Our 2012 Summer Session—themed “Local Action, Broader Impact”—will run weekdays from June 25 to July 20 (excluding July 4th), from 10am to 5pm. Each day’s activities begin at the IITRI Tower (10 W 33rd St, Chicago), the tallest building on IIT’s campus.

Our “at-a-glance” calendar and detailed schedule are now available, as are our FAQs.


Theme: “Local Action, Broader Impact”

Through this summer’s program, we will explore how STEM-related work can positively impact lives and improve conditions locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally—and seek to understand the stakes of this work. We will investigate various interconnected world problems, learn about the many different scales on which these challenges can be addressed (not only local and global, but infrastructural, populations-level, cellular, nano!), and propose local actions that could effect broader change. In addition to collaborating with one another on projects modeled on real-world situations, students will have the opportunity to contribute to real projects taking place in the real world—specifically, in the city of Chicago—and then collaborate to develop projects of their own design to address problems facing their community or school.

Inspired by Scholars’ interests* and informed by literature on global learning, “Local Action, Broader Impact” will help Scholars develop the ability to frame and solve problems; consider context, scale, scalability, sustainability, and the impact of potential solutions; and become globally competent young leaders capable of investigating the world, recognizing perspectives, communicating ideas, and taking action!

*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, in this two-day workshop Scholars will learn how to apply engineering design frameworks to analyze, situate, and prototype to address various problems of local—and broader—relevance.
  • Learn about interconnected issues and global challenges. Other days will begin with an Issues Forum” (an interdisciplinary panel discussion featuring 3-4 speakers addressing the same topic) and conclude with a 3-4-hour Project Challenge” (a hands-on, problem-centered project, modeled on a real-world situation and requiring students to collaborate, innovate, and present their work to their peers). Some of the issues and challenges we will address this summer relate to:
    • Environmental Stewardship, Global Cooperation, and Policy
    • Sustainable Land Use and Food Access
    • Understanding Infectious Disease
    • Innovative Design Solutions

  • Serve through STEM. Each Scholar will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in one of six possible multi-day “Serving through STEM (StS)” projects, which are intended to provide Scholars with further exposure to STEM issues and professionals, experience contributing to a project in the real world, and a sense of how they can have a positive impact on the lives of others through participation in STEM. These “programs within a program” are offered in partnership with faculty members, research centers, and organizations. StS projects take place during the regular program day (four hours per day over the course of seven afternoons), but each has its own unique schedule and field trips. Though diverse in topics addressed, for each StS project Scholars will have to develop assigned deliverables and a presentation, to be delivered to related stakeholders on July 18 and to fellow Scholars and guests during our July 20 “Visitors’ Day.” During Week 2 of our summer program, Scholars will be asked to select one of the following options in which to participate during Weeks 3 and 4 (in-depth descriptions will be provided to Scholars during Week 1):
    • Analyzing Data in the Public Interest: Computing Approaches to Investigating Community Health Indicators in the United States. Led by Alana Platt, IIT, Department of Computer Science (Doctoral Candidate). Apply basic computational methods for data collection and analysis to research local and national health and wellness indicators—then share your findings with the broader community.
    • Engineering Research and Mentorship: An Introduction to Understanding Diabetes, Its Complications, and Treatments.Overseen by Dr. Eric Brey, IIT, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and led by 14 STEM undergraduates from various universities, Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program funded by the National Science Foundation and IIT’s Pritzker Institute of Biomedical Science and Engineering. Learn about the nature of research, diabetes and its impact on society, and the many ways engineers contribute to new treatments of the disease and its complications—then share what you’ve learned with a group of middle school students.
    • Enhancing Design Engineering Education: Iterating “DESIGN. BUILD. TEST.” with the James Dyson Foundation. Led by James Dyson Foundation educators and engineers. Help ignite a passion for engineering in young people—including yourself!—by influencing the re-design of the “DESIGN.BUILD.TEST.” after school program. After participating in the current version, Scholars will analyze DBT and make recommendations for adjustments to James Dyson Foundation Directors and Dyson engineers.
    • Nature Education in the City: Developing a Community-Based Youth Volunteer Program for the Chicago Zoological Society and Eden Place Nature Center. Led by Dr. Jo-Elle Mogerman, Chicago Zoological Society. Investigate the applicability of zoo science, ecology, and other natural sciences to the lives of urban residents and the vitality of the city—and propose ways to educate and inspire conservation leadership among Chicago’s young people.
    • Urban Recycling in Chicago and Beyond: Promises and Problems. Led by Dr. Matthew Shapiro, IIT, Department of Social Sciences.Conduct cost-benefit analyses of different types of recycling (e.g., electronic, food waste, paper, plastic, metals)—in the case of Chicago and other major cities—and make recommendations to a state or local official.
    • Urban Solar: Developing Chicago’s Capacity for Solar Energy. Led by Andrew Barbeau, Grant Klinzman, and Dr. Mohammad Shahidehpour, IIT, Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation. Use Google Earth and knowledge of the city—and what is learned about renewable energy in this StS!—to develop proposals for the specific and optimal placement of solar panels on rooftops or in lots throughout Chicago. Scholars will have the opportunity to present their work and suggested “next steps” to a state or local official.

  • Develop as leaders. As part of the summer program, Scholars collaborate in teams to develop and propose Leadership Grant Projects of their own design to be implemented in their home communities and schools over the course of the next 10 months (July 2012-April 2013). Through the awarding and stewardship of these Leadership Grants, the Academy helps provide Scholars with the opportunity, resources, and guidance needed to empower them to promote positive change and continue to develop as leaders. Projects developed in 2011-12 involved starting school-based recycling programs; mobilizing high-achieving peers to tutor, lead fun hands-on science projects with youth, and/or volunteer for community service projects; celebrating STEM professionals from underrepresented groups; and documenting ways that local organizations retain and use rainwater (below).


Through participation in these projects and in dedicated sessions, we also devote time to helping students develop practical STEM skills (like data analysis), professional skills (like presentation and negotiation skills), and college and career literacy (like “Explore a Major” and “Dress for Success!”). Scholars participate in program-wide and StS-specific field trips, as well as a/an:

  • 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. Our impressive cadre of judges includes corporate compliance officers, philosophy professors, members of the Ethics Officer Association, STEM professionals, and others.
  • Students’ Choice Enrichment Day—Pick a way to spend your day! Learn about aquaponics in Milwaukee, liberal arts education, financial markets, complexity theory, and more!
  • College and Career 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.
  • Boeing Company Global Day of Service—A team of 75 Boeing Company Chicago volunteers contribute hundreds of hours to our Scholars on their annual Day of Service event! Held on IIT’s Main Campus, Boeing volunteers will consult with current Scholars on their Leadership Grant Projects and offer past Scholars (soon-to-be college freshmen) resume advice.
  • Scholar Skill-Share—Like a talent show, only more about teaching each other!

And more!

While each day of the Summer Session is structured slightly differently, a typical day might look something like this:

8:30-10:00amCheck-in (we start promptly at 10)
10:00am-12:00pmAll students together (e.g., in an Issues Forum or workshop)
12:00-1:00pmLunch in The Commons (IIT’s Dining Hall)
1:00-5:00pmProject time (by cluster, StS, or Leadership Grant Project group)

Overall, through our theme and the collaborative structure of the program, we intend to 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. Learn more about what makes us tick.

Who can’t wait to meet their cluster?

Summer 2012 Faculty Advisors and Program Instruction Team


Dr. Nancy Karuri – Faculty Program Advisor

Dr. Nancy Wangechi Karuri is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (ChBE) at IIT. She was born and raised in Kenya. Nancy received a BEng from the University of New South Wales, and her PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison in Chemical Engineering. After finishing her dissertation, Nancy spent four years as a research associate at Princeton University as a member of Jean Schwarzbauer’s research group in Molecular Biology before joining IIT’s faculty in 2009. Her research is focused on engineering therapeutic materials for chronic wound care that are based on an understanding of the wound environment. She has taught several courses in the ChBE department, including an introductory biology course for engineers (CHE 311), Heat and Mass Transfer (CHE 302), and a graduate-level tissue engineering course (CHE 584).

As exemplified in her outreach work, Nancy is committed to increasing diversity in STEM fields. Outside of her involvement with the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy, Nancy designed and instructed an engineering summer camp for female middle school students from underrepresented groups (through UW-Madison’s PEOPLE program) and contributed to a tutoring program for low-income families at a Princeton public library.


Professor Stephen Sennott – Faculty Program Advisor

Architectural historian and editor Professor Stephen Sennott has served as the assistant dean for academic affairs and adjunct associate professor in IIT’s College of Architecture since 2000. Educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Chicago, Steve’s career in higher education simultaneously combines research, teaching, advising, mentoring, architecture admissions, and academic affairs. Chicago’s architecture and its history of bold ideas inspire his teaching, research, and community service. His undergraduate seminars focus on the history of the American skyscraper, the buildings and writings of Frank Lloyd Wright, and contemporary skyscraper design and technology. His publications examine Chicago architects, urban planning for the automobile, roadside architecture, skyscrapers, urban parks planning, and the suburban house—a diversity of expertise he brought to his work editing Routledge’s three-volume Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Architecture and contributing to the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s The Architecture Handbook, a textbook for high school students in use around the world.

Steve’s extensive work with high school students includes overseeing IIT’s “Experiment in Architecture” summer workshop; helping aspiring architects and their families learn about architectural education and careers; and volunteering with related programs, such as the ACE Mentor Program and CAF’s Saturday Studios and the Newhouse Architecture Competition. He is excited to begin working with the IIT Boeing Scholars this summer.


Ian Armstrong – Program Assistant (2012, 2011)

As Program Assistant for the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy, Ian Armstrong acts as an educational resource for the six Program Instructors and participates in the development and implementation of its interdisciplinary, project-based lessons. A Chicago Public Schools alumnus, Ian attended Lincoln Elementary before going on to earn his International Baccalaureate Diploma from Lincoln Park High School. Ian is also an alum of the City Colleges of Chicago (Truman College); DePaul University, where he received a BA in History; and Northern Illinois University, where he earned his MS Ed. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Science Education at IIT.

Prior to enrolling at IIT, Ian worked for seven years as a public school teacher in Bilingual Spanish programs ranging from Cicero, Illinois, to Mesquite, Texas. Active in STEM+ outreach, Ian has partnered with the Chinese American Service League to design and conduct an ongoing Dual Language Chinese-English Science Workshop series as well as other science education-based presentations. Ian enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys, traveling, playing guitar, sailing, martial arts, and fishing.


Julia Gonzalez – Program Instructor

Julia Gonzalez is a rising senior at IIT, working toward a bachelor’s in Physics as well as her Illinois teaching certification for high school science. While at IIT, Julia has conducted research for Dr. Joseph Orgel and served as President of the Camras Scholars, a full-tuition merit scholarship offered to the university’s top applicants. In addition to volunteering as a tutor at Perpectives/IIT Math and Science Academy, Julia is currently working with IIT’s Office of Service Learning to start a science enrichment/tutoring program for the school. Julia spent last summer as a physics teaching assistant for the Math and Science for Minority Students (MS)2 program at Phillips Academy Andover in Massachusetts. Her future goals include teaching physics at the high school level and eventually getting a PhD in physics or in science education.

A graduate of Chicago Public Schools, Julia acknowledges the city’s need for science educators and has a strong desire to give back to her community. She is very excited to be working with such a diverse group of students from all over the Chicago area as they come together to see what great things STEM has to offer. She looks forward to using innovative teaching techniques and inspiring these students to further explore STEM.


Anna Kladzyk – Program Intern

IIT rising senior and Civil Engineering major Anna Kladzyk prioritizes participating in community-oriented projects that are relevant to her field of study, while pursuing her educational goals. Before transferring to IIT as a Presidential Scholar, she was active in the Physical Science Department at Harold Washington City College. There, while studying Geographic Information Systems under Professor Liliana Marin, she completed an academic paper and set of maps, which analyzed a proposed city park site in Chicago. While studying at IIT, Anna has dedicated a significant amount of time to community outreach projects. One of the most rewarding activities in this regard was contributing to the creation and coordination of “Explore STEM+ at IIT,” a week-long program that enabled more than 300 Chicago-area high school students and their teachers to participate in free, STEM+ educational workshops on the IIT campus. She is also a member of the Engineers Without Borders-IIT student chapter, and has contributed to the design of a water supply and distribution system in a small village in Haiti, along with community development initiatives to ensure the sustainability of the project.

As a Program Instructor for the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy in Summer 2011, Anna collaborated with the Scholars to apply scientific solutions to the issues identified within the “Cities of The Future” theme, to address these problems both in a practical sense and as a framework for methodologies of sustainability, development, and social justice. She is excited to continue her work with the IIT Boeing Scholars as a Program Intern.


Sriharsha Kota – Program Instructor

Sriharsha Kota is a fourth-year majoring in the biological sciences with medicine as his eventual career. Sri is passionate about the impact science and technology can have on the real world and has spent time investigating the clinical sciences and conducting research with applications for spinal cord injuries and Alzheimer’s Disease. Bridging the gaps between experimental studies and realistic applications is a difficult task that requires much creative thinking; the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy is a wonderful incubator for young minds to grapple with these kinds of processes and ideas.

During his time at IIT, Sri has been involved with a variety of organizations–including student government, charities for children’s hospitals, and non-profit service enterprises—and even created his own class about empowering developing communities with the skills they need to move forward. He has strong interests in international health and education disparities, and recently traveled to Mexico to build a school for an impoverished community. He is also a Leadership Academy Scholar—one of only 25 students honored with the full-tuition scholarship. Sri leads by example and always strives to make his environment a better place than when he entered it.


Luis Larco – Lead Mentor

Luis Larco is a third-year undergraduate pursuing a dual-degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a minor in Applied Mathematics. Outside of class, Luis is president of the IIT Math Club and conducts research with IIT’s Medical Imaging Research Center and the Chicago Police Department, developing new methods to predict crimes and analyze gang activities through social networking analysis and machine learning. While pursuing his associates in Computer Engineering at the Miami Dade Honors College, he won the Florida state-wide mathematics olympics and had the honor of being one of 50 students selected by Google for their exclusive FUSE Student Program. Luis’s passion for STEM education has inspired him to organize numerous high school engineering and mathematics competitions in Miami and Chicago. Outside the academic environment, he is a talented musician (guitar, bass, drums, mandolin, charango), plays frequent shows with his jazz band, and loves surfing, mountain biking, and skateboarding.


Ross Ludwig – Program Instructor

Ross Ludwig is a fourth-year undergraduate pursuing a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and a Certificate in Secondary Math Education. He has taught students at all levels in a variety of settings—including homes, libraries, schools, summer programs, and museums—and just finished his student-teaching at Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy in Bronzeville. Ross aspires to be a high school mathematics teacher and to use his knowledge of engineering, inquiry, and problem solving to inspire young people. He is excited about the opportunity to work with the IIT Boeing Scholars this summer as they work together to tackle some of today’s most pressing interdisciplinary problems and discover the exciting opportunities that await them in college and STEM+ fields.



Saurabh Mathur – Program Instructor

Saurabh Mathur’s curiosity for science and engineering, coupled with an interest in teaching, brings him to the IIT Boeing Scholar Academy. As a master’s student in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at IIT, Saurabh conducts experimental research testing and studying the properties of special high-strength lightweight materials with applications in the aerospace and automotive industries. This work is related to a core idea of the IIT Boeing Scholar Academy: learning by doing.

Prior to moving to Chicago, Saurabh graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology and worked for a research and development aerospace organization where he was responsible for designing airframe-engine interface systems. In his free time, Saurabh enjoys outdoor activities. He is an ardent lover of sports and has actively participated in cricket and lawn tennis for many years. Apart from sports, he also enjoys reading, traveling, and learning new things.


Larissa L. Miller – Program Instructor

Larissa J. Miller is pursuing her PhD in Finance at IIT’s Stuart School of Business, with research concentrations in both currency pricing and ETFs and with teaching responsibilities in derivatives and equities. Her extensive experience in financial markets ranges from founding a not-for-profit investment fund, Stuart Investments, to teaching at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and IIT’s Stuart School. Larissa has worked with various types of investment products such as over-the-counter fixed income products, mortgage-backed securities, ETFs, and options, with her vast experience in equity research forming the foundation for these more complex products.

Larissa earned her Master’s in Financial Engineering from IIT and serves as the Assistant to the Director of the Master’s in Finance program. Recent accomplishments include working with the Americas Regional CFA Research Championship Team. In her spare time she serves on the Board of Directors for two not-for-profits: Stuart Investments and ELIT. She also is a member of Moody Church.


Courtney Regis – Program Instructor (2012, 2011)

Courtney Regis is a third-year undergraduate in Biomedical Engineering specializing in Medical Imaging and Neural Engineering. Prior to enrolling at IIT, he taught high school for two years in his home country of St. Lucia, in the Caribbean, in the areas of chemistry, biology, physics, physical education and sport, integrated science, and mathematics. He also served as an online tutor for a company based in Trinidad and Tobago. In order for effective learning to take place in any context, Courtney feels that the energy to begin the learning process should come from the teacher. He believes that an ideal teaching/learning process involves a rigorous exchange of ideas, and that if teachers seek to influence students to be open to receiving new information, they must themselves be open to opinions that contrast with their own. Courtney is a returning Program Instructor from the 2011-12 inaugural year of the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy. He currently serves as student advisor to the Caribbean Visionaries, a cultural organization at IIT, and as the Academic Excellence Chair for IIT’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. Besides engineering, his passions are music, soccer, and always helping others to learn something new!