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Stories about... 8-12 STEM Outreach

UHS Students Gear Up for Mechanical Science and Engineering During I-STEM Summer Camp

October 17, 2017

Where’s the Popcorn? That was all that was missing when 27 Urbana High School (UHS) student athletes sporting 3D glasses lounged in the cushy, theater-quality seats of NCSA’s viewing room to preview some of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory’s (AVL) high-resolution, cinematic-quality, 3D data visualizations. They were at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications for NCSA Day, the final day of the first-ever, I-STEM Summer Camp: A Multidisciplinary Program. During the Friday, August 18th visit, students also toured the National Petascale Computing Facility and met the Blue Waters Super Computer up close, and also discovered more about what NCSA does while attending a panel discussion hosted by several NCSA researchers and programmers.

FULL STORY


UHS Students Gear Up for Mechanical Science and Engineering During I-STEM Summer Camp

October 13, 2017

A 24-year-old woman, Magdalena, who had bone cancer as a child and thus had an arm amputated needs a prosthetic in order to maintain her livelihood. This was the scenario presented to 27 Urbana High School (UHS) student athletes as a part of MechSE Day on Thursday, August 17, during I-STEM’s first-ever multidisciplinary summer camp. So the day’s main hands-on activity involved making a prosthetic device. And while the students learned a bit about prosthetics and Mechanical Engineering during the day’s events, they also learned some things about teamwork and what being a MechSE undergrad might be like.

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At I-STEM's Multidisciplinary Summer Camp, UHS Students Have Fun with Chemistry—Everything From Soap Making To Glow Sticks to Ice Cream

October 12, 2017

How cold do you like your ice cream? Just on the cusp of melting? Cold enough to start a major brain freeze? However you like to eat ice cream, using liquid nitrogen to freeze the ingredients will provide an instant, delicious dessert.

This was one of a number of chemistry topics that 27 Urbana High School (UHS) students got to explore and test on Tuesday, August 15, as a part of the brand new I-STEM Summer Camp, a multidisciplinary summer program that ran frm August 7–18. The camp was aimed at exposing underrepresented minorities to many STEM fields and job opportunities, as well as building teamwork and lab skills.

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UHS Students Explore Computer Science, Coding, During I-STEM Camp’s CS Day

October 10, 2017

For students from a generation that cut their teeth on computer and electronic games, what could be more fun that creating their own? So on Wednesday, August 16, 27 Urbana High School (UHS) students learned a bit about Computer Science and coding during CS Day at I-STEM’s multidisciplinary summer camp. And to put what they’d learned into practice, they each created their own game or story on Scratch.

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During I-STEM Summer Camp, Urbana High School Students’ Understanding of Aerospace Engineering Soars

October 9, 2017

Amidst cheering, laughter, and lots of little trash talking, the 27 Urbana High School (UHS) student athletes at I-STEM’s first-ever, multidisciplinary summer camp were attempting to launch (some successfully, some not so successfully) the balsa wood gliders and model rockets they had built. It was Aerospace Day on Monday, August 14. Students had learned some of the engineering and physics behind how airplanes and rockets fly: via several brief lectures, demonstrations, and tours and lots of hands-on activities, the students had learned about flight mechanics and jet engines, the basics of rocketry, and experienced the wind tunnel how the aerodynamics of various shapes are tested. Then, after designing and building their masterpieces, came the high point of the day—a chance to attempt to launch their aircraft.

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Math Day at I-STEM’s Multidisciplinary Summer Camp Adds Up to Fun

October 6, 2017

“Math should be painted in a fun light!” – Mathematics PhD student Vanessa Rivera-Quinones.

And that’s what the folks from Illinois’ math department did when 27 Urbana High School (UHS) athletes, mostly underrepresented minorities, participated in Math Day as part of the first-ever I-STEM Summer Camp. “This is math?” is a question that cropped up while, grinning from ear to ear, they raced against time to stop the spread of an epidemic on the VAX website, or wrestled with a challenging combinatorics activity, or struggled to get their mind around mathematical logic as Philip Hieronymi presented some virtually unsolvable brain teasers. So while participating in a variety of challenging, hands-on activities that showed them that math is useful in real-life situations and can be quite different from what they learn in school, they also learned to think outside the box where math is concerned and discovered that math can be fun.

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ECE Day at I-STEM’s Multidisciplinary Summer Camp: Soldering, Circuits, and Software

October 5, 2017

“The earlier you get exposed, the better you'll be at it…because it's something you've seen before.” —ECE Graduate Student Lonna Edwards

What is Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) anyway? On Thursday, August 10, 27 Urbana High School (UHS) student athletes found out a little about it at the I-STEM Summer Camp’s ECE Day, when ECE’s Lynford Goddard and several students from his lab exposed the campers to some activities related to ECE. Students learned about then did hands-on activities about research experiment design, how to solder, and how to build circuits. In addition to learning about the field, students also interacted with several ECE graduate students and discovered a bit about what being an engineering student might be like.

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G-BAM GAMES Camp Shows High School Girls What Mechanical Engineering is Like

October 4, 2017

On the cusp of making some important life decisions, like choosing where to go to college, what program to enroll in, and more importantly, what they want to do for the rest of their lives, 24 high school girls participated in G-BAM (Girls Building Awesome Machines) GAMES Camp might have had a few of their questions answered. Hosted by the Mechanical Science and Engineering Department (MechSE), the week-long engineering camp from June 18–24 exposed the girls to the kinds of things they might be doing should they choose a career in mechanical engineering.

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Akono and Company Teach UHS Students About Civil Engineering and Strength of Materials During I-STEM’s Multidisciplinary Summer Camp

October 2, 2017

Concerned about bridges or other structures cracking? Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) Assistant Professor Ange-Therese Akono is. So on Wednesday, August 9, during I-STEM’s multi-disciplinary summer camp, she introduced 27 Urbana High School (UHS) students to her niche: determining the strength of various materials in order to build stronger structures. Plus, along with several hands-on activities related to Akono's Design for Toughness research philosophy, the students not only discovered what research is like, but got to interact with college students and to experience being on a college campus.

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MNTL Day Exposes UHS Students to Nanotechnology Research During I-STEM’s Summer Multidisciplinary Camp

September 29, 2017

On Tuesday, August 8, MNTL Day, the 27 Urbana High School (UHS) student athletes who participated in I-STEM’s pilot summer camp: A Multidisciplinary STEM Program, visited MNTL (the Micro and Nanotechnology Lab), for “A Primer on Semiconductors.” Students had the opportunity to hear from each of the eleven P–20 STEM teachers who participated in the nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET), funded by the National Science Foundation where they did cutting-edge research in nanotechnology under some of Illinois’ premier researchers in the field. In the afternoon, Dr. Mark McCollum led students on a tour of MNTL’s cleanroom laboratory.

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GLAM GAMES Camp Helps High Schoolers Explore Materials Engineering Career Options

September 28, 2017

From wacky wires (memory metal) that reshape themselves when immersed in boiling water, to playing with ooy-gooey non-Newtonian fluids, to molding polymers, the 19 high school girls who participated in GLAM (Girls Learn About Materials) GAMES camp from Sunday, June 18th through Saturday, June 24th this past summer learned about a variety of materials. After hearing a mini-lecture about a given material, the girls then got to do fun, hands-on activities about the subject. Many of the participants, who were exploring materials science in order to make college/career decisions, not only learned some things about materials and what materials engineers do, they were exposed to women in materials engineering who served as role models.

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MCBees Use “Whodunit?” to Pique UHS Students’ Interest in Science During I-STEM Summer Camp

September 27, 2017

A grad student is dead. Who did it? An undergrad who wanted the grad student’s spot and/or funding? The professor who was upset with the student because he wasn't working hard enough in the lab?

This “Whodunit?” was the scenario members of the MCBees came up with to get 27 Urbana High School (UHS) students excited about STEM, specifically DNA research. The MCBees, the MCB (School of Molecular and Cellular Biology) graduate student organization, provided the hands-on activities for day one of the first-ever, I-STEM Summer Camp, a multidisciplinary summer program from August 7–18, which focused on exposing underrepresented minorities to the many different STEM fields and career opportunities, building teamwork and lab skills in the students, and showing them what STEM research is like.

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I-STEM Multidisciplinary Summer Program Exposes UHS Athletes to Different STEM Departments/Units

September 12, 2017

Twenty-seven Urbana High School (UHS) athletes, mostly underrepresented minorities, participated in the first-ever I-STEM Summer Camp from August 7–18. The goals of this multidisciplinary summer program were to 1) expose participants to various STEM fields so they know what their options are when choosing their career/ college path; 2) to build teamwork and lab skills in different STEM disciplines; and 3) to allow students to experience what STEM research is about. Ten different STEM departments and units on campus were each responsible for one day of activities during the two-week camp.

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At ESE GAMES Camp High Schoolers Explore Career Options in Environmental & Sustainable Engineering

September 7, 2017

From July 9–15, 20 environmentally-concerned high school students were on campus to participate in the Environmental and Sustainable Engineering (ESE) GAMES camp. In addition to learning about several key environmental and sustainability issues, campers also learned about career options available in the field— which according to several high school students, was why they participated in the camp.

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High School Girls Discover Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at GAMES Camp

September 7, 2017

From extracting DNA from strawberries, to making silly putty, to operating some lab equipment, the 24 high school girls who participated in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) GAMES (Girls’ Adventures in Math, Engineering, and Science) camp from Sunday, June 18th through Saturday, June 24th, got to experience a bit of what chemical engineering is like. After hearing mini-lectures about a variety of chemical-engineering-related themes, the girls got to do fun, hands-on activities about the subject—including some things that might appeal to girls—like making foaming face wash, for example. Plus, during field trips, the girls got to see first-hand what a career in chemical engineering might be like. Even more importantly, they were exposed to women in chemical engineering who served as role models.

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BioE GAMES Campers Are Exposed to Bioengineering, Engineering's Grand Challenges, & Encouraged to Stay in STEM

September 6, 2017

Besides being exposed to “cool science and engineering stuff,” such as cutting-edge research like quantum dots, according to director Jenny Amos, the 32 high school girls who attended the 2017 Bioengineering (BioE) GAMES camp this past summer were also introduced to some of engineering's Grand Challenges. However, the main intent of the camp, according to Amos, was to encourage the girls to stay in STEM and, hopefully, recruit some of them into Bioengineering

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Campers Build Model Aircrafts, Explore Possible Careers During Aerospace GAMES

September 5, 2017

Twenty-seven high school girls were at Dodds Park on Friday July 14th to launch the glider or the rocket they had built during Aerospace GAMES camp. Eyes glued to their aircraft’s trajectory, some experienced the thrill of victory as it soared in a picture-perfect flight; others experienced the agony of defeat as their aircraft flew erratically because of a faulty design, or flew briefly then plummeted to the ground when it lost a crucial part. But despite the performance of their aircrafts, the students learned a lot about aerospace during the week-long camp from July 9–15th. They learned some principles of flight, were exposed to some possible careers in the field, and, most importantly, interacted with a number of role models—women either in aerospace careers or preparing for them

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POETS’ Education Program Introduces Students of All Ages to Interdisciplinary Research in Electro-Thermal Systems

August 31, 2017

In addition to cutting-edge research in electro-thermal systems, the NSF-funded POETS (Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems) Engineering Research Center has educational programs that expose students (as well as the teachers) to POETS’ research via educational activities, research, and courses that foster interdisciplinary collaboration and expose learners to the unique research that takes place in the Center.

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Young Scholars Program Exposes Local High School Students to Research, the University

August 2, 2017

Instead of spending their summers working at McDonalds, or lounging by the pool, twelve rising juniors and seniors from Centennial and Central High Schools in Champaign spent the summer learning about things like photon quantum mechanics, dark matter detectors, and the biochemistry of swimming bacteria. Part of the Young Scholars Program, a new, six-week summer research opportunity, the students got to experience authentic, cutting-edge research in some of Illinois' premier research labs. Begun by the Nuclear Physics Laboratory in the Physics Department, who joined forces with the POETS Engineering Research Center to broaden and strengthen the program, Young Scholars received funding from multiple sources: ICR funds from the NSF NPL grant, the NSF-funded POETS, the Physics Department itself, and the College of Engineering (which provided funding for one student). The fledgling program was begun to help students discover what research is actually like, determine if research might be in their futures, plus give them an idea of what college is like.

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Local 8th Graders Build Solar Cars Courtesy of POETS' RET
Girls Discover that Engineering Is Sweet at Introduce-A-Girl-to-Engineering Day

March 7, 2017

About one hundred girls (and their parents) from around the state (and even a couple from out of state), showed up at the 2017 edition of SWE’s Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day (IGED). The largest SWE (Society of Women Engineers) outreach event of the year, it was held at Illinois on Saturday, February 22nd. Not only did the participants learn a bit about the different engineering disciplines, they learned that like many of the female role models at the event, they too could do engineering and make a difference in other peoples’ lives.

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UHS Scholar-Athletes Discover “Omics,” the IGB, at I-STEM’s DNA & Health Day

March 1, 2017

Taking a break from their regular classes… and the gym, on February 22nd, 63 scholar-athletes from the Urbana High School boys’ and girls’ basketball teams visited the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) on campus to learn about DNA sciences during I-STEM’s DNA and Health Day. While learning about DNA and Health via a number of hands-on activities, they also got to interact with some Illinois researchers. During a tour of the IGB, they got hands-on experience with state-of-the-art microscopes and cutting-edge technology. And over a pizza lunch, they discovered some resources available for them should they choose to attend Illinois. What did the students take away from the event? Hopefully the notion that exploring the world of “Omics” is intriguing and fun and that they too could become scientists if they so choose.

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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.
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Girls Learn About Materials Science at the 2016 GLAM G.A.M.E.S. Camp

August 9, 2016

As its name implies, during the 2016 edition of GLAM (Girls Learning About Materials) G.A.M.E.S. camp, 19 high school girls did just that. From July 10th–16th, the girls learned about a wide variety of materials, ranging from polymers, to biomaterials, to a material that's a favorite of girls everywhere— chocolate. Plus, and probably more importantly, the girls were exposed to numerous female role models in materials engineering.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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CGS's Summer Camps Teach STEM With a Global Flavor; Act as a Bridge to College
Sustainable Futures campers

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Exploring MechSE camper uses a drill press to make his team's wind turbineWYSE 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.

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GLEE camper shakes off a previous moment of frustration over something that didn't go quite right while building her LED calculator.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...

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IAI camper prepares to launch his glider.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...
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2014 GBAM campers work on their design for the windmill competition2014 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)....
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Grace Moran views BIF's green roof during a tour.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.
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ChicTech participant proudly displays her Swag Bag.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...
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Bioengineering GAMES camper doing hands-on projectG.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.
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GLEE camp director, Lynford Goddard, instructs a camper during a session on optics.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.>
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G-BAM camper displays the prototype she and her team designed for the wind turbine project.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.
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.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.
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Camper uses a ph strip to test a water sample during a hands-on activity exploring water purity.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.
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High School student Chieli Moldonado (left) reads the equipment during one of Wednesday's hands-on activities, as Walt Kelly (right) from the Illinois State Water Survey teaches campers how to analyze a water sample they have just taken from a well.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.
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GLAM camper tastes chocolate during session exploring bloom2013 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..
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Brian Woodard and a couple of GAMES campers follow the flight of a rocket during the launch event at Dodds' Park.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.
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Discover Architecture student enjoys a drawing exercise. 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.
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Vikram Bagchi performing research on the navel orangeworm in the Berenbaum lab. 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...
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Central HS student competes in ICTM Math ContestChampaign'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.
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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...
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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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Betabrain contestants work to build a tower that will successfully hold up a brick.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.
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Juliana TrachEBICS Offers High Schoolers Research at the Intersection of Biology & Engineering

November 27, 2012

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.
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Girls learn about electric circuits at G.A.M.E.S. camp.High School Girls Experience Illinois Engineering During G.A.M.E.S. Camp

July 18, 2012

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:
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David Gong analyzes bone samples in Dr. Kristin Hedman's lab.High Schoolers Gain Authentic Research Experience at Illinois

July 9, 2012

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.
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Nathan BeauchampHigh School Student Experiences Life in an Illinois Lab

July 2, 2012

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.
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Two students work on Lego kit.Uni Seniors Take an Initial Look at the LEGO® DNA Learning Center Set

June 21, 2012

"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.
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CPS student experiences electrifying effect of Van de Graaff generator.CPS Students Discover Campus...and That Learning Can Be Fun

April 18, 2012

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!
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Uni High student in Illinois lab.Uni High Students Experience
Cutting-Edge Research at Illinois

July 11, 2012

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.
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Boys working on Science Olympiad project.Science Olympiad National Tournament turns K-12 students' attention to STEM

May 6, 2010

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.
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BeeSpace Exposes Students to Honeybees

November 17, 2009

MANY OF US have fond childhood memories of endless summer days, lounging in patches of fragrant clover that invaded our neighbors’ manicured lawns. Shuffled into those same memories are the equally vivid sightings of industrious and seemingly dangerous bees, which oftentimes abbreviated our lounging amidst said clover.
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