STEM

SETI

Jill Tarter is an astronomer and Chair Emeritus for SETI Research at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. SETI stands for "Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence." Tarter was the basis for the character played by Jodie Foster in the movie adaptation of Carl Sagan's novel "Contact." She will present the lecture "A Cosmic Perspective: Searching For Aliens, Finding Ourselves" at Fermilab in Batavia later this month. On this week's Friday Forum, she talks with WNIJ's Jenna Dooley about the search for life beyond Earth.

The Sound of Science - "Frizzy Hair"

Aug 17, 2018

Welcome to the Sound of Science. I’m Kate Powers – And I’m Mackenzie Thompson.

M: Kate, this week we have a burning question that comes to mind during the hot summer months. What is it about humidity that makes your hair so frizzy and curly?

K: As a curly hair girl, Pati, this question is close to my heart. And the basic answer to the question is simply: chemistry.

M: Chemistry? Are there chemical reactions between humid air and your hair?

Slideshow: STEM Divas Camp Empowers Young Female Minds

Aug 6, 2018
Victoria Lunacek

Northern Illinois University held a series STEM Divas workshops this summer to empower young women through science, crafts and robotics. Participants had to program their robot to do a certain set of steps: Move backward, turn in a full circle, and change four colors. It's part of a series of Day Camps hosted by NIU.

Powering Lives Network - ComEd

Teams of girls will race solar-powered go-karts converted from recycled refrigerators this Saturday in Chicago. They got help from students at Northern Illinois University.

NIU engineering students worked with the girls participating in the ComEd Icebox Derby. NIU students had been working on designs since last September.

Volunteer Announcers From STEMfest 2017

Oct 21, 2017
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Listen to the stories of STEMfest from visitors to the WNIJ booth and tune to WNIJ on October 30 and 31 to hear special Station IDs read by these guest announcers. 

The first version of each is how they really sound. The second is a little, uh, wacky, demonstrating what you can do with pitch in an audio editing program. Click on your STEMfest 2017 nickname and give it a listen: 

Arizona

Bananaface:

Bananaface2:

CityGuy

CityGuy2

Derekid

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Last week, two dozen teachers from Beijing looked up at large, domed buildings. A translator explained how, inside, the gas from sewage waste is collected and converted into energy. The finished product is clean drinking water.

They were touring Freedom Field Renewable Energy in Rockford, which specializes in commercialized energy solutions.

The not-for-profit provides educational and technical support to businesses and manufacturers, as well as community members and students.

Developing Future Engineers -- One Cool Bracelet At A Time

Apr 6, 2017
Northern Illinois University / http://www.niu.edu/stem/programs/divas.shtml

STEM Divas is a weekly event at Northern Illinois University designed to help engage young women more in the sciences.

Jasmine Carey is a student organizer of the event. She says it’s a fun way to get more young people interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math through mixing fashion and electrical engineering. How? “They have LEDs and circuits," Carey says. "They’re completing circuits on a bracelet, and the LEDs will light up at the end of the circuit.”

Young Girls Choose Extra 'School Day' For STEM And Art

Jun 27, 2016
Nicole Shenberger/WNIJ

On the first day of summer, instead of playing outside, a group of eleven 7-to-10-year-old girls got to go back to class for a morning.

MakerGirl, a group dedicated to getting young girls interested in Science and Technology, hosted an event at the Pearl City Elementary School in Stephenson County. The girls got to design their own key chain on a computer and watch it come to life on a 3D Printer. Tristen Carey, one of the participants, describes her favorite part of the event, “how science can be made into artwork”

Jenna Dooley

Training a new generation of effective leaders often involves mentoring through a shared passion. It involves someone with a strong skill set who is willing to help someone else feel the spark.

We continue our occasional series “Pass The Torch” in a workshop at DeKalb High School where the robotics team is getting ready to bring their creation to competition. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

2014 was declared “The Year of the Maker” by a magazine dedicated to Do-It-Yourself culture. President Obama even hosted the first-ever Maker Faire at the White House. And as 2015 draws to a close, there’s an invigorated push in Rockford to create a space where people can get together to share ideas and equipment.

WNIJ's Free Range Radio recently broadcast a radio drama featuring a “new take” on H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”.

It was written, acted and produced by local northern Illinois high school students from NIU's STEM Read program. The premiere of their production, that includes DeKalb County landmarks and an invasion of adorable but deadly hamsters from space, took place at Northern Public Radio's Studio A .

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Wednesday was “change the world” day at Northern Illinois University. And since the students were away on Spring Break, it was a good opportunity to invite local high schoolers interested in medical careers to meet one of their own.  

Middle school students from around northern Illinois are learning how to express themselves through video games. You can find them tucked away in Northern Illinois University's Founders Memorial Library.

This week, these kids are learning about creating virtual worlds. It's one of several programming camps held at NIU's Digital Convergence Lab each summer. They vary from basic to advanced.

One camper described the character in the world he created as "a giant squid with a Death Star monocle."