Stories about...Engineering

Taylor Tucker Taylor Tucker Embraces Multidisciplinary Interests—Engineering and Engineering Education—While Researching Task Collaboration

June 7, 2021

When Taylor Tucker arrived at Illinois for a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Mechanics, she was passionate about one thing: engineering. Then she met Education Associate Professor Emma Mercier and discovered something else—engineering education research. While pursuing this interest, she found another kindred spirit—ISE Teaching Assistant Professor Molly Goldstein, who's also passionate about engineering education. Now, two degrees later, and planning on tackling a third, Tucker is still passionate about and successfully pursuing both disciplines, has figured out a way to somehow combine the two, and is making a difference in both areas.

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Jenny Saves a Convertible Cover Convertibles and Thunderstorms—Children’s-Book-Writing Duo on Their Way Thanks to Illinois Training and Encouragement from Mentors

May 19, 2021

When Taylor Tucker arrived at Illinois for a Bachelor’s in Engineering Mechanics, she dreamed of writing a children’s book. Then, she ran into BioE’s Jenny Amos, who encouraged her to pursue her life-long dream. When Nicole Dowling arrived on campus, she dreamed of drawing for a living. So, inspired by Graphic Design’s Eric Benson, who had assigned a project about sustainability, she decided to try a children’s book. Then, thanks to several serendipitous circumstances, the two met, and a children’s-book-writing collaboration was born. Their first book, Jenny Saves a Convertible was about STEM and overcoming adversity. The combination—STEM and overcoming, and even more so Dowling and Tucker—was so successful that their second book will also address STEM and overcoming—this time about a little girl and her fear of thunderstorms. Jenny and the Thunderstorm, perhaps?

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An Engineering Exploration participant exhibits the tower they built as part of the engineering challenge related to Civil Engineering.SWE’s Engineering Exploration Outreach Lives Up to Its Name

March 2, 2021

“What is engineering?” This is one question SWE Illinois sought to answer during its virtual Engineering Exploration outreach on Saturday, February 20, 2021. Their simple explanation was: “It’s the application of science and math to solve problems.” Their bit-more-in-depth exploration of this question included introducing the 77 middle school participants to several engineering disciplines and what engineers in these fields do. Sponsored by the Illinois chapter of Society of Women Engineers (SWE), with the assistance of other engineering students, the outreach taught the younger students briefly about a few disciplines; led them in some related hands-on activities; and showed them that engineers can come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and ethnicities.

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CEE student describes what being an Illinois student is like.IMAGINE Family STEM Nights Strive to Interest Underrepresented Students in Engineering

"Scientists in textbooks and on TV don't look like me." "No one in my family has done it." "Math is hard, and you can't do science if you're not good at math." "Only A+ students go to STEM." "The 'cool' kids don't go to STEM." "Math is for 'nerds.'" "A math degree won't pay the bills." "I don't want to work in a lab." "I'll need to go to grad school and that means a lot of student debt." "STEM degrees are more expensive." "I'll never get into X University." "I'll never get a scholarship." – Rafael Tinoco Lopez on misconceptions about STEM.

December 14, 2020

While young African-American, Latino/a, and Indigenous students might face a lot of real challenges in regards to choosing careers in STEM, according to Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Rafael Tinoco Lopez, some misconceptions concerning representation, skills, social life, future perspectives, and resources could be contributing to their not considering STEM careers. To rectify this, he and numerous other folks from both the University and the community are taking part in IMAGINE (Identifying Misconceptions of Access of Underrepresented Groups in Engineering) Family STEM Nights. Their goal? To foster inclusion of underrepresented students in engineering by helping middle grade students and their families learn more about engineering, especially specific disciplines. Plus, IMAGINE isn't just focusing on familiarizing students with what engineering is. Planners hope to address misconceptions about skills needed to be an engineer; foster discussion regarding issues of equity, access, and representation in engineering; and talk about resources available for first-time college students.

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DaRin Butz Scholar Andrea Perry, a senior with a dual major in Engineering Physics and Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE). (Image courtesy of Andrea Perry.) DaRin Butz Scholars Program Uses Research to Direct Engineering Undergraduate Women onto a STEM Career Trajectory

September 22, 2020

The goal of the Grainger College of Engineering’s DaRin Butz Foundation Research Scholars program is to encourage Illinois undergraduate women in engineering to pursue careers in science and engineering by immersing them in authentic research opportunities under some of Illinois’ premier researchers. The program, funded by the DaRin Butz Foundation since 2018, is under the umbrella of Grainger’s Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) Program. The seven summer 2020 DaRin Butz scholars not only conducted research this past summer or during the 2020–21 academic year, but received professional development on how to present their research, then had opportunities to do so, such as in ISUR’s Fall 2020 Engineering Research Fair. Plus, the women had/are having a chance to network and through mentoring, discover what graduate school and/or careers in research might be like.

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Joy Chen Undergraduate Women Conduct STEM Research Courtesy of Engineering’s Clare Boothe Luce Scholars Program

September 15, 2020

Eight undergraduate women who are committed to research and who dream of attending graduate school and possibly even pursuing careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) research are discovering what it might be like courtesy of the Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Research Scholars Program. Housed in Grainger Engineering’s Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) Program, CBL provides scholarships that allow these women to experience cutting-edge research in chemistry, physics, mathematics, or engineering while being mentored by some of Illinois’ premier researchers.

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WIE Orientation: Across Many Years, Ameliorations, It’s Still the Best Ticket in Town for Fostering Connections Among Engineering Women

August 31, 2020

As with many disciplines that offer summer camps year-in, year-out on the Illinois campus, rather than not hold a camp due to COVID-19 quarantine mandates, Mathematics chose to modify the program of its established summer camp for 8th–12th grade students to hold the 2020 Virtual Summer Illinois Math (SIM) Camp. The camp ran for two separate sessions: Camp Epsilon, which hosted around 35 rising 8th–10th graders (ages 12–15) from June 8th–12th, and Camp Delta, which worked with around 25 rising 10th–12th graders (ages 15–18) from June 22nd–26th. Unlike some camps which specifically target girls, SIM Camp was open to any students who fit the age and grade criteria, regardless of gender identity.

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Laura Schissler Via ISUR, Engineering Undergrads Conduct Research, Present at Virtual Expo

May 8, 2020

As in years past, Grainger College of Engineering’s Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) Program provided support for students conducting research alongside Illinois researchers during summer 2019 and the 2019–2020 school year. However, unlike its predecessors, the virtual edition of ISUR’s Research Expo 2020, held from April 24th­–May 1st lacked a crowded room full of brightly colored posters. Also missing weas the cacophony of voices simultaneously discussing research as students presented to visitors face to face. Due to COVID-19, this sort of venue was prohibited. However, just like its predecessors, the spring 2020 Expo gave undergraduate researchers a chance to share their research with interested peers, colleagues, and visitors. Each of this year’s crop of students created a poster or PowerPoint, presented their research orally, and even “stood” ready to field visitors’questions…all facilitated virtually.

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Elena Kamis Grainger Engineering’s Knights of St. Patrick Honors Eleven Outstanding Seniors

April 14, 2020

In spring 2020, Grainger College of Engineering’s Knights of St. Patrick honored eleven students—eight women and three men—who have exhibited leadership, character, and made exceptional contributions to the College and its students during their time at Illinois. Being inducted into the Knights of St. Patrick is one of the highest honors an Engineering student at Illinois can receive. Following are brief introductions to several of the 2020 knights themselves. As they share a few of their many accomplishments, what they loved about being at Illinois, what they’re passionate about, plus some of their hopes and dreams for the future, it is apparent why they were chosen for this prestigious honor.

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SWE’s Engineering Exploration Shows Middle School Girls: Women Can Be Engineers!

March 5, 2020

The name of SWE’s new Engineering Exploration outreach pretty much sums up the event. The 40 or so mostly middle school girls who showed up for the February 22nd all-day event had a chance to explore the different engineering disciplines available; were exposed to women in engineering—from current students to practicing engineers; and discovered, while successfully completing the various hands-on activities, that they too could do engineering.

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SWE’s 2019 IGED Introduces Illinois Girls to Engineering

November 15, 2019

At SWE’s 2019 Introduce-a Girl-to-Engineering Day (IGED) on October 26th, Illinois engineering students who participated in the all-day event did just what its name implies. They acquainted around 110 high school girls (the most to ever participate in the event), with what different engineering disciplines are like, what careers are available in the different fields, and what studying engineering at Illinois might be like. Sponsored by SWE Illinois (the Society for Women Engineers) on campus, the event did more than just introduce the girls to the different engineering disciplines; it also gave them a chance to interact with Illinois engineering students. Meanwhile, their parents (around 100 or so) hung around to find out about the admissions process, talk to current upperclassmen, and get a feel for what studying at Illinois might be like for their daughters.

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Illinois Alums Laguna and Zuzuly Encourage Women in Engineering During WIE Orientation

October 23, 2019

BFFs. Best friends forever. Even though Illinois alums Val Laguna and Ann Zuzuly graduated from Mechanical Science and Engineering six years ago, the close friendship they developed while here at Illinois is still intact. And though they now live and work several states apart, they still get together periodically to catch up. One of those times, probably the highlight of the summer for both, was coming back to their old stomping grounds to co-present as Keynote Speakers at the 2019 WIE Orientation in late August. There they had a chance to catch up with some old friends, encourage the next generation of women engineers, and possibly even recruit a few to their current companies as well.

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Fall 2019 WIE Orientation Introduces Engineering Freshmen Women to a Support System, Possibly Life-Long Friends

September 27, 2019

Simplicity. That was how the planners of the Women in Engineering (WIE) Orientation described their event for incoming female freshman engineering students. Their goal? To provide the same awesome program as in previous years—but condensed: only the evening of Wednesday, August 21st and all day Thursday the 22nd. Orientation sought to: introduce freshmen to their departments and to campus resources and where they could be found; provide sage advice, including from keynote speakers Ann Zuzuly and Valerie Laguna; and foster community-building, both with fellow freshmen and with mentors—older and wiser female engineering students who had successfully navigated the many challenges freshmen face. Of course, the icing on the cake was early move-in, avoiding the insanity of all-campus move-in day.

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An Illinois student stands with their candy wave demo.Engineering Open House Poised to Pique Students’ Interest in Engineering, Illinois

April 3, 2019

On March 8–9, thousands of visitors, including children and their parents, school field trips, and presenters, such as current Illinois engineering students and even alumni showed up to participate in Dare to Defy, the 2019 Engineering Open House. For the elementary and middle-school-aged visitors, it was a chance to learn more about science and engineering. (And let’s admit it, for students and even teachers, a day away from school is always fun.) For many high school students, it was a chance to discover what being an engineering student at Illinois might be like and possibly narrow down their career choices. For the many alumni and their industry colleagues who presented exhibits, it was a chance to display their products, share their experiences in engineering, and possibly get some young students interested in their field and maybe even their company. For all participants, it was a chance to celebrate engineering at Illinois.

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A participant tests the battery she and her teammates made.Middle School Girls Discover Engineering Is Fun During SWE’s Round Robin

March 6, 2019

Nine 5th through 7th grade girls showed up on Saturday, February 23rd, for Engineering Round Robin, hosted by the Illinois chapter of Society of Women Engineers (SWE). The idea was to pique the girls’ interest in engineering by exposing them to some of the different engineering disciplines, plus to serve as role models for them to show them that girls can be engineers too.

When deciding on which disciplines they would expose the girls to, the organizers went with some of the most common fields of engineering, such as electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering. However, Rose Carroll, the Round Robin coordinator who’s a freshman in agricultural and biological engineering, reports that in previous years, the event had done a lot of civil engineering activities, like bridge building, and she had wanted to change that up a bit. “I wanted to do something different,” she reports, “especially with me being in agricultural and biological engineering. There's not many activities that are incorporated into large-scale events like this.”

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Two Schlumberger recruiters show off some of the swag they gave away at the fall 2018 ECF.Looking to Find That Dream Job? Engineering Career Services and Its Upcoming Spring Engineering Career Fair Can Help

January 28, 2019

Start early! This is the pithy advice proffered by Engineering Career Services (ECS) job-hunt gurus Ulyssia Dennis and Lauren Stites. By “Start Early!” they mean that practically the second engineering students arrived back on campus after winter break, they should have roused themselves from their eggnog-and-holiday-goodie-induced fog and rushed right over to Engineering Career Services. Why? It’s time to get geared up for the spring Engineering Career Fair (ECF) on Jan 30–31.

When it comes to leveraging that shining new engineering degree into a much-coveted job in the not-too-distant future, Illinois engineering students should heed Dennis and Stites’ “Start early!” mantra. First, they recommend that students start focusing on finding that perfect job early in the semester by attending the spring Engineering Career Fair to be held at the ARC from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Wednesday and Thursday, January 30th–31st.

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Fourth grade teacher Jennifer Simmons looks on as two of her students test their solar car.Dr. Howard Fourth Graders Learn Engineering, Problem-Solving, While Building Solar Cars

November 6, 2018

Design. Build. Test. Tweak. Test again. These are the engineering design process steps three Illinois Engineering seniors, Peter Sokalski, George Popovic, and Cameron Harris, have been underscoring during their Fall 2018 visits to Dr. Howard School in Champaign. Their goal: introduce Jennifer Simmons’ fourth grade students to engineering via a fun solar car project. In addition to the kids learning about engineering and adding skills related to construction and problem solving, the three visitors, along with Ms. Simmons, also hoped that the students would grow personally in regards to their perseverance, communication skills. and self-confidence. Plus, their long-range goal was to show the kids that they too have what it takes to become engineers when it’s time to think about careers.

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SWE’s Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day Encourages High School Girls to Embrace Stranger Things—Such as a Career in Engineering

October 30, 2018

Embracing the Stranger Things!—this was the theme (based on the popular Netflix TV series: Stranger Things!) for the fall 2018 Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day. So, hoping to do just that, around 80 Illinois 9th–12th grade high school girls, mostly from the Chicago area, showed up at Loomis Lab on Saturday, October 27, 2018, with their parents in tow. Some of the stranger things the girls hoped to explore were finding out what engineering is like, what different engineering disciplines do, and whether engineering might be the career for them. So the all-day event, sponsored by the Illinois chapter of SWE (Society for Women Engineers), exposed the girls to hands-on activities in various engineering disciplines, gave them a chance to pick the brains of current engineering students as to what being a student at Illinois is like, and during the Design Challenge, discovered what working with a team of engineers might be like.

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Illinois’ SWE Helps Shape Well-Rounded Female Engineers Via a Plethora of Opportunities

October 2, 2018

According to Abby Pakeltis, president of the Illinois Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, SWE is “a one-stop shop in a student organization.” Through SWE, its membership of more than 200 female undergraduate engineering students can grow professionally, including networking with companies and their representatives; technically, through Team Tech; personally, and socially. “We have a lot of committees that can satisfy everything you're looking for,” she continues. For instance, helping SWE members grow and get connected professionally is SWE’s Professional Liaison Committee, led by its director, Jenny Marten. This committee’s job is to connect with companies in order to bring some of their representatives to campus for workshops, talks, and other events which help SWE members both grow professionally and network with the companies.

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Fall 2018 Career Fair Is a Win-Win, Both for Illinois’ Engineering Students and Industry Recruiters

September 13, 2018

Armed with a list of companies they were interested in working for, a list of questions they intended to ask, and probably a revised resume, a steady stream of Illinois engineering students—dressed to the nines—made their way across campus to the ARC for the Engineering Career Fair on September 11–12. Their goal: network with company representatives and land an internship, or even more importantly, a job for once they graduate. For the recruiters, their goal was to romance the coveted Illinois engineering students, possibly attracting the best and the brightest to their companies.

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Amy Doroff sitting in front of the Quintessential Engineer statue.Alumna Amy Doroff Gives Back to Illinois Women in Engineering

September 4, 2018

Being a freshman woman in engineering at the University of Illinois is not an easy task. Not only are the classes especially challenging, but their populations tend to have many more males than females, which can be quite intimidating for freshman girls. This is exactly why Illinois alumna Amy Doroff decided to return to the university as a keynote speaker at the Women in Engineering (WIE) freshman orientation this fall. Doroff’s college experience certainly wasn’t easy, but she had received support from various people to help her push through it. Now, it’s her turn to be the one giving support to students. “I'm three years out of college now and I want to remind people that I made it to this point, but also that it wasn't because there weren't any challenges and I want to be part of their story now.”

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Hahn and Wolters’ New Book About Women Engineers at Illinois Poised to Inspire, Retain, and Recruit Women into Engineering

August 30, 2018

Several years ago, Laura Hahn (currently the Director of Engineering’s Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education [AE3]) stumbled across the book, Men and Ideas in Engineering: Twelve Histories from Illinois. On her way to show it to Angie Wolters (current Director of Women in Engineering), she had an epiphany, and determined, “Oh, I know what we have to do: we have to write a sequel!” So she asked Wolters, “Do you see this?” and at that moment, the idea for Women and Ideas in Engineering: Twelve Stories from Illinois was born. The original book was published in 1967 for the university’s centennial celebration. Since at the time of their discussion, the university’s 150th anniversary was imminent, they thought, “What better thing to do than to write the sequel,” Wolters confesses. “In reviewing the book itself, there were no women celebrated within the cover of Men and Ideas, so it was our chance to say, ‘Hey, let's tell their story!’” The goal was to have the sequel ready for the university’s upcoming Sesquicentennial in 2017.

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Freshman Women in Engineering Get Ahead of the Curve At WIE Orientation

August 28, 2018

Avoiding the insanity of campus move-in day, 275 female freshman engineering students participated in the 16th annual WIE (Women in Engineering) orientation on August 21st– 23rd. Moving in early was a nice perk— they got to avoid being stuck waiting with mom and dad in a long line to unload one’s car at the dorm. However, most girls would say that wasn’t their main reason for coming. They hoped to get acquainted with campus, find out about their major and resources available to them, and to start building community. They hoped to see a familiar face the first day of class. Up from the 262 participants last year, the 275 attendees were part of the largest group of incoming female engineering students ever to enroll at Illinois: 25% of the freshman class. Helping to make the event possible were the sponsors: Texas Instruments (TI), Abbott, Caterpillar, and Brian and Sophie Leung.

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High School Students Experience Nuclear Engineering—and More—at the New Exploring NPRE Camp

July 6, 2018

Exactly what is nuclear engineering? It has to do with power plants, right? The 18 high school students, rising juniors and seniors mostly from the Chicagoland area, who were on campus the week of June 25–29th for the first-ever Exploring NPRE camp discovered that nuclear power is just one emphasis of NPRE (the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering). And the high schoolers who attended NPRE’s week-long, residential camp not only learned about nuclear engineering, but plasma and radiological engineering as well, and how they impact our lives. Plus, they learned a bit about Illinois, and what it might be like to be an engineering student on campus.

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SPHERES 2018 CohortSPHERES Fosters the Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers Via Research Opportunities for Local High School Students

June 4, 2018

Are you a local high school students who'd like to get paid to assist world-renowned scientists with their cutting-edge research plus expand your horizons while preparing for college? If so, you might want to consider SPHERES (Sparking High Schoolers’ Excitement for Research in Engineering and Science), which sounds like a win-win, both for Illinois and the students. New this summer, SPHERES aims to engage local community high school students in an opportunity to gain research experience at a world-class research university under the mentorship of several people who are invested in fostering the next generation of scientists and engineers.

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Building a Bridge to a Better Tomorrow: The 2018 National Student Steel Bridge Competition

June 1, 2018

Would you participate in a national competition to build bridges simply for braggin’ rights? Barkin Kurumoglu, the National Co-director of the 2018 National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC) and a student here at the University of Illinois, certainly seems to think so. He claims “The unspoken goal is for schools to show who is better at civil engineering”. Lafayette College walked away with that honor, followed by California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo in second place, and École de technologie supérieure in third place. The participants of the 42 teams in this year’s competition came from all over the nation, based on their scoring in the regionals. Some teams were even from other countries such as Canada, Puerto Rico and China.

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Illinois Robotics in Space Launches Conversation on NASA and Member Experience

May 23, 2018

The word “lunatic” comes from madness caused by the moon, and the students here at Illinois are certainly crazy for the Illinois Robotics in Space (IRIS). A multidisciplinary RSO (registered student organization), IRIS recently participated in the NASA Robotic Mining Competition on May 14–18, 2018 at the NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral where they were one of 56 teams this year. The goal of the competition was for the robots to autonomously mine gravel as if they were on Mars. In the future, these models could be used to mine icy regolith on the Red Planet, which could potentially help provide oxygen, fuel, and water for settlers.

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Undergrad presents his research during the undergraduate research week symposiumUndergraduate Research Week Showcases Illinois Undergraduate Students' Research

May 1, 2018

“The research process includes presentation; that’s something you need to learn how to do!” – Karen Rodriguez'G

As part of their research experience, around 1000 undergraduate students from across campus got a chance to hone their presentation skills during Illinois’ fourth annual Undergraduate Research Week on April 15th–21st. Students from a variety of disciplines across campus presented the research they’ve been conducting over this past semester or academic year. While the week featured a variety of events showcasing research or capstone projects in a number of units, its signature event was the Undergraduate Research Symposium, where the students who presented shared that along with learning a great deal about their topic and specific research methodology, their research experience also gave them insight into what they might want to do careerwise.

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ISUR Poster Expo Showcases Engineering Scholars' Research

April 25, 2018

On Wednesday, April 18th, 26 engineering students who have been participating in the Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) program had a chance to present about the research they’ve been conducting during the 2017–2018 academic year. For the scholars, the opportunity to do research in the lab of one of Illinois' world-class researchers not only exposed them to what research is like, but gave them a window into whether research itself, or the topic they'd been studying over the last year, might be a part of their career plans down the road.

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Engineering’s Undergraduate Research Office Encourages Undergrads to Experience Research

April 25, 2018

Tasha Mamaril has her finger on the pulse of research for Engineering undergrads. As the Coordinator of Engineering’s Undergraduate Research Office, she provides information to engineering students about what kinds of opportunities are available. Plus, she oversees two of Engineering’s specific research programs for undergrads: MUSE (Mentoring Undergraduates in Science and Engineering) and the Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research (ISUR) program, which provides scholarships for students addressing research related to the interests of the corporations which fund the program.

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Engineering Ambassadors Instills a Love of Communicating About Engineering—Both Inside of the Classroom and Out

April 23, 2018

The current president of Engineering Ambassadors (EA), Sara Kochanski, would tell you that through the organization, she’s gained a desire to teach, improved her speaking and leadership skills, acquired self-confidence, and made friends. In fact, she’s loved being an Engineering Ambassador so much that she hopes to do it for the rest of her life (unofficially, of course, and not necessarily on the Illinois campus). She intends to remain an ambassador for engineering and to keep sharing her passion for the field with youngsters day in day out…as a teacher. “Engineering Ambassadors has turned me into what I am today,” she acknowledges. “I know it's odd for someone in engineering to switch.”

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Engineering Ambassadors’ Speaking Competition Helps Students Polish Their Communication Skills

April 11, 2018

Illinois’ Engineering Ambassadors (EA) are serious about being able to speak well in order to communicate to others about engineering. But they also want to help others, including those in other STEM fields, to express themselves well when they communicate. So on Saturday, April 7th, during the Engineering Ambassadors’ Fourth Annual Speaking Competition—SpeakUp!—four finalists, armed with PowerPoints and well prepared by their EA mentors, stood before five judges and spoke for around seven minutes about the "Advancement of Technology in an Engineering Discipline and its Impact and Future Implications in Society." Their goal? To compete and win a prize, of course, but, even more importantly, to improve their public speaking.

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Austin Steinforth, Electrical Engineering Ph.D. student, has been presenting his Self-siphoning beads demo every year at EOH.Engineering Open House 2018 Encourages Visitors to Consider Engineering’s Impact Both Today and Tomorrow

March 15, 2018

On March 9–10, 2018, thousands of visitors flooded the University of Illinois campus to participate in EOH 2018: Drafting the Future: classes on field trips, parents who played hookey from work and brought their kids, high school students considering Engineering at Illinois. And there to meet them were hundreds of proud Engineering students, eager to show off what they’ve been learning or researching.

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At Introduce-a-Girl-to-Engineering Day, High School Girls Discover What Engineering Is, That They Can Do It

March 1, 2018

On Saturday February 17th, 2018, around 70 high school girls and their families converged on Illinois’ Loomis Laboratory for Introduce-A-Girl-to-Engineering Day (IGED), sponsored by SWE (Society for Women Engineers). And on hand to introduce these girls to their field and their respective majors were dozens of engineering students, members of the different engineering RSOs (Registered Student Organizations) who helped with the event. However, SWE not only offered the girls a chance to learn about the different engineering disciplines they could specialize in, plenty of female role models were on hand to inspire and boost the confidence of these budding engineers. “Engineering Everywhere, Engineering Everyday” was the theme for this year’s IGED, which is always the largest outreach event that SWE sponsors all year.

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During SWE’s Round Robin, Girls of All Ages Become More Well-Rounded in Engineering's Disciplines

November 2, 2017

On Saturday, October 7th, about 50 girls from all over the state of Illinois converged on Loomis Lab for Engineering Round Robin. Hosted by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the outreach program, with its appropos Robin (and Batman) theme, was designed to expose young women to different engineering disciplines. According to Katherine Kiang, a SWE Outreach Co-coordinator, they also hoped to "provide them some perspective on what it’s like to do engineering as a career.” Designed for girls in grades 6 through 9, although high school students of any age were allowed to attend, the program was primarily targeting younger girls in order to get them exposed and interested at an early age.

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Engineering Freshman Women Get Familiar With Campus, Learn About Illinois Resources, and Build Community at WIE Orientation

September 25, 2017

The “WIE by the Numbers” slide presented during the introductory session of WIE (Women in Engineering) Orientation, from August 22–24, 2017, says it all. Since its inception 15 years ago, 2,724 female freshman engineering students have participated in Orientation, with 268 students from the fall 2017 freshman class attending. Another impressive number? The 268 women attending Orientation were a just bit more than half of the total number of female engineering students in the fall 2017 clas. This represents the largest number (496) and percentage (25%) of women ever in a freshman engineering class at Illinois—a milestone for Women in Engineering and a cause for celebration. And celebrate they did, as they arrived on campus a few days ahead of all-campus-move-in day, eager to get a head start—to get familiar with campus, make friends and build a community, and to receive sage advice from some older and wiser women in engineering.

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Mariano, Pace Encourage Female Engineering Students: "You Too Can Succeed!"

August 29, 2017

On August 22–24, two rising stars at Texas Instruments (TI) were back at their Alma Mater for the Women in Engineering (WIE) Freshman Orientation, an event designed to give incoming female engineering students a jump start on their semester. Since one of the program’s objectives was for older and wiser women to impart wisdom to the rookies, these two recent (May, 2016) ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering) graduates, Paula-Angela Mariano and Molly Pace, were the Keynote Speakers for the event, plus taught a workshop related to internships with TI. The two were on hand to share not only about their triumphs, but their somewhat rocky beginnings; to recommend resources that helped them overcome challenges they encountered; and to pass on some sage advice about how to not just survive but thrive at Illinois. Their main goal? To encourage their younger sisters that they, too, would someday be proud Engineering graduates.

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New Female Engineer Statue to Inspire Women— Past, Present, and Future—to Embrace Engineering

May 30, 2017

Confident. Passionate. Intelligent. Courageous. Innovative. Resilient. Pioneering. Successful. Inspirational. These character traits describing Illinois’ women engineers are emblazoned on the platforms which support the Quintessential Engineer, Illinois’ newest statue: a female engineer. Unveiled on April 28, 2017, the statue, located just east of MNTL, was four years in the making. While Engineering grad student Sakshi Srivastava is quick to credit Texas Instruments, artist Julie Roblatt Amrany, and the many folks across campus who helped to bring it about, it was Srivastava who first dreamed of a statue to serve as a role model for young women. And it was Srivastava's courage, confidence, and determination (plus a little help from her friends) that helped that dream become a reality.
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ESJ Scholars’ End-of-Semester Pecha Kucha Address Social Justice Issues in Engineering

May 23, 2017

To showcase their final projects related to social justice issues they’re passionate about, eleven engineering undergrads who were part of the pilot for the new, two-semester-long Engineering for Social Justice (ESJ) Scholars program presented Pecha Kucha in an end-of-the-semester event. (In this Japanese presentation style, 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each, keeping presentations by multiple speakers concise and fast paced). On hand to witness the May 8 final event, were a number of interested Engineering administrators, faculty, and members of the Illinois community.
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Engineering Grad Students Introduce High Schoolers to Engineering Via IRISE

May 11, 2017

In spring 2017, IRISE (the Illinois partnership for Respecting the Identities of Students in Engineering) connected Illinois Engineering graduate students in the ME598EO course with local ninth-graders from Centennial High School’s AVID program. The goal was to use engineering to provide a solution to a problem in our local community. So the students sought to address obstacles athletes in the Illini Wheelchair Basketball Program encounter while training, competing, or just in everyday life. Not only did the grad students learn a lot about outreach; the high school students learned a bit about what engineers do, and a few even discovered that they might like to become one.>
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ME370 Students Find End-of-the-Semester Robot Races a Fun Learning Experience

May 9, 2017

There was a lot riding on the 36 little robots navigating the ropes stretched across Boneyard Creek for ME 370's final competition. Held just north of the Engineering Building at noon on Wednesday, May 3rd, the contest drew a crowd of interested spectators who vicariously experienced the little robots' ups and downs, "oohing" and "ahing" during the spectacle. For the students, the contest not only motivated them to show off their engineering prowess; it got their competitive juices flowing as they sought to beat the socks off their opponents. And as an added incentive, teams whose robots beat the time set by Professor Socie's robot got to skip the upcoming final exam.
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Alleyne and Wissa Foster Interdisciplinarity in New Biomimetics/ Bioinspiration Course

May 3, 2017

Folks in different disciplines, say engineering and biology, often don’t know how to talk to each other and, thus, have trouble collaborating. So Marianne Alleyne, a Research Scientist in Integrated Biology’s Entomology Department, and Aimy Wissa, an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE), have teamed up to try to change that. They’ve designed a new biomimetics/bioinspiration course, ME 498/IB496, which seeks to use an advanced design experience to foster an interdisciplinary mindset among students in the course.
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Leal's Career Grant: Research in Soft Materials, GLAM-Mid 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.
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Kelly Cross“Double Bind” Study Examines Obstacles Women of Color Face in Engineering

April 10, 2017

“You don’t want diversity just for the sake of diversity, don’t want them just for the sake of having them in the room. You want them for their perspective.” – Kelly Cross

Kelly Cross and several colleagues have begun a three-year study funded by the National Science Foundation to examine the experiences of women of color in engineering. Aptly named “The Double Bind of Race and Gender: A Look into the Experiences of Women of Color in Engineering,” the study Cross is conducting, along with Jenny Amos, Kathryn Clancy, Princess Imoukhuede, and Ruby Mendenhall, is looking at how women of color are doubly disadvantaged. They not only have to overcome historical gender inequities inherent in engineering, but also face the many challenges racial minorities encounter.
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EOH Visitors Discover that Engineering is Fun, Exciting, and Can Change the World

March 27, 2017

Making the pilgrimage to Illinois to take part in Illuminate New Horizons, the 2017 edition of Engineering Open House (EOH) were thousands of visitors, young and old, including mumerous classes on field trips, and lots of families. During the event, held on March 10–11, visitors encountered some of the many faces of engineering, ranging from current engineering students from all across campus, to alumni, who were excited to come back to their alma mater to show visitors some of the exciting projects they’re currently involved in, and possibly do some recruiting. It was clear that exhibitors hoped to engage visitors in their demonstrations and exhibits, many of which included interesting hands-on activities, to show them not only the breadth of the field of engineering, but that it’s fun and exciting, and that engineers can change the world.
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NGS Middle Schoolers Build Bridges, Experience Engineering During EOH Design Contest

March 23, 2017

It had all come down to this. It was crunch time—figuratively, and possibly literally, if their bridge built as part of the Engineering Open House (EOH) Middle School Design Contest collapsed while being tested. For weeks, three teams of eighth graders from Next Generation School (NGS) in Champaign had been designing bridges—building their prototypes, testing them, working out any kinks. Finally, Saturday, March 11th, the day of the contest, had arrived. With their fingers crossed, each team eagerly watched Illinois engineering students attach a bucket to their bridge then slowly fill it with sand. The idea was to see how much sand could be added before their bridge buckled. And whether they won an award or not, they’d learned a lot: about teamwork; about the engineering process; and what being a Civil Engineer might be like.
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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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Student Spotlight: Hani Awni–Engineering for Social Justice Scholar

March 1, 2017

Hani Awni was not always interested in the role engineering should play in regards to social justice, but after venturing into the real world, he realized there was more. Hani is an engineering student who studied what he found “technically interesting” during his undergraduate years, but following two years working in Silicon Valley, he was left looking for more.

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New ENG 198 Course Teaches Freshmen the Engineering Process, Teamwork, While Addressing Personal Mobility

November 9, 2016

The idea behind ENG 198, the new Engineering course being piloted in fall 2016, is to give freshmen a chance to discover what it’s like to be an engineer early on…with a few caveats. Working as part of an interdisciplinary team, students are to come up with an innovation of benefit to society in the area of personal mobility. Plus, despite the students being freshmen, course planners don't intend to smooth out the path for the students; they want the students to navigate some bumps in the road—just like real engineers do. The goal? For students to learn the engineering process, experience teamwork, and come up with an end product that—while not necessarily 100% successful—lets them experience having contributed to society.

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SWE's Rockin' Engineering Round Robin Tells Girls: "You Can Be An Engineer and Still Be Yourself!"

October 17, 2016

SWE’s (Society of Women Engineers) Engineering Round Robin, an outreach designed to expose girls to the different engineering disciplines, isn’t just for high school girls any more. Of the 45 girls who converged on Illinois’ Siebold Center on Saturday, October 8th, 20 were middle school students. Also different from past years was the interdisciplinary emphasis. Not only cutting across engineering disciplines, the program had a hint of STEAM (STEM + Art = STEAM). The goal? To show girls that they could become engineers and still be themselves.
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Engineering Career Fair Fosters Networking, Helps Students Land Internships and Jobs

September 19, 2016

Did you notice that on September 7th and 8th, campus was inundated with scores of students who, instead of sporting the traditional September garb of shorts and orange t-shirts, were dressed to the nines in professional business attire—guys looking sharp in suits, ties, and shiny shoes, girls in stylish black business suits and even heels? If so, it was most likely some of the 6000 or so Engineering students who ventured south of Green Street to attend Illinois’ Engineering Career Fair (ECF) at the ARC.

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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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At WIE Orientation, Engineering Freshman Women Experience Campus, Build Community

September 13, 2016

The week before classes began for the Fall 2016 Semester, 251 Engineering freshman women sacrificed their last week of summer vacation to attend Women in Engineering (WIE) Orientation on August 16–18. These future engineers showed up early hoping to get a jump start on the fall semester…and they did.

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Cindy and Stephanie Richartz—Keeping It in the Illinois Engineering Family

September 1, 2016

Mother-daughter duo Cindy and Stephanie Richartz, the keynote speakers at the 2016 WIE Orientation (August 16–18), are both Illinois graduates. Both majored in industrial engineering. One major difference? While mother Cindy has been in industry and at Abbott for a while, Stephanie just recently graduated (May, 2015) and began her journey in industrial engineering. However, despite the difference in number of years in engineering, both were delighted to come back to their Alma Mater to share about their respective journeys—Cindy’s years of experience as a woman engineer in industry, Stephanie’s more recent experience at Illinois and finding a job. Both are also committed to giving back to Illinois, especially the Women in Engineering (WIE) program, to ensure that Engineering keeps producing a steadily increasing flow of bright young women engineers through the Illinois pipeline.

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Engineering Career Services Helps Students Prepare for Careers, Upcoming Career Fair

August 26, 2016

"It’s never too early to come to the Career Services offices." Deon Robin, Assistant Director for Employer Engagement, Engineering Career Services

On September 7th and 8th, around 6,000+ Illinois engineering students will get a jump start on finding the perfect job by attending the Engineering Career Fair. And according to Deon Robin, Assistant Director for Employer Engagement, Engineering Career Services has a raft of materials/events to help students not just prepare for the upcoming Career Fair itself, but figure out what career is perfectly suited for them and then land that dream job. Materials/events ECS has developed/offers include: a pamphlet outlining ECS events and services, the Lunch & Learn series, a Mock Career Fair: “Prepare for the Career Fair,” RésuméMania, Engineering Career Fair, i-link, the Career Fair Plus app, Pre-Career Fair Virtual Meet-Up, ECS Workshops, and the Job Shadow Program.

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WIE Lead Fosters Leadership in Illinois' Women in Engineering

March 22, 2016

“I just want to ensure that these women have a chance to develop these additional personal skills, professional skills, so they feel empowered to be leaders.” Angie Wolters

The Women in Engineering (WIE) organization in the College of Engineering prepares women to succeed in engineering. While a major focus of WIE is to help them be successful at Illinois, the organization also seeks to help them be successful beyond Illinois by providing them with the skills they will need to get ahead in their future careers. So in the 2015–2016 academic year, WIE leaders began a new leadership series called WIE Lead, which features monthly workshops highlighting students, faculty, and alumni who share their stories about how they've grappled with specific leadership principles.
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An engineering student turns in her team's completed Lego structure.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.
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Clockwise from left: CEE grad student Jeevaka Somaratna explains CEE 398 to Ann Horton-Weis and Lizanne DeStefano of I-STEM.SIIP: Reforming Undergraduate Engineering to Engage Students

October 29, 2013

The goal of SIIP (the Strategic Instructional Initiatives Program) is to reform Engineering's core undergraduate courses to engage students and improve learning. How? By changing the way the courses are taught, then checking with students to see if it's been effective. Is it working? Based on feedback from educators at SIIP's recent Poster Showcase on Friday October 18, it appears to be.
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Douglas JonesIGERT Trains Students at the Intersection of Neuroscience and Engineering

December 12, 2012

"We're trying to develop a culture and a community of people here on campus that are interested in the intersection of neuroscience and engineering."

According to program coordinator Pat Grenda, this is the goal of the Neuroengineering IGERT at Illinois. Short for "Neuroengineering: A Unified Educational Program for Systems Engineering in Neuroscience," the five-year Ph.D. program is funded by a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant. In its fourth year, the IGERT currently has 45 students enrolled in four cohorts.
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Erik JohnsonNeuroengineering IGERT Students Experience Interdisciplinary Research

One student wants to discover how the brain enables complex thought, such as philosophy. Another wants a field rewarding enough to get him out of bed and to work every morning. Another student, who heard about the IGERT program while jogging, finds the psychology-engineering intersection intriguing and the engineering tools crucial to his work. Still another saw the IGERT as an opportunity to acquire resources, knowledge, and connections in the field of engineering that she wouldn't have had otherwise. No matter why students chose the Neuroengineering IGERT at Illinois, they find interdisciplinary research at the intersection of neuroscience and engineering to be challenging, yet exciting.
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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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Irfan AhmadThe Face of Nanotechnology at Illinois, CNST Promotes Interdisciplinary Collaboration

September 14, 2012

Illinois' Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) works to provide training and to foster collaboration in nanotechnology at the intersection of engineering and biology. Why should engineers need to learn about biology? According to Irfan Ahmad, Executive Director of CNST, the national academies have identified the 21st century as the century of biology.
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Women in Engineering Camp Facilitates Relationship Building

August 30, 2012

On Monday, August 20th, 200+ women enrolled in the College of Engineering at Illinois converged on Loomis Lab for breakfast and orientation sessions, then toured campus and experienced relationship building at Allerton Park as a part of the Women in Engineering Freshman Orientation Camp. According to Angie Wolters, Assistant Director of Women in Engineering, the purpose of the camp was to "engage them, introduce them to the College of Engineering on campus, and give them an opportunity to all come together and create a cohort for their incoming freshman class of women."
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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.