STEM Events

2016-2017 STEM Speaker Series

STEM Youth Program including Robotics for Girls workshop and American Mathematics Competition preparation workshop for middle school students

Society of Women Engineers, Collegiate Interest Group (Oakton SWE CIG)
Mon., 2pm, Room 2701 Des Plaines and phone conferencing at Skokie Conference Room

Join Oakton Society of Women Engineers to learn how to start a career in engineering and support women in engineering. Oakton SWE CIG meets biweekly on Mondays at 2pm in Room 2701 Des Plaines. Contact for more information or to join.

Oakton IEEE meeting - Rescheduled Tue., Oct 4, 3pm to 5pm, Room P238 Skokie

3:00 - 4:00 pm Meet & Greet, food, general robotic mayhem
4:00 - 4:45 pm Meet with core IEEE members to learn about benefits of joining IEEE
4:45 - 5:00 pm Additional Q&A and Cleanup
Contact Ben Sisserman at for more information or to join Oakton IEEE.

IEEE Day (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
Tue., Oct. 4, 5p to 8p, Room P103, Skokie

Learn about the benefits of joining Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Refreshments will be served.

STEM Scouts Junior Lab (for grades 3 through 5)
Thu., Oct. 6, 6pm, Room 2537 Des Plaines

A few spaces are available for students in grades 3 through 5 to join the STEM Scouts Junior Lab, if their school does not currently offer STEM Scouts. Registration is required by this date, Oct. 6. Please contact Kristen Vogt at for more information and to register.

AMATYC Math Competition for Oakton students
Mon., Oct. 17, 2016, 2p to 4p, Room 1604 & 1606, Des Plaines and Room C120 Skokie
Mon., Feb. 27, 2017, 2p to 4p, Room 1604 & 1606, Des Plaines and Room TBA Skokie

This one-hour 20-questions multiple choice math competition covers precalculus (college algebra and trigonometry), synthetic and analytic geometry, and probability.  A full-time or part-time student is eligible to compete if s/he have not earned a two-year degree (or higher) or if s/he has not achieved junior standing (or higher) at a four-year institution.  Calculator without QWERTY keyboard is allowed. Oakton grants awards to top Oakton students in fall and spring semesters. Results are compare with national scores, submitted to the American Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC). High scorers who participate in both fall and spring competitions in a school year are considered for the AMATYC individual award and a grand prize of $3000 scholarship toward education at an accredited four-year school. Check out sample questions from 2004 - 2008 competitions.

Colorful Nanoworld: Centrifugal separation and shape-dependent response of gold nanoparticles
Oct. 18, 1p, Room 1625 Des Plaines, Streaming live in Room C240 Skokie

Yujin Shin, PhD candidate of Material Science and Engineering, Northwestern University

Injecting contrast agents into the bloodstream allows MRI scanners to create detailed images of soft tissues such as the nervous system.  Nanostructures of gold may help increase the signal intensity of these agents as much as 19 times providing the opportunity to see deeper into living tissues than ever before.

As materials are reduced in size to the nanoscale, they exhibit unusual chemical and physical properties known as nanostructures. Nanostructures of noble metals (gold, silver, platinum, etc.) have received great attention since their chemical, physical, and optical properties can be tuned for a variety of functionalities in the aid of science.

Great efforts have been devoted to gain control over specifically shaped nano-particles, however, they are often randomly dispersed among other shapes, which prevents detailed analysis of shape-dependent phenomena. However, this researcher has discovered that by spinning nanostructure samples at high speed, a technique known as density gradient centrifugation (DGC), it is possible to sort them by size and shape.

Highly enriched solutions of nanostructures such as bipyramids (BPs) were found to increase the refractive index 2.5 times over that of unsorted nanostructures.  Also, sorted nanostars—nanostructures with multiple branches—contributed to imaging brightness performance up to 19 times that of current commercial MRI contrast agents. Nanoparticle shape can be a new parameter to design high-performance MRI contrast agents.

Engineering Pathways to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Wed., Nov. 2, 6pm, Room 1740, Des Plaines

Learn about how qualified high school senior can apply to the Engineering Pathways before mid-March, 2017 to study engineering at Oakton and be guaranteed admission to complete a four-year engineering degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

No registration required. Find out more at or contact Oakton’s Office of Student Recruitment and Outreach at 847.635.1835.

10th Annual Conference for Promoting STEM for Educators - CANCELLED
Nov. 4, 2016, 8:30a to 3:00p

The Anatomy of Death
Nov. 9, 3p, Room 1610 DP and Room C240 Skokie

Dr. Lynda Biedzycki, medical examiner of Waukesha County, WI
Due to the nature of this talk, it is not suitable for all audiences.

American Mathematics Competition
8th graders and younger - November 15, 2016, Room 1604 & 1606 Des Plaines
10th & 12th graders and younger - A: February 7, 2017 and B: February 15, 2017, 4:30p, Room 1610 Des Plaines

Oakton hosts the American Mathematics Contest. Registration is required.

STEM Students Symposium
Wed., Dec. 7, 2:30p, Lee Center 210
Wed., May 3, 2:30p, Room TBA

Students present their science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics research findings.

Futures Unlimited for 8th Grade Girls
Fri., Jan. 13, 2017, 8a to 2:30p, Des Plaines

Oakton hosts a one-day event to introduce 8th grade girls to various science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Students in Oakton's district are given priority. Contact your daughter's middle school for more information about how to sign up. Schools interested in bringing a group of students to this event should contact Gloria Liu at

You Be the Chemist Local Challenge
Wed., Mar. 1, 2017, Room 1606
, Des Plaines

Oakton hosts a local level of the You Be the Chemist Challenge (YBTCC), an academic game-show style contest for 5 - 8th graders. Students must participate in challenge qualifier at their school before they are eligible to participate at the local level. Visit the You Be the Chemist website for more information on how to participate. Visitors who wish to watch the contest are welcome. Contest begins at 6p. Student contestants and family are invited to arrive at 5p.

Engineering Pizza Night
Wed., Mar. 8, 2017, 7p, Room 1604 Des Plaines

Representatives of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers will speak about various engineering fields (particularly, mechanical, electrical, and chemical) and about how to build a career in the engineering fields.

Registration is required to provide sufficient pizzas for attendees.

Regional Science Olympiad
Sat., Mar. 19, 2017 all day throughout Des Plaines campus

Oakton hosts a regional Illinois Science Olympiad Division B for middle school students and Division C for high school students. Visit the Science Olympiad website for more details about the day of the competition as well as information on how to partiicpate. Visitors are welcome to watch the competition events that are held in the gymnasium, the halls, the cafeteria, and the peninsula.

USA Science +  Engineering Festival at Oakton
Sat., Apr. 8, 2017, 10:00a to 2:30p, Rooms 1608 and 1610 Des Plaines

Free and open to the public. Appropriate for families and college students. Many thanks to the exhibitors who made the 2016 event possible: Am Society of Civil Engineers - UIC, American Nuclear Society, Beckatt Solutions (3D printing), Civil Air Patrol - Illinois Wing, Hamfesters Radio Club, Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Midwest Torrance Ctr for Creativity, Oakton Nanotechnology, Oakton Nursing, Optical Society of Chicago, Illinois Science & Arts Academy, STEM Scouts, The Think Tank - University of Chicago, and littleBits.
Companies and organizations interested in serving as an exhibitor and/or workshop presenter in 2017 should contact Gloria Liu at

Complete STEM-related activities may be found online.

Many Thanks to:

Oakton's Student Government Association who voted to support the 2016-2017 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 2016-2017 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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