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STEM Events

On-Campus Event Highlights

2015-2016 STEM Speaker Series

Frisbee® Dog Physics
Date: TBA
Jen Gilbert

Exploring a microbial solution to allergies and asthma
Wed., Oct. 14, 2015, 2:30pm, Room 1604 Des Plaines and Room C240 Skokie
Jack Gilbert, PhD

Allergies and Asthma are a modern day plague, which reduce quality of life for million of Americans. One theory about why we are seeing an increase in the prevalence of these conditions is that people are growing up with a reduction in their exposure to a diverse microbiome. The bacteria, archaea, viruses and fungi that we interact with during our lives have big impacts on the development of our immune system. Before we started to live such sanitized lives, which in themselves have been beneficial for reducing pathogenic disease, we were exposed to a much greater diversity of microbial life. Now that we live in homes with air conditioning and sterilizing cleaning products, the microbiome a baby is exposed to derives primarily from other humans in their family. Introducing a greater level of microbial diversity into a child's life may have significant benefits for their physiological and psychological health. In this lecture Gilbert will explore some of the cutting edge research we have been performing to get at the specific microbes involved in training our immune systems to respond appropriately. Gilbert will also detail ways in which we are planning to alter our ecosystems reduce the likelihood of developing these disease states.

STEM Programs for Youth
throughout fall, 2015

College Math Competition
Mon., Nov. 2, 2:30pm, Rooms 1604 - 1606 Des Plaines and Room P103 Skokie

9th Annual Conference for Promoting STEM for Educators
Nov. 6, 2015 at 8:30am to 3:00pm, Room 1604 Des Plaines

AMC 8 (American Mathematics Competition for 8th graders and younger)
Tue., Nov. 17, 4:30pm, Room TBA Des Plaines, Parents waiting area - Room 1603 Des Plaines

The effects of music and language experience on neuroplasticity, perceptual abilities, and cognitive transfer
Wed., Nov. 18, 1:30pm, Room 1606 Des Plaines and Room C240 Skokie
Gavin M. Bidelman, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Memphis, Institute for Intelligent Systems, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Behavioral and neuroimaging evidence suggest that music and language are intimately coupled; experience/training in one domain influence cognitive processing in the other. While music-to-language transfer effects are well-documented, clear evidence of transfer in the complementary direction (i.e., language-to-music) has yet to be established. In this talk, I will provide evidence from my lab for a “bi-directionality” between music and language processing and highlight the perceptual and cognitive benefits of these two human experiences. Using a blend of perceptual, cognitive, and neuroimaging measures, we are investigating the similarities and differences between music and language (i.e., bilingualism) expertise on brain function and how these two experiences positively transfer to impact one another. Our studies reveal that both musical training and language experience enhance auditory neural processing, perception, and certain cognitive abilities (e.g., working memory). We have found that while both experiences mutually benefit the neural extraction and subsequent perception of acoustic information, specific features of sound are highlighted in a listener’s brain activity depending on their perceptual salience and function within their domain of expertise. Our studies illustrate robust neuroplasticity afforded by language and music expertise and have implications for cognitive training and rehabilitation (e.g., counteracting the negative effects of aging).

AMC 10 and 12 (American Mathematics Competition for 10th graders and younger or 12th graders and younger)
Tue., Feb. 2 and Wed., Feb.. 17, 4:30pm, Room TBA Des Plaines, Parents waiting area - Room 1603 Des Plaines

College Math Competition
Mon., Feb. 29, 2:30pm, Rooms 1604 - 1606 Des Plaines and Room P103 Skokie

Skyway STEM Poster Competition
Fri., Apr., 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

USA Science +  Engineering Festival at Oakton
Sat., Apr. 2, 2016
Open Session from 10:00a to 2:30p in Rooms 1608 and 1610 Des Plaines
Register for a workshop in February.
Companies and organizations interested in serving as an exhibitor and/or workshop presenter should contact Gloria Liu at for more information or register.

Tech Savvy
Sat., Apr. 16, 8:30am - 3pm, Rooms 1604 - 16010 Des Plaines
For girls 6th through 9th grade, their parents, and teachers. Registration opens in February.


College Math Competition Award Ceremony
Mon., May 2 at 3:30p in Room TBA Des Plaines

STEM Students Symposium
Tue., May 3 from 3:00p to 5:00p in Room TBA Des Plaines
Wed., May 4 from 2:30p to 5:00p in Room TBA Des Plaines

Oakton students present about their findings in STEM research projects. To help us order enough refreshments, register here.


Summer Youth STEM Learning for students between 8 and 14 years old

STEM Students Symposium
Wed., Jul. 27 from 2:30p in Room TBA Des Plaines

Oakton students present about their findings in STEM research projects.

Complete STEM-related activities may be found online.

Many Thanks to:

Oakton's Student Government Association who voted to support the 2013-2014 STEM Lecture Series. This will allow CP-STEM to bring STEM speakers to campus and offer hands-on workshops.

Oakton's Educational Foundation who awarded the Center for Promoting STEM a grant in 2013-2014 to provide an internship stipend to students who successfully complete STEM research course, present their findings, and spend a minimum number of hours on the project.

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Contact STEM

Joe Kotowski
Director, Center for Promoting STEM
Professor, Mechanical Design & Mathematics
Room B231, Skokie
Gloria Liu
Coordinator & Co-Director, Center for Promoting STEM
Room 2166, Des Plaines
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