I’m Not Just “Surviving” As a Social Science Student At a Tech School, I Am Thriving.

When I tell people I’m studying Psychology at IIT, I get some people who look at me like I’ve got a third arm growing out of the top of my head. (Boy, would that drive phrenologists mad)

“WHY would you study Psychology at a tech school?” they ask, incredulously.

IIT offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, with a program based in the research/practitioner model. This means that as a psych student at IIT, you are instilled with a proficiency in the scientific methods for conducting research in academic institutions and private entities, in addition to setting you on track if you want to pursue rehabilitation services, becoming a clinician, or a counselor. This is a huge leg up that sets IIT students apart from their competition, especially when you are looking into graduate school. Research experience is a hot commodity.

Beyond that though, a degree in Psychology from IIT prepares you for the realities of the world we are about to enter into, one where almost every facet of human life intersects with technology. There is going to be immeasurable need for scientifically literate professionals in both the social sciences and humanities, who can help us understand the human condition, and how our advancements have changed our communities, our cultures, and ourselves both positively, and negatively.

In addition to majoring in Psychology, I am also minoring in Information Technology and Management. I hope to engage my knowledge of both of these fields in research, as I plan to pursue a Ph. D. in Neuroscience. As a fan of science fiction, I am excited, terrified, and intrigued all at once by the prospect that within my lifetime humans and technology may advance to the point where we are able to interface human biology with technological enhancements that will allow us to exceed the limitations of the human body. We may be able to craft the first artificially intelligent life forms. We may be even able to delay or reverse the aging process, for all intents and purposes achieving everlasting life.

Artist Neil Harbisson was born with total colorblindness, only able to see in black, grey, and white. With the help of a computer science student Adam Montandon from Plymouth University, they created a cybernetic camera on a headset that allows him to “hear” colors. He had the device surgically attached as an antenna protruding from the back of his skull in 2004, and has since gone on to be officially recognized by many as the world’s first cyborg. He remains active as an activist for cybernetics, and is the co-founder of the Cyborg Foundation, dedicated to helping interested people become cyborgs, and advocating for cyborg rights.

This is a short video about Neil’s work.

This is a TED Talk he gave on his implant, detailing how it has changed the way he lives his life on a day to day basis.

As time went on, his entire understanding of reality was shifted by the peripheral perceptions offered by the “eyeborg.” It even fundamentally changed the way his brain understood color, as he eventually began to experience the sensations of his device even in his dreams. His brain was extrapolating colors for him to “hear” even in his sleeping hours.

This is just one example of technology and humanity merging on new fronts. On the more conservative side, we may also be able to fully understand and find cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s. We may be able to encourage people to stop smoking or exercise more by developing new smart phone apps.

Dr. Arlen Moller is a member of the Psychology faculty, currently researching Behavioral Health and Wellness (coincidentally one of the newest majors for undergraduates within the Lewis College of Human Sciences). His most recent project is focusing on encouraging people to exercise more in ways that are more meaningful, more social, more fun, and resultantly, more sustainable. Participants wear step counters throughout the day tracking their level of exercise. The steps taken are then converted into points for a fantasy sports league, which increases interaction with peers, reaching for higher scores, and engaging from week to week to increase stats.

I plan to continue to be not just an advocate for science education, but the importance of the Social Sciences in the advancement of human progress. My hope is that as time passes, the handful of people who look at me like I have that arm growing out of my head, or rather a cybernetic antenna, will shrink to none as we advance into the future of the human sciences.

Jacob McCurry, 3rd year Psychology

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Going Greek at Illinois Tech

When I came to Illinois Tech, as a freshman, straight out of high school, I had no intention of even considering Greek life on campus. In our society today, many people equate Greek life with partying, drinking, and hazing, and I was among the many that did. Little did I know how wrong I was.

Within the first two days on campus, I found myself at one of our fraternity houses playing Settlers of Catan with a few guys. Later, I found myself coming back to the quad to every recruitment event that week. I had no idea I was being recruited! These men were not looking to take me out to parties or anything you might see while watching Animal House, they were looking to share a brotherhood based in values and camaraderie that is hard to find on a college campus these days. So I joined. I became one of the many people in our Greek system who raise their hand when asked the question, “who here did not think they’d ever go Greek before they came to college?”

Greek life at Illinois Tech is about so much more than what you may think Greek life entails. We are one of the most positive Greek experiences around at universities today, because we have turned the focus away from what Greek organizations have become, and instead focus on what our founders originally wanted from us. We better the community through philanthropy and community service. We give back to Illinois Tech through supporting and leading many of its organizations. We build friendships that will last a lifetime, through bonds that just cannot be replicated through life in the dorms. People often ask me what the point of joining my fraternity is, or what our goal as an organization is, and I believe my answer speaks for every Greek organization on our campus when I say, “We seek to take good men and make them great.”

Peter Zurowski, Chemical Engineering, 5th year co-terminal

The Off Campus “Meal Plan”

After reading an article shared about Ricobene’s Steak Sandwich (here’s the article) I thought students ought to know about a few other popular spots near campus.

I am originally from Massachusetts and have lived in Bridgeport for three years.  During my three years I have eaten everywhere in the neighborhood, here are my favorites:

Bakery—Impallaria

If you don’t think Impallaria is the coolest bakery in town then you’re wrong, dead wrong.  Impallaria has been serving up fresh Italian baked goods since 1950 and the experience shows in how worth the guilt the treats are. While they are famous for their chocolate cake donut I am a frequent éclair and cannoli guy.  The cannoli selection is more limited than the all time world’s best cannoli of Mike’s Pastry in North End Boston, but the ricotta levels are on point.  Also, throw out what you know about éclairs before you walk in.  This monster is a quarter pound of custard.  At only a few bucks beware of your waistline.  Located at 30th and Wallace it’s a great weekend stroll (especially if you walk there by 29th because Bridgeport’s charming neighborhood vibe from our campus’s pseudo-urban feel).

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Mexican/Fast Food–Carbon  

Authentic? Eh.  Crave-worthy? YES!  Weather you order from their website, GrubHub, over the phone, or walk in you’re gonna have a good time.  If you like steak and elote don’t waste your time with anything other than the Stelote Burrito—it’s exactly what it sounds like.  Need some savory spice in your life?  Get roasted red pepper sauce with everything and put it on everything. 26th and Princeton if you’re going in person.

Italian—I’m torn here

Want a cool date spot close by? Go to Franco’s.  Being from Boston this is exactly what I expect from an Italian restaurant: small, the grandmother’s recipes are made by her grandsons and served by her granddaughters; all while she watches from her chair in the corner.  Take a date, take a friend, its ten minutes from the res halls at 31st and Princeton.  Lastly, get the gnocchi, that is all.

Want a lot of food right now?  Order from Mangia Fresca.  This place is actually owned by the cousins of the Impallaria owners.

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Coffee

A lot of people like Bridgeport Coffee.  They roast their own beans which makes then a bit more in line with current coffee trends, but forget about the story behind your beans and focus on what’s important: taste.  Drop what you’re doing and go to Jackalope.  Jackalope coffee has a great atmosphere of chaos and the coffee is stellar no matter what your get.  Like it hot? Agave Latte.  Like it Cold?  They have Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee on tap—yes tap.  It’s on 32nd between Halsted and Emerald.  Here is a photo of one my lattes with a foam teddy bear.  These guys and gals don’t mess around with coffee.

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Ice Cream and Ice

While there are not many options, we don’t need many.  If you want ice cream go get some with a side of doo wop from Scoop’s.  The owners are the same as Mangia Fresca so you can always pair your Butter Pecan ice cream with some decent espresso.  31st and Wallace, cash only.

Can’t handle the Ice Cream? That’s fine!  Grab an Italian Ice from Ferro’s just across the highway on 31st.  It’s also a grill/greasy-spoon so you can get cheese fries on the side.  This is also a cash only establishment.

Late Night

Even been craving burgers and fries at 4 am?  Me too, its fine, no need to admit it out load. Maxwell Street Depot is 24 Hours a day and cheap.  The fries come unsalted, but do not fret!  If you need some sodium to feel warm and fuzzy about your spuds they have it on the windowsill to add as you desire.  Only catch is you have to bring cash.  The walk is short here from dorms as it is at 31st and Canal.

I hope this helps you in all your dining endeavors.  May your food journeys be plenty and delicious.

Max Wiese, Applied Mathematics

Love To Dance Collective: A Short History

LTD is a fairly young student organization on campus, only two years old this semester – and it is also a prime example of how feasible it is to start a student organization at IIT. We have auditions each semester, as well as an Open Class, where any student can come and take a break from their studies, get a small workout and learn some choreography!

We have already had auditions for this semester and have since been preparing for our first performance with Wesley Lo, a first year biomedical student, as the lead choreographer. This semester we are also VERY excited about the new multipurpose room in Keating Sports Center, with a barre, mirrors and harlequin floor; perfect for our rehearsals.

I spent my first semester at IIT focusing on school – but I really did miss dancing. In high school, dance was about 20 hours of my week, and it has always been an important outlet for me. Towards the end of my first semester here at IIT, I became friends with Sydney Hardwick and was very excited when she told me about her idea for starting another dance group on campus. A short time after, LTD was approved by SGA (Student Government Association), and we started to work hard to make LTD known on campus.

LTD feels like a family to me, and I am so happy to be a part of it. I have met and made friends with other dancers, gained leadership and choreography experience, and had a blast performing and working with a diverse group of students who share my love of dance.

If you have any questions about LTD or would like to be added to our mailing list for information about auditions and upcoming events – please contact us at ltddanceteam@gmail.com. We hope to see you at our next performance!

Check out our YouTube page to see some of our past performances. youtube.com/user/LTDdanceteam/videos

Lindsey Rice

Third-Year Architectural Engineering Student

Vice President of LTD

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Scripting. In Architecture?

Four weeks marks the day. I had to learn how to script. As a second year Architecture student I found this quite challenging, but all I wanted was to make my 3D mental picture come alive in Unity just like the professors had enticed us with as they introduced what should be the finished product in four weeks time. It was tough, and took lots of time outside of class working with a very patient Design Communications professor to accomplish animating certain objects in this Unity simulation of the MTCC. We were working in groups, which made it much more practical to get things done and delivered on time.

The goal of the project was to model part (or all) of the MTCC (you could manipulate the layout of the building if you wanted) in Rhinoceros (a 3D modeling program) to the highest relevant level of detail, which you would then export into Unity (a game development program and powerful rendering engine). Once in Unity, you would have to set up lights, cameras, a skybox, and assets (for example: scripts), in order to make the MTCC come to life. Some took it a step further and actually made miniature games to play!blgg

This past week we all sat in lower east core of S.R. Crown Hall and took turns projecting our “video games” onto the large projector screen, awaiting review from our professors and one sit in judge. It was a great experience, all reviews went well and there were quite a few laughs exchanged!

Taylor Thompson, Architecture

Innovation At Its Finest

Here at IIT, there are many opportunities for students and faculty alike to innovate. The first example that comes to mind is the Idea Shop, a prototyping lab that has two different types of laser printers, a laser cutter, CNC milling machines, a vacuum former, 3D scanners, as well as various more traditional shop tools. Getting started in there is as easy as walking in and asking the shop manager, John Welin, to show you around to get started. If you’ve ever heard of the X-cube, sold in shops around the country now, that was an invention prototyped in the Idea Shop.

Another chance to step up and make something new are the IPROs that are part of the degree plan of every IIT student. An interview with an IIT alumnae who now works for ComEd (the largest electric utility company in Illinois) as a hiring manager shed some light on the role IPROs play in looking for jobs and internships. Paraphrasing, this former IIT student stated that IPROs are one of the things employers look at most when hiring IIT students, as IPROs are essentially semester-long projects to solve real-world problems presented by academia and companies alike. It isn’t uncommon to be working on an IPRO sponsored by a company and then be offered a job or internship at the company if you produce good results in your project. Some students and faculty have even turned their results from IPROs into their own start-up companies!

It’s safe to say that if every opportunity to innovate on campus were shared, this post would be way too long. Therefore, I’ll end on this note: IIT has begun its plans to make a new innovation center, the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovationn and Tech Entrepreneurship, which will host the Idea Shop, IPROs, and its Entrepreneurship programs all in one place. The building is anticipated to open its doors in 2017!

Written by Adam Denchfield, Applied Physicsideashop_main_550x350 ipro_main_550x350

Tired of winter? So are we…

Aside

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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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 !