July 25, 2019

Media Availability – SIU Carbondale hosting SMASH Illinois program students this weekend

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The inaugural class of 35 high school students from throughout Illinois who are participating in SMASH Illinois, a signature STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education program of the Kapor Center, will be at Southern Illinois University Carbondale Friday through Sunday. 

Reporters, photographers and camera crews will have the opportunity to interview students and see the recently launched program in action on Saturday. 

A media availability to interview participating students, program officials and gain insight into the program is set for 9 a.m., Saturday, in Student Center Corker Lounge

Among those attending and available for interviews will be Tracie Screven, the SMASH Illinois site director and several university officials, including: John M. Dunn, chancellor; Meera Komarraju, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs; Renada D. Greer, director, SIU Carbondale Student Support Services; and Linda Baker, university professor, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. 

Also attending will be Veronika E. Mix, vice president of marketing and community relations for IlliniCare Health, who will make a special presentation. 

Among the 35 participants are seven students from Carbondale Community High School and six from the Metro East area. The Metro East students are from the SIU Charter School of East St. Louis and Cahokia High School. 

While on campus, students will participate in a variety of activities at various locations across campus, focused on areas including: 

  • Agricultural sciences.
  • Engineering.
  • Mathematics and Data Science.
  • Microbiology.
  • Zoology.
  • 3D Printing Technology. 

In addition to the classroom settings, other opportune times for interviews will be during lunch from noon to 1 p.m. and at the evening reception from 5 to 7 p.m., both held in the Student Services Building room 150. 

Through university partnerships, SMASH is providing a three-year, free-of-cost, residential college preparatory program targeting high school students from traditionally underrepresented communities who are interested in pursuing STEM careers. 

Other organizations participating in SMASH Illinois are Illinois Institute of Technology and the Creating Pathways and Access for Student Success Foundation. The SMASH Illinois program will focus on core STEM skills at the intersection of health, technology, innovation and equity to empower underrepresented students to pursue STEM and excel in the rising “HealthTech” industry.  

SMASH Illinois will run from July 6 to Aug. 10. 

To make arrangements for interviews, contact Ashleigh Richelle, communications manager with SMASH at 408/387-4353 (cell), or Pete Rosenbery, assistant director for communications and marketing, 618/453-1439. To find a group or a specific location on the day of the event, contact Greer at 618/534-8765.