Two graduate and four undergraduate IIT students were recently chosen among the Illinois Technology Foundationâ€™s (ITF) 50 for the Future, an annual award recognizing â€œIllinoisâ€™ most promising technology students.â€ ITF supports the development of a technology talent pipeline by fostering connections between students, academia and regional employers. The students chosen were Anne Shultz, Jonathan Sibley, Stacy Morton, Jeffery Chiles, Max Graziano and Omaditya Khanna. Their interests are many and varied.
Anne Shultz is a graduate student in the Information Technology and Management degree program specializing in information system security management. Her focus is on designing access for unstructured data, such as images or word documents, which exists outside a database. Shultz has recently published a paper titled â€œControlling the Emerging Data Dilemma: Building Policy for Unstructured Data Access” in which she proposes a strategy for organizing unstructured data. Prior to coming to IIT, Shultz was employed at New United Motors Manufacturing Inc. in Fremont, California, where she held a position in information security compliance and was deeply involved in the design and implementation of their data governance program. Interestingly, as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Shultz studied history of arts and visual cultures. Shultz became interested in writing policy, â€œjust because [she] enjoyed writing,â€ a task that other IT specialists avoided.
Jonathan Sibley recently graduated from IIT with a masterâ€™s degree in electrical engineering. He also received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from IIT. He interned at Underwriters Laboratories, conducting safety testing in electric machines, capacitors and thermal fuses, at AVL, modeling electric components and at IAV GmbH, working on diesel engine calibration. Among the highlights on Sibleyâ€™s resume is his extensive work as part of the IIT formula hybrid racing team, serving throughout his undergraduate and graduate career as team leader, project manager, and recently, graduate advisor. The IIT team recently competed in the Formula Hybrid International Competition, a design and engineering challenge for undergraduate and graduate students in which teams design, build and compete in an open-wheeled, single-seat, plug-in hybrid racecar. The IIT team earned the honor of the top GM Best Engineering Hybrid Systems Award for the level of complexity of their hybrid. Today, Sibley continues to work on hybrid and electric vehicles, albeit no longer as part of the IIT team, but at Chrysler as part of their powertrain electrification group.
Approaching environmental friendliness from another direction, Stacy Morton is pursuing her bachelorâ€™s degree in architecture at IIT. Specializing in urbanism and modern design, Morton believes that design is important but not sufficient for great architectureâ€” sustainability and integration within the city are key. To improve the sustainability efforts on the IIT campus, Morton has founded the Student Sustainability Committee. Mortonâ€™s interest in sustainability has also led her to work as the Assistant Implementation Manager at IITâ€™s Office of Campus Energy and Sustainability, researching, developing and implementing environmental technologies and practices on IITâ€™s campus. Moreover, Morton is an IIT Leadership Academy Scholar; she was awarded a competitive full-tuition scholarship for exceptional leadership potential. Not only does Morton have the opportunity to attend leadership seminars by invited guest lecturers, Morton herself leads seminars with Chicago high school students to improve their leadership skills.
Max Graziano, also a Leadership Scholar, recently graduated with a bachelorâ€™s degree in computer engineering. Grazianoâ€™s involvement on campus sparked his entrepreneurial spirit. Graziano demonstrated his leadership when he founded the IIT Quizbowl team, which competes in team trivia competitions with other colleges. He soon realized that the buzzer system that acts as digital referee for the game was outside the student organizationâ€™s budget. Using the skills and knowledge gleaned in his sophomore level circuitry class, Graziano started designing a buzzer system of his own. As he took more advanced classes, he reduced a design that took up eight circuit boards into a single chip. Moreover, Graziano realized the $600 equipment could be replicated with $2 worth of electronics. He is currently working on getting a printed circuit board made. Graziano will soon begin work at Epic Healthcare Systems, a medical records firm.
Like Morton and Graziano, Omaditya Khanna is also a Leadership Academy Scholar. Khanna is studying chemical and biological engineering at IIT. He is taking what he learns in the classroom and putting it to good use as an undergraduate researcher at the IIT Pritzker Institute for Biomedical Science and Engineering. Khanna works with Dr. Eric Brey, professor of biomedical engineering, on developing and optimizing a drug delivery system as a potential treatment for type 1 diabetes. Frequently, transplanted cells and proteins are rejected by the recipientâ€™s immune system. However, alginate microcapsules can acts as immune barriers to cell transplantation. Khannaâ€™s work on the alginate microbead drug delivery system has led him to co-author a published paper in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research. Indeed, Khannaâ€™s research has not gone unnoticed. He won first place at the oral presentation at the 2010 Chicago Area Undergraduate Symposium (CAURS), where nearly 200 Chicagoland area undergraduates presented their research. In 2009, Khanna presented at the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) National Conference. He won second place in the undergraduate oral presentation research competition. Like many of the 50 for the Future recipients, Khanna has made significant contributions to the IIT community and beyond. For several years, Khanna has been a resident advisor, serving as a leader and peer mentor to first-year students living in the residence halls. Khanna has also spent several summers assisting medical students and attending physicians in providing healthcare to underinsured and uninsured patients and translating from Hindi to English on behalf of patients to doctors.
Like Khanna, Jeffery Chiles has been using his engineering prowess to the betterment of others. An electrical and computer engineering major at IIT, Chiles spearheaded an engineering outreach service project designed to show high school students the underlying concepts behind engineering. Chiles has been also heavily involved in student organizations, serving as vice president of Camras (Chiles is the recipient of a full-tuition Camras scholarship) and as president of Eta Kappa Nu, the national electrical and computer engineering honors society. While Chiles has always been interested in electronics, his interest grew during a systems engineering internship at Northrop Grumman, a defense contractor. Chiles had the opportunity to test equipment for a system that misdirects incoming heat-seeking missiles. A highlight of his experience was hearing Northrop Grumman employees tell of U.S. Air Force personnel who came back to thank them for working on equipment that saved their lives. Unsurprisingly, Chiles wants to continue studying electromagnetics and working on electronic warfare systems after graduation.
As remarkable as these students are, they all have one thing in common: they all study at IIT. From IIT students, one would expect nothing less.