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Over the past week, the University of Illinois (U of I) System hosted three successful events involving high-ranking officials from the National Science Foundation (NSF), each with a different backdrop—the Urbana-Champaign campus, the Chicago campus, and Washington, DC. All of the engagements underscored the valuable partnership between U of I System and NSF.

 
NSF Assistant Director Kurose Joins NCSA in 30th Anniversary Commemoration
 
 
 

Last Friday, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) in Urbana-Champaign celebrated the 30th anniversary of its founding. Dr. Jim Kurose, the NSF Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), spent the entire day on campus meeting with various researchers who are either leading or working on projects supported by the CISE Directorate, including the Blue Waters supercomputer, the CompGen initiative, the Midwest Big Data Hub, Data Infrastructure Building Blocks (DIBBs) projects, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). 

At the end of the day, NCSA hosted a reception that featured remarks from NCSA Director and Interim Vice President for Research Ed Seidel, Interim Chancellor Barb Wilson, NCSA Founding Director Larry Smarr, and Dr. Kurose. Several Congressional offices attended to show their support, including staff from the offices of Senator Dick Durbin and Representatives Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood.

 
NSF Assistant Director Ferrini-Mundy Visits UIC
 
 
 

At the invitation of U of I President Tim Killeen and UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis, Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, NSF Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources, dedicated a full day at UIC on Monday. She started out at the Learning Sciences Research Institute (LSRI), a campus-wide, multidisciplinary unit focused on improving instruction and learning, home to more than 130 staff, students and faculty and researchers in the learning sciences field. LSRI Co-Directors Susan Goldman and Jim Pellegrino led the session, which included several interactive demonstrations and a poster exhibition that included NSF-funded projects related to literacy and science. Click here to watch a short video clip.

 
 
 

Dr. Ferrini-Mundy participated in a lunch meeting at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, where she was welcomed by the Museum Director, Jennifer Scott, and heard from Alfred Tatum, dean of the UIC College of Education on UIC ENGAGE, as well as Barbara Ransby on the Social Justice Initiative. Following the presentations, there was a productive conversation among the attendees, which included UIC senior leadership—Vice Chancellors Mitra Dutta, Susan Poser, Bob Barish, and Michael Redding—the deans from the Colleges of Education, Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIC as well as the Interim Dean for the College of Education at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials.

 
 
 

The centerpiece of Dr. Ferrini-Mundy's visit was delivering a lecture before an audience of more than 70 faculty members and students from the Colleges of Education, Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her lecture was entitled "Promoting the Progress of Science and Achieving Social Justice: Diversity and Inclusion at the Core". During her remarks, Dr. Ferrini-Mundy commended UIC on their recent pilot grant under the INCLUDES program, which aims to broaden participation in STEM by engaging underrepresented populations. Her lecture was followed by a robust question and answer session and then a reception. Click here to read the UIC News summary on the lecture.

 
President Killeen Convenes Meeting with NSF and IL Delegation
 
 
 

At the invitation of U of I President Tim Killeen, a strong contingent of the Illinois Congressional delegation gathered together on Capitol Hill for a breakfast meeting with the NSF Director, Dr. France Córdova, and NSF Assistant Director Jim Kurose. The event provided an opportunity for the delegation to hear about how NSF advances the frontiers of science and engineering and in particular, about the transformative research that NSF is supporting at U of I and the local and national impacts of those federal investments. 

Six members of the Illinois delegation attended, including our four House science committee Members—Representatives Randy Hultgren, Dan Lipinski, Darin LaHood, and Bill Foster—as well as our two main campus representatives—Rodney Davis and Danny Davis. Staff from those offices as well as the offices of Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and Representative Cheri Bustos also participated.

 

Thank you,

Melissa Haas | Acting Director | OGR Federal Relations