Tired of winter? So are we…


With all of this talk of more cold weather ahead, our students are turning their attention to the day they will once again reap the benefits of a Chicago summer. First-year mechanical engineering student, Kevin Hupp, reflects on the warmer days to come:

One advantage of attending IIT is that we are very close to downtown Chicago, and the city provides many things to do both day and at night.  A less advertised, and closer attraction to IIT is Lake Michigan and the 31st St. Beach - JUST ONE MILE FROM IIT!


As a lifelong resident of the Chicagoland area, visiting Lake Michigan has always been a part of my summer time activities, and nothing has changed that in my time here at IIT.  Throughout the first few weeks of the fall semester, while the Chicago August weather has recently been reaching record highs, Lake Michigan becomes an oasis with a balmy wind and ice cold water.


As the weather begins to cool off, jogging and biking along the lake is perfect break from studying.  Also as an added bonus, the lake front trails are almost exactly a mile from campus, so no need to worry about keeping track of the distance on your way to or from.  Need a bike?  Even if you don’t have a bike with you on campus, the cost of renting a Divvy bike from either of the two stations located on IIT’s campus is only $7 for a whole day.  As you travel up the trails along the lakefront you might pass sights such as the Burnham Harbor, four popular Chicago museums, Navy Pier, North Avenue Beach, and maybe even the Lincoln Park Zoo if your legs will take you that far.


When the weather starts to get cold here in Chicago, the activity by the lake comes to a temporary halt.  The occasional fitness crazed individual may be seen making a jog to the lake front, but for the most part, the residents here at IIT stay in the comfort of their heated residence halls and enjoy indoor activities. As we enter March, the countdown has begun to the dog days of summer and the mass exodus of Chicagoans to summertime on Lake Michigan (cue Kanye’s “Homecoming”).

Kevin Hupp ’17

Work at the Museum of Science and Industry this semester!

The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) is the largest science museum in the western hemisphere, holding more than 35,000 artifacts and almost 14 acres of interactive exhibit space. MSI is contained in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and opened in 1933 under philanthropist Julius Rosenwald’s vision to create a hands-on industry museum in the United States. The museum recently celebrated its 80th birthday and continues to achieve its mission to “inspire the inventive genius in everyone” along with the help of some IIT students.

Photo courtesy of msi.org

Each semester, 12 Illinois Tech students have a chance to volunteer at the museum as part of a unique partnership between the university and the museum. Over the course of the volunteership, the students learn up to three interactive and hands-on demonstrations that they present to the general public at the museum. They get to work on their presentation and public speaking skills while working under the close mentorship of lead interns at the museum. The demonstrations that students present cover a fun variety of topics including Newtonian physics, sound, and magnetism. During the volunteership, students also get to explore and learn about one of the most well-known science museums in the country and meet people from all over the world. After completing their volunteer sessions at the museum, students are eligible to apply for a full-time paid internship at the museum over the summer.

During the internship, eight students learn and present a variety of live science demonstrations to museum guests on a daily basis. Over the course of the internship last summer, the Illinois Tech interns learned seven different programs and facilitated them with over 30,000 guests throughout the duration of the 12-week internship.

Interns work alongside a team of other year-round, full-time facilitators at the museum who help them learn demonstrations and improve communication skills. The year-round facilitators assist the IIT interns by observing their demonstrations and offering constructive criticism and feedback in regard content, style, and delivery.


The programs that summer interns have learned and presented in previous summers include demonstrations from across all realms of science, from astronomy to biology. One show, “Happy Brrthday,” is an interactive mock birthday party for a famous scientist or inventor that features several experiments with liquid nitrogen and culminates in making liquid nitrogen ice cream for the audience. Another program, “Bangs, Flashes, and Fire,” MSI’s most highly-attended show, involves a series of explosive chemistry experiments where the audience learns about matter, combustion, and chemical reactions.

"Bangs, Flashes, and Fire" exibit

“Bangs, Flashes, and Fire” exibit

The MSI-IIT internship partnership is now entering its 7th year and is an exclusive partnership between the museum and Illinois Institute of Technology. This partnership began with a common trustee between IIT and MSI, and the program aims to foster communication skills in students while making science education accessible to the community through the delivery of several fun and interactive live science demonstrations at MSI.

The MSI-IIT Internship program has been one of the best parts of my experience at Illinois Tech. I volunteered at the museum during the fall of 2012, and I was selected as an intern for the summer of 2013. Now, I serve as a lead intern for the museum and help train new volunteers and interns as a part of the program.


Volunteering and interning with the museum has helped me with so many things; my public speaking skills have improved, and I’ve learned a lot of fun scientific information that I’ve been able to share with the public. As a physics education major at IIT, this internship is the perfect combination of science and education for me, but it’s also helpful for students in any major. Regardless of one’s intended career path, they’ll need to be able to communicate their work to others outside their field, and the MSI-IIT Internship program allows students to practice doing just that. Volunteering and interning at the museum also helps student gain more self-confidence; a big part of presenting to the general public is learning how to improvise and trust yourself to do well, which translates into other areas.

The MSI Internship Program has become a highly competitive opportunity for IIT students over recent years. In order to become eligible for the volunteership and internship, students need to attend an information session taking place next week during the lunch hour on February 10th, 11th, and 12th. For more information, check out the Facebook event for the sessions here: https://www.facebook.com/events/275629295932291

Study Abroad: You Should Do It

Blog post by: Amy Czarkowski, 4th year Architecture undergraduate student

I recently went to Paris to study abroad. I’m an architecture student in my fourth year, and for the Fall 2013 semester I packed my bags (clothes, archie supplies, and the bare essentials) and hopped on the nine hour flight from Chicago to Paris, France.

Was I scared? Yes.

Did I know French? No.

But was the experience one I would never trade in a million years? Yes.

Not only did I learn about how another part of the world lives, but I also changed as a person. I grew more worldly and got more of a backbone. I learned that my awkwardness isn’t as crippling in meeting new people as I thought. And even though I didn’t know the language of many people who I talked to, I still held conversations (with lots of dramatic arm movements). And when I ran into people around Paris who needed help finding their way around? I could help! I got stopped numerous times by people who spoke English (and some who didn’t) and was able to point them in the direction that they wanted to go.

I really became a part of the atmosphere and population of Paris in my four months studying there and living in a Parisian apartment on the hill of the Sacre Coeur in the North of Paris.

I also was able to practice my languages! I speak Spanish, and our week-long class trip to Barcelona helped me polish up on what I had forgotten. I also learned many French words, even though when I first went I only knew how to say ‘cheese omelette’ ‘butterfly’ ‘hello’ ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m very sorry, but I don’t speak French.’ I ended up being able to order food without hassle (though watch out for the McDonald’s there. 13 bucks for a meal.) And really, don’t worry if you don’t know the language. In my experience, as long as you try, people will always help you. English is a very widely known language, but that doesn’t mean that you can just default to it. You’ll be met with annoyance if you do so. Try to speak the language of the place that you are going to, and you’ll get really far and people will always be open to helping you.

I didn’t only see Paris, either. We went on class trips to Barcelona and Amsterdam and I also went solo to Mannheim and London. Doing those two trips by myself took a lot of planning and finding my own hostels and getting the bravery up in order to hop a train alone, but they were truly life-changing and amazing. I gave my all to make the best and the most of those four months, even battling my way through hangovers and horrible throat colds. I saw so much architecture and culture and so many interesting people; people from all over Europe speaking all kinds of different languages and dressing in so many different ways. And when you end up meeting another American in your journeys, it’s amazing to be able to talk about Chicago and IIT.

I met lots of new people in my travels, ate SO MUCH AMAZING FOOD, and got closer with the rest of my 18-person architecture studio who I was traveling with. I have memories that I never ever want to lose, and probably never will. Some parts were difficult, but that’s the price you have to pay in order to have an amazing experience that will change your life. The world is an amazing place, and it can’t be seen only through pictures and video. You’ll never know what is out there until you pack your bags and go!

And don’t worry. Chicago will still be here when you get back.

What I’m Thankful for this Holiday Season!

We’re in the midst of Thanksgiving break here at Illinois Tech; students are spending their time of celebrating with their families and friends, catching up on sleep, and studying for the finals week ahead.  I thought I’d take a moment to share some of my favorite things about attending IIT.

Here’s the top ten things I’m thankful for at Illinois Tech:

10. Being on a small campus — Everything on campus is so easy to get to, and you never have to spend too long out in the cold weather while walking to class!

9. Holiday lights outside McCormick Student Village — the decorations make campus feel so much happier as the weather gets colder and finals week begins!

8. Global Grounds – Our on-campus coffee shop has a great supply of caffeine and snacks.

7. Office of Campus Life’s Stress Free Zone — Even when finals week is underway, there are some relaxing things to do around campus!

6. The CTA — It’s easy to get anywhere in the city with the Green Line, Red Line, and State Street bus running through campus.

5. The Bog — There’s so many fun things to do on Thursday and Friday nights!

4. Galvin Library — being open 24 hours a day is great for late-night study sessions.

3. The Student Activities Fund, which allows student organizations to plan awesome events!

2. The One Stop — Illinois Tech’s office where you can get absolutely any IIT-related question answered by their ever-helpful and knowledgeable staff.

1. Living in the beautiful city of Chicago — there’s so much to explore!

-Kori Bowns

B.S. Candidate, Physics Education
Volunteer Coordinator, ILFTC
Business Manager, TechNews
President, Illinois Tech Robotics

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Tweet it to us at @IITUGAdmission !

At Illinois Tech, the “Freshman Fifteen” isn’t quite what you’d think…

The term “Freshman Fifteen” typically refers to weight that students gain during their first year living on campus. However, at IIT, the Freshman Fifteen has a much more enjoyable meaning.

The Illinois Tech Freshman Fifteen is a series of fifteen events that showcase a sampling of fun events that IIT offers to students. Student organizations and departments submit entries to be considered for the Freshman Fifteen lineup, and are selected to provide a diverse representation of the areas of student and departmental programming. Attendance is not mandatory, but students who attend at least 10 of the 15 events are entered into a raffle to win some pretty awesome prizes!

 Here is a list of awesome events students participated in this semester:


The last remaining Freshman Fifteen event is Illinois Tech’s traditional Late Night Breakfast at 10 p.m. on December 3rd in The Commons. At Late Night Breakfast, students can take a break from cramming and relax with their friends to refuel before heading back to their residence hall to continue to prepare for the finals week ahead.

As a Peer Mentor with the Office of Campus Life, I’ve gotten to see a ton of first-year students attend the events and have a great time! It’s wonderful to see such an investment in getting new students immersed in the IIT community.

To learn more about the Freshman Fifteen, the First Year Experience program, or anything else about cool events that Illinois Tech’s campus has to offer, be sure to visit the IIT Office of Campus Life’s website here.

Exploring Bridgeport, Chicago: Home of Illinois Tech

Illinois Tech is nestled comfortably on the south side of Chicago, just minutes from the excitement of downtown. While most IIT students take the time to visit the Chicago Loop downtown often during their early collegiate career, the more subtle neighborhoods closer to campus are often forgotten and passed by until students search for something more than chain restaurants and twenty-plus story buildings.


Image courtesy of Google Maps

Just a few blocks west of Illinois Tech over the Dan Ryan Expressway sits Bridgeport, one of Chicago’s most diverse communities and the home of five of Chicago’s former mayors. Bridgeport is also the home of many IIT students who choose to move off of campus due to the neighborhood’s proximity to campus, housing options, diverse community, and amazing neighborhood atmosphere.

One of the first things any IIT student acquainted with Bridgeport will recommend are the wonderful independently owned food options.  Bridgeport is home to two of my favorite coffee shops in the city–Bridgeport Coffee at 31st Street and Morgan, and Jackalope Coffee and Tea House at 32nd and Halsted. Both are great for caffeine-fueled study sessions when you just need to get away from campus to focus for a while.

For a more well-balanced meal, Bridgeport is also home to some of the greatest restaurants in Chicago. My personal favorite, Pleasant House Bakery, located across the street from Bridgeport Coffee at 31st and Morgan, is the home of savory English-style meat pies, seasonal sweets, and homemade sodas. Other favorites of mine include Pancho Pistolas at 31st and Union for a contemporary sit-down dinner with delectable Mexican cuisine and Phil’s Pizza at 35th and Aberdeen. To top it all off at the end of the night, Bridgeport is also home to a simple ice cream shop, Scoops, at 31st and Wallace.

Image courtesy of pleasanthousebakery.com

These are just a few of the many food options available in the neighborhood for students to explore. Luckily, many of the restaurants in the area are well-known among groups of students and word-of-mouth promotion happens pretty fast when someone discovers their favorite new off-campus dinner spot, so be sure to listen up! Many locations in the Bridgeport neighborhood also offer discounts to Illinois Tech students, so bring along your student discount card!    

In addition to the wonderful food spots in the neighborhood, Bridgeport also holds a strong sense of community and pride.  Since moving to the neighborhood after my second year at IIT, I’ve been able to meet people from all walks of life who are friendly and have a passion to improve their neighborhood. The neighborhood’s diversity comes through in Bridgeport’s art centers and community events. Several parks are also available for guests to relax, exercise, or even go fishing!

Bridgeport is just one of the oft-overlooked neighborhoods in Chicago that have a lot to offer, and I encourage students to get out and safely explore what their city holds for them in addition to the hustle and bustle of downtown. Students at Illinois Tech are in a prime location to do just that: expand their horizons, try new things, and become a part of their greater community.

-Kori Bowns, physics education junior

Robotics Club at Illinois Tech

As a high school student, I was a participant in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). FIRST was the best part of my high school career, and it solidified my choice to follow a path in a STEM career and inspired me to give back to the organization. Without my participation in FRC, I would not be at Illinois Tech, and definitely would not be on this career path.

In high school, I had the time of my life working with my fellow students on a team where our goal was to build a robot in six weeks. In addition to the engineering and science-related skills I gained as a part of my high school team, I also gained a lot of leadership, presentation, and public relations skills during the time I served as my team’s captain.



My high school robotics team – FRC NeoBots 2903 from Arlington, Washington


When it was time for me to decide on a college, aside from finances and programs available, one of the defining factors of my decision to attend Illinois Tech had to do with the opportunity to pursue my passion for robotics during my collegiate career. While many universities have collegiate robotics teams, I was excited to learn that Illinois Tech’s team has a threefold purpose:

  • building awesome robotic projects
  • creating an exciting and hands-on learning environment for all students regardless of academic background
  • giving back to the local community through volunteer service and philanthropic projects benefiting FIRST Robotics, the very organization that had helped shaped me as a person

Illinois Tech Robotics is also a leader in local and national FIRST activities, and many of it’s members have achieved great things at IIT and beyond.

When I arrived at Illinois Tech, I was beyond excited to join the team, and was amazed to find out how much fun it would be. I’ve gotten to work alongside many very talented students, staff, and faculty at the university, and I’ve made some great friends along the way. Even though I chose to major in Physics Education instead of an engineering discipline, I’ve still been able to continue my learning in the field of robotics and get a ton of hands-on application to some of the things I’ve learned in class.  I’ve also been able to compete in robotics competitions in a ton of cool locations (I took a trip to California for a competition last year!), as well as volunteer at FIRST events around the Midwest. More important than the cool robots or service hours earned are the awesome people I’ve had the chance to work with. There’s nothing quite like scrambling to get a part of your robot working when you have a match in 10 minutes or going out to dinner with a bunch of your best friends after an exhausting 45 hours of volunteering over three days.

This year, I’m excited to continue my involvement in Illinois Tech Robotics. I’ve gotten the opportunity to help with major event planning for hundreds of students through the volunteer work we do with FIRST. I’ve also had the chance to coordinate volunteer efforts and social media for the state of Illinois with FIRST as well as help coach my own high school robotics team in a nearby neighborhood that allows students in the city to have the same great experiences with the program that I had as a high school student. If I hadn’t gone to Illinois Tech and gotten involved in our campus community, none of these awesome opportunities would have been available to me, and I wouldn’t have the experience I have now as an educator and leader that will benefit me greatly in my future.


Illinois Tech Robotics at the 2012 Jerry Sanders Design Competition

-Kori Bowns, Illinois Tech Class of 2015


Check out IL FIRST here!

A Tech Tradition– The Pumpkin Launch!


October brings a lot of things to the life of a college student. Leaves start changing colors, weather starts getting colder, and the days start getting longer as the reprieve of winter break slowly inches nearer.  But Illinois Tech students have more to look forward to than receiving midterm grades and drinking pumpkin spice lattes—October also brings Pumpkin Launch to the IIT community!


Pumpkin Lunch is one of the most looked-forward-to events that take place on IIT’s campus. Students across a variety of disciplines build great machines designed to hurl a pumpkin as far as possible across Illinois Tech’s Ed Glancy baseball field. Each year, teams compete to win awards for distance and accuracy, and this year, a fun new award was added for crowd favorite.


Over 100 students worked toward launchers for this year’s competition, which is a part of IIT’s annual family weekend where students’ friends and families get a chance to engage in the spirit of the university. Many IIT students, staff, alumni, and other spectators come out to watch the event, but some looked forward to the blunders as much as they did the successful launchers. Some launchers catastrophically failed before completing their launches, and others occasionally fired a pumpkin backwards or even straight up into the air!


This year’s launch was a ton of fun to watch and one of the most successful Pumpkin Launches yet! Nearly every launcher had successful launches; in previous years, several launchers only shot straight up or backwards, and some had difficulty launching at all.  It was really great to see the improvement that our teams of students had. This year’s launch also had some of the most impressive first-place winners ever as well. The winner for the distance competition, Long Shot, made by a small team of mechanical engineering students, shot their pumpkin over three hundred feet, almost over the outfield fence! The winner for the accuracy competition, Mach 1, a team made up of students on the Illinois Tech Robotics team, had a launch accuracy of over 99%, where each new launch hit the remains of the pumpkin before it. Next year will surely be more impressive as these students continue to hone their skills! Pumpkin launch remains my favorite event of the fall semester at Illinois Tech.


Pumpkin Launch is a great fun event to kick off autumn at Illinois Tech, and everyone who attends the event has a blast! Students competing in the event get a chance to work with their fellow students and get a chance to apply what they’re learning in class to an exciting hands-on project. Spectators of the event get to observe impressive feats of engineering constructed by IIT students, and in addition to the pumpkin carnage, Pumpkin Launch always includes a few side attractions such as pumpkin carving and fun fall-themed food. Pumpkin Launch is just one of the many ways that Illinois Tech offers a unique collegiate experience to students.


-Kori Bowns

Pro-tip: Get to know your counselor!

As you approach the busiest part of your application process, don’t forget a very important piece to the admission puzzle – getting to know you admission counselor! Your admission counselor can help you navigate the application process, advocate for you, assist you with financial aid questions, and provide a connection to campus. Don’t be afraid to come meet with us. We LOVE getting to know our prospective students! Here are some tips on where to find us:

  1. On our campus! Call to schedule a meeting with an admission counselor any day of the week to chat about Illinois Tech, admission guidelines, scholarship opportunities, and all things IIT! We’re available at 312-567-3025.
  2. At your high school. Our admission counselors visit many high schools in almost all 50 states! We send out notifications via email if we’re coming to your school and have your contact information, but you can also check with your high school counselor to see if we’ll be in your area or email us to see when we’ll be visiting. See our list of counselors to see if we’ll be in your area.
  3. At high school fairs. NACAC fairs are the biggest and are found in most major cities. Check out when and where they are hosted here. (I know I’m very excited to participate in the Denver NACAC College Fair this Saturday, October 5th!) We also try to attend local fairs as well. These fairs will provide a list of colleges attending, so you can plan who you’d like to speak with ahead of time.
  4. Through social media, email, or by phone. As a last resort, if you can’t make it to meet us in person, please at least send us a note to introduce yourself. See our list of counselors to find who your counselor is and get the conversation started!

Getting to know us can benefit you in so many ways. We’re happy to help you with:

  • application questions
  • financial aid questions
  • connecting you with faculty members
  • connecting you with Illinois Tech students
  • helping you set up a visit
  • learning about exciting events on campus
  • and pretty much everything that will help make your transition to college easier!

There are many ways to connect with us and we look forward to meeting you!

-Sam Sleva

The Application Process…Oh Boy

Hi Everyone! This is the first post in a series by the admissions counselors here at Illinois Tech… we hope to give you a few insights from our end of things throughout the year :)

So. The application process. Most students tend to dread this part of looking at colleges… and I know. It can seem like a huge pain. But guys… this is your time to shine! I’m here to offer a few pieces of advice from the admission counselor stand point… so hopefully this helps you wade through that dreaded application.

1. The application: If you’re lucky enough to apply to schools that all use the Common App- that’s a win right there! Please take your time while filling this out.. the nice thing about the Common App is that you do not have to fill it out all in one go, you can save it and come back to edit later. (We’ll get to editing later)

a. You know that space where you can fill in your extracurricular activities? Don’t just list         them… tell us what you did! Were you the President? Did you start the club? Show off         a little, it’s ok.

2. Letter of Recommendation: Every counselor wants to know what you’re really like as a person. There are a few things you can do with a letter of rec… the first and foremost being, get a teacher to write at least one for you! We want to know about your academic abilities as well, and your teachers are our best source of information. This goes with a grain of salt… ask a teacher who you trust and have a relationship with. If they don’t know your name, it won’t be a great letter of rec. Then if you want to send in more (Illinois Tech accepts up to 3) you can ask a coach, a mentor, or another teacher!

3. The Essay: Why students dread this, I don’t know. As a counselor I enjoy reading the essays the most! I want to get to know you and this is where I can get a glimpse into who you are as a person. So, a few tips:

a. Make it real. Counselors read these all day long. We know what’s hokey and fake.              Just be yourself. Write about something that’s important or interesting to you. If you’re        really passionate about it, we’ll be able to tell and we will appreciate you for it.

b. Don’t turn in your first draft. I’m sure every English teacher out there has told his/her          students this and it’s true everyone… writing is a process. Take your time, have mom          or dad read it over and make some changes. You’ll be better off, I promise.

c. EDIT. Please, edit. Grammar and spelling are important, even if you’re never going to             write a paper about Shakespeare ever again.

Thanks for reading about the application process… as always feel free to reach out to your counselor if you ever have questions- We’re here to help!

-Rebecca Foley