STEM Summer Scholars Program

Register Now

Impact STEM Summer Scholars

Monmouth College-Illinois Central College STEM Summer Scholars Program, in partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute: July 21-Aug. 17 

Conduct hands-on research, gather data, and design experiments that will open a world of possibilities for you. In addition to spending time in laboratories and working in fields, the three-week program includes trips to the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and other museums in the region.  

The Summer Scholars Program is an ideal way to learn about majors and career paths available to those who major in science, technology, engineering, and math – also known as STEM. 

Housing and food are provided; all participants will be given a $2,080 stipend. 

Open to all entering ICC students or those who have completed a year of study at ICC.

Biology Program

Instructor: Kevin Baldwin, professor of biology

Course: “Exploring Biomechanics with Charismatic Mega-Arthropods”

How do organisms work? Biomechanics integrates ideas from engineering, anatomy, physiology, animal behavior and other disciplines in order to better understand organismal function. We will design and build equipment to measure movement and forces to better understand how organisms do what they do.


  • Observe dragonflies and butterflies in the lab and field to generate hypotheses.
  • Use infrared cameras to measure field temperatures of insects and relate temperature to movement and performance.
  • Build a small wind tunnel to better understand aspects of insect flight.
  • Learn how to collect, analyze and visualize data.

Astronomy Program

Instructor: Michael Solontoi, associate professor of physics and engineering

Course: The Terrible Secret of Space”

Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. For countless generations, humans have looked up at the night sky and have tried to understand what is out there. This summer is your chance to do so with telescopes (from 8 inches to 20 inches) and instrumentation to make scientific observations of celestial objects from nearby asteroids to the most distant galaxies.


  • Observe nearby comets, watching for changes in their appearance.
  • Create an image of our solar system’s sun over several weeks, measuring sunspots and solar activity.
  • Observe a “transit” of a planet orbiting another star.
  • Characterize a variable star.
  • Measure the expansion rate of the universe.
  • Delve into the wide range of astronomical data accessible to do science with many objects.
  • Visualize astronomical data and results

Program Mentors


  • Michael Solontoi

    Associate Professor, Physics and Engineering

    View Profile