Our 2015 Summer Session ran weekdays June 29 – July 24 (excluding July 3rd), from 10am to 5pm.

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

Summer 2015 theme:


This summer, we invited Scholars to explore both the familiar and the unfamiliar. STEM is integral to our daily lives, but it also lives on the edges of our imaginations, sparking our wonder, curiosity, and creativity. Scholars examined the impact of STEM in their own city and discuss the limitless frontiers of innovation.

We look forward to discovering STEM Frontiers: Near and Far with you!

What did Scholars do this summer?

Through a variety of exciting STEM projects and community engagement collaborations, Scholars learned, served, and led together.

Week 1: Design Thinking & Team Building:

Led by IIT’s Institute of Design, Scholars participated in a design thinking workshop. This workshop introduced students to the iterative design process, requiring them to define a problem, understand users, and collaborate to prototype and propose solutions. From developing their Innovation Projects to working on college applications, Scholars regularly use this innovative framework throughout their two years in the program.

Scholars additionally went 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.


Week 2: Project Challenges & Issue Forums 

Project Challenges are problem-centered classroom projects, modeled on a real-world situation, that require students to collaborate, innovate, and present their work to their peers. Some of the issues and challenges we addressed this summer relate to:

  • Renewable energy
  • Information security
  • Access to clean water
  • Social media

Week 3 & 4: Serving through STEM (StS) Projects:

During Weeks 3-4 of our summer program, each Scholar had the opportunity to immerse themselves in one of six 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 projects are offered in partnership with faculty members, research centers, and organizations, with Program Staff serving as facilitators.

2015 StS Partners:

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Summer 2015 Program Team

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAJBAAAAJDE4ODY2YmM5LTRkOGYtNDJiZS04NjljLTExYmM0M2YxYmQ5ZAKatie Pantell is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics and a minor in Peace Studies. This fall, she will be attending DePaul University to pursue a Master’s in Computer Science. During her time at Loyola, Katie served on three executive boards and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Loyola’s Women in Science and Math (WISAM). She also participated in and led Alternative Break Immersion trips to Tantre Farm, an organic farming community in Chelsea, Michigan. Katie is very excited to be a part of the Global Leaders Program, and she’s looking forward to meeting all the Scholars this summer!

Ryan Kamphuis — Program Intern, Curriculum Development

Ryan Kamphuis is a recent graduate from IIT’s College of Science with a Bachelor of Science in Physics Education. Ryan has a passion for science education and has honed his skills in the area by mentoring several high school robotics teams across the Chicago area, student teaching at Benito Juarez Community Academy in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, interning as a Guest Programs Facilitator at the Museum of Science and Industry, and serving as an instructor for the Program last Summer. This Summer Ryan will be working on developing three engaging and authentic Project Challenges that scholars will be working on during the Summer Session. He’s hoping to be able to bring all these experiences together as a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools this Fall.

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. In his free time Ryanenjoys building robots, geeking out over recent scientific advances, and taking part in all of the amazing experiences that Chicago has to offer.

Sara Glade — Program Instructor

Sara Glade is a recent graduate of the IIT Armour College of Engineering with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and Master of Environmental Engineering.  She has a passion for Engineering for the Developing World, and during her time at IIT was very involved with research in this area as well as Engineers Without Borders. Next year she will be pursuing a PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley doing research in water treatment technologies. She hopes to teach at the college level someday. Outside of academics, she was involved at IIT as a member of a sorority and as a varsity athlete on the Cross Country and Track Teams.

Sara is excited to be part of the Global Leader Program this summer, and looks forward to meeting and working with the students!

Gabrielle Henderson — Program Intern

Gabrielle Henderson is a second year undergraduate currently majoring in biomedical engineering. From the south side of Chicago, she attended Jones College Prep in the south loop.

Gabby spent a lot of time getting to know the city, she’s definitely the person to get lost with. Her interests include biology, reading and hedgehogs.




Kaylynn Barker — Program Instructor

Kaylynn Barker is an undergraduate studying Biology and Science Education. She is from the small town of Colona, Illinois and attended United Township High School. It was there that she discovered her passion of continually educating the public about science and conservation.

Kaylynn is a member of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and the all-female acapella group, the X-Chromotones. She attained the Leadership Academy scholarship her sophomore year and has grown in her mentorship skills ever since. For the past three years, Kaylynn has been a Resident Adviser for IIT’s residence halls as well as a Senior Resident Adviser the past two years serving as a peer mentor to other RAs. Kaylynn also worked with and led research in the CRAB lab at IIT where exclusively undergraduates conducted chemical ecology research with live crabs and an octopus. In addition, Kaylynn just recently returned from Ecuador where she was helping provide medical care to low-income families with Illinois Tech’s MEDLIFE chapter.

Kaylynn has gained experience in the field of informal education by having been an intern with the Brookfield Zoo and the Shedd Aquarium. This fall, Kaylynn will be student teaching high school biology classes at the Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL. She is very excited to work with the Global Leaders this summer and help them cultivate their own passions.

Deion Debose is going into his 4th year pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering  at Illinois Institute of
Deion Debose — Program Instructor

Technology. He is specializing in structures and hopes to provide sustainable structural design. Since his freshmen year, he has been very involved at IIT. He has been a part of in research with the BERG IIT research lab as a founding member of Open Source Building Science Sensors (OSBSS). There, he has designed open source environmental sensors to be used in indoor air quality testing and microbiology research. Deion is involved as a leader in Engineers without Borders student chapter at IIT. He has lead the technical team in research on a latrine project, traveled to Nicaragua, and prepares to lead the implementation of the latrines. He has served as a president of Black Student Union on campus, which provides a home away from home experience and awareness of different cultures on campus.

Among being involved on campus, Deion is heavily involved in mentoring. Since the age of 16, Deion has been involved in the Summer Enrichment Program that provides youth a  a chance to explore and discover with  new learning experiences. He volunteers with Kindred Kids which connects youth to students in Haiti to explore a culture that is different than their own. He has also been a part of developing his own mentorship program named “Jump Ahead!”

Sergio Sanchez — Program Intern

Sergio Sanchez is a first year undergraduate pursuing his Bachelor`s degree in Psychology. Sergio is interested in helping maintain a safe environment for all students, staff, and faculty. He is also extremely passionate about being a resource for each and every Scholar, making their experience the best it can be. He also inspires to assist all students reach their fullest potential. Prior to joining Global Leaders, Sergio has been in cooperation with many diverse associations, such as Roosevelt`s very own RU Pride where he facilitates discussions and undergoes countless hours raising funds while also raising awareness to local community residents. Nevertheless, he continues to strive great heights as also attempts to motivate other first generation students such as himself to not only attend a college but to achieve and demonstrate the best of their abilities.  Sergio was one of the few selected to take part in our organization in former years. Through this program, he was able to start new projects such as “we want a voice to express” and many other groups that still very much stand today. What’s more, because of his time in our program, other similar institutions, and finally his own worldly experiences, that he has become better versed and enriched that he now not only aspires but dreams of coming back in order to support and ensure that our students are more than able to grow and positively impact the future.

Merjem Mededovic — Program Instructor

Merjem Mededovic is a second year undergraduate student with a major in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Business. She is from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and plans on returning to her hometown with her degree so she can improve life standards of her fellow citizens affected by recent events in the country. Her mission is to also to reinforce diversity and coexistence, mainly through education and youth relations. She is the president of a student organization UFarm IIT, where they work on creating a technologically innovative approach to urban agriculture and giving students the opportunity to grow as entrepreneurs. She will also be a Resident Adviser and Peer Mentor in the coming school year. Merjem plays piano and guitar and speaks 6 languages, her hobby is reading, and she tries her best to find time to travel.

Back in Bosnia, she used to teach English language in a senior citizen home, last semester she volunteered at the Museum of Science and Industry, where she demonstrated scientific experiments to visitors. She believes Global Leaders Program is another teaching/mentoring opportunity for her to enrich the scholars and help them show the leaders, researchers and innovators they hold within them.

Manoj Varma Penmathsa – Communications Assistant

Manoj Varma Penmathsa is an undergraduate student at IIT pursuing Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering. Manoj is a member of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers), a professional engineering organization. He worked as a leader for Quadcopter project sponsored by IEEE, and as IPRO coordinator at Ufarm IIT in the past. Manoj works as a peer mentor with Office of Campus Life at IIT, where he helps first year students with their transition to life at IIT. He likes going on adventures, climbing, camping, travelling, and meeting new people. He is an avid rock climber. In his free time, you can find him climbing mountains or training in the gym. Manoj started working with the program this February as communications assistant, and is excited to continue his work over the summer.

Hamze Leo Sukkar -- Porgram Instructor
Hamze Leo Sukkar — Porgram Instructor

Hamze Leo Sukkar is a third year student at IIT, currently pursuing a dual degree in Computer Engineering and Engineering Management with a minor in Architecture, due to graduate in 2018. He came from Syria where he completed his high school studies, and continues his higher education in the US in search for self-development and career growth. He intends to apply his experiences in assisting his country’s development. Hamze has had multiple leadership commitments in his community where he served as an orientation leader, a peer mentor, and is returning to be a Resident advisor for the second year.  He has also recently completed working as an assistant project mentor during the ten-month LGP program with our team. Most recently, Hamze was elected as the Vice President of Student Life in Illinois Tech’s student government, and is excited to serve the student body during the coming year. Away from work commitments, Hamze enjoys playing soccer, watching movies, and bike rides .This summer he is quite excited to work with the Global Leaders family as an Instructor and is looking forward to being a positive and lasting influence on the Scholars.

Vignesh Rajagopal — Program Instructor

Vignesh Rajagopal is a third year student completing his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, with a minor in Entrepreneurship. He is originally from India, but has grown up around the world. Graduating from high school in Mexico City, he came to Illinois Tech to pursue his passion for math and engineering. His love for engineering has come from several projects he started from scratch and completed – including a clap-controlled light switch, a door lock controlled by an Android app, and a sunlight-seeking robot. He wants to be a mentor to students, helping them realize the importance of being imaginative and showing that creativity has its place in the STEM fields. Vignesh is extremely passionate about basketball. He is on the men’s basketball team, and has been playing for a long time. He is also a math tutor at the IIT Academic Resource Center and feels that this has helped him work on his teaching style. He recently spent time at the Musem of Science and Industry as a volunteer with the IIT-MSI program, demonstrating various experiments to guests and improving his verbal and presentation skills. This summer, Vignesh is excited to be working with future college students and serving as a resource at this critical point in their lives.

Wildaline Serin is a second year student pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. She
Widaline Serin — Program Assistant, Career Development

is originally from South Florida where she graduated in the top 10 of her graduating class. She was also a member of marching, jazz, and symphonic band for 4 years where she played alto saxophone and oboe. She has a passion for aviation and hopes to someday have her own aerospace company that will work on aircraft which can reach remote locations during emergencies. Wildaline enjoys helping others whenever possible and believes in equal opportunities for everyone. She has helped with the formation of IIT’s first ever UNICEF chapter which serves to protect children’s rights and development. She serves as the events coordinator. On her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends or doing DIY crafts.

Batool Al-Rifai — Program Instructor

Batool Al-­Rifai ​is a third year undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Information Technology and Management at IIT. She is interested in specializing in web design and application development, and hopes to create better spaces and means of presence on the web for organizations with great missions. Batool has worked on several different websites for different non­profit organizations, such as the Jusoor Alumni Association, working towards creating scholarships and college application assistance to Syrian students. Prior to coming to IIT, Batool lived in Damascus, Syria for ten years before moving to the Western suburbs of Illinois, where she attended a private Islamic high school. Through these experiences, she became passionate about helping young adults both in the U.S. and across the world pursue their dreams and get the proper education they deserve. While she is not working or studying, Batool enjoys reading Arabic and English poetry and exploring Chicago.

Eritomiwa Sobayo (Tomi) — Program Intern, Career Development

Eritomiwa Sobayo (Tomi) was born in Nigeria and is a fourth-year student at IIT’s Lewis College of Human Sciences. Tomi is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with an Industrial/Organizational focus. Additionally Tomi is pursuing a minor in Computer Science and in Business. Tomi has a passion for problem solving, everything from small interpersonal conflicts to big interdisciplinary challenges. He thanks his diverse cultural background and education for his ability to approach problems in a unique and versatile way. His goal in life is to own his own consulting firm, which he can use to tackle the big problems facing the world. Tomi’s hobbies involve listening to and composing music and lyrics, finding new ways to modify his games and electronics and from time to time painting.As a former scholar Tomi want to help the next generation of scholars get the same opportunity that he had while in the program.