Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

IMSA Students Immerse In Global Innovation

A group of IMSA students had the chance to “think big and boldly” at a national student conference focusing on global innovation.

A group of eight IMSA students met and competed with students from 39 other schools, all members of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology (NCSSSMST).

More than 280 students converged on the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York at the end of October to attend the 2008 Student Conference of NCSSSMST

During the conference, hosted in partnership with Bergen County Academies in New Jersey and Brooklyn Technical High School, IMSA students Dawna Bagherian, Gabby Heller, Henry Liang, Shengting (Santina) Lin, Matthew McDermott, Sidnath (Sid) Sapru, Yiru (Melissa) Tao, and Ryan Walach had the opportunity to discover the world of global innovation through computing, gaming, engineering, science, and other disciplines.

In the student design competition featuring 26 different design challenges, the top three scoring teams included IMSA students.  Examples of design challenges included building a robotic arm that performed certain tasks, designing a car powered by a mousetrap, building a balsa wood glider to be judged on flight duration and creating the tallest straw tower sturdy enough to hold one tennis ball for 10 seconds.

IMSA student Dawna Bagherian said it was one of her best learning experiences at IMSA.

“The NCSSSMST conference was an excellent way to meet other math and science students from around the country, she said.  “I definitely built some lasting relationships and met some amazing people.  It was one of the most productive, well-spent weekends of my IMSA career.”

Fellow student Matthew McDermott agreed that it was a very unique experience.  “This is the kind of opportunity you don’t get very often,” he said.  “I’ve met a lot of cool people and learned a lot – about math and science, about other schools, and about collaboration and leadership in general.”

Student Santina Lin said the conference encouraged her to think outside the box.

“Think big and boldly, don’t let your education interfere with your learning and imagination,” she said.  “Collaborate with people and believe that everyone has the potential to change the world.”

Rochester Institute of Technology, a private university in upstate New York, has been in the forefront of technological innovation since 1829. Its core strengths are in engineering, science and computer sciences. RIT’s cooperative education program is the fourth oldest and one of the largest in the world.

The National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology is the nation’s foremost alliance dedicated to transforming mathematics, science and technology education in the United States. The Consortium serves educators and students through the exchange of information and program ideas among faculty, staff and students from member schools as well as affiliated colleges and universities. The non-profit NCSSSMST works to shape national policy, foster collaboration, and identify and share exemplary programs.  IMSA was one of the founding members of NCSSSMST.