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The mission of iBIO Institute’s EDUCATE Center is to deliver industry-led STEM programs for teachers and students, thereby inspiring the next generation of innovators and helping restore America’s leadership in technology education.

Education experts have recognized that real-world connections get kids excited about science and STEM careers. The iBIO Institute’s EDUCATE Center connects Illinois classrooms with the real world of biotechnology and science-based industry through hands-on biotechnology lab activities, tours of industry research and development facilities and authentic, interdisciplinary problem-centered learning experiences. 

TalentSparks! provides intensive teacher professional development workshops designed to assist teachers in aligning curricula and implementing Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) through real-world, problem-centered, hands-on learning and connections to experts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. TalentSparks! workshops are organized around life sciences sectors that Feed, Fuel, Heal and Save the World.

Since 2007, with financial support from Illinois life sciences industry and a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education, TalentSparks! programming has reached over 1200 teachers and through them over 100,000 students. Independent external evaluation shows that TalentSparks! teachers and their students significantly improve their knowledge of STEM concepts and careers with average gains of approximately 8 percentage points on science content assessments and 11 percentage points on Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) understanding.

Don’t miss our 2017 NGSS in Action Workshop!

January 26, 2017, 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Nutrition Science Workshop: The Skinny on Fats and Oils
Decatur, IL | Leighty-Tabor Science Center, Room 224
100-276 N Fairview Ave, Decatur, IL 62522

Lunch is provided for all workshops. CPDU/contact hours are also provided. For more information on specific workshops or to register, visit here!

Stellar Girls inspires young women to enter into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers by introducing girls in Grades 3-8 to current, interesting, “Big Ideas” in STEM fields. Through weekly after-school program activities, students engage in hands-on activities, interact with STEM professionals and other volunteers and explore how STEM is used to Feed, Fuel, Heal and Save the World.

Stellar Girls activities exemplify Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards. Activities are woven into 20 hour-and-a-half long lessons that provide authentic problem contests and student-centered investigations. Each Stellar Girls site receives materials and supplies for up to four units each year. Each unit is comprised of five hands-on activities. Stellar Girls’ lessons are led by coaches from educational and community organizations. EDUCATE provides training for coaches on each lesson during a series of intense hands-on workshops.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Improve girls’ curiosity, self-efficacy, and content knowledge in science and math
  • Build students’ awareness of exciting careers in STEM-based industries
  • Develop coaches’ abilities to connect with girls about STEM

Program Impact:

  • Stellar Girls serves a diverse group of students including high needs schools.
  • >1400 girls have participated in Stellar Girls since 2011
  • Stellar Girls participants achieve significant gains in science and math content averaging 15 percentage points from pre- to post-test.

Volunteers from STEM industries help provide visibility to exciting STEM careers. 24 schools and an estimated 475 girls are participating in the 2016-2017 programs.

2017 Summer Training Dates:
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 Cass Ave
Lemont, IL 60439

8:30AM to 4PM each day:
Monday, July 17: Feeding Unit
Tuesday, July 18: Healing Unit
Wednesday, July 19: Saving Unit
Thursday, July 20: Fueling Unit

2016-2017 Stellar Girls Sites
2015-2016 Stellar Girls Sites
2014-2015 Stellar Girls Sites
2013-2014 Stellar Girls Sites
2012-2013 Stellar Girls Sites

STEM Girls Camp is a 5-day STEM Summer camp for 3rd-8th grade girls.  Programming includes cool hands-on activities, sessions with STEM professionals and a field trip. Campers explore a wide range of careers related to feeding, fueling, healing and saving the world! On the last day of camp, parents are invited to join their children at camp for a picnic and barbecue to share in and celebrate their week of STEM exploration!

Each camp offers five days of fun hands-on STEM activities, field trips and networking sessions with local business and industry partners.  The 2016 summer camps were made possible through the generous support of the Astellas USA Foundation and lead sponsor Abbott.

Save-the-Date for the 2017 Summer Camp!

June 19-23, 9 AM to 3 PM
Andrew Cooke Magnet School
522 Belvidere Street
Waukegan, IL 60085

In 2016 some of the girls’ favorite activities included:

  • Making ice cream to explore the science of proteins, enzymes and acids in action as well as energy transfer and phase changes
  • Learning how to suture using chicken wings with volunteers from Chester Hospital, Chester, IL nursing staff
  • Making new paper from used paper to explore the environmental impacts of deforestation and paper production vs. recycling paper
  • Engineering and design challenges involving water recycling and reclamation to understand waste water and water pollutants

Abbott and Astellas Pharma had a combined 52 employee volunteers participate by leading activities and networking with campers. Overall a truly remarkable 83 volunteers assisted the EDUCATE Center in delivering program content, leading field trips or exhibiting at the STEM Fair and Family Day.

The iBIO Institute’s EDUCATE center’s #WeAreSTEM campaign’s goal is to increase girls’ interest in STEM and STEM-base careers. Support EDUCATE’s programs. Join us in making the statement “I am for girls in STEM” and make a donation today.

Is there a BioGENEius in Your Classroom? The iBIO Institute EDUCATE Center is managing the Illinois BioGENEius Challenge, the most prestigious high school science competition in the world for original research in biotechnology. The 2018 Illinois BioGENEius Challenge will be on April 11, 2018 at Horizon Pharma. The Illinois winner will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the International Competition, which will be held June 4-7 at the BIO Convention in Boston, MA!

Since 2003 EDUCATE programs have impacted > 100,000 students