Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Illinois

St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy

At the St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy, we bring together underrepresented youth and expose, engage, and empower them to become the next generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

Created in 2013 by Ricky Greer, a K-12 education specialist, and Dr. Jerrod A. Henderson, a University of Illinois lecturer in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, the St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy introduces fourth and fifth grade boys to a variety of STEM topics, from the physics of catapults to the properties of polymers. The academy is named after an Illinois graduate, St. Elmo Brady. He was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry in the U.S.

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The goals of the academy are to expose students to STEM, increase student awareness of the practicality of STEM; incorporate Next Generation Science Standards into program curriculum; partner with community leaders, Illinois faculty, staff and students, and the Champaign Unit 4 School District to provide quality programming; foster father-son and/or mentor-mentee relationship through STEM; improve student attitudes toward STEM; promote cooperative learning and critical thinking skills.

Students are engaged in hands-on STEM experiments and encouraged to learn through inquiry. They learn about STEM pioneers and inventors through weekly videos and exploration activities. They also interact with underrepresented Illinois graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and staff to complete experiments. Lastly, fathers, male relatives, or mentors attend a session and conduct experiments alongside participants.

Brady STEM Academy in the News

On WILL AM 580 Illinois Public Media
In The News-Gazette
On the U of I College of Liberal Arts & Sciences website
On the Illinois Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department’s website
From the university’s I-STEM initiative

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Our Team

Joe Gamez, Program Director
Assisted by University of Illinois undergraduate and graduate students
Co-founders Dr. Jerrod A. Henderson and Ricky P. Greer