Spotlight on Illinois Students

Engineering seniors Courtney Leverenz, Shivani Ganesh, Eugenia Maldonado, and Berat Gulecyuz by the Engineering Hall sign.Ready. Set. Go! Illinois Engineering Seniors Prepared to Change the World

April 22, 2021

Every year, Illinois graduates a crop of female engineers who are skilled, well prepared, knowledgeable about not just their field, but engineering overall, and well equipped to navigate the vagaries of the engineering world. The spring 2021 crop is even more well prepared, having weathered the adversity of completing part of their junior year and all of their senior year under COVID-19 restrictions. Meet Shivani Ganesh, Berat Gulecyuz, Courtney Leverenz, and Eugenia Maldonado—future engineers who are eager to get out there and make a difference—to change the world for the better! Below, the four friends share why they came to Illinois, some of their achievements, challenges they overcame, a key nugget of what they learned at Illinois that they know they’ll be using down the road, their dream job/how they intend to change the world, and advice for incoming engineering freshmen.

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MechSE Seniors Seek to Make Congenital Amputee’s Dream of Operating Cat Heavy Equipment a Reality

June 11, 2020

Ever since he was a boy, Dylan Taylor has envisioned a career behind the controls of some really big construction equipment. Now that he’s 18, he still dreams of operating some of the big boys—specifically, Caterpillar’s excavator, bulldozer, and motor grader. However, to achieve this dream, Taylor must first overcome a significant conundrum. Born with a congenital defect, he’s missing his left hand, and most of Cat’s equipment is maneuvered via dual joysticks. So a team of five Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) seniors, in collaboration with Caterpillar, were excited to help Taylor achieve his dream. For their ME 470 senior capstone design project, the soon-to-be-engineers designed several machine control adaptations, which, before too long, will help to make Taylor’s dream a reality.

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Spencer Hulsey, the Face of the Physics Van: Passionate About Physics—and Outreach

February 5, 2020

This is one of Physics senior Spencer Hulsey’s favorite quotes by physicist Richard Feynman, who helped to pique her interest in physics. However, someone who had an even more significant impact on her love of physics and decision to study it was her high school physics teacher, Steve Eischens. And while Hulsey loves physics research (she’s worked for four different professors), probably her favorite thing to do is outreach. In fact, all who have seen the co-coordinator of the Physics Department’s long-standing outreach group in action might aptly call her “the Face of the Physics Van.”

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Thrasher Studies the Use of Low-Stress Virtual Reality to Improve Students’ French Oral Proficiency

October 11, 2019

Can virtual reality (VR) be used to decrease foreign language anxiety and increase students’ oral proficiency? French PhD student Tricia Thrasher thinks so. Consequently, students in French 205 were slated to employ VR in the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning’s (CITL’s) Innovation Studio, providing the perfect opportunity for her to study the impact. According to Thrasher, who has a concentration in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (SLATE), foreign language anxiety has been shown to negatively impact oral production skills. So, for her dissertation, she’s studying oral proficiency, specifically looking at how VR can be used to decrease foreign language anxiety, thus increasing oral production performance.

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Aerospace Engineering's Katie Carroll: Poised to Explore Andromeda…and Beyond

September 17, 2019

When someone graduates, it’s usually a poignant mix of nostalgic reflection on the past and a hopeful gaze into the future. In May 2019, Katie Carroll graduated from Aerospace Engineering. And just as this writer couldn’t help but do an article about Carroll’s voyage down the STEM pipeline when she was a freshman, I felt it was only fitting that I close the chapter on her time at Illinois with a walk down memory lane, looking at the things she considered most significant in her past, and a bit of a look into what’s in her future.

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Adriana CoaritiAdriana Coariti Passionate About STEM Outreach, Cooking Up a Multidisciplinary Masterpiece

“I love multidisciplinary work. I think that brings the best of every world together. It's like cooking. You get all of your best ingredients, and if you know some type of cuisine and you can combine it with another, you can cook something great.” – Adriana Coariti

August 8, 2019

When high schoolers in the WYSE (Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering) camp were struggling with how to insert a bubble inside another bubble, Adriana Coariti was there to help the students trouble shoot. And when youngsters at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum’s Creative Science Camp couldn’t get the wand they’d designed to make rectangular bubbles, she was by their side, effervescently encouraging them to follow their intuition. Extremely passionate about multidisciplinary engineering, Coariti is just as passionate about STEM outreach. So she got involved with the two summer 2019 outreach opportunities in hopes of helping the youth build their scientific intuition.

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May '19 Industrial and System Engineering grads, Frances Ponicki, Teresa Ponicki, Mary Ponicki, and Siobhan Fox, ready for graduation.Female Industrial and Systems Engineering Graduates Poised to Make a Difference

May 17, 2019

Ready. Set. Go! It’s May, and a new batch of Illinois engineers, including Siobhan Fox and Frances, Teresa, and Mary Ponicki, with whom I-STEM has had significant interactions during their tenure at Illinois, are chomping at the bit to go out and change the world. The top of their respective high school classes, upon arriving on campus as freshmen, they discovered that it was a whole new ball game. They all experienced failure in one form or another, or encountered challenges that they had to work to overcome. But through the community here at Illinois, including some amazing Engineering professors, they overcame those challenges and have emerged prepared for the future—well-trained, inspired, and excited to use their knowledge and skills to problem solve and to make the world a better place.

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Bioengineering freshman, Saaniya Kapur.Bioengineering’s Saaniya Kapur Passionate About STEM Outreach

Feburary 8, 2019

Bioengineering freshman Saaniya Kapur’s parents never told her, “Oh, you're too young to do this!” Instead, Mom, who is preschool teacher, and Dad, who is a computer engineer, told her to go for it. And her early love of and exposure to science has shaped her dreams of a career in biotechnology and has fueled her passion for STEM outreach so that youngsters, as well as her peers have similar opportunities to fall in love with science the way she has.

It makes sense that Kapur would be passionate about introducing youth to science. She recalls that she “Liked science as a kid,” and she “liked hands on.” She had the opportunity to participate in different clubs, plus her school had a mandatory science fair, for which she remembers “working on really extensive projects with my dad” who, according to Kapur, is really interested in how things work, which he evidently passed on to her.

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Becoming Engineers at Illinois Triple the Fun for the Ponicki Sisters

September 26, 2018

When identical triplets Frances, Mary, and Theresa Ponicki were growing up, there wasn’t a huge push to get girls interested in STEM. But the three, currently seniors in the Systems Engineering and Design (SED) program in Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering (ISE) loved playing with Legos. Mind you, these weren’t the dumbed-down pink ones the toy manufacturer currently makes for girls, assuming they can’t handle the same kind of stuff boys can. This Lego kit was a hand-me-down from their older sister who had been interested in industrial design before switching to education— complete with gears that encouraged them to design and build machines. Frances claims that playing with Legos “kind of got us into STEM without us really even realizing it.” “We're really focused on design,” adds Theresa, “so it kind of runs in the family.”

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A NRES junior, Alondra Estrada.NRES Junior Alondra Estrada Passionate About Environmental Science, Research, and…Turtles!

September 11, 2018

Growing up in Adison Illinois, Alondra Estrada, a first-generation Hispanic college student, wasn’t even sure she’d be going to college. Then she came to an Illinois summer camp and, as a result, she changed her mind about becoming a veterinarian and decided to study environmental science in Then, for the last two summers, she participated in the WE CAN which further muddied the waters regarding her next step career wise. Should she become an animal photographer, go to grad school and become an environmental scientist, or, go for her dream job, an environmental lawyer? While she isn’t sure what the future holds, she does know this: her many experiences have given her a lot of great career options.

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Shelana Martin with her poster at the end-of-the summer Poster Session at NCSA.SPIN Introduces Shelana Martin to Cybersecurity and the Open Source Platform, Moodle

September 4, 2018

How did Shelana Martin, who’s not a computer science major, end up in an NCSA internship? The rising senior in education technology under the College of Education’s Learning and Education Studies program was part of NCSA’s SPIN (Students Pushing Innovation) internship program. SPIN fosters interdisciplinary collaboration, encouraging Illinois undergraduate students, and not just computer science students, to do challenging research related to cutting-edge new technology. The new technology Martin learned was Moodle, an open-source learning management system. Plus she also learned quite a bit about cybersecurity too.

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Undergrad Brione Griffin Gets One Step Closer to Her Dream of Becoming a Doctor Via REACH RCEU

July 25, 2018

Brione Griffin’s career goals have always been “to be a doctor—be a doctor and help people out.” So when she learned about REACH (Research and Education for the Advancement of Compassionate Health Care) RCEU (a Research Experience for Undergraduates with an added clinical component), sponsored and funded by the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine, she was intrigued. "I think it's something I've loved all my life,” Griffin says regarding her passion for science, biology, and medicine. She shares an anecdote about how she got interested in those.

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REACH Program’s Emphasis of Research Plus Clinical Confirms Alexis Chamorro Ortiz’s Career Goals: To Both Treat and Research Cancer

July 18, 2018

Alexis Chamorro Ortiz didn’t just wake up one morning and decide he wanted to spend the summer after his sophomore year at the University of Puerto Rico doing cancer research at Illinois as part of the REACH (Research and Education for the Advancement of Compassionate Health Care), a new USDA-funded RCEU (Research Experience for Undergraduates with an added clinical component). For most of his childhood, he had watched his grandfather first overcome a brain tumor, then lose his battle with brain cancer when Ortiz was a freshman in high school. “He passed away so quickly, and it made me want to help other people who are like my grandpa,” Ortiz explains.

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Suzanne PetersonAerospace Engineering Junior Suzanne Peterson Returns to G.A.M.E.S. Camp

June 13, 2018

Most undergraduates rarely get an opportunity to participate in an immersive experience relating to their future career paths as early as high school. But rising senior Suzanne Peterson is a 5-time veteran of the University of Illinois G.A.M.E.S. camp, having first attended when it was still open to middle school students. Girls’ Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering, and Science (G.A.M.E.S.) is an annual, week-long event which allows high school girls to explore scientific ideas through demonstrations and activities. This year, Peterson will be on the other side of the event as a lab assistant who teaches several classes and sessions. Her own experiences at these camps as a young girl opened up the possibility of studying engineering, and she wants to pay it forward, saying, “I'm really passionate about outreach, and I would like to be [an inspiration] for somebody else.”

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By Women, for Women: Kristina Allen Discusses Her Research in Women’s Health

June 4, 2018

When most people think of anthropology majors, they may not picture them in a research lab. But rising senior Kristina Allen doesn’t let stereotypes cramp her style. She studies biological anthropology, which explores concepts ranging from human evolution to human biosocial variation from a scientific perspective. Her research focuses on reproductive ecology, and she jokes that she may be the first woman to ever say, “I love menstruation.” Allen held a love for science throughout her school years, and originally wanted to be a doctor, but switched out of premed after taking a few anthropology courses and realizing that her passion lay elsewhere. She seems to have found her niche, saying “I love what I do now.”

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The (Future) Doctor is in the House: Meet an Illinoisan in the Inaugural Carle Illinois medical program

May 30, 2018

What do being a librarian and a doctor have in common? Elizabeth Woodburn has considered both as potential careers. But it is the latter that she will be pursuing as a member of the first ever Carle Illinois College of Medicine class. She one of two of her 32 peers to hail from the state of Illinois. Coming from Winnetka, IL, Woodburn graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Bioengineering this May. Although her parents encouraged her to look outside the state, she followed in their footsteps and became an Illini. At first, joining a large institution like Illinois seemed daunting, but Woodburn found what she calls “wonderful, small pockets of people within the big school”.

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Heredia at work in Erik Procko’s development lab.MCB’s Jeremiah Heredia: Passionate about HIV-1 Research, STEM Outreach to Underserved

February 8, 2018

Jeremiah Heredia hasn’t always been as passionate about science as he is now. In fact, as a kid, he didn’t like it one bit. “Not at all,” he admits. “I wasn’t into science at all.” Actually, he wanted to be a baseball player…a second baseman, to be precise. Nowadays, however, instead of pulling on a baseball glove, the fourth year Biochemistry PhD student is pulling on vinyl lab gloves. But he’s still competitive. However, instead of trying to beat an opposing little league team, he’s moved on up to the big leagues and is going after an even bigger W. He hopes to beat some of the major diseases plaguing our society, like HIV-1, for instance. And when he’s not in the lab, he’s out doing something else he’s passionate about…getting underserved students excited about science.

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SPIN student Zekun Wei at work in NCSA's SPIN officeNCSA’s SPIN Program Exposes Illinois Students to Innovative, High-Tech Research

November 30, 2017

Illinois undergraduate students seeking to do challenging research on campus, especially related to cutting-edge new technology, need look no further than NCSA’s SPIN (Students Pushing Innovation) program. Begun in 2012, it was created to support undergraduate research on campus and also to provide access to new technology—high-performance computing, data analysis and visualization, or cybersecurity, to name several. The gist of the program? Students get to do cutting-edge research in new technologies mentored by world-class researchers— possibly using NCSA’s Blue Waters supercomputer.

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Paola Estrada during during the I-STEM Camp's MCB DayMCB’s Paola Estrada Passionate About Research, Getting Students Excited About Science

November 9, 2017

PhD students, as a general rule, have very little free time—most of their waking hours are spent holed up in some lab doing research. The precious little free time they do get, most choose to use it getting caught up on sleep or on food—or to socialize. Not Paola Estrada, however. This summer, the MCB PhD student took a break from her research to try to get 27 Urbana High School (UHS) students interested in science and engineering. Involved in MCB Day, the first day of I-STEM’s summer camp this August, Estrada helped to expose the high schoolers to some of the basics of microbiology. Ironically, it involved forensics. The MCBees used a classic detective game of “Whodunit?” in which students used science to solve the murder of a grad student, and forensics is what brought Estrada to the US and set her on her journey as a researcher of protein crystallography.

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BioE’s Carlos Renteria: Passionate About Education, Curing Alzheimer’s, and Outreach— Particularly Exposing Hispanics to STEM

October 27, 2017

The more you learn, the more you can do. – Carlos Renteria

This was the attitude Carlos Renteria’s dad instilled into him growing up. And it appears to have worked. Currently a PhD student in Bioengineering (BioE) and conducting research in Professor Stephen Boppart’s Biophotonics Imaging Lab, Renteria dreams of becoming a university professor to both teach and do research. And while he’s worked hard to get to where he is today—studying for a Ph.D. at a top engineering school— Renteria says he owes a lot of it to his dad.

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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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Local Youths' Renewable Energy Invention Propels Them to the Regionals in Toshiba’s ExploraVision Contest

April 20, 2017

One doesn’t have to be an adult to be an inventor. Nor does one have to be an adult to be green. Dina Hashash and Lawrence Zhao, two local 7th graders at Next Generation School in Champaign are doing their part to promote renewable energy in order to help solve the energy crunch. As part of ExploraVision, Toshiba’s K–12 program designed to “engage the next generation in real-world problem solving, with a strong emphasis on STEM,” the two invented the BioKT. It's a watch-like device that harvests both kinetic and thermal energy from the body of its wearer. Their innovative design helped them reach the Regionals of the contest, an achievement celebrated by an awards ceremony at their school on April 13th.
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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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Pakeltis Sisters Hope to Increase the Number of Women—Change the World Through Engineering

October 7, 2016

While the old Irving Berlin song, “Sisters, Sisters,” may not exactly be the theme song of the two Pakeltis sisters, a couple of lines fit Grace and Abby to a T. One is the last phrase of: "Two different faces, But in tight places, We think and we act as one." For instance, they’re both studying Engineering at Illinois. Grace, the oldest, is a senior in Materials Science Engineering (MatSE), while sophomore Abby is in Mechanical Science & Engineering (MechSE).
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Illinois’ Kenny Long and the Global Health Initiative Promote Global Health

September 27, 2016

For Illinois Engineering student Kenny Long, just being an engineer wasn’t enough. He wanted to approach problem-solving with a more interdisciplinary, holistic approach— not just fix a community’s impure water supply, but solve some of the residents’ medical issues related to having drunk the water. And just solving problems in his immediate vicinity wasn’t enough either. Recognizing that ours is a global village, Long embraced his global citizenship and is now seeking to solve problems in some of the more distant reaches of our village. And one way Long is doing that is through the Global Health Initiative and its INSIGHT (Illinois-Njala Sustainable & Innovative Global Healthcare Technologies) program.

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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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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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Wendy Reyes Learns Life Skills in Bioimaging REU

July 29, 2016

When rising junior Wendy Reyes spent the summer doing research in Professor Michael Insana’s Ultrasonic Imaging Lab as part of the 2016 Bioimaging REU, she learned a lot.She learned some research skills: how to train software to recognize cancer in the images of breast tissue.

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Bioimaging REU's Matt Kavanaugh Experiences Cancer Research at Illinois

July 29, 2016

Matt Kavanaugh had originally applied to Illinois as an undergraduate, but finances prevented him from coming here. So he matriculated to the University of Kansas, where the rising junior is majoring in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Biomedical. However, when searching for something productive to do over the summer, he came across the NSF-funded Bioimaging Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Illinois.

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ECE's Kitt Peterson Exposes Local Middle Schoolers to Rapid Prototyping

May 6, 2016

While it will be several years before Champaign-Urbana’s current crop of middle school students get the keys to their own car, at least a number of them now have a key chain to put them on. And it’s one that they designed themselves, thanks to ECE graduate student Kitt Peterson and MechSE’s Education Coordinator, Joe Muskin, who developed a curriculum that introduces rapid prototyping to sixth graders. So during the 2015–2016 school year, around 90 middle school students at Jefferson, Franklin, and Edison Middle Schools learned how to use TinkerCAD, a free, online software, then designed key chains, which were then 3D printed.

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Lynette StricklandVInTG IGERT Inspires Ph.D. Student Lynette Strickland to Choose a Career in Research

May 2, 2016

How did a little girl who had never been further than her home state of Texas and dreamed of being a veterinarian end up a researcher at Illinois, who also spends large blocks of time in Panama and is passionate about studying, in particular, the colorful Chelymorpha, or tortoise beetle? Lynette Strickland, an Animal Biology Ph.D. student who works in the lab of Illinois researcher Carla Caceres, credits the NSF-funded VInTG (Vertically Integrated Training with Genomics) IGERT.
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Rodriguez-OteroRodriguez-Otero Says SROP Puts a Face With an Application, Fosters Relationships

November 10, 2015

So how did Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) grad student Jannette Rodriguez-Otero from San Juan, Puerto Rico, go from studying to be a barber in a local vocational school to working on a Ph.D. in molecular sciences in MCB's Cellular Developmental Biology Department? She claims that there’s one reason she’s at Illinois: SROP.

“If I wouldn’t have participated in the SROP, I wouldn’t be here right now, I think,” she explains. “Because the people wouldn’t get to know me, and they wouldn’t know how I work, because I got a recommendation from my mentor for the SROP. I think the SROP gave me a really big opportunity to get into grad school.”
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Entomology Ph.D. student Tanya Josek Suarez & Josek Use Insects & Robots to Teach Bioinspiration at STEAM Studio

October 14, 2015

Taking a short break from their entomology research, Illinois Professor Andy Suarez and Ph.D. student Tanya Josek visited Next Generation School’s STEAM Studio, an after-school program that incorporates art into its STEM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Math). There they taught the students about bioinspiration— how biology can inspire engineering. The two incorporated a variety of hands-on activities guaranteed to engage the youngsters, teaching them about a couple of their favorite subjects: insects and insect-inspired robots.

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Aeronautical Engineering freshman Katie CarrollAerospace Engineering Freshman Katie Carroll's Trek Along the STEM Pipeline

October 21, 2015

Kids tend to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Judy Garland’s daughter, Lisa Minelli, became a singer too. Goldie Hawn's daughter, Kate Hudson, became an actress. Racecar driver A.J. Foyt's son races cars. George Bush senior’s sons are all politicians. And just like Mom and Dad, Katie Carroll is studying to become an aerospace engineer. But while some might say she’s just following in her folks' footsteps, others might claim that her early and repeated exposure to STEM along the STEM Pipeline had something to do with it.
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Aadeel & SladeTwo Illinois Students to Make Low-Cost Bionic Prosthetics More Accessible

April 30, 2015

Patrick Slade, a junior in MechSE, and Aadeel Akhtar, a Ph.D. student in Neuroscience, have the same tastes in a lot of things. For one, they both like to play guitar. They listen to the same kind of music. Members of the Bretl Robotics and Neuroscience Research Group, they both research bionic prostheses. And they both decided that someone should build more low-cost prostheses, so even people in third-world countries can have access to the technology. So in their spare time, they've started a company, PSYONIC. And they're on their way: Akhtar and Slade and their fledgling company recently won the Cozad New Venture Competition held on Friday, April 24 at the Illini Union; the prize: $25,000 to begin their company and start building prostheses like the ones they've been designing—only better, and at a lower cost!
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Kelsie KellyKelsie 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.
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Dr. Howard students and Benjamin Sohn (left)MechSE's Benjamin Sohn Gives Local Kids a Taste of Engineering

December 2, 2014

Benjamin Sohn, an Illinois Ph.D. student in Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE), devoted his lunch hour several Tuesdays this fall to sharing his love of engineering with local youngsters at Champaign Unit 4’s Dr. Howard School. Working with students in Ellen Elrick’s 3rd grade class, Sohn taught the students some engineering principles while showing them how fun engineering can be.
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Arzeena AliFrom Moon Rocks to Test Tubes: Arzeena Ali Exemplifies the STEM Pipeline in Action

September 3, 2014

Chemistry Merit Scholar and Nano@Illinois REU participant Arzeena Sultana Ali has never met a STEM subject—or STEM program—she didn't like. Exposure to science early on piqued her interest, and from then on, she was hooked. "I always knew I wanted to do science from a very young age," Ali admits. So it was just a matter of figuring out which discipline.
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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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Nathan DostartMechSE's Dostart Hopes to Influence Local Youngsters to Choose Engineering

December 9, 2013

Nathan Dostart, a senior in Mechanical Science and Engineering, spent some early mornings at Stratton School this fall, showing Zanne Newman's fourth graders "that engineering is really cool."

Poised to begin a career in Aerospace Engineering as soon as he graduates, Dostart wasn't exposed to engineering as a youngster. "Only Legos," he laments. It wasn't until the end of high school that he finally realized, "This is something I can go into in college." That was when he realized that he wanted to be an engineer.
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Christine LittrellMechSE 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.
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Ryan TappingEBICS REU Student Contributes to Research on Neuron Cells

September 27, 2012

Rather than lazing the summer away like some of his peers, Ryan Tapping, an Illinois undergraduate student, spent his productively—making a significant contribution to research. The experiment? Studying how neuron cells from a rat brain form clusters.

Participating in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, Tapping worked with faculty member Martha Gillette, who is part of EBICS (Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems)...
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Val Laguna and Ann ZuzulyFrom 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.
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Nathan BeauchampHigh School Student Experiences Life in an Illinois Lab

July 2, 2012

Nathan Beauchamp jangles the key from his pocket, unlocks the double door and reaches towards the four light switches wrapped around the adjacent wall. The 15-year-old flips the lights with the blind cool only muscle memory can foster. The Unit Operations Lab in the basement of Roger Adams Laboratory at the University of Illinois bursts awake.

Beauchamp is tired today—he stayed up late completing a poster he will present on Friday while explaining his research in the field of 3D printing—and walks to his computer more laboriously than usual.
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Tristesse JonesIllinois Ag student Tristesse Jones is STEM education success story

December 9, 2009

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