It is hard to believe that the 2014 summer session of the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy is already over! The Scholars have accomplished a lot these past four weeks and we are so proud of the growth we have seen in all of them.
The Scholars started off this week by taking a DiSC Personality Profile to help them communicate their working styles to others as well as to better understand themselves and how others may perceive them. We hope that by reflecting on their results and discussing them with their peers that they will have gained tools that will help them express themselves better in future interactions.
In the afternoon Juniors and Seniors split into separate sessions so that the Juniors Leadership Grant Project (LGP) groups could focus on refining their problem statements and creating their project pitch for their event in the evening. During this time the Seniors were able to attend a resume-writing workshop and spend time in a computer lab working on writing their resumes.
We had two special events Monday evening: Leadership Grant Project Mentor Match and 1:1 Essay Help, to which we welcomed 18 potential project mentors and assistant project mentors and 20 volunteer essay readers. If you or someone you know are interested in volunteering with us in the future, check out our Volunteer! page and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for special announcements about upcoming opportunities!
Our Leadership Grant Project Mentor Match event introduced the Juniors’ LGP groups to potential mentors and assistant mentors whom they will be working with for the next 10 months. It also gave the Scholars an opportunity to practice their public speaking and communication skills outside of a classroom setting. In the next couple weeks LGP groups will be paired with their mentors and continue to develop their projects.
Volunteers were also on campus to help critique the Seniors’ college essays during the 1:1 Essay Help event. Our staff is always willing to help our Scholars write their essays, but it is also important that the Scholars receive feedback from another adult (who does not already know how fantastic they are!) to better simulate the impression their essay will be giving to college admissions counselors. We hope that this event provided the seniors with added insight and a better understanding of the overall effect that their essay will have on future readers.
For the past two weeks pairs of Seniors have also been working on presentations about a specific college. On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings our Seniors gave college research presentations to their peers and our program staff. These presentations were intended to both give our Seniors experience doing research and giving presentations as well as to introduce all of our Scholars to a variety of different colleges and universities.
Wednesday and Thursday afternoons the Scholars worked on their final deliverables and presentations for their StS partners/clients. Three of our StS project groups went to their sites Thursday afternoon: the Analyzing the Universe: Citizen Science group presented to their clients at Adler Planetarium, the Nature in the City: Brookfield Zoo group presented to their partners from the Chicago Zoological Society and the Forest Preserve, and the Designing a Better World: Architecture for Humanity group presented their work to community members in Humboldt Park.
On Friday morning, our very last day with all of the Scholars on campus together for the summer session, Scholars participated in the “Most Clusterrific” competition. For the competition, each cluster of Scholars prepared a short performance that represents the spirit and personality of their cluster. These performances included skits, original songs, dance routines, tributes, and a whole lot of silly string!
In the afternoon, the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy invited all of our Scholars’ families and friends to campus for Visitor’s Day. All of our special guests, Scholars, and staff heard one last time about our summer theme: STEM Diplomacy from Dr. Stuart Patterson and Dr. Seebany Datta-Barua (our faculty mentors). They were also given an overview of all of the events and exciting field trips the Scholars participated in throughout the summer session by Program Director, Megan Mozina and received a sneak peek at the next steps for the upcoming months for both our Juniors participating in Leadership Grant Projects and our Seniors as they begin the college process and prepare for the Onsite Admissions Forum.
Each Serving through STEM project group was also given time to present the work they have completed over the past two weeks and share what they have learned with the visitors and their fellow Scholars. We were very inspired by all of the hard work they accomplished in such a short time. We are excited to see the Juniors apply the skills they learned these past two weeks to their LGPs in the next ten months. We also hope that the Seniors will be able to use these experiences to not only enhance their college applications and interviews but also to help them wherever their futures may take them.