a matter of figuring out which discipline.
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During the Faith Walk exercise, the WIE camper who must keep her eyes shut is led across a bridge by her partner who cannot speak to give her instructions.WIE Camp 2014: Creating Community for Female Engineering Students

August 25, 2014

Dean Susan Larson recalls that when she took over as the Director of Women in Engineering (WIE) in 2003, she thought, "The women need something to get started. They're a minority, but if they know one another, they'll be ok. They'll form a community; they'll make those connections." So, hoping to "bring them all together to get to know one another and get to know the campus and some of the instructors and advisors here," she started WIE Camp.
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CEE Undergraduate Education: Shaping Multi-Disciplinary Problem Solvers

August 19, 2014

"Our agenda is to educate and help develop the next generation of civil engineers so that they are not only theoretically rigorously strong, but can also tackle big multidisciplinary issues in a way that they have deep understanding and are also capable of working with people from different disciplines to solve societal challenges." Liang Liu
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A Blue Waters intern displays the tatoo she got during a tour of the Petascale facility. The message: Live free; code hardInterns Have an Up-Close-and-Personal Encounter With Blue Waters

June 24, 2014

Ever want to take a super-computer for a spin? Students from around the country who participate in the Blue Waters Student Internship Program recently got to do just that. After learning about parallel programming—the language of supercomputers—the interns being exposed to HPC (High-Performance Computing) got to run their program on the University of Illinois' Blue Waters, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world and the fastest on a university campus.
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Imani PalmerImani Palmer—One of the Good Guys in the Digital World

May 15, 2014

“The only assumption about digital security that you can make is that nothing is truly secure.” –Imani Palmer

As most of us are aware, our increasingly digital society has given rise to cybercriminals who can commit a crime with far-reaching impacts from anyplace the world. All they need is a computer and the internet. That’s why the newly-emerging field of Digital Forensics (DF) is so important. In order to catch and stop the bad guys, the good guys need to be just as good—maybe even better.
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MechSE Professor Sameh Tawfick glances up at the water balloons poised in the drenching booth's apparatus above him.ME 370's Unique "Drench Your Professor" Competition Hones Students' Design Skills

May 8, 2014

They came from far and wide that warm and sunny Wednesday afternoon in early May, until a crowd had assembled on Engineering Quad just outside the Mechanical Engineering Lab. They gathered there to experience the pageantry of the ME 370, Mechanical Design course's "Drench Your Professor" Competition, which pitted the course's Mechanical Engineering students and their machines against their professors.
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Donna CoxPopcorn Anyone? Cox's Advanced Visualization Lab Makes Science Data As Much Fun as the Movies

October 8, 2013

"At my heart and soul, I am really a graphic information designer, and that's primarily what I do—it's like being an engineer of information, only visually putting it out there." Donna Cox, Advanced Visualization Lab

There's an old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words." However, comparing a picture to the visualizations that Donna Cox, the Director of the Advanced Visualization Lab, and her team produce is like comparing Alexander Graham Bell's original invention to an i-phone: while they might perform the same basic function, the latter, with its bells and whistles, is a whole lot more fun. But while one picture can tell a story, Cox's multi-sensory, 3-D, high-def motion picture experiences present the essence of copious amounts of technical data in an unforgettable, yet totally accurate, manner. While entertaining, these visualizations are highly useful to help scientists and decision-makers understand large data sets, as well as for both formal and informal teaching and learning.
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Mats SelenMats Selen—Changing the Way Physics is Taught

October 8, 2013

"Well I have to confess, I was always in the closet about teaching. I did all my research, but I secretly always loved teaching as much as I did research, probably more…so suddenly, if they could be the same things, what could be better?" – Mats Selen, Physics Professor

Mats Selen loves teaching physics, and he's not ashamed to admit it. After 20 years doing particle physics research, which he found to be both exciting and rewarding, when a successful experiment of his ended, he figured, "This might not be a bad time to switch what I am doing. So I thought to turn over a new leaf and come out of the closet and be a real-life teacher all the way around."
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CEE 398 students examine the smoke stacks during a tour of Abbott Power Plant.Students in New Sustainability Course Tackle Real-World, Campus Problems

December 10, 2013

Ever complained about the poor condition of Illinois' interstates? Ever worried about our ever-burgeoning landfills full of garbage? Ever complained about the pot holes in campus streets, or been embarrassed that visitors' first impression of campus is a whiff of the South Farms? The 14 Civil and Environmental Engineering students who took CEE 398 PBL, a brand new sustainability course in Fall 2013, got the chance to do something about some of these issues.
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Clockwise from left: CEE grad student Jeevaka Somaratna explains CEE 398 to Ann Horton-Weis and Lizanne DeStefano of I-STEM.SIIP: Reforming Undergraduate Engineering to Engage Students

October 29, 2013

The goal of SIIP (the Strategic Instructional Initiatives Program) is to reform Engineering's core undergraduate courses to engage students and improve learning. How? By changing the way the courses are taught, then checking with students to see if it's been effective. Is it working? Based on feedback from educators at SIIP's recent Poster Showcase on Friday October 18, it appears to be.
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Hannah LantChemistry REU Increases Likelihood That Students Choose STEM/Research Careers

August 30, 2013

Fourteen young researchers from all over the U.S. were on campus this summer participating in a 10-week Chemistry REU program (Research Experience for Undergraduates) funded by the National Science Foundation. These undergrads experienced firsthand what research in chemistry is like at a world-class university— and what being a grad student might be like.
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EBICS REU undergrad Madeline TolishEBICS REU Students Experience Research on Biological Machines

August 29, 2013

Not too long ago, the five undergrad students who spent the summer in Illinois labs could only have encountered biological machines in one place—straight out of Sci-Fi. But as part of EBICS' (Emergent Behavior of Integrated Cellular Systems) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, these students got to conduct research in ground-breaking new areas like biological machines and biomedical engineering.
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Allante Whitmore Stanley presents her Water Filtration project to teachers during the PIFSE workshop.iRISE Course Prepares Engineers for Community Outreach

July 2, 2013

Illinois graduate students who are interested in sharing their love of engineering with youngsters now have a new course at their disposal—ECE 598 EO: Community Outreach for Engineering Researchers—through which they can learn the ins and outs of outreach. Developed by iRISE (Illinois Researchers in Partnership with K–12 Science Educators), the course trains graduate students how to develop design projects then teach them to local middle school students, with the goal of creating classroom-ready teacher materials.
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PI Roy Campbell and Masooda Bashir, one of the Co-PIs on the project, at the recent Digital Forensics workshop.Campus Experts to Develop a Digital Forensics Undergraduate Curriculum

May 31, 2013

Want to become a digital detective? There's a new course on campus this fall: CS 498, Special Topics. Despite the course's nondescript rubric, it invites students from a number of disciplines, including computer science, criminal justice, and even law, to investigate the exciting, up-and-coming field of Digital Forensics.
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Rebecca Ginsburg poses by a poster of the EJP Shakespeare class's presentation of The Tempest.Education Justice Project: Motivating Prison Scholars for Change

May 24, 2013

Every Friday evening, four or five educators car pool from campus over to the Danville Correctional Center to teach at the medium- to high-security prison for men. Part of the Education Justice Project (EJP), between 60–70 professors, graduate students, and others from a variety of disciplines volunteer their time to teach workshops on topics ranging from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) to Shakespeare.
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Rochelle Gutierrez interacts with a local middle school students at Noyce's iMATHS club.Noyce Scholars: Taking Student-Centered Math to High-Needs Schools

May 14, 2013

"Noyce is probably the best decision I've made professionally, and as far as my college career goes." Liz Denz

Liz Denz has wanted to teach math ever since her freshman year in high school. And Illinois' NSF-funded Noyce program, which provides scholarships for talented mathematics majors who want to become K-12 math teachers, is helping to make her and other Noyce scholars' dreams come true.
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Rochelle Gutierrez interacts with a local middle school students at Noyce's iMATHS club.Noyce: Training Math Teachers Who Foster Equity in the K-12 Classroom

May 2, 2013

This is Rochelle Gutiérrez' hope for her Noyce scholars when they finally become K-12 math teachers: that when they look at themselves in the mirror every day, they will be able to say, "I'm doing what I wanted to do when I went into education."
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Allison Rogala helps a student during a hands-on activity at Tap-In.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.
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Douglas JonesIGERT Trains Students at the Intersection of Neuroscience and Engineering

"We're trying to develop a culture and a community of people here on campus that are interested in the intersection of neuroscience and engineering."

According to program coordinator Pat Grenda, this is the goal of the Neuroengineering IGERT at Illinois. Short for "Neuroengineering: A Unified Educational Program for Systems Engineering in Neuroscience," the five-year Ph.D. program is funded by a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant. In its fourth year, the IGERT currently has 45 students enrolled in four cohorts.
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Erik JohnsonNeuroengineering IGERT Students Experience Interdisciplinary Research

One student wants to discover how the brain enables complex thought, such as philosophy. Another wants a field rewarding enough to get him out of bed and to work every morning. Another student, who heard about the IGERT program while jogging, finds the psychology-engineering intersection intriguing and the engineering tools crucial to his work. Still another saw the IGERT as an opportunity to acquire resources, knowledge, and connections in the field of engineering that she wouldn't have had otherwise. No matter why students chose the Neuroengineering IGERT at Illinois, they find interdisciplinary research at the intersection of neuroscience and engineering to be challenging, yet exciting.
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VINTG IGERT fellow Beryl JonesVINTG IGERT Students Receive Outside-of-the-Box Training in Genomics

November 16, 2012

Nine new doctoral students arrived on campus this fall to receive a new kind of training in genomics that "thinks outside the box." The premise of this training model: to produce a new generation of biologists on the cutting edge of genome-enabled science, who can specifically address how genomes interact with the environment to create diversity.
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Ishan MurphyAnnual Gathering for Gardner Event Celebrates Recreational Mathematics

October 30, 2012

If Captain Jack Sparrow has 100 gold doubloons, how can he distribute them amongst his ship's crew so that he keeps the largest share and still keeps the crew happy enough to avoid walking the plank himself?
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Mike Philpott, Paul Hummon, & Katie Birkel with the Baja SAEHands-On Experience With Cars Prepares Students to Problem Solve Down the Road

October 10, 2012

For the last five years at least, Illinois' Mike Philpott has been working double shifts. Most days, the Interim Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs may be found in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, or teaching ENG 491. Evenings, weekends, and probably part of Christmas break, however, this race car enthusiast can be found supervising students at the Engineering Students Project Lab, watching students navigate cars around cones on Assembly Hall's parking lot, keeping his fingers crossed in downtown Houston in hopes that his team will travel six miles on a miniscule amount of gas, or holding his breath lest the Formula SAE car break down during the main competition in Michigan.
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Ryan TappingEBICS REU Student Contributes to Research on Neuron Cells

September 27, 2012

Rather than lazing the summer away like some of his peers, Ryan Tapping, an Illinois undergraduate student, spent his productively—making a significant contribution to research. The experiment? Studying how neuron cells from a rat brain form clusters.

Participating in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, Tapping worked with faculty member Martha Gillette, who is part of EBICS (Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems)...
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Illinois engineering students who attended the Engineering Ambassadors Workshop (left to right): Chuma Kabaghe, Christine Littrell, Edgar Uribe, and Asha KirchhoffEngineering Ambassadors: Poised to Change the Way Engineering is Presented

September 18, 2012

"When engineering and STEM educators talk about 'changing the conversation,' it's a huge step forward to even be thinking about communicating science and engineering as a conversation instead of as a boring, one-sided, monotonous lecture where one person is talking, or worse, reading off a slide filled with bulleted lists and long chunks of text." Leslie Srajek
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Irfan AhmadThe Face of Nanotechnology at Illinois, CNST Promotes Interdisciplinary Collaboration

September 14, 2012

Illinois' Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) works to provide training and to foster collaboration in nanotechnology at the intersection of engineering and biology. Why should engineers need to learn about biology? According to Irfan Ahmad, Executive Director of CNST, the national academies have identified the 21st century as the century of biology.
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Val Laguna and Ann ZuzulyFrom WIE Camp to Seniors: Two Future Engineers Credit Illinois' Community of Support

September 5, 2012

Ann Zuzuly and Val Laguna were poster children for Women in Engineering's Freshman Orientation Camp this fall. Their mothers wrote a letter to parents of incoming freshman women, encouraging them to send their daughters to the camp by describing how their own daughters had benefitted from it. The camp could have received no better recommendation.
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Two Illinois undergraduate engineering studentsIllinois To Participate in WitsOn—Online Class for Female STEM Undergrads

September 4, 2012

To help promote retention of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), Illinois will be participating in WitsOn (Women in Tech Share Online), an online class for female undergraduate STEM students. A joint project by Harvey Mudd College and Piazza, a course-management website...
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Taiwanese trainees work in Illinois lab.B3 Summer Institute Provides Interdisciplinary Training

August 28, 2012

"So it's a good two-week, very intense, but very "get-your-feet-wet" sort of experience. The speaker list is phenomenal... You name the campus, and you've got all the big leagues from anywhere, from this campus and other campuses all over." Irfan Ahmad
Nicknamed B3SI by the planners, the two-week-long BioSensing BioActuation BioNanotechnology Summer Institute 2012, held at the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory (MNTL) from July 30–August 10, 2012, was intended to train participants at the intersection of biology and engineering and to foster networking with other researchers...
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Power House team poses by the prototype of their power-generating stationary bicycle.Engineering's Summer Scholars Creates Small-Campus Feel for Freshmen

August 6, 2012

"Imagine coming to campus as a part of a group of twenty-two, and you have six RPAs and essentially have the resources of this university for 40,000 people, and you're here in the summer when it's nice and quiet and small." – Bruce Litchfield
Create a small-campus feel. This was the goal of Assistant Dean/Director Bruce Litchfield and IEFX Program Coordinator Michelle Adeoye...
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Emily RabeSummer Research Experiences Steer Undergrads Toward STEM Careers

July 27, 2012

Instead of lounging by the pool this summer, a number of undergraduate students have been in Illinois labs—not only conducting research—but possibly figuring out what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
Participants in the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, these students are experiencing what real research is like. For many of them, this experience has also exposed them to what graduate school is like. For others...
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Students work in a group during a Merit section at Illinois.S-STEM Grant to Provide Scholarships for Biology, Chemistry, & Math Merit Students

July 2, 2012

She wants to study chemistry at Illinois. She's familiar with the university because her mom went to school here. But because she lives out of state, it's too expensive. So instead, she's been going to a local college. However, she's been quite discouraged, because she wants to come to Illinois.
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textBioE Students Shine in Senior Design

June 4, 2012

After several years of learning principles and how to apply what they had learned to come up with practical solutions for real-life problems, Bioengineering students were given the opportunity to do just that.

Sponsored by industry, university faculty, area medical clinics, and/or the community, Bioengineering seniors participating in this capstone design course over the past academic year completed projects that ranged from diagnosing cancer to designing a prothsesis that will enable below-elbow amputees to swim.
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Dean Charles Tucker explains SIIP project.Illinois' Engineering to Revamp Targeted Undergraduate Courses

May 18, 2012

Despite being highly-ranked nationally, the College of Engineering is not content to rest on its laurels. Striving to improve aspects of its undergraduate education programs by specifically targeting large courses (sometimes dubbed by students as "weed-out courses"), the College recently initiated the Strategic Instructional Initiatives Program (SIIP). Its goal: to renovate specific undergraduate courses to improve student engagement and learning outcomes.
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Captain Kirk finally reaches space.Picard, Kirk finally reach space...thanks to Illinois students!

June 19, 2012

Illinois students send Captains Jean Luc Picard and James Kirk, of Star Trek fame, into space.
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Michael LouiRobots and Real-World Problems:
Michael Loui Tackles Engineering Education

October 24, 2011

Building robots and designing machines that solve real-world problems—it doesn't sound like the work of college freshmen, but professors in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois have found that first-year engineering students are up to the challenge. Problem-based learning is a teaching method that gives students a specific problem to solve and leaves it up to them to come up with the solution. Engineering faculty have been using problem-based learning, or as engineers call it, design laboratory, for years. They have seen the benefits of the technique first-hand: it promotes problem-solving skills, develops creative skills, increases student retention, and promotes students' confidence in the subject area.
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ECE 101 student works on project in lab.ECE 101 Engages Students by "Harnessing" Their Interests

November 4, 2011

Illinois' General Education requirements are often viewed by students and teachers alike as exactly that—requirements to be gotten out of the way and checked off the list. To view these classes as opportunities to learn and grow is the perspective of the minority, and a few in this minority are doing something about it. At least two teachers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are trying to change the way students and educators view these basic requirements and are offering a class that pushes students to go beyond the minimum.
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Jennifer Amos demonstrating Atomic Force Microscope to igert grad students.Amos's Atomic Microscope Gives Students Close-Up Look at Cells

August 26, 2011

A few adventurous young bioengineers are taking cell research to a whole new level—the atomic level. University of Illinois bioengineering students now have access to a new tool for looking at cells called an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM). In March, the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust provided the $290,000 machine, in the form of a grant, to the university and to bioengineering lecturer Jennifer Amos. Amos will lead a new class this fall called “The Bioreactor Lab” that will focus on teaching students about the use Atomic Force Microscopy in bioengineering.
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College student in chemistry lab.Chemistry Receives Funding to Improve Services to Undergraduate Students

Get students interested in chemistry! While the goal of Chemistry at Illinois may be simply stated, to achieve it, the Department has taken on a task that is not so simple: to design and implement a new undergraduate chemistry curriculum. Besides fostering student interest in chemistry, the Department hopes to give students a solid foundation in chemical competencies, attract under-represented students to STEM majors, and provide students in introductory chemistry with a knowledge of chemical research problems.
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soybean fieldACES offers new grad degree program in technical systems management (TSM)

Illinois is offering a new graduate degree program in technical systems management (TSM) in the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES). The graduate program will begin in August of 2011. Students will be able to earn a professional science master’s (PSM) in which they will complete an industry internship rather than the more traditional research thesis, a very “unique approach,” according to Joe Harper, professor of agricultural and biological engineering and the program's director.
STORY: ACES News: U of I introduces technical systems management graduate degree program;
STORY: ACES News: Illinois offers Professional Science Master's in Technical Systems Management

appleU of I students reach Final Four in healthy food development competition

Four Illinois food science and human nutrition students experienced their own shining moment when the children's snack food they had created reached the Final Four in a national product development competition. Their product, "Snow White's Apple Puffs," which provides a full serving of apple in a sweet, crunchy snack form, was recognized in the Nutritious Food for Kids category of Disney's Institute of Food Technologists Student Association's product development competition.
STORY: ACES News: U of I students reach Final Four in healthy food development competition


Gloriana GonzálezGloriana González study advocates using technology to teach high school geometry

December 15, 2009

Study by University of Illinois math education expert Gloriana González indicates that using technology not only makes teaching high school geometry easier, but also empowers students to discover new mathematical ideas.
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image of male student using laptopITI in first year of NSF grant as "Research Experiences for Undergraduates" (REU) Site

October 15, 2009

The Information Trust Institute (ITI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has received a $357,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a “Research Experiences for Undergraduates” (REU) site.
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Project examines Hispanic-Serving Institutions' practices to encourage Latino success in STEM fields

January 5, 2010

NSF-funded project funds examines practices of Hispanic-Serving Institutions with high numbers of Latino students receiving doctoral degrees in STEM fields. The researchers' goal was to identify and examine the practices of 25 colleges who produce a greater number of Latino STEM graduates than peer institutions with similar characteristics.
STORY: Inside Higher Ed website: Recalculating Latino STEM Success


female students at IllinoisStudy reports that eliminating gender stereotypes more effectively attracts women to male-dominated academic majors than presence of female faculty members

January 4, 2010

Study finds that while female faculty members serving as role models attract women to fields with few women, a more useful policy to attract female student is to change social attitudes and remove stereotypes, such as, "Females are not as good as males in math."
STORY: Inside Higher Ed website: Role Models and Stereotypes


i>clickeri>clicker clicks further

October 14, 2009

i>clicker, an innovative classroom technology invented by Illinois physics faculty, is continuing its successful trajectory in the commercial world.
STORY


UI Solar Decathlon houseUI team is top U.S. finisher in Solar Decathlon competition

A solar-powered house designed by University of Illinois students took second place in a competition sponsored by the Department of Energy.
STORY: The Illinois News Bureau
STORY: Washington Post Video Gallery of Solar Decathlon competition
STORY: The News-Gazette.com


Anne BarangerChancellor's Fellow Anne Baranger to Study evaluation methods for STEM departments

Dr. Anne Baranger, Associate Professor in Chemistry, has recently been named an I-STEM Chancellors Fellow for fiscal year 2010. Her mission is to develop a method to evaluate teaching and instruction in STEM departments and to establish a campus STEM education task force.