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Stories about... STEM Pipeline

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.

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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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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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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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Kelly CrossScience Policy Group Hosts Brown Bag Luncheon About Diversity Initiatives in STEM

May 3, 2017

On April 19th, a number of University folk interested in increasing diversity in STEM attended a brown bag luncheon, "Diversity Initiatives in STEM." The featured speakers at the event were Ellen Wang Althaus, Director of Graduate Diversity in the Chemistry Department, and Jennifer Greene, a Professor in Educational Psychology. Sponsoring the event was a new RSO (Registered Student Organization), the Science Policy Group, which began in fall of 2016.
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two girls play with oobleckBarkstall STEM Night Exposes Students and Their Families to Fun Science and Engineering

March 15, 2017

A large number of Barkstall Elementary School students, along with their parents and siblings, ended up back at school on Thursday evening, February 23rd to take part in the school’s Science Fair/STEM Night. In addition to viewing science fair project posters made by Barkstall students, participants took part in a number of fun, STEM-related hands-on activities and demonstrations presented by Barkstall folks, as well as University of Illinois students, including some from the Physics Van and REACT outreach groups.

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Melinda LaniusLots of Local Kids (and Parents) Have Fun with Math at Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner

February 3, 2017

Hundreds of local adults and children converged on Altgeld Hall on Saturday, January 28th for Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner. As they participated in the numerous puzzles, games, riddles, magic tricks, and other hands-on activities, they discovered that math is more than just figures and formulas.According to Melinda Lanius, a math Ph.D. student who, along with Assistant Professor Philipp Hieronymi, organized this year’s event, “Math is play!” So numerous volunteers from Illinois’ Department of Mathematics, Illinois Geometry Lab, and Association for Women in Mathematics spent the afternoon showing members of the community that play can indeed be math—and that it’s fun.

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Melinda LaniusMath Carnival: Gathering for Gardner to Show Kids—Math Is Play…and Fun!

January 20, 2017

“It’s flipping the switch. Every time we have this event, kids are like, ‘Wait, this counts as math?’ Because they’re having fun! – Melinda Lanius

The math folks in charge of the 2017 edition of the Math Carnival: Gathering for Gardner have one goal in mind: trying to get kids to realize that math is more than just some dry formulas memorized in school, but it’s a creative, problem-solving process that’s fun. So from 2:00-5:00 pm on Saturday, January 28th, volunteers from the Department of Mathematics, IGL (Illinois Geometry Lab), and Association for Women in Mathematics will be on hand at Altgeld Hall to get the community, especially local kindergarten through middle school youngsters, engaged and playing with math. “That’s the spirit behind this—Math is play!” says Melinda Lanius, a math Ph.D. student who, along with Assistant Professor Philipp Hieronymi, is organizing this year’s event..

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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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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.

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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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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.
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Daniel Urban, a grad student from the School of Integrative Biology's Animal Biology DepartmentLeal Science Night Exposes Local Youngsters to STEM, Role Models

April 13, 2015

Instead of heading to the movies last Friday night, a number of local STEM students and professionals gathered at Urbana’s Leal School to share their passion for their respective fields with local students and their parents at the school’s annual Science Night. Presenting at the April 10th event were a number University student groups and staff. For example, two undergraduate student outreach groups, Physics Van and Chemistry’s REACT group, shared activities with the visitors. In addition, MechSE undergraduate student Patrick Slade was on hand to demonstrate bionic prosthetics.
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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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FLL contestant from Da Ex Bots holds some of his team's Lego equipment.First Lego League—More Than Just Robots

January 23, 2014

"Some people think that Lego League is just for nerds, but it's not. It's way more than robots." —Jessica Smith, First Lego League contestant.

With its carnival-like atmosphere more reminiscent of Mardis Gras than a STEM event, the recent First Lego League (FLL) Robotics Tournament held at the ARC on campus gave young robotics aficionados the opportunity to do more than just build and program robots. In addition to the fun of competition, camaraderie with one's teammates, and dressing alike or sporting wild and wacky costumes, hats, or paraphernalia), participants honed important life skills, such as public speaking, working on a team, and learning how to perform research.
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Camper models the fiber optics barette she made for her hair.Pollen Power: Exposing Girls to Pollen—and Possibly STEM Careers

July 24, 2013

The 27 middle school girls who participated in Pollen Power camp July 8–12 not only learned about the importance of pollen. They were exposed to the technology researchers use to study it, and to female researchers and graduate students, who both taught them and served as role models. In using mostly women, Pollen Power organizers sowed this seed that they hope comes to fruition in these girls' lives: they too can follow in these women's footsteps.
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GEMS camper enjoying making life-size graph during a math activity.GEMS: Steering Middle School Girls Toward Careers in Computer Science

June 19, 2013

Briana Chapman is a prime example of how exposing youngsters to STEM (science, technology, engineering, & math) at an early age can lead to a life-long interest—and possibly culminate in a career in STEM. Chapman, who attended GEMS (Girls Engaged in Math and Science) camp as a youngster, is not only helping coordinate this summer's edition of the computer-science-focused camp for middle school girls. Her career plans are "to somehow change the world"...via computer science.
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Two contestants competing in the 4-H Robotics Competition4-H Robotics: Working to Make a STEM Career Down the Line Automatic

May 13, 2013

"My whole goal in this is to get more kids in STEM," 4-H Educator Bob Smith unashamedly acknowledges. In charge of 4-H Robotics for the state of Illinois, Smith provides training, expertise, and curricula for county-level 4-H club leaders and also oversees 4-H's state-wide robotics competition.
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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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Jennifer DocktorSTEM Pipeline Alive and Well as Science Olympiad Impacts
Former Contestant's STEM Career Choice

May 25, 2011

GET YOUNGSTERS HOOKED ON STEM when they're young, and when they're old, they'll choose STEM careers! Theoretically, that's how the STEM (science, engineering, technology and/or mathematics) pipeline is supposed to work, and Dr. Jennifer Docktor's journey along the pipeline is a perfect example. She began her voyage by getting involved in Science Olympiad at the age of 12 and credits her years in the science competition as playing a big part in her decision to enter the field of physics education.
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Boys working on Science Olympiad project.Science Olympiad National Tournament turns K-12 students' attention to STEM

May 11, 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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Tristesse JonesIllinois Ag student Tristesse Jones is STEM education success story

December 9, 2009

Tristesse Jones, a senior majoring in crop sciences and preparing to be a research biologist, followed the STEM education pipeline to the University of Illinois.
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