Stories about... Women in STEM
Leal's Career Grant: Research in Soft Materials, Mid-GLAM Camp for Girls, Workshop for Incarcerated Adults
April 24, 2017
Cecelia Leal, an Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE), was recently awarded a 5-year National Science Foundation Grant called, “CAREER: Nanostructured Soft Substrates for Responsive Bioactive Coatings,” to study key fundamental properties of biocompatible lipid materials. Because Career grants also require researchers to do an educational outreach component, in addition to the graduate students she’ll be training and mentoring, Leal will be doing a new summer camp for middle school girls and a workshop for incarcerated individuals as part of the Education Justice Project.
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.
Mommy, Me, & SWE: Middle School Girls Find Out About Engineering While Finding Dory
November 13, 2016
Engineering is not only fun, but can be used to help solve practical, real-world problems—even not-so-real problems— like finding Dory. This is the message Mommy, Me, and SWE sought to convey on Saturday, November 12th, to the 30 local middle school girls (and their moms) who participated. During the all-day event, mother-daughter teams were exposed to a number of the different engineering disciplines via fun and engaging hands-on activities that brought engineering down to a level the kids (and even the moms) could understand.
ChicTech Seeks to Increase the # of Women in Computer Science—and Is Succeeding!
November 16, 2016
Computer Science is only for guys who are nerdy geeks and who sit glued to their computers 24/7! This is one of the myths about computer science (CS) that the fall 2016 ChicTech outreach set about to dispel, while showing 61 visiting high school girls (up from 50 last year) that CS is cool. Held November 12–13, the event, hosted by Illinois’ Women in Computer Science (WCS), was designed to show girls that they too can do CS, that it’s lots of fun, what it’s like to be a CS student at Illinois, and what a CS career might be like.
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.
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.
Rosado Continues to Improve Engineering Camps, Grow the STEM Pipeline to Illinois
July 27, 2016
Sahid Rosado is a STEM outreach force to be reckoned with on the University of Illinois campus. After starting out as just an instructor for an Environmental Engineering G.A.M.E.S. camp session a few years ago, she is now the Outreach Coordinator for the College of Engineering and is in the process of not just improving but revolutionizing Illinois’ Engineering camps via the addition of middle school students as she seeks to grow the STEM pipeline to the University.
AERO G.A.M.E.S Campers Soar with New Aerospace Knowledge
July 26, 2016
rom July 10th–16th, 30 girls from Illinois and a few other Midwestern states attended Aerospace G.A.M.E.S. (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp. Besides learning about the diversity of an aerospace engineering degree, they also had what was most likely another new experience for most of them—being with a large group of girls who have a similar interest in STEM.
G-BAM Girls Learn to Make a Difference Via Engineering
July 22, 2016
Many of today’s young people want careers that allow them to make a difference in other people's lives. During the 2016 G-BAM (Girls Building Awesome Machines) G.A.M.E.S. (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp, the 24 high school girls who participated from June 19th–25th not only did high-tech, hands-on activities, such as building a 3D printer and using CAD to design and 3D print a key chain, and fun stuff, such as writing a program for a robot, then watching it do the dance moves they had designed.
G.A.M.E.S. Campers Learn about Bioengineering While Breaking Down Stereotypes
July 20, 2016
For one week this summer, 32 high school girls were exposed to the world of bioengineering (BioE) at the Bioengineering G.A.M.E.S. camp (July 10th–15th). They learned about many aspects of bioengineering research, such as cell culture, health disparity, biometrics and 3D printing, MRIs, ethnography, synthetic biology, and much more.
Girls Experience Electrical Engineering First-Hand at the 2016 GLEE G.A.M.E.S. Camp
July 6, 2016
During the 2016 edition of the GLEE (Girls Learning Electrical Engineering) G.A.M.E.S. (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp the week of June 19th–25th, 19 campers from across the US (and even one international student) not only got their heads around what Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) is like...they got their hands around it too. First they learned about a range of things related to ECE, like circuits, signal processing, imaging, optics, antennas, etc., then implemented what they had learned in the classroom via some hands-on projects. The idea of the camp was to expose the girls to a variety of activities that would give them a taste of what Electrical and Computer Engineering is all about.
Highschoolers 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.
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.
SWE's "Save the World With Engineering" Outreach Targets Middle School Girls
May 16, 2016
Up to date on current research about STEM outreach, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at Illinois is aware that middle school is the crucial age to expose youngsters to STEM, and also that today’s young people want careers in which they can make a difference. So on April 16th, 2016, SWE held it’s first-ever SWE (Save the World with Engineering) event, an outreach that both targeted middle school girls and showed them that through careers in engineering, they can change the world.
Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day Tells Girls: "You Can Be an Engineer, Change the World!”
March 10, 2016
On Saturday, February 20th, SWE’s Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day did just that. Around 150 high school girls (and their parents) who showed up at Illinois’ Loomis Lab for the day-long outreach were introduced to Engineering at Illinois by female engineering students who were excited to get to know the girls and to convey to them this dual message:
1) that they too could become engineers, and
2) that a career in engineering would give them the chance to make a difference. And of course, the Illinois students who helped out hoped to not only woo some of these potential recruits into engineering, but maybe even into their own particular fields.
Akono Exposes Intrinsic High Students to the Mechanical Properties of Materials
March 8, 2016
“How are we going to fuel our civilization in the next decades, especially knowing that we’re kind of running out of fossil reserves? It really boils down to having a fundamental understanding of the mechanical properties of materials.” – Ange-Therese Akono
Ange-Therese Akono, an Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, is passionate about building innovative, strong, durable buildings. That’s why her research involves understanding the mechanical properties of materials used to construct them. Akono is also passionate about passing on her enthusiasm for materials to the next generation, particularly underserved students. So on January 18, 2016, Akono and eight of her graduate and undergraduate students hosted a Structural Mechanics Workshop for 28 juniors and seniors from Chicago’s Intrinsic High School.
ChicTech Seeks to Foster High School Girls’ Interest in Computer Science
December 8, 2015
Why would a number of Illinois' female Computer Science (CS) students devote an entire weekend in early November hosting a group of high school girls as part of the 2015 ChicTech Retreat? Dedicated to increasing the number of women in their field, these CS students hoped many of the girls, who share their affinity for computer-related technology, might some day end up choosing CS as a career as a result of the experience.
Mommy, Me and SWE Strives to Convince Girls That They Can Be Engineers Too
November 13, 2015
Twenty-six 4th–6th grade girls and their mothers (plus one dad) visited campus this past Saturday (November 7th, 2015) as guests of SWE (the Society of Women Engineers) to participate in the group's fall outreach event, Mommy, Me and SWE. The goal of the dozens of female engineering students who participated in the event was to pique the girls' interest in engineering and show them that, like their "big sisters," they too have what it takes to become engineers.
MakerGirl Uses 3D Printing to Get Girls Interested in STEM
October 30, 2015
Local girls who participate in the MakerGirl after-school program are doing more than just 3D printing objects they’ve designed. Little do they know it, but while sitting there tinkering on kid-friendly Tinker CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software, they’re learning to think like the big girls in STEM disciplines, such as engineering, do. And if MakerGirl has its intended impact, the fun, creative STEM-related activities will, like the Pied Piper, "introduce girls to the magic of science" and lead them straight into the STEM pipeline.
SWE Outreach Seeks to Interest Kids in Engineering and Say, “You Can Do It Too!”
October 12, 2015
Not all kids have parents who will tell them, ‘Yes, you can do it...You’re smart enough to change the world!’ I want SWE outreach to be an organization that can do that for kids.” — Ashley May
The main goal of Lara Flasch & Ashley May, the 2015–2016 Outreach Co-Directors for the Illinois chapter of SWE (the Society of Women Engineers), is to help youngsters believe that they, too, can become engineers.
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.
2015 GAMES Camps Recruit Girls to the STEM Pipeline...and Engineering
July 17, 2015
Just about everyone who helped run this summer’s eight, week-long GAMES (Girls’ Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camps from June 7th–July 18th would unashamedly admit hoping to influence the 199 high school girls who attended to choose engineering as a career—and to come to Illinois to learn all about it. And GAMES appears to have a pretty good track record of doing just that...
Rosado's Summer 2015 Camps Expose Young People to Engineering...and Illinois
July 1, 2015
Sahid Rosado never dreamed when she signed on to teach an Environmental Engineering G.A.M.E.S. camp session a few years ago that she would end up where she is today—the reigning Queen of Illinois’ Engineering camps. As Outreach Coordinator for the College of Engineering, Rosado is ultimately responsible for 356 campers this summer—and she loves it.
Kelsie Kelly Gives Back to the Community Via STEM Outreach and Mentoring
March 30, 2015
Kelsie Kelly’s goal in a lot of what she does is to pay it forward.
A Ph.D. student in Community Health, Kelly has lofty career aspirations which appear to have been influenced by her own experiences. For one, she would eventually like to start a women’s clinic—no doubt influenced by the many outreach programs in which she participated growing up. Her other dream—starting a non-profit organization that mentors underrepresented students—probably came about because both mentoring and being mentored were so important early on in her life...and still are: "I have a bunch of mentors in Milwaukee whom I still talk to regularly to make sure I'm staying on track," she admits.
SWE: 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.>
From 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.
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.
2014 G.A.M.E.S. Campers Discover That Engineering Is Not Just for Boys Anymore
July 21, 2014
The week of July 14–18, 190 high school girls (a record number) converged on the engineering campus for the 2014 edition of G.A.M.E.S. (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp. Offering eight tracks, G.A.M.E.S. not only gave the campers an opportunity to delve into the mysteries of a specific engineering discipline, but also exposed them to female role models at all levels (undergraduate and graduate students, as well as practicing engineers)....
Imani 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.
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...
G.A.M.E.S. Campers Experience Bioengineering—and Have Fun
September 24, 2013
The 30 high school girls who attended the 2013 version of the Bioengineering G.A.M.E.S. camp this past summer (July 15–19) were exposed to some cutting-edge research, such as how bioengineering is addressing the delivery of drugs in cancer patients, or microfluidics—how fluids can be constrained to nano-scale devices to study them. However, the main intent of camp co-directors Jenny Amos and Olivia Cangellaris wasn't to recruit the girls into their field. They simply wanted to expose campers to some fun engineering.
GLEE Campers Learn How Electrical Engineering Impacts Their Everyday Lives
September 19, 2013
During the GLEE (Girls Learning Electrical Engineering) G.A.M.E.S. camp this summer, July 15–19, fourteen high school girls learned a bit about electrical and computer engineering and got to practice what they learned during some hands-on projects working with circuits. The goal was to take something near and dear to the hearts of teenage girls—their cell phones—and help them understand some of the principles that make them work.>
G-BAM Sends Campers This Message:
Girls Make Awesome Engineers
August 22, 2013
"I've talked to some of our undergraduates, and you hear them say, 'Engineering's not like what I really thought it was. I somehow wound up here, and actually it's really cool now that I'm here.' I always think, 'Oh, if only we could have told them beforehand that it's going to be this fun.'" Matt West
During the first-ever G-BAM (Girls Building Awesome Machines) G.A.M.E.S. camp this summer, Associate Professor Matt West got his wish. He and Assistant Professor Elif Ertekin, who co-directed the camp...got to tell 16 high school girls beforehand how much fun mechanical engineering is.
GLAM Seeks to Capture Girls' Imagination About Materials
August 21, 2013
In its third year, the GLAM (Girls Learning About Materials) G.A.M.E.S. camp exposed 18 high school girls to a wide variety of materials, beginning with the perennial favorite of females of any age—chocolate.
Environmental Engineering G.A.M.E.S. Camp Encourages Girls to Think Green
August 12, 2013
For high school girls whose dream is to save the planet, the 2013 Environmental Engineering and Sustainability G.A.M.E.S. Camp was a perfect fit. The one-week camp addressed many aspects of environmental engineering, including water quality, air quality, waste, renewable energy, and sustainability. For the final project, the girls dreamed up a concept for a sustainable campus, then incorporated engineering aspects to create a 0-emissions dorm.
2013 G.A.M.E.S. Camp Gives Girls a Taste of Engineering—and College Life
August 8, 2013
For the 167 high school girls who attended G.A.M.E.S. camp the week of July 15–19, College of Engineering folk ranging from professors, to students, to even alumni, pulled out all the stops to showcase their disciplines and to communicate this truth: Engineering isn't just for boys anymore..
G.A.M.E.S. Camp Seeks to Navigate Girls into Aerospace Engineering
August 7, 2013
The temperature wasn't the only thing going up on July 19th, the final afternoon of the 2013 G.A.M.E.S. Aerospace Engineering camp. On one of the hottest afternoons of the summer, nothing could keep the 20 girls who attended the camp; Brian Woodard, the camp director; and his enthusiastic Aerospace Engineering team from braving the heat to launch the rockets and gliders the girls had built, most of which soared high into the clouds above Dodds' Park.
Pollen Power: Exposing Girls to Pollen—and Possibly STEM Careers
July 24, 2013
The 27 middle school girls who participated in Pollen Power camp July 8–12 not only learned about the importance of pollen. They were exposed to the technology researchers use to study it, and to female researchers and graduate students, who both taught them and served as role models. In using mostly women, Pollen Power organizers sowed this seed that they hope comes to fruition in these girls' lives: they too can follow in these women's footsteps.
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.
MechSE Senior Christine Littrell Poised to Change the World
November 5, 2012
"Frankly, she's just a tremendous advocate for the department. She is one heck of a good ambassador for us." Bob Coverdill
What was it that first made Christine Littrell stand out from the crowd as a freshman, besides her stunning, could-have-been-a-model good looks? According to Bob Coverdill, Director of Advancement for Mechanical Science and Engineering, she always wore purple—and had a matching purple laptop to boot.
Myong, BioE Undergrads Expose Middle Schoolers to DNA/Cell Measurement
October 31, 2012
On Wednesday afternoons, a number of Illinois bioengineering undergrads can be found at Jefferson Middle School teaching seventh and eighth graders about science. The brain child of Bioengineering professor Sua Myong, this year-long, after-school outreach program funded by the Center for the Physics of Living Cells meets once a week to expose students to techniques used to measure things in cell biology.
From 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.
Illinois 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...
GIRRRLS Camp Exposes Local Middle School Girls to Engineering
August 22, 2012
"This is the kind of camp that you'd want your own kid to go to." This was the impression of Nano-CEMMS educator Carrie Kouadio, who taught a number of sessions in this summer's 2012 GIRRRLS Exploring Science and Engineering Camp. Held in the heart of campus at the Campus Middle School for Girls, the week-long camp, which ran from July 30 through August 3, 2012, gave 28 rising fifth, sixth, and seventh grade local girls a taste of a variety of engineering disciplines.
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:
STEM 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.
Illinois Ag student Tristesse Jones is STEM education success story
December 9, 2009
Tristesse Jones, a senior majoring in crop sciences and preparing to be a research biologist, followed the STEM education pipeline to the University of Illinois.