This post originally appeared on The Maker Mom. Veronica Arreola was first featured on The Maker Mom as a STEM Wonder Woman back in 2015. Now she’s back talking about her exciting new position as the director of the new L@s GANAS program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Also known as Las GANAS, the name stands for Latin@s Gaining Access to Networks for Advancement in Science. It’s a center. It’s a program. It’s a service (a bunch of them, actually) [Read more…]
In honor of The National Week of Making, we want you to meet Sasha Neri, a key player from the #ChicagoMakes scene. Sasha is a maker who creates and empowers other makers. She’s a librarian with superpowers. Not only is she a Librarian II at the Chicago Public Library, she’s also a creative director of sorts for the Maker Lab at the Harold Washington Library, the main branch of the CPL.
Sasha’s superpowers not only include the prowess to direct machines like the Carvey and 3D printers do her bidding, but she also the ability to empower the citizens of Chicago (and sometimes tourists just passing through) to do the same thanks to an inspiring blend of design thinking and technical skills.
The Maker Lab offers instructional programs, workshops, and open lab time for patrons ages 14 and up (or as young as 10 if accompanied by an adult). The Lab’s equipment includes 3D printers, a vinyl cutter, laser cutter and more. Though, as you’ll note in the video below, Sasha believes in the transformative power of low-tech making, too.
She is also a force behind Makers in Chicago Makers in Chicago, a guide to maker spaces and maker activities in Chicago. (You can also find family-friendly maker activities at our sister site, STEM Kids Chicago.)
Sasha and I recently met at mHUB to talk about her awesome job at CPL and her maker philosophy, which is very much in line with her work at Chicago’s first free maker lab. Afterward, we ambled over to mHUB’s 3D printing room to make the first iteration of a sundial watch.
Meet Sasha Neri
Be sure to check out the CPL Maker Lab page to keep tabs on their workshop, programs and open labs hours. The Maker Lab is an amazing free resource that is open to all, not just Chicago residents.
The Maker Mom has a new interview series! I’m sitting down with Chicago STEM and Makers to learn about their backgrounds and passions and hear their advice for a new generation of STEM leaders. Though published first published on The Maker Mom (with video on Facebook and/or YouTube), you can follow on this site under the Chicago Stars tab, if you don’t mind a few weeks of lag time.
Meet Chicago Food Scientist Gwendolyn Graff
What is your background?
I have two science degrees from North Central College (Biology & Chemistry). Throughout my undergrad, I felt like it was assumed that a career in science meant you would work in a lab, with a lab coat and goggles, which I did for the first few years out of school. My first “real” job was working in an analytical lab analyzing hazardous waste samples to determine how they could be used, recycled, or disposed of.
After a few years, my family was moving, and I ended up getting a job in the food industry. I went from working in a lab where you protected yourself from everything you touched, and no food was allowed to a lab where you ate everything you made! It was a real eye-opener; I had no idea at the time how many science opportunities there were in the food industry – and I loved that the science was easily applicable to everyday life. [Read more…]
This post originally appeared on The Maker Mom. From May to early August, I’m serving as The Maker Mom-in-Residence at mHUB, Chicago’s new innovation center for physical product development and manufacturing. In addition to making cool stuff as I learn to use their 3D printers, laser cutter and more, I’m also going to feature mHUB members and the products they are working to launch. I also expect to interview Chicago Makers and local women in STEM.
First up is Joseph Greer, founder of MakeXchange, which recently launched an electronics invention set for beginners. I met him last summer when he first joined the mHUB community. It’s been exciting to see his idea come to fruition in the last nine months. The Arduino Inventor’s Lab (and the companion airplane kit) is currently on pre-order. We’ll be sure to share on this site if he other local workshops or programs planned.
The Chicago Science March will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2017, which is also Earth Day. Stand up for science along with some of the nerdiest, coolest folks you’ll ever meet. Read the latest on the Chicago Science March Facebook page or see the March for Science – Chicago website. The march is open to all who work in, study, support, enjoy, or benefit from science. Their stated mission is: [Read more…]
It’s said the necessity is the mother of invention. Jackie Lomax is a Chicago mom who invented a new organization because she saw that her daughters had an unfilled need and knew the lack of resources went far beyond her family. Jackie is the Founder and Executive Director of Chicago’s first all-girls science initiative for 10-18 year-olds, Girls 4 Science. This post originally appeared on our companion site, The Maker Mom.
Meet Jackie Lomax
Your background includes communications, early childhood education, career counseling and tourism. What inspired you to get involved in science education for under-served kids?
A few years ago, my daughter expressed an interest in her science classes and wanted to learn more. I searched for after school programs and additional resources but could not find any. In that moment I decided I needed to be the change for my daughter and I started Girls 4 Science. Science is the backbone of our society with advances being made in all STEM fields every day. My primary focus is on the advancement of women in these disciplines. Girls 4 Science exists to introduce science to young women who don’t have the opportunity to deeply explore science in the traditional school system.
I love highlighting women with unique STEM careers on my blogs. It’s even better when they work right here in Chicago. As the Head Brewer at Lagunitas Brewery, Chicagoland native Mary Bauer put her Chemistry/Food Science degree from UIUC to good use. She has an infectious passion for the art and craft of beer brewing. And she holds her own in the male-dominated industry.
Mary assisted with the construction of the new Lagunitas Chicago brewery, manages the 500,000 bbl./year capacity, and oversees the current expansion which will double that capacity. The Chicago brewery has brewed 26 different beers since their April 2014 startup date, and Mary is excited for more great beer to come! [Read more…]
I received an email from University of Chicago Computer Science student Sydney Ko about an upcoming event that she is helping produce for Chicago area for tech-minded girls in middle school. That prompted me to share this post that was originally published on our companion site, The Maker Mom, as part of the STEM Girl Friday series.
Meet Sydney Ko
Why did you decide to study computer science?
Initially, my interest was spurred by my mother and my computer science teacher. My mother is a computer engineer from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She always encouraged me to pursue my interests in codes and tinkering from a young age. My AP Computer Science teacher also strongly influenced my decision to enter the field of Computer Science. She helped me realize that I had a strong passion for coding. These two women alone have helped me realize the significant importance of female role models in the field of Computer Science.
In recent years, a small and incredibly dedicated group of Chicago folks* have been working on #CS4All. That is, they’ve been working to make a quality computer science education available to all Chicago Public School students. Earlier today, there was a huge step forward as the CPS school voted to make computer science education a graduation requirement starting with the class of 2020. Chicago is the first major US public school system to make such a declaration.
Chicago Public Schools Computer Science for All
The Chicago Public Schools CS4All initiative involves more than a high school graduation requirement. It’s a hands-on student-centered curriculum that begins in the early grades and continues on. And it’s more exciting than the CS class you might recall from your youth (if your school even offered CS). [Read more…]
Meet Chicago STEM Star Veronica Arreola! I first introduced her to readers on our companion site, The Maker Mom, in April of 2015. Later this month Veronica will be speaking about STEM at the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute conference. USHLI is a national non-profit dedicated to promoting education, civic engagement, leadership development & research. Their 34th annual national conference will take place in Chicago February 18-21, 2016.
Chicago STEM Star Veronica Arreola
Veronica Arreola currently holds positions at the Center for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Illinois at Chicago and directs UIC’s Women in Science & Engineering Program (WISE). WISE works to recruit, retain and advance women, majority and minority, in science, technology, engineering and math fields.
What brought you to these positions?