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STEM Education Stories Archives


Goal 4. Shape Policy and Advocate for STEM Education

POETS Seeks to Change the Attitudes, Shape of Students in the STEM Pipeline

March 18, 2016

Andrew Alleyne, PI of the NSF-funded Center for Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal System (POETS), says the Center’s educational components are “all hypothetical at this point” and just “plans in people’s heads.” However, his plans and those of POETS’ Co-Directors of Education, Fouad Abd-el-Khalick ( K-12 students) and Phil Klein (undergraduate/graduate students), and Education Coordinator Joe Muskin appear to be well thought out and seek to strategically strengthen the education of targeted populations along the STEM pipeline.

Left to right: Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, and Ph.D. students Maria Chavarriago, Brenda Andrade, and Ariana Bravo, all members of the SACNAS organization.Lt. Governor Campus Visit Aimed at Increasing Diversity in the STEM Pipeline

September 18, 2015

When Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti visited I-STEM on Wednesday, September 16th, she met with a number of like-minded Illinois folk regarding increasing the number of underrepresented students in STEM. During the dialogue, administrators, educators, project directors, and students alike shared their passion for STEM education and outreach, conveying this message to the Lt. Governor: the STEM pipeline at Illinois is alive and well.

I-STEM evaluator Jung SungI-STEM Evaluators Serve as “Critical Friends” for STEM Education Programs

June 4, 2015

A trait most human beings share is that we love to receive praise about something we’re doing right, but sometimes take umbrage when we receive even constructive criticism. And folks involved with STEM education programs are no different. But when it comes to the evaluation of these programs, I-STEM evaluators work hard at being objective, describing themselves as “critical friends.” While they are pleased to inform those involved in the programs about the things they’re doing right—similar to the proverb that begins, “Better are the wounds of a friend”—they’re also willing to tell them about things that need improvement and how they could do that.

Susan SchantzCenter to Study the Effects of Toxins on Children, Then Educate the Public

March 19, 2014

Like most folks these days, I make an effort to be green. However, I'm not a fanatic. But when I-STEM's director, Lizanne DeStefano, announced one day that, as a result of evaluating a new grant studying the effect of toxins on children, she had gone home and thrown out all of her Tupperware, this reporter's curiosity was piqued, and as a result of chatting with Susan Schantz about her project, I may mend my ways.

Co-funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a 5-year, $7.6 million grant was recently awarded to Illinois' Children's Environmental Health Research Center. The project, "Novel Methods to Assess the Effects of Chemicals on Child Development," is studying the effects of phthalates and BPA on children.

Kevin WolzChancellor's Fellow Wolz Hopes to Revolutionize Agriculture Via
Woody Perennial Polyculture

September 6, 2013

Around 150 guests, including some local farmers, who visited the Woody Perennial Polyculture Research (WPPR) site on Thursday, September 5th, did more than tour the gardens, taste the raspberries, and sample the "home-grown" food. As part of the WPPR Field Day, Kevin Wolz's Chancellor's Public Engagement project, visitors to the South Lincoln plots learned about his system, which he is proposing as an alternative to corn and soybeans.

Kevin Wang of Microsoft discusses his TEALS program during a presentation at NCSA.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...

Bob CoverdillIllinois STEM Educators Participate in French-American Science Festival

On October 29–30, 2012, several representatives from Illinois participated in the second annual French-American Science Festival held at Northwestern University in Chicago. This year's two-day festival drew upon French and U.S. expertise to address topics on the theme "Sustainable Development."

Illinois President Robert Easter (left) and Governor Pat Quinn joined the P-20 Council meeting at NCSA. State and University Leaders Meet with Members of the P-20 Council to Discuss the Future of Education in Illinois

October 25, 2012

Governor Pat Quinn joined Chancellor Phyllis Wise, President Robert Easter, and leaders in education policy from across the state for a meeting of the Illinois P-20 Council at the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) on October 24.

Undergraduate student completes summer research experience in an Illinois lab.Illinois to Participate in AAU Initiative to Improve Undergraduate STEM Education

August 16, 2012

As the nation's need for more STEM graduates has increased, so has the need to improve undergraduate STEM education. The Association of American Universities (AAU), of which Illinois is a member, has established a 5-year initiative on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) undergraduate teaching...

High school students in lab.USA Today column has unique perspective on STEM education in: "Quit fretting. U.S. is fine in science education"

June 3, 2012

Pop quiz. What year was this written? "Our once unchallenged pre-eminence in commerce, industry, science and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. … The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity." 2012? 2004? 2000? Try 1983.

Chancellor WiseChancellor Fosters STEM Education in St. Louis...and Recruits on the Side

May 1, 2012

In a recent trip to St. Louis, Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise proved that she is not only an able spokesperson for STEM education and ambassador for the University…but a passionate recruiter as well.

ui lab workerNew Center for Agricultural, Biomedical, and Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology (CABPN) To Target Biotechnology

February 10, 2011

The new Center for Agricultural, Biomedical, and Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology (CABPN) is an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center designed to enable discovery and innovation through collaboration. CABPN's mission is to conduct industrially-relevant fundamental research into applications of nanotechnology in the fields of drug development, agriculture, and medical technology; to facilitate technology transfer to industry; and to enhance graduate education and research.

Ethics Center Director C.K. GunsalusIllinois to develop National Center for Professional and Research Ethics

November 12, 2010

Illinois has received a 5-year, $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to fund a national center and portal for professional and research ethics in science, mathematics and engineering. Providing information about ethics, research integrity, ethical challenges in practice, and ethics and compliance policies, the online center's resources will be available to teachers, students, researchers, administrators and other audiences.

STORY: Coordinated Science Lab: University of Illinois to Develop National Center for Ethics in Science, Mathematics and Engineering:
STORY: National Science Foundation: NSF Leads Effort to Make Ethics Resources Available to Researchers:

Image of man and woman in lab at Illinois.Business and industry launch STEM Education Coalition

March 12, 2010

Today a group of organizations representing business and industry, large and small, announced they will join forces to address the growing challenges for America's future workforce. The Business and Industry STEM Coalition announced its commitment to doubling the number of graduates with bachelor's degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) to 400,000 from 200,000 by 2020.
STORY: WASHINGTON, March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire: Nation's Employers Commit to Building a Stronger U.S. Workforce

Barack ObamaObama announces federal agencies to partner with APLU

January 06, 2010

Responding to a letter from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) pledging to do more to improve U.S. competitiveness in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), President Obama announced a partnership between APLU and federal agencies. APLU pledged to increase the number of science/math teachers they train as part of the "Educate to Innovate" campaign.
STORY: The Chronicle of Higher Education website: Universities Pledge to Train Thousands More Math and Science Teachers by 2015

President Obama with K-12 students.President Obama’s new campaign, Educate to Innovate, meshes well with campus STEM ed goals

Other STEM Education

Poster demonstrating how to kill insects without insecticides. (Poster provided by Dr. Ibrahim Baoua of INRAN [Maradi, Niger].)New information-sharing website on sustainable practices under development

May 19, 2010

What do African cowpea farmers, Indian street vendors, and Peruvian llama farmers all have in common? They will all be engaging in an applied STEM education project, benefitting from a new interactive, peer-reviewed, information-sharing website that disseminates educational materials designed to help subsistence farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs learn and adopt sustainable practices in different parts of the world. Currently being developed at Illinois, the Sustainable Development Virtual Knowledge Interface (SusDeViki), a “distributed knowledge” network, will collect, review, organize, and distribute educational materials that promote sustainable development, such as the above poster demonstrating how to kill insects without insecticides. SusDeViki is the brainchild of three Illinois educators involved in international projects working with aid organizations to develop and share agricultural and economic information with people around the world.