Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Girl Tech teaches middle schoolers about robots, graphic design, programming and more!

WHAT: Join the University of Illinois Springfield Computer Science Department for two days of fun exploring technology during Girl Tech 2011, a camp for middle school girls. Hands-on activities include robotics, geo-caching, graphic design, Japanese anime, programming and much more.

WHEN: Thursday, June 16 and Friday, June 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: University Hall Building (UHB) on the UIS campus

DETAILS: Studies show the number of women in higher education in computer science is falling drastically. Girl Tech is geared toward girls in middle school because interest seems to start decreasing around that age.

Highlighting the sessions this year are “Explore the Robo-Jungle”, which will look at the world of autonomous robotics by programming a robot to hop and crawl. “Starring YOU!”, where girls will use photos to create digital movies. “Where in the World are YOU?” will let participants hunt down clues for a hidden treasure using technology borrowed from geo-caching. Introductory programming will be featured in “Cartoons!”, permitting the girls to create their own cartoon epic using 3D objects and characters.

Other sessions this summer include: “Hi-Tech Design using Gimp”, which will allow girls to design a t-shirt from the camp to take home. “Girl Tech Idol” – using Japanese anime software, the students will create a virtual Diva and teach her to sing. “Chatbots and Turing Tests” challenges the participants to figure out whether they are communicating with a machine or a person.

Girls returning for their third Girl Tech will be offered more in-depth sessions in games programming, computer graphics and robotics.

The registration fee is $30 per girl, which covers lunch both days, snacks and a participation t-shirt. To be eligible to participate, the girl must be entering 7th, 8th or 9th grade in the fall of 2011. For more information about the camp and to register visit http://csc.uis.edu/girltech/. Registration is suggested by June 6, 2011.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Four honored by Downstate Illinois Innocence Project at UIS

The Downstate Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois Springfield honored four individuals with Defenders of the Innocent Awards on May 16, 2011. The awards were handed out as part of a 10th anniversary celebration and fundraiser at the Inn at 835 in Springfield.

Those honored with the award included U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill) for his support for the growth and development of the project's work on behalf of the innocent; former State Police Crime Scene investigator Alva Busch for his work exonerating Belleville resident Keith Harris; true crime author Diane Fanning, whose book about a Texas serial killer helped exonerate Julie Rea Harper of Lawrenceville; and former State Police Investigation Commander Michale Callahan (author of Too Politically Sensitive) whose efforts to re-investigate a Paris, Ill. double murder case helped exonerate Herb Whitlock.

“Really the work that we do is work to try and put ourselves out of work,” said Larry Golden, director of the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project. “I would hope 10 years from now we aren’t needed. That would be the greatest success we could have.”

The Innocence Project at UIS was founded in 2000, when Bill Clutter, who now serves as director of investigations, brought the idea to Golden and Nancy Ford, former Interim Director of the Institute for Legal and Policy Studies.

The anniversary event also highlighted a new partnership that began last year between UIS, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Law, and Southern Illinois Law School. Awards were given to graduating law students who worked on project cases.

Read more about the cases and award winners

Learn more about the Innocence Project

Monday, May 9, 2011

UIS Theatre announces 2011-2012 season

UIS Theatre announces its 2011-2012 season, which includes two plays by celebrated American playwrights Paul Rudnick and Sam Shepard.

The fall production is I Hate Hamlet by Paul Rudnick. The play follows “a young and successful television actor, who relocates to New York, where he rents a marvelous, gothic apartment. With his television career in limbo, the actor is offered the opportunity to play Hamlet onstage, but there's one problem: He hates Hamlet. His dilemma deepens with the entrance of John Barrymore's ghost, who arrives intoxicated and in full costume to the apartment that once was his. The contrast between the two actors, the towering, dissipated Barrymore whose Hamlet was the greatest of his time, and Andrew Rally, hot young television star, leads to a wildly funny duel over women, art, success, duty, television, and yes, the apartment.” –Dramatists Play Service

UIS Associate Professor of Theatre Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson will direct. Production dates are Oct. 28-30 and Nov. 3-5, 2011. Open auditions will be held August 28-30, 2011 in The Studio Theatre. Check www.uis.edu/theatre for updated times and information.

The spring production is True West by Sam Shepard. “True West is a character study that examines the relationship between Austin, a screenwriter, and his older brother Lee. It is set in the kitchen of their mother's home 40 miles east of Los Angeles. Austin is house-sitting while their mother is in Alaska, and there he is confronted by his brother, who proceeds to bully his way into staying at the house and using Austin's car. In addition, the screenplay which Austin is pitching to his connection in Hollywood somehow gets taken over by the pushy con-man tactics of Lee, and the brothers find themselves forced to cooperate in the creation of a story that will make or break both their lives. In the process, the conflict between the brothers creates a heated situation in which their roles as successful family man and nomadic drifter are somehow reversed, and each man finds himself admitting that he had somehow always wished he were in the other's shoes.” - Sam Shepard’s website

The San Francisco Chronicle states: "It's clear, funny, naturalistic. It's also opaque, terrifying, surrealistic. If that sounds contradictory, you're on to one aspect of Shepard's winning genius; the ability to make you think you're watching one thing while at the same time he's presenting another."

UIS Assistant Professor of Theatre Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson will direct. Production dates are Feb. 24-26 and March 1-3, 2012. While “True West” is partially a "faculty showcase" -- with Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson playing the role of Lee as part of his sabbatical that semester, open auditions will take place December 1 & 2 for the remaining roles. Students will continue to be integral to the production team for this show, as they are in all productions. More information will be posted on www.uis.edu/theatre.

The curtain time for Thursday, Friday and Saturday night shows is 7:30 p.m. with the Sunday performance starting at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens (65 or older with a picture I.D.), $8 for UIS Faculty/Staff and $6 for UIS students with a valid i-card. Please note that a $2 service charge, not included in the prices above, from Sangamon Auditorium will be added to each ticket price, at the time of purchase, for those who walk up to the UIS Ticket Office to buy their tickets. For those who buy over the phone with a credit card or buy online, an additional $3 is added (for a total of $5 as a service charge per ticket).

For more information on the upcoming theatre season contact Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson at 217/206-6613 or email ethib1@uis.edu.