Where in the world is Connie Ma??

May 15, 2014 author: No comments

Former Program Coordinator, Connie Ma, shares her adventures in her travels around the world:

Dear IIT Boeing Family,

Greetings from the sunny city of Lyon, France! Congratulations to everyone on completing a wonderful program year, and I wish I could have been with you to celebrate all your accomplishments at the End of Year Banquet, but I immensely enjoyed watching the videos of your LGP presentations and seeing how you’ve grown. I am a long way from Chicago, but I think of you all often. This year has also been a time of change and transition for me, as my partner and I left Chicago and began a year of travel around the world. I’m writing to tell you a little about what we have been up to for the past seven months.

 

We pay a visit to a giant yellow rubber duck in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in October 2013.

We pay a visit to a giant yellow rubber duck in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in October 2013.

 

Why did we go abroad? For us, travel is one of the richest, most interesting experiences we can treat ourselves to. We wanted to learn different languages, tour famous sites around the world, see how people live in different countries, and of course, enjoy the cuisine, and we didn’t want to save all these experiences for when we retire! We were lucky to have savings, as well as families who were supportive and self-sufficient. So we researched and planned for a year before we packed up our lives in Chicago. In September, we left for Japan, our first country, and have since then been through more than 22 cities in China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Croatia, and France. It has been a real roller coaster of a ride with a lot of ups and downs, but I am immensely grateful that we’ve been able to make this happen.

 

My partner Steve and I in Jiufen, Taiwan, in January 2014.

My partner Steve and I in Jiufen, Taiwan, in January 2014.

 

Even though it sounds like a lot, the more we have traveled, the more I feel like I’ve only seen a small slice of the human experience. Now I’m not saying I haven’t learned anything: I can tell you how to get train ticket reservations in India (which is really hard, guys), the best way to bargain with rickshaw drivers in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and where to get the cheapest sandwiches in Dubrovnik, Croatia. I have a billion stories to share: about how we met two monks from Thailand and Malaysia, that time I ended up in a Taiwanese hospital, when we napped in a manga café in Kyoto, listened to the dawn call to prayer in Bangkok, and watched the sunset over the water from a houseboat in India.  But the really humbling part is realizing that even in these wonderful experiences, I have only brushed the barest part of someone else’s existence and glimpsed entire populations in the world who are living their day-to-day lives in a different country, with different food, clothing, amusements, faiths, jobs, and societies that I know almost nothing about. And yet, we are still connected by our common courtesies and struggles. At the Golden Temple in Amritsar, I learned about the amazing inclusivity of the Sikhs, who run one of the largest soup kitchens in the world. On the flip side, I also found that young adults my age all around the world from Taiwan to Croatia are dealing with the crisis of unemployment at rates of up to 50%. All the things that make us different and yet similar impress and fascinate me, and keeps me eager to learn more.

 

We talk to monks about their lives at a monastery in Chiang Mai, Thailand in February 2014. The one we spoke to was actually a year younger than me and had a cellphone!

We talk to monks about their lives at a monastery in Chiang Mai, Thailand in February 2014. The one we spoke to was actually a year younger than me and had a cellphone!

 

At the same time that I have been trying to be a cultural sponge, I feel I have also learned a lot about myself. Travel can truly challenge you and push your boundaries. So far on this trip, I have learned how many times I could wear a shirt before I needed to wash it (approximately five). I learned how many stairs I could climb with a large 10 kilo backpack. I learned how to convert US currency to the Euro, Thai bahts, Japanese yen, Croatian kunas, Malaysian ringgits, Indian rupees, and more. I learned that I could patiently wait in a two-hour airport security line with one guard manning the gate at 5 am. I learned how to ask complete strangers for help in translating menus in Bangkok. I learned about how much I take for granted in my life. I also learned that travel is a full-time job. Unsurprisingly, it takes a great deal of time and research, budget management, and planning so you can properly enjoy and store away these memories.

 

We visited the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India in March 2014.

We visited the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India in March 2014.

 

One of the most important things was that I learned how not to fear failure. I was a high achiever in high school, like many of you, and proud of being good at things. I shied away from things like art and music and math, because I had learned I was bad at those things, and I didn’t like the taste of failure. I have carried that attitude with me for many years now, but the drawback has been that I have learned much less than I could have. On this trip, I’ve slowly started to shed this attitude, and really take to heart the fact that if you want to learn something, you have to give yourself a chance. I started by buying a guitar in Taiwan and learning a few chords. In India and Croatia, I began doing watercolors of the landscapes around me. At first, my attempts did look like a five year-old’s kindergarten masterpiece, but now, I can do halfway decent Roman ruins, and best of all, I am enjoying myself at something without being great at it.

 

We climbed the city walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia, where Game of Thrones is filmed, in April 2014.

We climbed the city walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia, where Game of Thrones is filmed, in April 2014.

 

As each of you moves onto senior year, college life, and possibly beyond Chicago, remember to challenge yourself in small ways and large. “The master has failed more times than the amateur has tried” is a saying that I remind myself of often, and living without fear of failure is starting to make a real difference my life. In three months, we will return to the US, and though we will have seen fewer countries and learned fewer languages than I wanted to, I am still happy and comfortable with the sum of my experiences, because I know now more than I did before. This fall, I am also heading back to school, this time for my Master’s degree in Public Policy at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. I thank each one of you and all my colleagues at IIT for having been a part of a wonderful two years in Chicago and for having taught me so much. I would love to stay in touch and welcome any of you in the South! If you are curious about our travels, you can follow our blog and sign up for a postcard at www.circumnavacation.com (get the pun?) and view pictures of our trip on Flickr.

 

Best wishes for the future,
Connie's Headshot - CopyConnie Ma
Former Program Coordinator

 

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Scholars Reflect on the CPS Advisory Council

April 30, 2014 author: No comments

Words from Shiza Jeewa

Shiza

Shiza

This winter I found myself scanning one of the many newsletters that I get from the IIT Boeing Scholars program. Besides looking out for any unbecoming pictures of me posted in the newsletter (thankfully there were none), I was more interested in the opportunities that we were encouraged to look over. One that caught my eye was the application for the CPS Advisory Council. I applied to it, interested in the idea of being on a student council, but not truly understanding the depth of opportunities that would later be available to me.

Fast forward a couple months and I am to soon have a meeting with cabinet members and delegates of the CPS Board of Education on the problem of diminished resources that victimize too many CPS schools. This is only the icing on my triple chocolate layered metaphorical cake. The program itself is aimed to give students a voice in the school system, which is a genius idea in and of itself (my props to Mrs. Barbara Byrd Bennett, who is a wonderful woman I might add (yes, I got to meet her!)). While the main purpose of the program was to help create a better city school system, I doubt that the organizers of this program realized the extent to which this program has helped the students on the board. I, personally, cannot describe the effect that this program has had on me. I now understand the importance of communication, open-mindedness, and an optimistic mindset. I learned from my fellow board members of what it means to be strong, dedicated, and most of all passionate in what you believe in.

Through the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy, I was able to take part in an amazing program that has inspired me to help make a difference in the world around me.

 

Words from Husam Haj

Husam

Husam

Occasionally, I see people wearing the notorious “Democracy is a Verb” t-shirt. What really bothers me is the absolute emptiness behind them wearing it. I believe in the statement, but I don’t believe it should be mentioned if it isn’t being done.

Criticism aside, I rarely have the feeling of being surrounded by a population that positively stimulates their community. But, after years of being surrounded by those who simply wear democracy shirts, I have found myself in a community that is truly committed to helping others. The IIT Boeing Scholars Academy is absolutely phenomenal. I really see this program’s mission as to increase scholar’s capability of impacting other people’s lives. I not only saw that at the 2014 Banquet, but I see it throughout the opportunistic newsletters they continuously send out.

One of the many opportunities I recently took advantage of was the CPS CEO Advisory Council. If it wasn’t for the newsletters, I would not have applied. For several months now, I am proud to be among the 17 juniors from all of CPS representing our schools and communities. So far, we have expressed our thoughts on serious issues that face our schools. Beyond brainstorming, we work on possible policy changes that could potentially solve the problems we face. Simply from the IIT Boeing newsletter, I now have a voice that can be directly heard from the CPS Delegates, Members, and CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennet.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Jameela Jafri shares her experience from the Hour of Code!

April 29, 2014 author: No comments
Hour of Code 3

Hour of Code participants share their progress with each other.

 

On a cold Saturday in early February, a group of teachers, museum educators, librarians, and afterschool instructors came together to tinker with Raspberry Pis and Arduinos. Over the course of a few hours, breadboards were lit up and little computers were being programmed to play global radio stations. This was the second “Coding Workshop” for educators, as a follow-up to our first #HourofCode workshop in December, through a partnership with IIT Boeing Scholars Academy, After School Matters, ScienceFIST, and Newark Element 14.

The coding workshops emerged from a series of conversations that were sparked by the Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative, a broad effort led by Project Exploration to understand the state of STEM programming in Chicago for youth. In 2012, the Cooperative released a report indicating that “engineering” accounted for less than 1% of out-of-school time STEM programming in Chicago. The nationwide Hour of Code initiative provided a perfect opportunity to build capacity for engineering programming by taking folks on a deep dive into the world of open source hardware and software.

Workshop participants brainstorm and discuss what they can bring back to their students.

Workshop participants brainstorm and discuss what they can bring back to their students.

Yet that’s not what made these workshops so unique and special. How often do in- and out-of-school educators come together to share experiences, learn from each other, and discuss challenges? Professional development workshops are typically targeted to specific groups of educators. As a former science teacher, I know that classroom teachers don’t often get together for professional development with afterschool instructors. Museum educators don’t often learn side-by-side with librarians. These workshops provided an opportunity to think about our work alongside colleagues that are part of the education landscape.

The reality is that we’re all doing important and critical work with youth. Everyone is needed; Chicago needs exceptional in-school experiences, as much as we need a robust out-of-school time network to support those youth that are not getting those high-quality learning opportunities – and who also happen to be from communities that are disproportionately underrepresented in STEM careers. The collective impact of coming together is tremendous, especially when we can engage with one another’s ideas, challenges, and opportunities.

Participants work together to complete the assigned workshop task that includes circuitry and programming.

Participants work together to complete the assigned workshop task that includes circuitry and programming.

Towards the end of the workshop, we asked the participants to work in groups and discuss what they are excited about bringing back to their students, what challenges they are trying to overcome with open source coding, and to share stories of success. Some of the pictures in this post show documentation of the engaging conversation and ideas. They include a fellowship for classroom educators to become “Teaching Artists for Coding,” opportunities for teens to develop leadership skills through peer-to-peer mentoring, a capstone project in linear algebra, and concern about the lack of access to technology faced by many of our students.  Truly, the open source coding became a vehicle for open source conversation among allies in STEM education.

 

Jameela Jafri
STEM Consultant
After School Matters
Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

End of the Year Banquet 2014 celebrates another successful year.

April 24, 2014 author: No comments

 

The IIT Boeing Scholars Academy Family.

The IIT Boeing Scholars Academy Family.

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.

Megan Mozina (Program Director, IIT Boeing Scholars Academy) opened the event.

 

Program Coordinators Katherine Rhee and Ross Ludwig announce the Extraordinary Engagement Award.

Program Coordinators Katherine Rhee and Ross Ludwig announce the Extraordinary Engagement Award.

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, Kaylynn Cusic, Odalys Roldan, and Jaylon Tucker thanked Grant Crampton (Functional Integration Manager, Engineering Operations) of The Boeing Company on behalf of the Academy.

Scholars Tredarin Crumbley, Kaylynn Cusic, Odalys Roldan, and Jaylon Tucker thanked Grant Crampton (Functional Integration Manager, Engineering Operations) of The Boeing Company on behalf of the Academy.

 

Former Program Coordinator Marya Spont-Lemus and her husband were present at the event.

Former Program Director Marya Spont-Lemus and her husband (and Program Volunteer), Andres Lemus-Spont, were present at the event.

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.

 

We Want a Voice to Express

We Want a Voice to Express

Team ACTIVE

Team ACTIVE

Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap

Enviroprint

Energike

banquet14

Enviroprint

  • 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 (Vice Provost for Student Access, Success, and Diversity Initiatives) concluded the event.

Gerald Doyle (Vice Provost for Student Access, Success, and Diversity Initiatives) concluded the event.

 

The Academy and its Scholars prepared special gifts for the Project Mentors.

The Academy and its Scholars prepared special gifts for the Project Mentors.

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.

 

Scholars, mentors, family, and friends were all part of the event.

Scholars, mentors, family, and friends were all part of the event.

 

Student music band Toast & Jam entertained throughout the event.

Student music band Toast & Jam entertained throughout the event.

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!

 

Scholars received certificates of completion.

Scholars received certificates of completion.

 

Scholars posed for one last family picture.

Scholars posed for one last family picture.

 

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.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

So You Think You Want To Be a Lawyer? Raises Questions. Inspires Students

April 22, 2014 author: No comments
Tyler Portis

IIT Boeing Scholar Tyler Portis

Hosted by IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, the So You Think You Want to be a Lawyer? series was an amazing experience on a personal level. I didn’t even know IIT had a law school until this series.

In the first session, there was a panel of current law students; they talked to the participants about their life as a law student. During the second session, a law professor actually spoke to us about the burdens of proof and our rights as citizens of the United States.

Also on that same day, we did a mock trial on an actual case that went to trial. Our groups had to build our own case, write out our own segment, and present it just like a lawyer. I have to say that I’m pretty sure my group, the prosecution, won the case.

In the final session, a panel of established, minority lawyers presented themselves and answered any questions that we had; again, another excellent day was offered to us. I forgot to mention that the participants received a delicious, free lunch every session.

For someone not even interested in becoming a lawyer, it was a rewarding experience. If there is a part two in the future, I recommend the So You Think You Want to be a Lawyer? series to anyone that has even a small thought in pursuing a career field in law.

Tyler Portis

IIT Boeing Scholar

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

LGP Y.O.D.O.e raises water conservation awareness among middle schoolers.

April 17, 2014 author: No comments
Y.O.D.O.e. created a water cistern to educate students on water collection and re-use.

Y.O.D.O.e. created a water cistern to educate students on water collection and re-use.

On February 23rd, my team — Y.O.D.O.e (You Only Drink Once eventually) — visited a group of middle school students attending Pulaski International School of Chicago.

Our LGP focused on the education and conservation of water. On that day, we brought a rain-water barrel and art supplies to have students decorate it. We explained what the barrel worked for and how the caught rain-water could be used to water their vegetable garden.

It was fun to see students express themselves through painting. They had a great time and so did the Y.O.D.O.e team. It was extraordinary seeing students give a simple barrel its own identity.

This day meant everything to Y.O.D.O.e; we had waited so long for it to come and we were happy it was a success:

“We hope that we rose the consciousness of the importance of water to the children we worked with, and that they realize doing environmentally friendly actions does not need to be boring.”

–Arely

Students decorated the water cistern.

Students decorated the water cistern.

“Upon entering Pulaski, I was greeted by smiling children. I began thinking about how these children will aid in the future of our world. Our implementation of the rain-barrel will forever aid their vegetable garden for future generations. The pure ecstatic expressions upon each child as they contributed to the future was well worth the stained pants, painted shirts, and color shoes that resulted from the implementation. Personally, knowing that rainwater will be conserved for years to come brings an eternal smile to my face.”

–Daniel

“When meeting the students at Pulaski, I felt like a little kid again. Every student had a lot of energy, and I found it enjoyable to work with them.  Everyone was excited to paint the water barrel, and everyone was eager to work with us. I feel great knowing that they will be using our water barrel to keep their vegetables alive in their veggie garden.”

–Jack

Y.O.D.O.e. developed the project throughout the academic year.

Y.O.D.O.e. developed the project throughout the academic year.

“It was awesome experience going to Pulaski. I loved working with the children at the school as well as playing with them a little afterward. It was amazing how happy all the children looked as well as how happy our team looked too. I know we all felt very accomplished after the project, and I’m extremely excited to be able to implement more barrels into other schools to be able to see the joy that this project creates.”

–Tatiana

 

Arely Maya, Daniel Huerta, Jack Serna, Tatiana Cuevas

IIT Boeing Scholars
 

Becca Waterloo

Project Mentor
Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Students Ramp Up Crown Hall. Prototype accessibility options.

April 9, 2014 author: No comments
rampingupcrown24

Scholars worked with faculty and upperclassmen to develop a final proposal for the challenge.

On Sunday, March 30th, four IIT Boeing Scholars and one University of Chicago Woodlawn Charter student participated in Ramping Up Crown — a design charrette created by IIT architecture students from iitAIAS Freedom by Design.

Students were challenged to create a ramp for historic S.R. Crown Hall; monument to modernism created by world-renowned architect and former IIT College of Architecture dean Mies van der Rohe — a task easier said than done not only due to the historical characteristics of the building, but also due to the design challenges themselves.

rampingupcrown04

Scholars and upperclassmen brainstormed together.

Students learned about accessibility and universal design as fundamental components of the architectural process, and were led by undergraduate upperclassmen and fourth-year undergraduate professor Peter Landon (principal at Landon Bone Baker Architects) all of who mentored and instructed the students throughout the event.

After being treated to a light breakfast, roundtable, and lecture, the scholars jumped into the design process with the entire team sketching out first thoughts to discuss among all. In this way, students experienced the collaborative nature of design and how combining ideas always lead to richer insights and better results.

Lunch was followed by a measuring and scouting exercise in which students collected relevant information about their site and context to inform the design of their ramp. They followed up with a final discussion of their best ideas and proceeded to test them out in model form.

rampingupcrown28

Prof. Peter Landon instructed and mentored our scholars.

The final model was a collaboration between the entire team and the volunteers involved. The students developed an enhanced switchback ramp solution that was economical in its use of space and lead users directly to the building’s main entrance. The interior solution was to incorporate a concealed movable platform that would blend with the iconic terrazzo tiles and act as a movable space that would benefit of all the users of the building.

rampingupcrown32__1397065018_216.47.148.178

Scholars pin up for a quick review.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

IIT student, Safouh Takrouri, shares his experience as a Job Shadow Day volunteer!

March 25, 2014 author: No comments
Boeing scholars tour Parsons Brinckerhoff, engineering design firm

Boeing scholars tour Parsons Brinckerhoff, engineering design firm.

 

This program[The IIT Boeing Scholars Academy] had always caught my attention since my arrival to Illinois Institute of Technology. I still remember on my first day to IIT, I was offered a tour to explore the different parts of the school’s labs, and here is where I was first introduced to the program. I took a quick tour among the students while they were working on their projects in the Idea Shop at IIT.

The 100 students were divided into small sections, and each team focused on a specific project. I liked how the program gives the students the chance to work in small groups so that can practice and learn the “art of teamwork;” in doing so, they can figure out that communication is the key, appreciate the value of each members varied contributions and talents.  In completing directed tasks toward a goal, each team member understands how essential it is, and they also, somewhat surprisingly, learn that projects are a lot more work that expected. Those values will be very helpful in their university studies, and even in their practical life.

Last month I had the chance for the first time to participate in the program in the “job shadow day.” The idea of this day is remarkable!

Boeing scholars job shadow activity at Parsons Brinckerhoff

Boeing scholars job shadow activity at Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Scholars get the chance to visit different companies in the city of Chicago where they can be in contact with the employers and other leading innovators in a professional setting to see how the job is being done, and how plans are being executed along the way.

For the very beginning I thought that this would be more than what a typical high school student might be able to handle, but I was learned how motivated and intelligent these students were and how hungry they were for the opportunities ahead of them. They were very effective, they asked important questions, and they gave attention for the details.

A recent IIT graduate serves as the program adviser for the “job shadow day;” and he organized the activities so that the experience of each student was meaningful and offered within a supportive environment. The material and “life in the day” of each organization was very helpful; even the most senior leaders of the company were more than happy to explain their duties for the young scholars, and to answer their questions in a very friendly environment.

I think days like this provide a significant impact on the trajectory of a student’s professional life. It will make it easier for them to decide their specific major, and many learned that there are many pathways towards success and meaningful career; and this will help the students be creative in their choices, and that will save them a lot of time.

Scholars eating lunch with Parsons Brinckerhoff staff

Scholars eating lunch with Parsons Brinckerhoff staff.

I can see how programs like the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy provide a unique set of opportunities for young Chicago high schools students.  In speaking to these students, I learned that many of these students will be the first in their families to earn a college degree, and they certainly represent the diversity of Chicago.  And I suspect, that learning to appreciate and understand their differences across religion, gender, orientation, race, ethnicity, and citizenship will teach lessons upon which they will draw upon for years.

For me, this program serves as a passport to greater opportunities and a “crossing card” for a safe future.  These young leaders are being trained to be open, collaborative and innovative thinkers, “learners who lead,” and “leaders learning” to be creative, extraordinary, and supportive.

As my peers and I have traveled through our experiences and studies at Illinois Tech, we each develop ideas for the future that we will carry back with us to Syria.  For me, the design-thinking, and problem-based approach to learning throughout the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy as well as its integrated approach to introducing young people to professional careers very early represents one of the initiatives that I will develop along with my peers – and perhaps some of these current Chicago students – for Syria.

 
 
Safouh Takrouri 
IIT Armour College of Engineering | Expected graduation, December 2014
Safouh can be reached at    en_saf7@hawk.iit.edu
Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Mousetrap Car Racing on Women’s Day @ IIT

March 20, 2014 author: No comments
mousetrapracers05

Teams worked with help from instructors and volunteers.

On Saturday, March 1st, twenty-four young ladies from Chicago-area high schools participated in a mousetrap car workshop created by the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy for Women’s Day 2014 at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

In groups of three, the ladies designed and built a mousetrap car to race with others in search of the car that could travel the longest distance.

Students were given a basic overview of physics concepts, like potential energy, kinetic energy, and friction, that would be applicable during the design phase of the workshop. With these concepts in mind, students were free to use most of the time to design and construct the car.

Students used a kit of parts plus materials like balsa wood, CDs, metal rods, and string to construct their prototype cars. It was wonderful to see how some students used almost all the materials provided while some were more economic.

Although an example design was provided, they were encouraged to think outside the box and beyond the suggested schematic. With this as a jumping off point, students brainstormed and prototyped variations of the existing design and sometimes completely reinvented it. One group even experimented with a tricycle-inspired design.

Teams prepare for the final race.

Teams prepare for the final race.

When students began testing, all bets were on to see whose cars would actually go the distance! Team Tricycle’s successful first run (going 3.5 meters!) inspired other teams that were not quite ready to test to complete their designs for racing. Not every car was able to travel the same distance, but that didn’t matter to the teams who were happy to have done the best job possible building the car and participating in the race.

Closing the event was a challenge in itself as the teams were so involved in refining their designs that they insisted on staying a bit longer (and delaying lunch) to iterate and test one more time.

We were happy to see that all students took their cars home to continue building and testing.

 

Students thought outside the box with a tricycle-inspired design.

Students thought outside the box with a tricycle-inspired design.

Teams were so involved in refining their designs that they insisted on staying a bit longer.
Teams were so involved in refining their designs that they insisted on staying a bit longer.

 

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Coding Workshop facilitator, Michael Davis, shares his background and experience!

February 11, 2014 author: No comments
Arduino and Raspberry Pi Coding Workshop for Teachers

Arduino and Raspberry Pi Coding Workshop for Teachers

 

My relationship with computers started in the mid-80’s with a Vic-20 computer that used our family television as a monitor and a cassette player as memory. We later got a Commodore 128, which I mostly used to emulate the Commodore 64 (a computer with half the memory). Eventually we got some kind of IBM computer, which I used for playing ‘The Bards Tale’ and ‘Where in the World is CarmenSanDiego?’.

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi

In the next 13 years, I start using the computer for writing and making mix CDs for interesting girls. Today my phone is more of a computer than my first several computers. Strangely enough, I am currently enamored with the Raspberry Pi, a computer that is much more like my first computer than my last.

Raspberry Pi Operating System

Raspberry Pi Operating System

My first computers weren’t as user friendly as they are today. I understood them as machines that I could program to do things. When I was a kid, there were programs written in the Sunday newspaper that you could transcribe to make lines dance across the screen. The revolution I am participating in today is a move towards using computers to make or do things.

Raspberry Pi Teacher Workshop

Raspberry Pi Teacher Workshop

My friends and colleagues at Google, IIT, ScienceFist, Element 14 and After School Matters, and I have worked to give away more than 100 Raspberry Pi computers and Arduino microcontrollers. These are going to teachers and educators who are learning how to use them to make interesting projects, like internet radios, and controllable light displays. No matter how old or experienced you are, there is nothing like seeing something you made work for the first time.

During the Hour of Code in December, I watched a group of 35 teachers and after-school providers get acquainted with the Raspberry Pi and Arduino. They learned how to make changes to Minecraft, and control lights on an LED strip. Our goal is to empower people to make their own projects, and encourage them to be fearless in their own creation. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

- Michael Davis
  Interim Vice President of Wilbur Wright College
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: