Our 2013 Summer Session will run weekdays July 1-26 (excluding July 4th), from 9am to 4pm, unless otherwise noted.

Our updated overview calendardetailed schedule, start locations and campus map, and printable theme description are now available, as is our “Frequently Asked Questions for Admitted Students” document.

Image By Dan Kasberger, Chicago IMG_1289_small

Summer 2013 theme: “Challenging Our Borders, Reshaping Our World”

Whether real or imagined, natural or human-constructed, borders shape the way we think about our identity, actions, and options. But much as borders can be seen as limits or divides, they can also be seen as places of connection and exchange. The most pressing challenges facing humankind are complex and multi-faceted, and solving them will require collaboration across many different kinds of borders. Especially when we look at climate change, energy and water use, and other STEM-related problems in their broader context, there are no right or wrong answers—only more or less sustainable, ethical, or effective solutions, depending on priorities and context. Therefore, it is crucial that the next generation of STEM professionals is not only well-versed in math and science, but also possesses the creative and critical abilities to collaborate and empathize with individuals from diverse disciplines and backgrounds.

Image By Dan Kasberger, ChicagoInspired 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.

Why Borders


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 two-day 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 3-4 speakers sharing different perspectives on the same topic) and a Project Challenge (a 3-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:

  • Climate change
  • Energy
  • Inequality
  • Resource use
  • Water
  • Financial literacy
  • New ways of seeing

Cholera projectInnovative Design Project









Serve through STEM. During Weeks 3-4 of our summer program, each Scholar will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in one of five 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 seven 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. More info about each project is available in our detailed schedule (pp. 8-9).

  • Engineering Public Art: Designing Water Remediation Platforms for the Chicago River – with Redmoon. Explore the intersection of art and STEM with Redmoon, a theater company that specializes in public and site-specific performances. Students will consider the various engineering, aesthetic, and social dimensions of objects, and develop ideas for a floating platform that could help remediate (or improve the water quality of) the River. Students will propose potential models, engineered processes, or scientific studies that will help Redmoon design and build this platform. Keywords: holistic design, building, applied physics, environmental science, public art.
  • Exploring Hidden Sides of STEM: Modeling, Microscopy, Biomedical Engineering, and Education with Dr. Eric Brey (Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, IIT) and Program Instructors Julia Gonzalez and Catherine Newman.* Students will learn how to model and simulate real-world phenomena using images taken from microscopes, how engineers and scientists use microscopy to explore diabetes and other diseases that affect the vascular system, and the impact of diabetes on society. Students will then develop a project that shares what they have learned with a group of middle school students. Keywords: microscopy, biomedical engineering, materials science, STEM education, mathematical modeling, pre-med.
    • *This project is offered in collaboration with a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program funded by the National Science Foundation and IIT’s Pritzker Institute of Biomedical Science and Engineering, and in collaboration with Dr. Eric Brey and Dr. Judith Zawojewski (Associate Professor Emeritus, Math and Science Education, IIT) on a NSF-funded tissue engineering project led by Dr. Ali Cinar (Professor of Chemical Engineering; Vice Provost for Research; Dean of the Graduate College; Director, Engineering Center for Diabetes Research and Education, IIT).
  • Hacking Experiences with MonkeyBars. MonkeyBars develops 24-hour innovation competitions that result in participants building gaming consoles out of mini computers, learning new coding languages overnight, and accomplishing more than they ever thought possible. In this StS Project, Scholars will learn some fundamental code and robotics, and plan and execute a 4-hour “hackathon” event for fellow IIT Boeing Scholars. Keywords: technology, coding, building, entrepreneurship, software, hardware, hacking, event planning.
  • Mapping Movement in the City: Identifying Invisible Borders – with the University of Chicago’s Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy (Dr. Meghan Vincent, Education Outreach Director). In this introduction to research methods, Scholars will use the city of Chicago as a laboratory to study how people move through the city. Students will utilize data collected from surveys and fieldwork that they help conduct, as well as from the city of Chicago’s data portal, to visualize the invisible boundaries in the city. On the last day, students will present their findings as part of a special IIT Sustainability Forum meeting. Keywords: research methods, data collection and analysis, mapping and graphical analysis, transportation, city infrastructure, civic action.
  • Sustainable Landscape Management and Ecological Design: Inventorying and Calculating the Water Impact of IIT’s Treeswith IIT’s Office of Campus Energy and Sustainability. Scholars will learn about the complex and often surprising ways that plant life and landscape design can impact water use and sustainability. Scholars will help take an inventory of the trees on campus — including mapping locations, determining species, and calculating water need — and make recommendations for potential alternative plantings. On the last day, students will present their findings as part of a special IIT Sustainability Forum meeting, helping to inform implementation of future sustainability projects. Keywords: sustainability, ecology, botany, environmental science, citizen science, project management, horticulture.

Boeing Photo 5_Cropped_SmallKatie presents StS

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 2012-13 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:VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

  • “Understanding Yourself, Leading Others” and “Life Mapping” workshops—Staff from IIT’s Leadership Academy will help our Scholars recognize their strengths, develop skills as a team player and leader, define success, and set and achieve their goals.
  • College visit—This year, Scholars choose between visiting the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • 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 includes corporate compliance officers, philosophy professors, members of the Ethics Officer Association, STEM professionals, and others.
  • Paola at college fairStudents’ Choice Enrichment Day—Pick a way to spend your day! Go for a hike at Starved Rock, learn about careers in law or green business, explore architectural experiments, and more! See options in the detailed schedule (pp. 7-8).
  • 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” and “Cities of the Future” to see some of what our amazing Scholars have accomplished in past summer programs, and learn more about what makes us tick.

"Final frontiers" may not be so far away!
“Final frontiers” may not be so far away!



Summer 2013 Faculty Advisors and Program Instruction 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 preparing to teach a course in Fall 2013 entitled “What–and Why–Should We Read?,” funded by the National Endowment of Humanities as part of its “Enduring Questions” program. He is currently planning a book on reading in the digital age based in part on this course. 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 had the opportunity to work with the IIT Boeing Scholars last summer and is looking forward to being even more involved this summer. He values highly the integrative approach the Boeing Scholars bring to their work, and really enjoys meeting students from such a wide variety of backgrounds and with such compelling interests.


Tasha Zephirin - Graduate Student Program Advisor
Tasha Zephirin – Graduate Student Program Advisor

Tasha Zephirin is pursuing her PhD in Engineering Education at Purdue University. She was first introduced to engineering education research as an undergraduate Electrical Engineering student assisting with first-year engineering courses at Virginia Tech—specifically with the development and assessment of a Mechatronics activity. Currently, she is a part of the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship in Magnetic and Nanostructured Materials (IGERT-MNM), a collaborative interdisciplinary graduate program initiative between Norfolk State University, Cornell University, and Purdue University. One of her efforts in the IGERT-MNM program included the development of a “Best Practices in Teaching and Learning” module to help Trainees identify ways their technical research can be transferred to other formal and informal learning environments guided by educational research and theories. Her current research interests include investigating how organizational culture influences the development of engineering programs and how storytelling is used in engineering contexts. She is also an active member and former leader in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), has enjoyed her interactions with the NSBE-IIT and Caribbean Visionaries student organizations, and looks forward to working with the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy!


Josh Buck - Program Instructor
Josh Buck – Program Instructor

Josh Buck is a recent graduate of IIT’s Armour College of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. He will be returning to IIT in the fall to study toward a Master of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with a specialization in Design and Manufacturing and Fluids. His interests include exploring alternative forms of transportation, sustainable energy practices, and creating a better tomorrow. In the fall of 2010, Josh was fortunate enough to intern at NASA, where he performed research and STEM outreach in the Dynamic Systems and Controls Branch at NASA’s Langley Research Center. Recently at IIT, Josh participated in a design competition as a member of the Chainless Challenge team, where students were tasked with building a hydraulic powered bicycle. The team won all 6 design categories. Josh is also a guard on IIT’s Men’s Basketball team and was named one of the team Captains. This summer Josh is excited to teach students more about engineering and its importance, as well as to serve as a mentor.


Jose Gibaja - Program Instructor
Jose Gibaja – Program Instructor

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 and is looking forward to an exciting and productive summer.


Julia Gonzalez - Program Instructor
Julia Gonzalez – Program Instructor

Julia Gonzalez is a recent graduate of the IIT College of Science and Letters with a Bachelor of Science in Physics Education as well as her Illinois teaching certification for high school science. Julia is also a returning instructor ready to start another amazing summer with the Academy. She is excited to see how this year’s Scholars will take on the challenge of approaching social justice issues through a STEM lens to come up with creative solutions.

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 to inspiring Scholars to further explore STEM.



Ross Ludwig - Lead Instructor
Ross Ludwig – Lead Instructor

Ross Ludwig is a recent graduate of IIT’s Armour College of Engineering. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Certificate in Secondary Math Education. Ross has taught in a variety of settings including Catalyst Charter School, where he served as a math and reading tutor; Northwestern University Center for Talent Development, where he served as a residential teaching assistant for calculus and engineering courses; Perspectives/IIT Math and Science Academy, where he student-taught geometry and pre-calculus; and the Civic Education Project, where he led service learning experiences across the city. Ross joined the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy last summer as a Program Instructor, and the experience working with Scholars helped cement his belief that young people with passion, creativity, and hard work really can make the world a better place. Ross aspires to be a highly effective 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.


Elizabeth McCreless - Program Intern
Elizabeth McCreless – Program Intern

Elizabeth McCreless recently completed her bachelor’s at the University of Chicago with a double major in History and Religious Studies. She wrote her senior thesis on 1970’s Catholic feminist theology, and she believes that history helps us understand the present through knowledge of the past. She is passionate about bringing together people from different backgrounds to work for social justice–for example, through her work in college with Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based organization working for social change through interfaith cooperation. Currently, she works as an elementary school math tutor at the Bethune School of Excellence in North Lawndale, where she gets to help kids get excited about solving problems every day. For fun, she sings, plays, and dances to traditional folk music from around the world. She can’t wait to get to know a bunch of super awesome students this summer and help them learn and have a great time!



Catherine Newman - Program Instructor
Catherine Newman – Program Instructor

Catherine Newman is a graduate student in applied mathematics. She recently received her undergraduate degree in Applied Math with a minor in Math and Science Education and is a certified high school mathematics teacher. Her interests as a graduate student include mathematical modeling with biological applications. To explore ideas in this field, she has attended programs at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, as well as the Mathematical Biosciences Institute at The Ohio State University at Columbus, to study mathematical modeling of biological systems. She hopes to use the knowledge that she gained through these programs to bring mathematical modeling to students at many different stages in their mathematics education, including the IIT Boeing Scholars.

Catherine is equally interested in mathematics education, how people learn, and the psychology of learning mathematics. She likes tutoring high school and college students in all areas of mathematics, from pre-algebra to differential equations, and plans to continue tutoring and teaching after finishing her graduate program at IIT.  She is excited about working with the IIT Boeing Scholars and with all of the members of the instructional team this summer.


Heta Panchal - Program Instructor
Heta Panchal – Program Instructor

Heta Panchal is an undergraduate student majoring in Chemical Engineering, with a minor in Business and Premedical Studies. While at IIT, she has researched hydroelectric induction pumping and has been a member of American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AiChe) and IIT Engineering themes. She worked for both the City of Chicago, as an intern programmer and assistant, and at IIT’s Campus and Conference Centers, as a receptionist and reservationist. She has a diverse range of interests including computer programming, sustainability, cooking, oil pastel art, lab experiments, philosophy, and a lot in between. In her free time, she likes getting lost in Chicago and talking to random people to find her way. GPS is overrated. She hopes to inspire young minds to apply concepts of various fields to real problems. She’s looking forward to thinking with the noggins of the IIT Boeing Scholars and hoping the experiences will be fruitful for all participants.


Jesse Pazmino - Program Instructor
Jesse Pazmino – Program Instructor

Jesse Pazmiño is a fourth-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).


Courtney Regis - Program Intern
Courtney Regis – Program Intern

Courtney Regis is a recent graduate of IIT with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, specializing in Medical Imaging and Neural Engineering. Later this summer, he is moving to Salt Lake City, Utah, to work as a technology data analyst for Goldman Sachs. 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 former Program Instructor (2012, 2011) with the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy, and for the 2013 summer program he is leading data analysis and data mining of various aspects of the City of Chicago in preparation for one of the Serving through STEM Projects (TBA!). He currently serves as an advisor to the Caribbean Visionaries, a cultural organization at IIT, and as the Region IV International Membership Chair of the National Society of Black Engineers. Besides engineering and computer programming, his passions are music, soccer, and always helping others to learn something new!