UIC to host ‘Noche de Ciencias’ for young Latino students

UIC engineering students Cristian Xavier Vargas and Catherine Santis guide young experimenters at a STEM fair. Photo by STARS Project Engineering Academy

UIC engineering students Cristian Xavier Vargas and Catherine Santis guide young experimenters at a STEM fair. Photo by STARS Project Engineering Academy

What does a robot look like inside, and how do you control it? How far can you launch a marshmallow with a homemade catapult? Answers to these questions and more will be discovered during “Noche de Ciencias” (Night of Science) at the University of Illinois at Chicago on Sunday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at UIC Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted St.

Noche de Ciencias is a national event to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to America’s youth. In Chicago, the event is hosted by UIC’s Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Hands-on activities will show students in 7th through 12th grades the excitement and creativity of engineering while providing them with information on STEM education and careers.

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The event is open to the public; registration is required and limited to 300. Food will be provided. Parents and students can register by emailing nochedecienciasrsvp@gmail.com.

In one hands-on experiment, students will build a catapult from a mouse-trap, plastic spoon, Popsicle sticks and erasers and see how far they can launch a marshmallow. In another experiment they will create and test boats made from paper cups, straws and plastic wrap.

Engineering professionals and college advisors will lead the parent workshop, designed to provide valuable information about financial aid and helping their student choose the right college and prepare for college.

“Through Noche de Ciencias, our students aim to empower and inspire young students in the Chicago area to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math,” says Dr. Renata A. Revelo, UIC clinical assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. “An important component of this program is having parents attend to learn more about STEM and the opportunities available at UIC.”

“It is vital for the increasing Hispanic population to consider STEM careers,” said Cristian Xavier Vargas, a civil and materials engineering student and president of SHPE at UIC. “Chicago has a large Hispanic population, and by pursuing these careers we have the potential to make a significant impact locally and globally.”

Collaborators and sponsors along with UIC-SHPE are SHPE IIT; SHPE Northwestern University; SHPE Northern Illinois University; SHPE Morton College; SHPE’s Chicago professional chapter and Exelon Corp. professional chapter; Caterpillar Inc. and the Kellogg Company. Other UIC sponsoring units and student organizations are the American Society of Civil Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, Women In Science and Engineering, National Society of Black Engineers, Minority Engineering Recruitment & Retention Program, Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services and the Engineering Design Team.

SHPE changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development. Its vision is a world where Hispanics are highly valued and influential as the leading innovators, scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.

UIC is Chicago’s public research university and a leader in moving path-breaking research into innovative, real-world applications. The UIC College of Engineering offers undergraduate and graduate programs in six academic departments: the Richard and Loan Hill Department of Bioengineering; chemical engineering; civil and materials engineering; computer science; electrical and computer engineering; and mechanical and industrial engineering.

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burton@uic.edu