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Our 2014 Summer Session will run weekdays June 30 – July 25 (excluding July 4th), from 10am to 5pm, unless otherwise noted.

Our updated overview calendar is now available, as is our Frequently Asked Questions for Admitted Students document.


Summer 2014 theme: “STEM Diplomacy”

Dept. of State Video
A message from the U.S. Department of State for our Scholars. STEM Diplomacy changes our communities – and our world – for the better.

In the increasingly interconnected world of the present, STEM-based partnerships between nations, organizations, and individuals allow us to address important issues like climate change, public health, and clean energy. STEM Diplomacy is effective because it transcends differences. Science is a unifier – embracing diversity and challenging all of us to think beyond ourselves. It encourages the open sharing of data and theories, questioning of ideas, and advancement of knowledge. STEM Diplomacy is more than just governments working together in areas related to science and technology; it is about active members of society being aware of challenges and differences, communicating needs and ideas, conceiving of mutually beneficial solutions, and advocating to make real change — all while using STEM skills and knowledge. It happens every day, from the highest international councils or across the Internet to our classrooms and labs, our community centers and homes. It is important not only that the researchers, educators, and diplomats of the future embrace STEM as a way of unifying people and creating a sustainable world, but that community members intentionally develop and embrace skills needed in STEM diplomacy, such as research, communication, respect, and advocacy. It is our best hope for the innovative advancement of STEM and the responsible development of our shared futures.

Inspired by Scholars’ interests* and informed by literature on global learning, this summer’s program will help Scholars begin to develop the ability to frame and solve various interconnected STEM problems; consider context, sustainability, ethics, equity, and the impact of potential solutions; and become globally competent young leaders capable of investigating the world, recognizing perspectives, communicating ideas, and taking action! In addition to collaborating with one another on projects modeled on real-world situations (Project Challenges), students will have the opportunity to contribute to real projects taking place in the real world (Serving through STEM Projects), and then collaborate to develop projects of their own design to address problems facing their community (Leadership Grant Projects).

*When developing programming and curriculum, we draw upon students’ input and interests (garnered through brainstorming sessions, program admissions essays, and more) as inspiration for relevant and exciting STEM projects.

What will Scholars do this summer? Learn, serve, and lead—together!

Through a variety of exciting STEM projects and collaborations, Scholars will:

Hone problem-solving skills with our design thinking workshop. Led by Dr. David Gatchell of Northwestern University, this workshop will introduce Scholars to the iterative design process, requiring them to define a problem, understand users, and collaborate to prototype and propose solutions.

Learn about interconnected issues and global challenges. Other days will feature an Issues Forum (an interdisciplinary panel discussion comprising 2-3 speakers sharing different perspectives on the same topic) and a Project Challenge (a 4-hour, hands-on, problem-centered project, modeled on a real-world situation and requiring students to consider quantitative and qualitative factors as they collaborate, innovate, and present their work to their peers). Some of the issues and challenges we will address this summer relate to:

  • Social Media
  • Violence
  • Bullying
  • Food Transportation and Processing
  • Environmental Diplomacy
  • Clean Water

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Serve through STEM. During Weeks 3-4 of our summer session, each Scholar will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in one of seven possible Serving through STEM (StS) Projects, which gives Scholars valuable experience contributing to a real-world project. StS Projects take place during the regular program day (over six days), but each has its own unique schedule and field trips as well as a different assignment to complete for a real stakeholder. These “programs within the program” are offered in partnership with faculty members, research centers, and organizations, with Program Instructors serving as Teaching Assistants.

  • Sustainability: Activism and Initiatives with Stephen Pepper, IIT Office of Energy and Sustainability Scholars will redesign The Recycling Game; a mobile application created by the IIT Office of Energy and Sustainability to teach students about recycling and collect relevant and useful data for the office. Scholars will learn the basics of mobile application design and present a new version of The Recycling Game that will not only make the game more fun, but also make it informative for the players and useful for the office. Their final recommendations will be used to recreate The Recycling Game to improve future recycling education initiatives.
  • Exploring the Impact of STEM Research: IIT Biomedical Engineering REU with Dr. Eric Brey (Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, IIT). Scholars will learn about different topics and research in Biomedical Engineering through a series of sessions and workshops. Near the end of the project, Scholars will be asked to create a presentation about what they have learned and present it to a group unfamiliar with Biomedical Engineering.
  • Analyzing the Universe: Citizen Science at Adler Planetarium with Kelly Borden, Lead Educator, Adler Citizen ScienceScholars will explore the data science education initiative – Adler Citizen Science and develop informational sessions for youth on a specific scientific topic chosen from the Zooniverse online portal.
  • Nature in the City: Brookfield Zoo with Jo Elle Mogerman, Chicago Zoological SocietyScholars will work with the Chicago Zoological Society to study the Brookfield Zoo’s landscape, architecture, and experience to suggest new and improved ways to increase appeal to a young audience. They will also develop a tool to account for visitors to existing and future spaces that will help the zoo have a better idea of visitor traffic and interest.
  • Designing a Better World: Architecture for Humanity with Bryn Namavari, Architecture for Humanity Chicago. Scholars will be introduced to design for public spaces and tasked with redesigning an empty lot as an inviting gathering space. Scholars will receive special shop training and use the skills they are taught to work on the site and present a final design plan to the architects.
  • Applications: Developing for Social Good with James Papademas, IIT Information Technology Management. Scholars will design a mobile application for Android to address a need in the Chicago community. Scholars will be exposed to coding and the process of developing an app, and will use blocks of code to facilitate the development of the app and their understanding of the design process. The Scholars will publish the final mobile app on Google Play.
  • Composting and Urban Agriculture: UFarm-IIT  with Rodger Cooley, IIT College of Architecture. Scholars will learn about composting and use their knowledge to design a completely new composting system for the urban farm at IIT. Scholars will also be asked to develop an informational tour about how both the nursery and the compost work together and present it to community members who come to learn about the U-Farm.

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Develop as leaders. As part of the summer program, juniors collaborate in teams to develop and propose Leadership Grant Projects of their own design to be implemented in their communities over the course of the next 10 months (July 2013-April 2014), with the help of Project Mentors. Learn about LGPs developed in 2013-14 online here!

Through participation in these projects and in dedicated sessions, we also devote time to helping students develop professional skills (like presentation skills and how to dress for success) and college and career literacy. Scholars participate in special events such as:

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  • College visit—This year, Scholars choose between visiting Monmouth College and Knox College or Purdue University.

  • Ethics Bowl—Organized by IIT’s Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, our annual Ethics Bowl tournament gives teams of Scholars the opportunity to debate case studies related to various STEM issues. Judges include corporate compliance officers, philosophy professors, members of the Ethics Officer Association, STEM professionals, and others.
  • Teambuilding and Leadership Development – Scholars will be going on a field trip to Iron Oaks Learning Center to participate in their team-building course in order to build trust and support, encourage effective communication, and develop teamwork skills.
  • College and Career Exploration Day—Hosted in partnership with the University of Chicago’s Collegiate Scholars Program, this event will include sessions about admissions and financial aid, a Q&A forum with admissions counselors, and a college fair attended by more than 50 universities. IIT Boeing Scholars will attend a Career Exploration Fair.
  • Family Service Day—Scholars and their family members collaborate to make the world a better and cleaner place.
  • Scholar Skill-Share—Like a talent show, only more about teaching each other!

And more!

Overall, through our theme and the collaborative structure of our program, we give students a framework through which to situate and integrate their experiences and observations of Chicago and the world, what they have already learned in school, and knowledge gleaned through participation in our program. We pride ourselves on our engagement of students’ interests and concerns as an entry-point to studying issues of global relevance and to inspire their STEM study. See “Local Action, Broader Impact”, “Cities of the Future”, and “Challenging our Borders, Reshaping our World” to see some of what our amazing Scholars have accomplished in past summer programs, and learn more about what makes us tick.

Summer 2014 Faculty Advisors and Program Team


Stuart Patterson
Stuart Patterson – Faculty Advisor

Dr. Stuart Patterson is an Associate Professor of Liberal Arts at Shimer College, where he has been on the faculty since 2004. Stuart teaches in all three major areas of Shimer’s “great books” curriculum, the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences. He has taught the entirety of Shimer’s core curriculum as well as a wide variety of elective courses, including the History of Art, History and Principles of Economics, and Cultural Geography. He is currently planning a book on reading in the digital age based on a course on the history and philosophy of reading funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Stuart’s graduate studies at Emory University dealt with the politics of race, public housing, and communal memory in the United States, and he continues to research and publish on these subjects as well. Since 2008 Stuart has served as the Director of Shimer College’s biannual program abroad in Oxford, England. He has also served as an Academic Director of the Early Advantage Great Books Summer Program for middle and high school students. He has worked with the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy summer program for three years now and as a mentor for the “We Want a Voice to Express” Leadership Grant Project in 2013-2014. He will be leading a free workshop for high school teachers called “Raising Questions: Teaching STEM and Social Issues” inspired and supported by the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy’s mission “to encourage innovation in solving real-world problems through STEM education.” More information (and an application form) on the Raising Questions workshop can be found on the Shimer College website, here:


Seebany Datta-Barua – Faculty Advisor

Dr. Seebany Datta-Barua is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Prior to joining IIT in 2012, Prof. Datta-Barua was an Assistant Professor of Aviation and Technology at San Jose State University. She also has experience as a Research Engineer at a research startup, Atmospheric and Space Technology Research Associates (ASTRA). She received her B.S. in physics, M.S. and Ph.D. (2008) degrees in aeronautics and astronautics, all from Stanford University. She has taught classes in spacecraft dynamics, advanced dynamics, the space environment, basic pilot ground school, and aviation safety.

Her research interests are in space weather forecasting through imaging and estimation of the dynamics of the upper atmosphere. Professor Datta-Barua is especially interested in using radio waves from Global Navigation Satellite Systems such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) for remotely sensing the ionosphere, using tomography and data assimilation of these measurements for improved atmospheric prediction, and in mitigating atmospheric effects on GPS-based aircraft navigation systems. Seebany is excited to be working with BSA in summer 2014 for the first time, sharing her experiences as a researcher with the future scientists, engineers, and problem-solvers of our community.


Jesse Pazmino - Program Instructor
Jesse Pazmino – Lead Instructor

Jessie Pazmiño is a fifth-year undergraduate pursuing a professional Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) major and a Business minor. Jesse is interested in reconsidering our approach and mentality toward materials, construction, lifestyle, and sustainability. He’s also passionate about being a resource to students and helping them make the most of their college experience. Prior to IIT, Jesse was heavily involved with the College of Lake County’s (CLC) retention strategies; as an ambassador and a peer mentor, he was responsible for organizing workshops that introduced students to services and resources, and built confidence and camaraderie among first-generation and international students. As president of the CLC Latino Alliance, he was responsible for coordinating a yearly program focused on fundraising for a scholarship directed exclusively at first-generation Latino students. While at IIT, Jesse rebooted the IIT Arquitectos (iitAQ) as an academic organization to link the academic and professional worlds of architecture by promoting and developing experiences that enrich students’ understanding of the profession. In its first year, the iitAQ organized more than 20 events with students and faculty, including lectures, workshops, hangouts, and high school shadowing initiatives — such as IntoStudio, created for the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy in conjunction with the IIT American Institute of Architecture Students (iitAIAS).

Francisco J. Álvarez Rincón – Program Instructor
Francisco J. Álvarez Rincón – Program Instructor

Francisco J. Álvarez Rincón is an undergraduate student pursuing a professional Bachelor of Architecture degree at IIT. Francisco had his first professional experience in the architecture field in the summer of 2012. He worked at Simples Arquitectura, a firm located in the Dominican Republic and famous for designing the Punta Cana Airport. As a future architect, Francisco is concerned that cities are evolving at such a great speed, and thinks that architecture and urbanism are the best tools to both understand these changes and manipulate them to create healthy environments. By mastering these fields, Francisco wants to help communities to identify themselves, and design rich spaces where its residents could develop. In addition to working in the architecture field, he wants to become an architectural studio professor one day. Being an instructor in the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy is a great way to start this journey where he will apply and grow his skills managing and collaborating with others and use his technical and artistic background to impact the life of future college students.


Kaela Gerald - Program Instructor
Kaela Gerald – Program Instructor

Kaela Gerald is completing her co-terminal degree in Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering, graduating in May 2015. She is from the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Lucia, where a few years ago she was awarded the ‘Island Scholarship’, given to the highest achieving student after the Cambridge exams in Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. She is passionate about math and science, so Biomedical Engineering was the perfect start for her in the pursuit of higher education. She loves learning new things, meeting new people and being occupied. She is currently involved in numerous student organizations and serves on three executive boards on campus. She is the president of Caribbean Visionaries, secretary of the National Society of Black Engineers, and executive officer in Tau Beta Pi. She also works as a community desk assistant for IIT Residence and Greek Life, and will be starting a new job as a tutor in the IIT Academic Resource Center this fall. She enjoys dancing, cooking, going to the beach and traveling. Her journey through IIT has been amazing so far, with a plethora of opportunities, she has traveled to many states and participated in wonderful programs such as the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy. She hopes to encourage and be a mentor to students to help them gain a higher education and similar amazing opportunities that help build strong character. Her favorite quote:” Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education”- Martin Luther King Jr.

Josh German - Program Intern
Josh German – Program Instructor

Joshua German is a third year, Aerospace Engineering student currently pursuing his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, due to graduate in 2016. He is from West Africa, Nigeria where he completed his high school and he plans to return to Nigeria in the future to positively impact the aviation industry in his country. During his freshman year, he worked with a student organisation, the American Institute of Aerospace and Aeronautics (AIAA), to build and design IIT’s first High-Altitude Balloon Project. The payload was launched in June 2012 and ascended to a height of about 90,000ft while recording data before its balloon burst and it descended with a parachute. Josh currently works as a student ambassador for the office of undergraduate admissions and as a Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering tutor in the Academic Resource Center. Josh is also quite a talented leader, dancer, and DJ and speaks English, Yoruba, Portuguese and a little French.This summer he is quite excited to work with the Boeing Scholar family as an Instructor and is looking forward to being a positive and lasting influence on the Scholars.


Jose Andres Gibaja – Program Intern
Jose Andres Gibaja – Program Intern

Jose Andres Gibaja Jose Gibaja is an undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Before transferring to IIT as a Presidential Scholar, he attended The Honors College at Miami Dade College where he received his Associates Degree and graduated with the highest distinction as one of the top students in his class. Jose is very interested in the fields of fluid dynamics and thermal systems, which he hopes to further explore through future research and out-of-class projects. During his time at IIT, Jose has been one of the main organizers of IIT-sponsored competitions such as the IIT Build-It Competition and the IIT High School Math Competition, which were designed to encourage and promote STEM+ topics to high school students. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi, a prestigious Engineering National Honors Society. Outside the academic environment, Jose is a talented musician (saxophone, piano), plays frequent shows with his jazz ensemble, likes soccer (among other sports), and trains in mixed martial arts. He is excited about the opportunity to work with the IIT Boeing Scholars family for another year (he was previously a program instructor) and is looking forward to an exciting and productive summer.

Jonathan Hui - Program Instructor
Jonathan Hui – Program Instructor

Jonathan Hui is a third year undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering. He is interested in specializing in structural design and hopes to create safer and more efficient infrastructure like bridges and roads. On campus, Jonathan serves on the board of the student organization IIT Alternative Spring Break which serves with Habitat for Humanity to build safe, affordable housing. With this team, Jonathan has constructed homes in several states, including Georgia, Indiana, and West Virginia. He is also an active member with the professional organization American Society of Civil Engineers. During the past two semesters, Jonathan has also worked as a teaching assistant for computer science.

Prior to coming to IIT, Jonathan grew up in Mesa, Arizona where he attended a liberal arts high school. Through that education, he developed his love for architecture and subsequently civil engineering. Jonathan loves to learn new things, but he equally enjoys sharing his knowledge with others. He believes in the transformative power of education and hopes to inspire others to ask deeper questions and explore new horizons: learning revolves around the increasing of one’s sense of curiosity. While he is not teaching or studying, Jonathan enjoys reading Plato, exploring Chicago, and building furniture.


Ryan Kamphuis - Program Instructor
Ryan Kamphuis – Program Instructor

Ryan Kamphuis is an undergraduate in IIT’s Physics Education Program. Ryan has a passion for informal education and has honed his skills in the area by mentoring several high school robotics teams across the Chicago area. In the past Ryan has also facilitated live science demonstrations at the Museum of Science and Industry as an Intern in the IIT-MSI Internship program. This will be Ryan’s first time being a Program Instructor for the Boeing Scholars Academy, and he is excited for the opportunity to be a part of the program.

While at IIT, Ryan has been actively involved in the student newspaper, TechNews, where he served as Editor-in-Chief for two years. He has also been very involved with IIT’s robotics club, Illinois Tech Robotics, where he worked with other club members to organize and host youth robotics competitions through FIRST for the past four years.


Cara Karter – Program Intern

Cara Karter is an undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Social and Economic Development Policy. She is a member of the Leadership Academy at IIT, which helps develop a small cohort of students into the effective leaders of tomorrow. Cara has been very involved on the IIT Campus and has served as a student member of the Campus Judicial Board and as a Peer Mentor and Orientation Leader. She is very interested in the field of international development and non-profit management and is passionate about social justice. Cara has gained experience in sustainable development as a leader of the Engineers Without Borders student chapter on campus. She has worked on a local greenhouse project in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood of Chicago and has traveled twice to Nicaragua to work on a bridge project in a rural community. In addition, she is currently developing a study to measure the effect of environmental migration on the people of Chuuk, Micronesia as an adaptive response to climate change with support from the IIT College of Science and Political Science professor Dr. Laura Hosman.

Cara is very happy to be a part of the Boeing Scholars Academy this summer, and will be working mainly on documenting our program and presenting our program resources in a way that is replicable and easily accessible to educators and other STEM programs.


Chris Littrell – Program Intern

Chris Littrell is a graduate student studying Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago. His interests include working with underrepresented students, access, and retention.  As a first-generation student himself, Chris is extremely interested in learning more about the experiences of other first-generation students.  Chris has experiences in orientation programming, disability services, and campus activities. He is incredibly excited to be a part of the Boeing Scholars Academy team.

Chris received his B.A. in political science from Kansas State University in 2012, and is expected to receive his M.Ed from Loyola in May of 2015. When he’s not busy working with students or writing papers, Chris enjoys learning about and performing improvisational comedy.


Deysi Paniagua - Program Intern
Deysi Paniagua – Program Intern


Deysi Paniagua is a fourth-year student at IIT’s Lewis College of Human Sciences pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Before attending Illinois Tech as a Presidential Scholar, she received an Associate in Arts with high honors and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa at Richard J. Daley College. Deysi’s willingness to help her community stems from inclusion into The Bridges for baccalaureates in Research Science (BBRS) dual degree program where she earned college credit during high school. She stresses the importance of a strong support system; which is vital towards achieving academic success. Therefore, she wishes to be more than a mentor for incoming Scholars; rather building a long lasting support system. Deysi insists that psychology be further encouraged as a STEM career as it encompasses many skills essential to thrive in the professional world.

Apart from academics, Deysi is an active student often times participating at events such as Junior Discover Day and volunteering around the community. Currently, she works as a Research Assistant for the university’s psychology department and plans to attend graduate school in the near future. Apart from academics, Deysi enjoys soccer, swimming, and baking and is most recognizable for her enthusiastic and fun spirit.


Anne Pugh – Program Intern
Anne Pugh – Program Intern

Anne Pugh is a graduate student at Northwestern University, pursuing her master’s in Higher Education Administration and Policy. Her bachelor’s was received in 2013 from the University of Texas at Austin in Applied Learning and Development: Youth and Community Studies. She recently completed her master’s thesis about community service partnerships in higher education and has a strong passion for creating community and serving through collaboration and relationship building. Anne has worked as a Career Counselor, an orientation leader, and as a first-year seminar mentor and instructor at Northwestern and her alma mater, the University of Texas. She has a passion for working with others to help them achieve their goals and looks forward to doing the same with the Boeing Scholars Academy this summer! For fun, she has been playing guitar for over a decade and she enjoys corny jokes more than she probably should. She knows this summer will be fantastic and can’t wait to meet and work with all the wonderful students!


Martha Razo - Program Instructor
Martha Razo – Program Intern

Martha Razo is a major in Applied Mathematics and minor in Math Education at The Illinois Institute of Technology. Martha was born in Michoacan, Mexico and grew up in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, IL. She founded the Students for Students Scholarship where she collaborated with other youth to raise money for undocumented students in Chicago. As an undocumented student herself, Martha continues advocating for the immigrant community through theater and the arts. Her ultimate goal is to become a math professor to continue empowering and supporting minorities to obtain higher education and achieving their fullest potential.

This is Martha’s first year as a program intern for the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy.



Miriam Schmid - Program Instructor
Miriam Schmid – Program Instructor

Miriam Schmid is a recent graduate of the IIT College of Science with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry as well as a Certificate in Secondary Science Education. In the fall, she will be teaching at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy working to develop and implement a integrated math and science project-based curriculum that engages students in real-world science and math applications. She is excited to work with a talented group of Scholars this summer to help the explore STEM fields, develop their leadership skills, and grow as learners!

Her scientific passions are environmentally focused, and Miriam participated in two ecology research projects during her undergraduate career. For several years she worked with and led research in the CRABLab at IIT investigating predator-prey relationships between green crab and several octopus species. In addition, in the summer of 2013 Miriam researched branchiobdellidan (crayfish worm) populations at Auburn University through a National Science Foundation grant. In addition to her scientific endeavors at IIT, she was involved in many organizations on campus and is passionate about leadership development.

Brett Stachler - Program Intern
Brett Stachler – Program Intern

Brett Stachler(gender pronouns: he/him/his), originally from Chicago, IL, is a Graduate Intern for the Boeing Scholars Academy.  While here during the summer, Brett will be creating research linking the Boeing Scholars Academy curriculum to collaborative problem solving frameworks, student development theory, and success in higher education, as well as educating Peer Instructors on affirming and validating practices for LGBTQ+ students. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Roosevelt University and is currently working towards his master’s degree in Higher Education at Loyola University. In addition to working with the Boeing Scholars Academy this summer, Brett is working part-time with Northwestern University’s LGBT Resource Center.  Brett’s interests in higher education have revolved around students historically oppressed by colleges and universities including working creating leadership programming, social justice education, advocacy, dialogue, and social activism. Brett’s interests and readings are in college student development, Queer history and social development, and critical social theory. Outside of the three institutions he works with, Brett enjoys creating events for family and friends, being an amateur photographer, and volunteering with younger LGBTQ+ people.

Amy Zasadzinski
Amy Zasadzinski – Program Instructor


Amy Zasadzinski is starting her third year at IIT this fall and is currently majoring in Biology and Psychology. She has an interest in teaching and facilitating projects in the STEM fields, so this program is perfect for her!  She is so excited to work with all the students and her fellow instructors.  She has experience in leading retreats and workshops for students and she was an intern at the Museum of Science and Industry, so she is eager to use the skills she has learned to benefit students and their futures.

She is a band geek, loves musical theater, has played soccer for a great portion of her life and ran cross country.  She will talk forever about Harry Potter, loves the movie Pitch Perfect and laughing is her favorite thing to do.  She is so excited for this summer and she cannot wait to get to know everyone and have a great time!