CHICAGO – September 14, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Illinois will participate in a national education initiative that puts high school students alongside industry experts to gain engineering experience by developing a solution to a proposed challenge. Governor Quinn made the announcement during the iBIO Institute’s launch of Finding Your Future, SCI: Science Career Investigation, a program that encourages students to explore career opportunities in science and technology industries.
“The Real World Design Challenge and the Science Career Investigation encourage students to pursue math, science and engineering fields, and puts our students in a great position to enter the working world,” said Governor Quinn. “I hope Illinois students and teachers will take advantage of these great opportunities.”
This year’s challenge will involve designing the tail section of an aircraft to maximize fuel efficiency. Details will be provided to challenge participants on September 14. Project submissions are due January 15, 2010 and state winners will be announced in early February. State winners will then compete in the national challenge. The national winner will be announced in Washington, D.C. on March 29, 2010.
As part of the challenge, each participating teacher receives nearly $1 million in state-of-the-art engineering software to use with their students. The students’ project solutions will be evaluated by scientists, engineers, college and university faculty and teachers.
“This partnership builds on the State Board’s goal to prepare students for success after high school and it challenges them to use their classroom skills on real-world projects,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch.
The challenge is a part of Illinois’ Innovation Talent education program, a public-private initiative designed to connect schools with industry, government and community partners to solve complex, real-world problems. Together, these programs are designed to promote innovation-centered education and increase student achievement in math, science and engineering.
"I am confident that these programs will play an important role in expanding our state’s talent pool to include candidates who may never have otherwise discovered opportunities in our state’s high-tech industries," said Norbert Riedel, Ph.D., iBIO Institute Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer of Baxter International Inc.
The Real World Design Challenge is a partnership involving the State of Illinois, U.S. Department of Energy, Federal Aviation Administration, Parametric Technology Corporation and others. It is open to all high schools in Illinois. More information about participating in the challenge can be found at www.dot.il.gov/aero.