Archive for October, 2011

Congratulations, seniors!

October 31st, 2011 No comments

Last Tuesday, something very exciting happened —

our seniors were admitted to college!

18 of our amazing Scholars celebrate with Program Director Marya Spont (front row, right) and Karen Foley, President of Chicago Scholars (back row, second from right).


Through our partnership with Chicago Scholars — an innovative not-for-profit organization designed to assist marginalized Chicago-area high school students overcome barriers to collegiate access and success — our seniors were invited to participate in the Fifth Annual Onsite Admissions Forum. The Onsite is a live college admissions event that is designed to ensure that students are matched with a set of “good-fit” college options as they jump-start the admissions process — putting Scholars ahead of traditional admission cycles, relieving anxiety (particularly for first-generation college students), and freeing them up to concentrate on academics. By mid-September, participating students submitted completed applications to five “good-fit” attending colleges, and colleges came to the Onsite event in late October prepared to meet with students to discuss their applications and often to admit them “onsite.”

More than 500 students interviewed for admission to 70 colleges as part of this year’s Onsite event — with more than 3000 total interviews taking place that day!


Thanks to the UIC Forum for hosting such an exciting event and for enabling so many outstanding youth to advocate on behalf of their university applications!


As a special treat for the students, Chicago-born rapper Common flew in from Los Angeles to share words of inspiration and to announce the partnership of his organization, the Common Ground Foundation, with Chicago Scholars.


Rapper Common surprised students with a performance and congratulated them on their many achievements.


Rocio (Benito Juarez) celebrates her first acceptance of the day...before going to back to reading Sophocles.

At the Onsite event, our seniors were admitted to the following 16 universities:

Arizona State University (1 student), Bradley University (3), Case Western Reserve University (2), Colgate University (1), DePaul University (2), George Washington University (1), Grinnell College (6), Knox College (4), Illinois Institute of Technology (7), Illinois State University (1), Iowa State University (1), Lake Forest College (1), Loyola University-Chicago (1), Marquette University (4), University of Arizona (2), and University of Illinois-Chicago (1).

Congratulations, Scholars!


Devereux (St. Rita) celebrates yet another college acceptance!

Also as part of the Onsite, our seniors applied and interviewed for admission to 25 other highly selective and selective colleges, none of which were offering “onsite” admissions decisions but who were offering students the valuable opportunity to introduce and advocate for themselves face-to-face with admissions representatives. Colleges in this group included:

Amherst College, Augustana College, Boston College, Boston University, Carleton College, Claremont McKenna College, Colby College, Colorado College, DePauw University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Marist College, Northwestern University, Pitzer College, St. Olaf College, Syracuse University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, University of Miami, University of Minnesota-Twin-Cities, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Vanderbilt University, Villanova University, and Williams College.


Scholars will hear back from these colleges, and any others to which they have applied outside of the Onsite, between December 2011 and March 2012.

Though exciting, the day was long, with Scholars arriving at 8am for check-in and with many not leaving until 6pm. What did they do during all that downtime?


Kennady (Lincoln Park) and Kai (Kelly) prepared for their interviews.


Imani and Karen (Jones) started their math and physics homework.


Reading buddies Rocio (Benito Juarez) and Nina and Jovana (Libertyville) expanded their minds — yes, that's "Crime and Punishment" — while surely taking advantage of our group's outrageous snack reserves.


As a break from homework, Sandra (De La Salle-Lourdes) and Aaron and Kennady (Lincoln Park) played a round of cards.

Kenneth (Rich South) learns about graduate school opportunities from Dr. John Twombly and Nik Rokop, both of IIT's Stuart School of Business!


Thank you to everyone at Chicago Scholars — especially to Willard Dix, Karen Foley, Marybeth Kravets, and Meseret Negash — for putting together such an incredible, transformative event (and for being so patient with me throughout the process)! Thanks also go out to volunteers Laila Alamuddin, Connie Ma, and Ruth Martin; IIT Admissions staff Tanya Cabrera, Sheena Enriquez, and Bryan Woods; and IIT Boeing Scholars Academy Program Interns Anna Kladzyk and Christopher Stovall, for all their help with students’ college applications and admissions essays, as well as with the administration of our college “mock”-interviewing event.

As has been said before, it takes a village (maybe several).


Marya Spont
Program Director







P.S. Happy Halloween!! :)


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Williams College meets Chicago’s best and brightest

October 23rd, 2011 No comments

Big thanks to Sulgi Lim, Associate Director of Admission at Williams College, for visiting the IIT Boeing Scholars, Chicago Scholars, and the University of Chicago’s Collegiate Scholars at IIT on Thursday evening! We all enjoyed our time with her, and hope she enjoyed her time speaking with Chicago’s high-achieving young Scholars!

Located in western Massachusetts, Williams College holds the distinction of being perennially named one of the best liberal arts colleges by US News and World Report, maintains one of the most generous financial aid programs in the country (families making under $75,000 receive no loans), and offers strong research-based programs in math and science (with 10% of each graduating class going on to earn a PhD in these areas).

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College “mock” interviewing — and learning to tell your story

October 10th, 2011 No comments

On Saturday, October 8, representatives of 12 institutions traveled to campus to join a small group of IIT Boeing Scholars for a morning of college “mock”-interviewing. After a discussion about the college interview (what is it? what should one talk about? how?), Scholars were paired with college representatives for two 30-minute “mock” interviews, each of which was followed by a 10-minute conversation in which the college imparted constructive criticism to the student and answered questions. The event concluded with an informal, shared lunch.

Representatives and students really enjoyed their time together, and both groups asked that we offer similar events like this in the future!

Katie, a junior at Walter Payton College Prep, speaks with Aaron Ray of Union College.


Amrianna, a junior a King College Prep, "mock"-interviews with Danielle Anderson of Washington University in St. Louis.

Thank you to the following college representatives for taking time out of their Saturday mornings to so generously volunteer:

Scholars in attendance hail from nine Chicago-area high schools: Hales Franciscan, Jones, Kelly, King, Rich South, St. Ignatius, Thornton Township, Walter Payton, and Whitney Young. For distribution to students who were unable to join us on Saturday — and to future Scholars — we will be producing a college interview tip sheet, complete with suggestions from these attending institutions. Once produced, we will email it out and post it to this site.

Between Saturday’s workshop and today’s Chicago NACAC College Fair at McCormick Place, I feel a little spoiled with how much I’ve been able to see you Scholars since the summer! And of course I look forward to seeing still more of you this Saturday at IIT’s annual Pumpkin Launch!


Marya Spont
Program Director

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Chicago Ideas Week — and other events at IIT

October 5th, 2011 No comments

I am excited to announce that IIT has been chosen to be one of the featured stops for the upcoming Chicago Ideas Week — and that the IIT Boeing Scholars have been invited to attend!*** The idea behind CIW as a whole is to bring together the world’s top thinkers, establishing critical networks, fostering innovation, awareness of talent and resources in Chicago, and ultimately job creation.

IIT’s CIW event is entitled “IPRO @ IIT Fueling Innovation,” and will take place on Thursday, October 13, from 10am-3pm, in the Idea Shop (3440 S. Dearborn; located on the lower level of the University Technology Park Technology Business Center). During the open house portion of the program, guests will have the opportunity to speak to five featured IPRO teams to learn more about the student projects, IPRO program in general, and IIT’s iPad initiative. The schedule of the day is as follows:

  • 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM – Open House (IPRO exhibits, rapid prototyping lab tours, talk with design-thinking experts from IIT’s Institute of Design)
  • 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM – Lunch (Mixer with representatives from innovative companies)
  • 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM – Formal IPRO presentations
    • 311: Polar Power (sponsor: McGill Arctic Research Station)
    • 335: Redesigning the Primary Educational Experience in Haiti through one laptop per child (OLPC)
    • 361: Lego Art & Virtual Gallery: Exploring Creativity & Self-Expression for Urban Youth Development
    • 362: M.O.R.E. Life (Mobile Operating Room Engineering) and 318: Surgical Lighting System for Hospitals in Developing Countries
    • 365: Simply Park: Innovating Solutions to Enhance the Driver Experience
  • 1:15 PM – 1:30 PM – Student speaker (the IPRO experience and using the Idea Shop from a student’s point of view)
  • 1:30 PM -2:00 PM – Keynote Speaker: Mead C. Killion, Ph.D., Sc.D.(hon) CTO, Etymotic Research, Inc.
  • 2:00 PM – 2:15 PM – Jeanne Arens, Associate Vice President for External Affairs, and Mike Gosz, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs
  • 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM – Matt Blakely, Director, Motorola Solutions Foundation Networking opportunities in the Idea Shop. Rapid-prototyping demonstration with giveaways!

Register online here. 5 teams. 5 hours. 1 place to be.

***Unless you have 2 places to be, school being the other! :) But, if for some reason you don’t have school next Thursday (I know October is a big month for urban and suburban “professional development days”) or if your teachers would just like to bring the whole class, we hope you consider joining us for this great event, or for another one sometime soon!

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Recently we’ve had the privilege of seeing a number of our Scholars on campus — last week, with Will Dix of Chicago Scholars, who helped juniors get a jump-start on their college search process, and with Dan Rockhill of the University of Kansas, who discussed his work with faculty-student collaborative Studio 804.

Will Dix of Chicago Scholars met with juniors and their family and friends to discuss how to prepare for the college process.

We also had the privilege of welcoming IIT Boeing Scholars and Chicago Scholars two weeks ago for the 2011 Kilpatrick lecture, “Re-inventing Chemistry,” by Dr. George Whitesides of Harvard University.

Chicago Scholar Freddy (left) and IIT Boeing Scholar Aaron (right) were just two of the CPS students who spent their day off school learning on IIT's campus! The Scholars are pictured here with 2011 Kilpatrick lecturer Dr. George Whitesides of Harvard University.

While we have a sense of how busy you all are with school, activities, volunteer work, afterschool jobs, and the like, we also miss you and hope to see you at one of our IIT Boeing Scholars Academy events in the coming weeks!


Marya Spont
Program Director

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