September 28, 2021

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News Bureau | ILLINOIS

Bioengineering professor Jennifer Amos displays the children

CHAMPAIGN, Unwell. — A new e book created and illustrated by two new alumnae of the College of Illinois Urbana-Champaign introduces third graders to the nuts and bolts of automotive mechanics and engineering.

“Jenny Saves a Convertible” is the initial e book published and illustrated by U. of I. students to be printed by way of a undertaking with Illinois Engineering Ambassadors, a public outreach and specialist development team for pupils in the Grainger Higher education of Engineering.

The group reaches much more than 1,000 schoolchildren each individual year, offering higher-excellent instructional occasions and fingers-on functions on the U. of I. campus and in elementary and secondary educational facilities in the Champaign and Chicago places.

Bioengineering professor Jennifer Amos, who co-launched and co-directs the group, claimed she intends for “Jenny” to be the inaugural quantity in a sequence of children’s publications that will pique young people’s interest in science, technological know-how, engineering and mathematics.

“The e-book undertaking commenced as a way to enrich the outreach that we’re carrying out in faculties and get young ones enthusiastic in advance of we take a look at,” Amos said.

Amos elevated the resources for the College of Illinois Push to publish 100 copies of “Jenny” and other stories penned by engineering pupils who participate in the project. The  “Jenny” guide will be presented to schoolteachers this fall to browse with their pupils and will enhance mastering pursuits led by Illinois Engineering Ambassadors throughout classroom visits or just about.

Alumna Taylor Tucker

Alumna Taylor Tucker is the writer of “Jenny Saves a Convertible.”

Photo supplied


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The writer, Taylor Tucker of Winnetka, Illinois, who graduated in Might with a master’s diploma in curriculum and instruction and also gained a bachelor’s degree in engineering mechanics in 2017, said creating the e book fulfilled a longtime aspiration. 

“I’ve always beloved to compose in any type, and I had imagined several several years back about accomplishing a children’s e-book since I needed to attain that young viewers by some means,” Tucker mentioned. “But I knew I would need a great illustrator and the suitable chance to make one thing like that take place. I put that in the again of my thoughts and determined, when the time is right, I will do this.”

Prospect knocked in 2019 when Amos mentioned her e book task thought at a conference. Undergraduate college students in engineering and graphic design would create and illustrate children’s stories with STEM themes for credit score toward their degrees.

In “Jenny Saves a Convertible,” a younger woman desires of refurbishing her have car as she aids her grandfather in his vehicle mend shop. Though Jenny and her grandfather do the job, they talk about how interior combustion engines work, and by the stop of the tale, Jenny has obtained sufficient information that she fixes up a convertible by herself and drives it in a parade.

Although the tale is fictional and employs bits of “magical realism,” Tucker claimed it was motivated by her family’s interest in cars and trucks.

The character Jenny in illustrations from the children’s book "Jenny Saves a Convertible"

Writer Taylor Tucker, who dependent the tale on her family’s interest in vehicles, hopes the character’s adventures will spark girls’ curiosity about how objects operate and empower them to produce layout enhancements.

Photo by Fred Zwicky


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The story also entails female empowerment, another topic encouraged by Tucker’s loved ones. Her grandfather, an automotive engineer, and her grandmother encouraged Tucker’s mother and her 3 sisters to be unbiased and transcend societal gender expectations of the time.

Tucker explained she hopes the tale will spark girls’ curiosity about how objects perform and empower them to imagine about style and design improvements they could make if they ended up to become engineers.

Tucker wrote “Jenny” in the course of her first 12 months in the College of Schooling’s Electronic Environments for Finding out, Instructing and Agency graduate program. Nicole Dowling of Louisville, Kentucky, her husband or wife on the job and a senior at the time, designed the illustrations for credit score toward a bachelor’s degree in graphic style and design. She graduated in 2020.

Tucker will take part in future college visits with Illinois Engineering Ambassadors when she returns to the U. of I. in 2022 for a doctoral software in engineering.

Amos claimed learning how to explain their perform to youthful people added benefits the engineering pupils far too – a little something that Amos found when she taught seventh graders two times a 7 days for the duration of graduate college.

“Being ready to explain the exploration I was carrying out to my students altered the way I imagined about it, and helped me aim on the influence and stay inspired,” she explained.

“The engineering learners who wrote the books had that similar working experience. Speaking what they do to young men and women helps make them greater engineers.”

To make the “Jenny” e-book much more broadly accessible, Tucker and Dowling also self-printed it by means of Amazon and recently created it offered in digital sort. The two women identified their collaboration on the reserve so rewarding that they resolved to embark on a 2nd e-book challenge on their have, Tucker explained.

“The story makes use of weather science and a child’s anxiety of thunderstorms to train methods for coping with nervousness, this sort of as using deep breaths to relaxed down,” Tucker said.

Amos is finalizing a 2nd e book in conjunction with Illinois Engineering Ambassadors that she expects to publish in the slide. Created by engineering alumna Samantha Park and illustrated by graphic style alumna Felicia Phillips, the story introduces children to computer science by means of the encounters of two ladies who are curious about cellphone applications.

With the pandemic restricting in-particular person actions all through the 2020-2021 academic 12 months, Illinois Engineering Ambassadors done its university visits about Zoom, Amos stated.

Even when educational institutions permit in-person visits to resume, the group might proceed furnishing some actions practically to attain bigger figures of kids. Accordingly, the group is operating on a set of YouTube films and producing a STEM-themed coloring guide for extremely youthful small children to broaden its audience, she claimed.