Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Illinois

St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy celebrates year with science fair, ceremony

On a recent Saturday afternoon, students and organizers with the St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy and their families and friends celebrated the completion of the program’s second successful year in Champaign.

Saturday’s event at Garden Hills Elementary was the culmination of the students’ year-long involvement in the program aimed at exposing underrepresented fourth and fifth grade boys to science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Students displayed their posters and a number of fun, hands-on experiments. At the ceremony, students received certificates and white lab coats.

Created by Jerrod Henderson, a University of Illinois lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Ricky Greer, the department’s outreach coordinator, the St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy is named after the first African American to receive a chemistry Ph.D. in the U.S. St. Elmo Brady graduated from the University of Illinois in 1916 and went on to teach and conduct research at Tuskegee University, Howard University, and other colleges.

A distinctive feature of the Brady program is its emphasis on building relationships with minority role models, including the boys’ fathers and university students studying chemical engineering and other STEM careers. Students meet twice a week after school at Garden Hills and Booker T. Washington Schools, learning about everything from the physics of trebuchets to the chemistry of slime. On Saturdays, the boys meet for additional science workshops with their fathers and other male role models in their lives. University of Illinois faculty and students also help in the classes, with the university students serving as mentors to the boys.

Check out our photos of the event in our gallery below. You can also read more about the St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy in this article.