Stories about...Computer Science

TechTogether Chicago TechTogether Chicago to Redefine the Hacker Stereotype

July 10, 2021

The nonprofit organization TechTogether formed with the aim to increase diversity in the hackathon community with their events and chapters. Now, the new chapter TechTogether Chicago aims to grow upon this mission with their work in organizing one of the few gender-focused hackathons in Illinois. In addition, TechTogether Chicago will be using the virtual environment as an opportunity to innovate and produce new workshops that can help inspire students to pursue careers in technology.

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Megha Mattikalli and Rishin Pandit HackIllinois 2021 “Rekindled Connections” With The Tech Community

May 5, 2021

What exactly is HackIllinois? A student-run hackathon event developed to empower computer science students to produce technological solutions to problems society is facing, within one weekend. So, from April 9th to April 11th students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign organized the annual student hackathon HackIllinois with the aim of developing projects on current problems facing society. Focusing on “Rekindling Connections” hundreds of participants from Illinois and beyond were able to network with industry professionals, mentors, and companies, while learning new skills through the workshops provided. HackIllinois staff as well learned how to adjust the once-in person event to a virtual event while maintaining the original mission of HackIllinois.

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Mary Cook NCSA Summer Research Exposes Undergrads to Open Source Software, Possible Future Careers

August 4, 2020

Exactly what is open source software? During the summer of 2020, thanks to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), four undergraduate students who participated in the REU INCLUSION (Incubating a New Community of Leaders Using Software, Inclusion, Innovation, Interdisciplinary and OpeN-Science) discovered just what open source software is: mostly free software whose source code is made publicly available so users can modify it to suit their needs. As part of this Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), the students also helped to develop and contribute to some primarily open-source software projects. However, this software-in-research training experience was not just about exploring open source software and programming; students also received professional development, learned about how to present research then actually did so, plus made some relationships and networked with Computer Science researchers. In addition, a fifth student, a returnee from last year's REU INCLUSION, also conducted research as a part of NCSA’s International Research Internship.

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Statewide K-12 CS Education Summit Seeks to Jump Start Computer Science Education in Illinois

October 16, 2019

Computers are here to stay—an integral part of our society. If the state of Illinois is going to keep up with the rest of the world, the next generation needs to learn not just how to use them, but how to program them.

Folks from around the state who are passionate about computer science (CS) education and adhere to the above philosophy gathered at NCSA (the National Center for Supercomputing Applications) on September 20th for the first Illinois Statewide K–12 CS Education Summit. The goal of the many participants was to become better informed about how to begin a CS program, to network with like-minded stakeholders, and to draft a state plan for CS education.

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INCLUSION REU Exposes Undergrads to Computational Research Using Open Source Software

August 29, 2019

In the summer of 2019, eleven undergraduate students experienced a computationally-based summer research experience as a part of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications’ (NCSA) NSF-funded INCLUSION (Incubating a New Community of Leaders Using Software, Inclusion, Innovation, Interdisciplinary and OpeN-Science) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). In its third and final year, the REU allowed the students to acquire or improve their coding skills, possibly even learning a new programming language as they completed projects using Open Source Software. In addition to finding out what research is like, they also experienced another activity they will most likely use should they end up in grad school: they created posters then presented their research. Some of the students also figured out what their next step might be careerwise: matriculating to Illinois to further their education. Plus, the participants also made some relationships and did some networking.

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A Chic Tech participant gets cozy with her stuffed animal during Girls' Night.ChicTech Introduces High School Girls to Computer Science—Other Girls Who Are Passionate About It Too

December 6, 2018

Excited to interact with other girls (and women) interested in computer science, high school girls from all over the state showed up at ChicTech, a two-day event designed to expose girls to computer science (CS), some possible careers in CS, and to show them that they would have a ready-made community, the WCS (Women in Computer Science) group, should they matriculate to Illinois. And more importantly, during the workshops, they learned that, yes, indeed, they can do computer science. One of the main goals of Chic Tech was to give participants a chance to learn that they can do computer science. The event featured three different workshops designed for girls with different levels of expertise.

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Lisa KanburUndergrads Experience Open Source Software & Interdisciplinary Research Via INCLUSION REU

August 13, 2018

Twelve undergraduate students participated in the second summer of NCSA’s NSF-funded INCLUSION (Incubating a New Community of Leaders Using Software, Inclusion, Innovation, Interdisciplinary and OpeN-Science) REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates). Students gained skills they hope employ down the road, including coding in a new programming language and using Open Source Software. Plus, they got the chance to prepare a poster and present their research at the July 25th end-of-the-summer Poster Session at the NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications). Participants also made some new relationships.

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CS GAMES Camp Embraces Creativity in High School Girls Through Computer Science

July 25, 2018

Computer Science is a lot more than just sitting in front of a computer and coding. This is what 19 high school girls from Illinois and beyond discovered when they participated in the Computer Science (CS) GAMES (Girls' Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science) camp from July 8–14, 2018. So, according to camp Co-Coordinator Dot (Dorothy) Silverman, the main emphasis of the camp was not just software and hardware, but encouraged creativity.

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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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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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INCLUSION REU Seeks to Foster Diversity While Exposing Undergrads to Coding Via Open Source Software

August 21, 2017

“We're doing this because we would like to get students that wouldn't have the opportunity otherwise to think about software, to learn about open source software, and then potentially be able to use that in either graduate school or in industry.” – Daniel S. Katz, PI

Ten undergraduate students were on campus this summer to participate in NCSA’s new 3-year REU, INCLUSION (Incubating a New Community of Leaders Using Software, Inclusion, Innovation, Interdisciplinary and OpeN-Science), funded through the NSF’s Office of Advanced Cyber Infrastructure. The goals of the REU are to enable ten undergraduate students each year to develop software and contribute to software projects, specifically Open Source Software projects; to make the population of software developers more diverse; and to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration across all fields with projects led by two mentors from different disciplines. Student participants gained skills they hope to use in the future: they learned about Open Source Software and programming; they learned how to present research; plus they made some relationships and networked.

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

June 20, 2016

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

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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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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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XSEDE Scholar Wanda Moses, a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at Clemson UniversityPetascale Institute Introduces Students to High-Performance Computing

June 12, 2015

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

May 15, 2014

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

As most of us are aware, our increasingly digital society has given rise to cybercriminals who can commit a crime with far-reaching impacts from anyplace the world. All they need is a computer and the internet. That’s why the newly-emerging field of Digital Forensics (DF) is so important. In order to catch and stop the bad guys, the good guys need to be just as good—maybe even better.
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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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iRobotics member judges an event during the recent practice robotics competition.iRobotics Engages Kids in the Sport to Pique Interest in Engineering

December 16, 2013

Is robotics a sport? According to the internet, it meets all of the criteria: team building, competition, awards, and the possibility of moving to a higher tournament or competition, and, thus, should be classified as a "sport of the mind." But no matter how it's classified, if a local event has something to do with robotics, it's a pretty sure thing that some students from iRobotics will show up.
While a few of iRobotics' 40 committed core members are from outside engineering, most are from Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. But they all have one thing in common—their love of robotics...
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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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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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Program prepares STEM educators to teach all students

November 30, 2021
This summer, a group of educators gathered to learn about engaging STEM activities they can do with their students.
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Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program

November 11, 2021
Undergrads get a taste of research through I-MRSEC’s REU program.
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Goldstein’s Renaissance Engineering Summer Camp

November 1, 2021
Goldstein’s Renaissance Engineering Summer Camp Incorporates Art, Design, Mechatronics, and Mentoring
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TechTogether Chicago to Redefine the Hacker Stereotype

July 10, 2021
New workshops that can help inspire students to pursue careers in technology..
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Aerospace Engineering Launches Virtual Summer Camps to Pique Students’ Interest in Aero.

July 2, 2021
Design an aircraft then watch it soar after launching it with a huge rubber band. Build a Mars lander to safely transport a real egg, then test the contraption by dropping it from a second story window.
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Undergrads Experience Materials Science Research Courtesy of the I-MRSEC REU

June 16, 2021
Ten undergraduate students are spending the summer of 2021 discovering what research is like.
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MatSE Afterschool Academy

MatSE Afterschool Academy

June 14, 2021
MatSE Afterschool Academy to Introduce Students to Materials Science and Beyond.
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Taylor Tucker Embraces Multidisciplinary Interest

Taylor Tucker Embraces Multidisciplinary Interest

June 14, 2021
Taylor Tucker Embraces Multidisciplinary Interest While Researching Task Collaboration.
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Exposes Franklin Middle Schoolers to Science, CS

What Studying Engineering at Illinois is Like?

May 25, 2021
NSBE’s Michaela Horn Exposes Franklin Middle Schoolers to Science, CS, and What Studying Engineering at Illinois is Like.
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Jenny Saves a Convertible.

Children’s-Book-Writing Duo/

May 19, 2021
Convertibles and Thunderstorms—Children’s-Book-Writing Duo on Their Way Thanks to Illinois Training and Encouragement from Mentors.
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Improve Learning in Engineering

Improve Learning in Engineering

May 17, 2021
Liebenberg Espouses Mini-Projects to Engage Students Emotionally, Improve Learning in Engineering.
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Joshua Whitely makes an adjustment to the 3D Bioprinter during the demo.

BIOE435 Capstone Projects

May 12, 2021
BIOE435 Capstone Projects - BIOE Seniors Use Knowledge/Skills to Problem Solve.
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Elani and Gonzalo shine a UV light on a rose that has absorbed a solution that has made it fluorescent.

Illinois Scientists Shine a (UV) Light on Fluorescence

May 7, 2021
What is fluorescence? What causes it?
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Joshua Whitely makes an adjustment to the 3D Bioprinter during the demo.

HackIllinois 2021 “Rekindled Connections” With The Tech Community

May 5, 2021
Annual student hackathon HackIllinois with the aim of developing projects on current problems facing society.
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A Shane Mayer-Gawlik image of the Bridger Aurora, part of his Night Skies photography collection exhibited at the Art-Science Festival.

The Art-Science Festival

April 26, 2021
Illinois Art-Science Festival: Illuminating the Universe...from the Quantum World to the Cosmos.
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Joshua Whitely makes an adjustment to the 3D Bioprinter during the demo.

Illinois Engineering Seniors Prepared to Change the World

April 22, 2021
Ready. Set. Go! Illinois Engineering Seniors Prepared to Change the World.
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HML 2021 Virtual Health

HML 2021 Virtual Health

April 19, 2021
Make-a-Thon Gives Citizen Scientists a Shot at Making Their Health-Related Innovations a Reality.
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I-MRSEC’s Music Video

I-MRSEC’s Music Video

April 7, 2021
I-MRSEC’s Music Video for EOH ’21 Plugs Graphene, 2D Materials
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Health Make-a-Thon Orientation

HML 2021 Health Orientation

March 30, 2021
HML 2021 Health Make-a-Thon Orientation Prepares Finalists for Competition.
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Andrea Perry shows Franklin students how to take apart the magnetic drawing board they received in their kit

Musical Magnetism

March 25, 2021
Musical Magnetism: Encouraging Franklin Middle Schoolers to Express Science Via the Arts.
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Carmen Paquette street performing.

Love of Science

March 9, 2021
Paquette Conveys Her Love of Science, Dance to Franklin STEAM Students Via Musical Magnetism.
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An Engineering Exploration participant exhibits the tower they built as part of the engineering challenge related to Civil Engineering

Engineering Exploration

March 2, 2021
SWE’s Engineering Exploration Outreach Lives Up to Its Name.

ChiS&E’s Family STEM Day

ChiS&E’s Family STEM Day

February 23, 2021
Helps Chicago Youngsters Progress Along the STEM Pipeline Toward Engineering.

Kathny Walsh

Kathy Walsh

February 17, 2021
On Her First Foray into STEAM, Kathy Walsh Acquaints Franklin Students with Microscopy, Haiku.

ChiS&E student

ChiS&E CPS Students

January 19, 2021
Illinois Undergrads Encourage ChiS&E CPS Students Toward Possible Careers in Engineering.

I-MRSEC’s Music Video

CISTEME365 Provides Year-Round PD/Community

January 4, 2021
to Illinois Teachers in Support of Informal STEM Education Efforts to Underserved Students.