This week our Scholars were immersed in discussions about ethics, violence, bullying, food safety, and environmental stewardship – many of these topics were chosen based on the inspiring essays that Scholars wrote for their program applications.
During our Ethics Bowl competition Scholars were broken up into teams of 8 to engage in ethical debates. Kelly Laas, a Librarian for the IIT Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, created two cases specifically for the IIT Boeing Scholars.
The first case focused on climate change refugees and asked Scholars to determine whether countries, especially those who contribute the most to pollution, should be required to take in environmental migrants from regions facing immediate threats to their livelihood due to rising sea levels or other effects of climate change.
The second focused on a local issue – the creation of charter schools in Chicago to achieve better educational outcomes in the areas of reading, mathematics, and science. Specifically, the Scholars were asked to envision themselves as members of the Chicago Board of Education and present compelling arguments for or against the creation of a new charter for a Finnish School of Chicago based on the Finnish education model which has demonstrated results of higher learning outcomes.
At the end of the day judges averaged their scores and gave awards to the teams who presented the most compelling ethical arguments during the Ethics Bowl.
Issues Forums served as introductions to each of the Project Challenges this week. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning professionals came to speak about Issues that they are passionate about.
On Tuesday Scholars heard a presentation from Luis Larco, an IIT Student who does research for the Chicago Police Department, developing new methods to predict crimes and analyze gang activities through social network analysis and machine learning. Scholars were then able to apply what they learned by making a hypothesis about a specific crime trend and analyzing data to determine whether their hypothesis was correct.
Wednesday morning the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy welcomed a special guest speaker from the State Department – Dr. Gautham Venogupalan a foreign affairs officer who works on science and technology policy issues for the United States government. Dr. Venogupalan spoke at our morning Issues Forum alongside IIT Professor of Environmental Engineering Dr. Paul Anderson. Both men did a fantastic job introducing the Scholars to the topics of scientific policy and environmental issues in preparation for their afternoon Project Challenge: The Mercury Game.
Our final day of Issues Forums/Project Challenges centered around the topic of food. In the morning Scholars heard from three different speakers: Wendy Irwin, CEO of The Yellow Tractor Project; Todd Diel, Project Coordinator of Education and Safety for the IIT Institute for Food Safety and Health; and Alexandra Curatolo, Owner of Belli’s Local Foods Market & Juice Bar.
They then were able to spend their afternoon mapping the pathway food travels and doing a food lab experiment!
Dr. Lydia Patton gave a thrilling speech to the Scholars Friday morning – encouraging all of them to realize their own potential and believe in themselves – something they would all be able to practice during Scholar Skill Share in the afternoon.
Scholar Skill Share is a favorite activity here at the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy. Not only is it a great way for Scholars to practice their leadership and presentation skills, but it is also really, really fun. This summer’s skill shares included guitar lessons, volleyball, origami, yoga, and more!
A huge shout out to all of the wonderful family members of our Scholars who came out despite the rain for Family Service Day! It was a pleasure meeting all of you and we sincerely hope you had a good time at your service site.