IMSA 1990

Class of 1990 at the Illinois Math & Science Academy (IMSA)

East Randolph Street, Chicago

Chicago alumni focus groups

March 1st, 2010 · Uncategorized

Hello Chicago IMSAns,

I would like to invite you to participate in an effort to assess our relationship with IMSA. On a pragmatic and delicious level, you will get a free meal in addition to spirited conversation!

As alums, the state legislature expects us to provide a return on their investment in our education. I believe this can take many forms, from intangible to more concrete acts, but legislators are often focused on only one aspect: money. Given the relatively low financial burden for us to attend IMSA, this makes sense. If alums do not show an interest in donating to the Academy after they graduate, should Illinois continue to fund the institution, and should IMSA provide significant financial backing for programs to support the alumni community (such as regional events)?

I am arranging two focus groups to discuss why alums do or do not make financial contributions to IMSA. As part of these conversations, we will discuss the relationship between alums and IMSA through time, as well as past communications from IMSA to alums. Don’t worry if you’ve never donated. In fact, I think that can make the conversation richer. These focus groups are sponsored by the IMSA Alumni Association (IAA) and only IMSA alumni are invited to participate. Feedback from the meetings will be shared with the IAA cabinet and select IMSA staff. No names or identities will be shared with anyone beyond the focus group participants.

The groups will meet at 6 p.m. on March 9 and March 10 at Silver Spoon Thai Restaurant (710 North Rush). If you are interested in participating, please RSVP to by Monday, March 8, at 5 p.m. Indicate your preferred date in the email. If we have more than approximately six participants for each group, we will discuss adding another date.

Feel free to contact me with questions.

Matthew Knisley
IAA President

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[Allalum-l] February Great Mind Speaker

February 11th, 2010 · Uncategorized

As part of the IMSA Great Minds Program®
Dr. Anna Roosevelt, Professor of Anthropology at The University of Illinois, Chicago:

“The Ecology in Early Human Evolution: The Role of the Tropical Forests”

Widely accepted theories of early human evolution hold that human
ancestors developed when Ice-Age climate change created huge savannas
in the tropical forest belt of Africa. The idea is that a rainforest
ape species ventured out in the savanna, developing stone tools and
big-game hunting to survive there. In fact, all Paleolithic humans
are assumed to have been big-game hunters adapted to the savannas,
steppes, and tundras throughout the world.

However, careful paleoecological and bioarchaeological research now
show that early human ancestors mainly lived in tropical forests.
Tropical savannas are rare until later, after humans had developed
fire and began to deforest in some areas. Furthermore, most
Paleolithic humans lived by broad-spectrum foraging, not by big game
hunting, which is dangerous, costly in effort, and of low and
unreliable returns.

Since a lot of assumptions about human nature derive from the old
evolutionary consensus, we can now significantly revise our ideas
about ancient and modern human behavior.

Thursday, February 18, 2010
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
IMSA Pearson Lecture Hall

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[Allalum-l] Scott Swanson ’90 memorial fund

January 20th, 2010 · Uncategorized

From [Allalum-l] –

Dear IMSA community,

In recognition of the life and work of Scott Swanson, beloved son and friend, IMSA alumnus (Class of 1990), IMSA staff member, and recognized educational technology pioneer, the Scott Swanson Fund for Transformative Student Learning and Innovation has been established by Gail and Sherwyn Cotovsky (Scott’s mother and stepfather), and IMSA alumni Alyssa Bennett ’90, Michele Jonsson Funk ’90, David Gabrius ’90, Todd (Groner) Kopriva ’89, Tony Nuval ’98, Sandeep Paruchuri ’08, Michael Peil ’90, Sendhil Revuluri ’90, Mike and Jennifer Rudzinski, both ’90, Joe Shidle ’90, and Derek Wolfgram ’89.

This fund will support the purchase, creation and use of leading-edge and emerging technologies for transformative student learning and innovation at IMSA. Gifts will support student-driven projects in game-changing technology initiatives (such as the One Laptop Per Child initiative), advanced computing, new media, online virtual worlds, gaming, and CoolHub.IMSA collaborative innovation networks. All of these were near and dear to Scott’s heart, and all offer opportunities for students to connect/collaborate with and be mentored by IMSA alumni, faculty and staff. This was very important to Scott.

For more details or to make a contribution to this fund in honor of Scott, please visit the IMSA Fund website at You can also set up a recurring payment to make monthly contributions to the fund at Please call us at (630) 907-5040 for more information.

To review Scott’s tribute statement, visit

Jennifer Spuehler

Jennifer Spuehler
Director of Development
Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education
1500 W. Sullivan Rd.
Aurora, IL 60506
Ph. 630-907-598

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Donate your uninteresting gift cards!

December 29th, 2009 · Uncategorized

From [Allalum-l] –

Did you get a gift card for the holidays this year that you know you’re
not going to use? Well don’t lose that value – put it to good use by
donating it to the IMSA Fund! By working with our partner at, we are able to take your unwanted gift cards
and turn them into cash that counts as your annual contribution to IMSA
and the IMSA Fund.

Want to hold onto your gift cards but still make a contribution? There are
still a few days left to make a gift in time for the 2009 tax season!
Visit our web site a for all the details on ways you
can make a fast and simple contribution before the end of the year. Use
the online giving options at paypal, givezooks, or facebook to make your
gift in seconds.

Be Counted – Make your year end gift to the IMSA Fund!

Thanks and Happy New Year,

Jennifer Spuehler
Director of Development
IMSA and the IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education
1500 W. Sullivan Road
Aurora, IL 60506

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Be Counted this Holiday Season!

December 24th, 2009 · Uncategorized

From [Imsafundnews] –

Happy Holidays IMSA Alumni!
I hope you are preparing for a festive holiday season and an exciting new decade! But before you run off to your holiday parties and ring in the new year, I hope you will consider joining your fellow alumni by making a contribution to the IMSA Fund.

As you know, the IMSA Fund uses your contributions to support the students and faculty of IMSA, which allows the students to have access to equipment and opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable. Each year we set a participation goal for alumni giving. This year, that goal is 18% alumni participation by July 2010. We hope to be half way there by the end of December 31, 2009!

We need 252 alumni to make their gift this holiday season to reach that goal - Be Counted and make your gift today!!

A holiday appeal from IMSA and the IMSA Fund will soon reach you by mail. Please take the time to read it and send in your annual contribution before December 31. You can also visit the IMSA web site,, to make a gift on-line and learn more about our giving options.

As an alternate, we have introduced Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) this holiday season! EFT is a secure way to deliver your gifts directly and automatically from your bank to the IMSA Fund. As with online giving, EFT donations allow us to minimize administrative expenses. Visit the web site for details and to sign up!

Have a safe and happy holiday, and thank you for your support!

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IMSA Energy Center Requests

December 21st, 2009 · Uncategorized

From [Allalum-l] –

Hello IMSA Alumni, This year IMSA students working in the Energy Center have finished many details on the mobile Energy House and have shown it to hundreds of students and parents from the Aurora area. Other students are currently working on a large vertical shaft wind turbine/solar panel installation to power lights and low voltage electronics in the main building.

The third group is working on a continuous batch bio-diesel production unit. They are constructing it from a 2.5 gallon hot water heater. Last year the bio-diesel group received their stock oil from Sodexo (IMSA’s food service provider). This year Sodexo is selling their used cooking oil to a company off campus. What we were hoping is that over the holiday season some of you may be deep frying your turkeys. If you do not know what to do with the left over oil please securely bottle it and bring it to IMSA for students to use for their project.

The last request regards expertise you may have (or even passionate interest) in the above mentioned areas. We are using the new Coolhub@IMSA to collaborate with several experts and other interested individuals. Coolhub, although in the “alpha” stage, is very useful for blogging, sharing documents and schematics and video conferencing. If you would like to join one of these projects please send me an email. Have a great holiday season. Branson Lawrence IMSA Science Faculty

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[Allalum-l] IMSA Drama Club Presents: Noises Off!

November 23rd, 2009 · Uncategorized

Come see IMSA’s Drama Club perform “Noises Off!” by Michael Frayn as directed by Julie Dowling!

“Noises Off!” is a play about a theatrical company that is putting on a poorly written British adult comedy while everything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong. Watch as doors open and close when they shouldn’t and pay close attention to where the sardines happen to be! So come see the mayhem unfold!

Nick Reid – Garry/Roger
Katie Funderburg – Dotty/Mrs. Clackett
Nikki Sumaydeng – Brooke/Vicki
Francis Cocjin – Freddie/Philip
Taylor Rusen – Belinda/Flavia
Robbie Dawson – Selsdon/Burglar
Salvador Esparza – Lloyd
Brittney Hanson – Poppy
Joe Davidson – Tim

The event will be in the IMSA Auditorium at 7:00 PM on
Friday November 20th
Saturday November 21st
Monday November 23rd

And it will also be at 2:30 PM
Sunday November 22nd

Prices: $3 for students if purchased at Midday the week before performances or $4 for students at the door.
$5 for adults.
$3 for children.

Tickets to be sold during midday on Tuesday (November 17th), Thursday (November 19th), and Friday (November 20th).

We hope to see you there!

Salvador Esparza
Drama Club President
IMSA Class of 2010

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IMSA Diwali Show

November 10th, 2009 · Uncategorized

IMSA Alumni!

Tonight is the night of the largest (and best) student run event of the year: the Diwali Show! The show will start at 7pm.
Please consider watching the show: . There will be two high quality streams (one up close, and one of the whole stage).

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us back or call us at (630) 999-8753, which directs to all the board members, if it is near the time of the show.

Happy Diwali!
SASA Board

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[Allalum-l] Connect with fellow IMSA alumni at these upcoming events!

October 22nd, 2009 · Uncategorized

The IMSA Alumni Association invites you to connect with fellow alumni and celebrate IMSA as the 2009 Intel Schools of Distinction “Star Innovator” at two upcoming alumni events!

St. Louis Alumni Gathering
Friday, November 6, 2009, 7-9 pm
Bar Italia, 13 Maryland Plaza, St. Louis, MO
Complimentary food and drinks available, RSVP is requested.

More details and RSVP info available on Facebook or Socializr.

Illinois vs. Northwestern Football, Tailgate, and Reception
Saturday, November 14, 2009, Game time: TBA
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Join the IAA to cheer on your favorite team as we gather for tailgating before the game and at a post-game reception.  The IAA is offering a limited number of tickets to the game at a discounted rate of $25 each (face value of $39).  To buy your ticket, contact Carolyn at IMSA at or 630.907.5041 before they sell out!  Tickets are non-refundable and are limited to two per person.

More details, including game time will be announced soon.  Event updates will be posted on Facebook and Socializr.

Carolyn Johnson
IMSA's Coordinator of Alumni Engagement

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[Imsaenewsbriefs-l] e-Newsbriefs for Friends of IMSA October 2009

October 7th, 2009 · Uncategorized

e-Newsbriefs for Friends of IMSA
October 2009

We are happy to bring you the latest news and information from IMSA. Please share this with friends or colleagues and encourage them to sign up now for future editions by registering at

(l-to-r) IMSA President Dr. Max McGee, U.S. Congressman Bill Foster, IMSA Coordinator of Student Inquiry and Research and Director, Grainger Center for Imagination and Inquiry Dr. Judy Scheppler, IMSA Principal and Vice President for Academic Programs Dr. Eric McLaren and IMSA Board of Trustees Chairman Steven Isoye visit Congressman Foster’s office following the Intel awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

IMSA® Wins Top National Intel Star Innovator Award

IMSA has been named the nationwide winner of the Intel Star Innovator Award.  This award is presented annually to one school that has a “comprehensive program incorporating innovative and effective use of technology, engaging parents and the community in students’ education, fostering professional development and teamwork, and delivering consistent achievement of high academic standards.” From an applicant pool of more than 700 schools, IMSA was named one of the six 2009 Intel Schools of Distinction Award recipients last May.  From these six, Intel selected IMSA to receive the top honor as Star Innovator during an awards reception in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Congressman Bill Foster, parent of an IMSA alumna, congratulated IMSA’s staff. “I am pleased to congratulate the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy for being named Star Innovator in the 2009 Intel Schools of Distinction awards program,” Foster said.  “As the parent of an IMSA graduate and as the school’s congressional representative, I have seen firsthand the school’s commitment to educational excellence. This award is a testament to IMSA’s status as one of our nation’s premier institutions of math and science education.”  To see the full story, photos and video, click here.

IMSA President Featured in National and Regional Publications on STEM Education

IMSA President Dr. Max McGee is featured in publications by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and The Council of State Governments focusing on IMSA and improving STEM education throughout the Midwest. Read more.

Staff Member Deb Gerdes Co-authors Article in ASCD’s Educational Leadership

Deb Gerdes, Professional Development Leader for Problem-Based Learning at IMSA and ASCD’s PBL Network Facilitator, is the co-author of “The Students Have the Answers,” an article featured in the September 2009 issue of ASCD’s Educational Leadership. The article features the Illinois Innovation Talent Program (ILIT), a statewide public/private partnership to promote innovation-centered education and increase student achievement in math, science and technology. In the program, educators and students from 29 Illinois high schools worked as teams alongside industry, government and community experts from 29 business/organization partners to solve real-world problems.  Gerdes and co-author Ellen Jo Ljung, Facilitator of IMSA’s PBL Initiatives, and Jane Seidel and Karen Lindebrekke, IMSA Professional Development Specialists in PBL, delivered professional development in Problem-Based Learning (PBL) to educators involved in the project.  Read the article here.

Emeriti News

IMSA Alumni Faculty Members Susan Eddins and Ed Goebel Named Honorary Emeriti

At the September 16, 2009 IMSA Board of Trustees meeting, the Executive Committee recommended that alumni faculty members Susan Eddins and Dr. Ed Goebel be conferred the honorary Emeritus/a designation by the full Board.  Brief profiles of Eddins and Goebel are available here.   Alumni staff  who are recommended for Emeriti status must meet all of the Board’s criteria including:

* have retired from IMSA in good standing, with 10 or more years of full-time service;

* have demonstrated exemplary professional competence and made significant meritorious contributions to IMSA throughout one’s service, both within and beyond the scope of the duties of one’s compensated position(s), contributions that have had an extraordinary impact on IMSA’s capacity and success; and

* be positioned, by virtue of one’s personal willingness and recognized professional expertise, reputation, skills and connections, to continue to advance IMSA in significant ways post-retirement.

Eddins and Goebel now join other alumni staff who were previously named Honorary Emeriti including Dr. Stephanie Pace Marshall (2007), Dr. David Barr (2008) and Dr. David Workman (2008).  Read more about recent Emerti Faculty and Staff Contributions here.

Emerita Mathematics Faculty Member Susan Eddins Selected for National Core Standards Team

Educational Consultant and former IMSA mathematics faculty member Susan Eddins was selected to serve on the Common Core Standards Development Work Group a national initiative of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).  Forty-nine states and territories have joined the Common Core State Standards Initiative. It builds directly on recent efforts of leading organizations and states that have focused on developing college-and career-ready standards and ensures that these standards can be internationally benchmarked to top-performing countries around the world. “This initiative is a significant and historic opportunity for states to collectively accelerate and drive education reform so that all children graduate from high school ready for college, work and success in the global economy,” said Dane Linn, director of the NGA Center’s Education Division. More information on the Common Core Standards Development Work Group and Feedback Group is available at

Academic Year Kicks Off With Programs That Inspire and Promote Stewardship and Community Spirit

Pictured (l-to-r) are IMSA President Dr. Max McGee, IMSA Senior and Student Council President Sid Sapru, Dr Tuwanda Williamson ’91, Laura O’Neal ’06, Faculty Member and Pianist Jonathan Besancon, and IMSA Principal and Vice President for Academic Programs Dr. Eric McLaren

Dr. Tuwanda Williamson ’91 Presents 2009 IMSA Convocation Address

Dr. Tuwanda Williamson ’91 presented the keynote address during the 2009 IMSA Convocation ceremony.  Dr. Williamson works as a family medicine physician at PCC Salud Community Wellness Center on Chicago’s west side and also serves as a faculty clinical instructor for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.  In addition, she is the medical director for the Bolingbrook Christian Community Clinic.  Williamson is also a 2007 recipient of the IMSA Board of Trustees Alumni Distinguished Leadership Award.  Read more about her past accomplishments here. The Convocation program also featured Laura O’Neal ’06 who gave a moving performance as the vocal soloist.

New Sophomore Class Participates in Second Annual Day of Service

The new sophomore class, the Class of 2012, donated nearly 800 hours of service to 13 organizations throughout Kane and DuPage Counties during the second annual Sophomore Navigation Team Building and Day of Service, held on Friday, August 14.  Organizations served included Aurora West Forest Preserve, Dick Young Forest Preserve/Nelson Lake, Feed My Starving Children in Aurora, Fran’s Fox River Clean Up, Garfield Farm Museum, Hope Wall School in Aurora, Living Well Cancer Resource Center, Suicide Prevention Services and Visiting Nurses Association of Fox Valley, among others. As one IMSA staff member said, “We take our mission very seriously and I believe our new sophomores now understand better what their responsibility is as a student at IMSA.” Read more here.

IMSA Community Flips for Fourth Annual IMSA Carnival

On Saturday, August 22, thrill seekers including IMSA students, parents, staff and their extended families lined up for the Bonsai Bikes, Dixie Twister, Gyro Extreme (pictured) and other rides during the Fourth Annual IMSA Carnival.  Thanks to the hard work of the IMSA Residential Life staff, parents, alumni and other staff members, the carnival has become a much-anticipated IMSA tradition that brings together staff, faculty, parents and alumni to celebrate the beginning of another academic year.  Volunteers that day gave out at least 500 2-liter soda bottles in the Ring Toss game, presented homemade goodies to at least 150 winners in the Cake Walk, and assisted all those who stood in line at the carnival rides, inflatables, games, airbrush tattoos, obstacle course race and food booths.  In all, at least 90 volunteers spent their Saturday at IMSA helping to make sure the IMSA Carnival was another success.  IMSA Resident Counselor Tammy Larson said the end of the day was bittersweet.  “It is always sad to see the booths come down, the rides and inflatables packed up and driven off the grounds, and the small games back in their bins.  With this said, it is great to hear IMSA students say, “Thanks!  We had a blast today!’  or ‘Guess how many cakes I won today!’”

2009 IMSA Board of Trustees Alumni Award winners (l-to-r) Dr. Thandeka Chapman ’89, Dr. Rebecca Willett ’96, Sendhil Revuluri ’90, Pooja Agarwal ’01 and Joshua Gerlick ’99.

IMSA Honors 2009 Alumni Award Winners

The IMSA community recently honored five extraordinary IMSA alumni who are the recipients of the Third Annual IMSA Board of Trustees Alumni Award during IMSA Homecoming.  These awards are the highest honors given to alumni in recognition of their accomplishments and contributions to their professions, to IMSA and to the citizens of Illinois, our nation and the world. For complete profiles of the 2009 IMSA Board of Trustees Alumni Award winners click here.

IMSA Graduate Leads Team in Discovery of Therapy to Combat Cancer Stem Cells

IMSA Class of 1995 Graduate Piyush Gupta, a researcher at the Broad Institute, is co-first author of a study recently published in the journal Cell showcasing the discovery of a chemical that can kill cancer stem cells.  Read the story here.

Nomination Forms Now Online for Alumni Awards Program: Deadline Is January 31, 2010

Online nominations are now being accepted for the IMSA Board of Trustees Alumni Awards program.  The award categories include The Alumni Trailblazer Award (bestowed when merited), The Alumni Distinguished Leadership Award and The Alumni Titan Award (both awarded annually).  To nominate fellow alumni for any of these awards, visit (self nominations are welcome).  Alumni award recipients will be honored at a special event during Homecoming 2010. These awards are the highest honors bestowed to alumni in recognition of their accomplishments and contributions to their field of endeavor, to IMSA, and to the citizens of Illinois, our nation and the world.

Ceremonial Ribbon Cutting Celebrates Opening of Metro East Field Office

The Ceremonial Ribbon Cutting of IMSA’s New Metro-East Field Office located at Lindenwood University – Belleville Campus, was held on Thursday, September 17, 2009.  Speakers included IMSA President Dr. Max McGee, Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert and Ann Reinhardt, District Office Manager to Illinois State Representative Thomas Holbrook.  In addition, East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. voiced support for IMSA’s new Metro Field Office. The event also featured a live science demonstration conducted by students from the IMSA Kids Institute® (KI) for students from Cahokia School of Choice.

Through its new Metro-East Field Office, IMSA will deliver professional development in mathematics and science instruction that focuses on inquiry and discovery; provide afterschool, weekend and summer mathematics and science programs for students; and build sustainable relationships with community constituents and stakeholders and coordinate mathematics and science programs with local organizations.

IMSA Serves Illinois Teachers and Students in Summer Programs

IMSA served 1,007 students and 373 teachers throughout Illinois this summer in a variety of professional development workshops and residential and day programs, including several new programs in Edwardsville.  The programs attracted media coverage from the Chicago Tribune, The Southern, and The Beacon-News.  See photos from IMSA’s Science@IMSA for Girls camp here.

View the story in The Southern featuring IMSA’s Summer Sleuths program in Carbondale here.

Follow IMSA on Facebook!

IMSA now has an official site on Facebook!  If you are a member of  Facebook already, locate Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) Official Site to become a fan and receive the latest news and information from IMSA.

If you are not a member of  Facebook, you will need to first create an account in order to become a fan.  Join the more than 1,000 alumni, former staff, current staff and friends who already have become fans!

Contribute to Community Notes Online!

Let IMSA know about what you’ve been doing!  Have you recently started a new job or been promoted?  Are you involved in new and exciting community service projects or other activities?  Have you recently been published, honored or elected?  If so, please tell us about it at

Now is the time to make your gift to IMSA!  Visit us online for more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution to the IMSA Fund. Thank you for your support!

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