On Saturday, April 5th, 2014, the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy celebrated three years of inspiring high achieving high school students becoming educated and involved in STEM. The guest list not only included the 2013-14 cohort of 99 Scholars, but also their families and friends, as well as university and external guests totalling 240 people.
The End of the Year Banquet celebrated the Scholars’ successes throughout the year and featured the culmination of the Leadership Grand Projects (LGP) via eleven presentations and remarks from the Boeing Company’s Grant Crampton (Functional Integration Manager, Engineering, Operations, and Technology) and IIT’s Gerald Doyle (Vice Provost for Student Access, Success, and Diversity Initiatives).
Megan Mozina (Program Director, IIT Boeing Scholars Academy) opened the event congratulating our Scholars, their parents, and all the people and partners that make the program possible. Ross Ludwig (Program Coordinator, IIT Boeing Scholars Academy) and Katherine Rhee (Program Coordinator, IIT Boeing Scholars Academy) followed by giving an overview of the past year.
The Extraordinary Engagement Award, a new award to highlight two Scholars who went above and beyond in participation throughout the academic year and who understand the spirit of taking advantage of opportunities available was givento Samantha Tobias (senior, De La Salle Lourdes) and Hasani Valdez (junior, Lake View High School). Both were awarded Museum Campus passes (tickets to the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, and Adler Planetarium) as we knew that they would take full advantage of and thoroughly enjoy this kind of award!
Scholars Tredarin Crumbley (senior, Lindblom Math and Science Academy), Kaylynn Cusic (junior, Young Women’s Leadership Charter), Tyler Portis (junior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep), Odalys Roldan (senior, Eric Solorio Academy High School), and Jaylon Tucker (senior, Lindblom Math and Science Academy) thanked The Boeing Company on behalf of the Academy. Grant Crampton accepted the Scholars’ gift on behalf of the Boeing Company and expressed gratitude and excitement at the long history and success of the company’s partnership with IIT and the curiosity and enthusiasm the Scholars have for STEM and education.
Scholars presented eleven Leadership Grant Projects (LGP) that have impacted many individuals and communities across Chicagoland. From water collection to healthy eating, and from bicycle safety to LGBTQ awareness, no issue was left unaddressed by the LGP teams who worked with seventeen project mentors and Professor Bob Anderson (Director of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property; Adjunct Professor in Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Stuart School of Business) who assisted Scholars with project management and presentation skills.
Videos of each LGP are available to view by clicking their titles. Additionally, video of the entire event can be viewed here.
- Team ACTIVE – Engaging students in exercise and activities to learn about healthy lifestyles. | Scholars: Amber Fang, Chequita Grant, Carlos Luna, Karina Mojica, Romin Pakshir, Imani Wilson. | Mentors: Catherine Langman, Bhoopesh Mishra.
- Breaking Barriers – Informing peers about resources available to help succeed in high school. | Scholars: Alexander Arroyo, Husam Haj, Saiamulya Kandikonda, Justyna Kubek, Terrell Muhammad, Angelina Perez, Marcos-Daniel Zapata. | Mentors: Shari Meggs, Adam Schulman.
- Closing the Gap – Building relationships between students with and without disabilities. | Scholars: Nathaniel Brown, Jessica Calderon, Kaylynn Cusic, Sara Maderer, Kiera McKenna, Thandaway Norwood. | Mentor: Andres Lemus-Spont.
- Energike – Encouraging teens to bike to improve the environment and their health. | Scholars: Xochitl Esparza, Yadid Gutierrez, Angelica Miranda. | Mentors: Mary Pat Barbarie, Mike Liska.
- Enviroprint – Inspiring youth to make positive imprints on their environment through childhood and beyond. | Scholars: Florecio Duran, Jorge Gonzalez, Amy Jin, Fiona Kalensky, Ruben Martin, Letoria Overton, Samantha Tobias, Sarina Shane, Amanda Zhang. | Mentor: Brett McQuillan.
- Project IF (Innovating Food) – Overcoming barriers to healthy eating in food desserts. | Scholars: Rukayat Bello, Anna Blinderman, Xavier Guzman, William Huckabee, Maranda Jenkins, Stacy Lam, Luis Medina, Ekaterina Tsotsos. | Mentor: Tracey McGee.
- Project LEARN – Encouraging youth to learn about STEM at an early age. | Scholars: Guosen Chen, Cydney Kimmons, Amal Mir, Tiffany Montgomery, Intisar Muhammad, Jaylon Tucker, Hasani Valdez, Robin Younker, Rafael Zavala. | Mentors: Ezra Teitelbaum, Laurie Towne.
- ULTA (Use Leads to Abuse) – Informing Youth about the negative impacts of drugs. | Scholars: Nathaniel Bahadursingh, Pedro Gonzalez, Michael Hernandez, Tyler Holloway, Belinda Kwansah, Diego Martinez, Alexander Pei, Hernan Razo, Alexander Rivas. | Mentor: Sumit Roy.
- We Want a Voice to Express – Connecting LGBTQ teens to the community resources and support systems. | Scholars: Yenesis Rivera, Michael Torres. | Mentor: Stuart Patterson.
- YETA (Youth Expression Through Art) – Providing youth an outlet for artistic expression. | Scholars: Angel Bahena, Shadiyah Cammack, Shiza Jeewa, Kristen Latham. | Mentor: Sayiddah McCree.
- YODO(e): You Only Drink Once, eventually – Enabling and inspiring water conservation among youth. | Scholars: Tatiana Cuevas, Daniel Huerta, Arely Maya, Joaquin Serna. | Mentor: Rebecca Waterloo.
Gerald Doyle concluded the event with reflections on the past year and encouraged Scholars to continue moving forward with ambition and persistence. He also thanked The Boeing Company again and recognized the amazing collaboration between it and the university at creating a program as enriching as the Academy and the benefit it brings not only to its Scholars but to those influenced by their academic and personal development.
Before concluding, program staff gathered all scholars for a final group photo courtesy of the evening’s photographer Alejandro Rojas (4th-Year Undergraduate, IIT College of Architecture). The group photo has been a tradition throughout the Academy’s existence always capturing all of the Boeing Scholars family at their best.
At the heart of our program is a deep commitment to community-building across our diverse student body. Core to our identity as a program is the idea of a learning community, in which no one learns alone. To help students carry this community and mentality forward with them — wherever their path may lead — we put a picture of all Scholars on the certificate recognizing their official completion of the program, which they each received before leaving the banquet. Scholars, when you’re in college or even a decade from now, we hope you look back and remember those many fellow Scholars who have informed your learning and inspired you over the course of the past two years! It has been such an incredible journey.
We congratulate all our Scholars on their success this past year and wish them only the best as they continue on their journey – whether you are returning or graduating and off to college and beyond. You continue to impress and inspire us everyday. We are incredibly proud of each and every one of you and cannot wait to witness all that you do in the future!
Photos by Alejandro Rojas (4th-Year Undergraduate, IIT College of Architecture). Photos of the banquet can be viewed on our Facebook page.
Videos by John Fecile and Bryan Racine. Videos of the banquet can be viewed on our YouTube page.