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Alumni University

What is Alumni University?

Launched in January 2021, Alumni University invites members of the Illinois Tech community to learn more about the work of and virtually meet some of our university staff, faculty and researchers.

Upcoming Lectures

June 8, 2022, 5:30-6:30pm

Alumni University with Oscar Juarez, Ph.D.

The Antibiotic Resistance Pandemic is Already Here: Causes, Challenges & Solutions

Oscar X. Juárez, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Biology

Antibiotics are widely used to treat and prevent infections. Antibiotics are used in most common medical procedures and treatments and our medical system could not be functional without them. Many human pathogens have developed the ability to resist antibiotic treatment. Antibiotic resistance is now a widespread phenomenon that severely complicates medical treatment, especially because we now have infections that are untreatable, which are being spread at a global scale. In this talk, we will go over the causes of antibiotic resistance, the challenges that we are facing and solutions that we are working on to help solve this looming crisis.

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Past Lectures

April 21, 2022, 5:30-6:30pm

200x200 - Alumni University with Lulu Kang, Ph.D.

Fair and diverse allocation of scarce resources

Lulu Kang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Applied Mathematics

We aim to design a fairness-aware allocation approach to maximize the geographical diversity and avoid unfairness in the sense of demographic disparity. During the development of this work, the COVID-19 pandemic is still spreading in the U.S. and other parts of the world on large scale. Many poor communities and minority groups are much more vulnerable than the rest.

To provide sufficient vaccine and medical resources to all residents and effectively stop the further spreading of the pandemic, the average medical resources per capita of a community should be independent of the community's demographic features but only conditional on the exposure rate to the disease.

This prevention-centered strategy seeks a balance between geographical coverage and social group fairness. Lulu's presentation will talk through proposed principles to be applied to other scarce resources and social benefits allocation.

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March 23, 2022, 5:30-6:30pm

200x200 - Alumni University with Kim Erwin

Human-centered healthcare: using design to create the care people want and can use

Kim Erwin

Associate Research Professor for Healthcare Design, Institute of Design

Healthcare is one of the largest, most complex sectors with a target market of all of humanity—but few would claim it is a people-centered industry. This presentation shares how human-centered design, coupled with the deep expertise of medicine, can promote more interpersonal models of care and improve healthcare delivery for patients, caregivers, and providers.

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February 22, 2022, 5:30-6:30pm

200x200 - Alumni University - Smriti Anand, Ph.D.

Leading a Multi-Generational Workforce

Smriti Anand, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Management, Stuart School of Business
Co-Editor, Human Relations

Contemporary organizations have employees from multiple generations with a wide range of values and needs. To be effective organizations need to understand and fulfill the unique needs of each generation. In this presentation I will discuss how to successfully manage these differences and improve communication, engagement, and productivity.

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January 31, 2022, 5:30-6:30pm

200x200 - Alumni University - Joseph Orgel, Ph.D.

The Road Less Traveled Might Be Innovation

Joseph Orgel, Ph.D.

Vice Provost of Academic Affairs
Professor of Biology & Biomedical Engineering
Associate Director of BioCAT

A background in several areas of professional development and scientific research is leading to basic and applied science and engineering advancements in heart disease, neurological conditions such as TBI, and leadership training not previously imagined possible. Much of the underlying research and practice involves cartilage, heart valves, brains, professional skill development, change management, student success, and dinosaurs. Yes, there is a logical connecting theme. There is a continuum of practice, both science and art, in hard computations, soft-observations, critical-analytical thinking, resonance leadership, and setting people up for success to be the best versions of themselves they can be. We are powering much of this effort through the Empowerment Mentorship and Leadership (ELM) program at Illinois Tech, which is connected to student worker training, professional preparation, support of student leaders, staff, and faculty. Illinois Tech is a maturation house for our students, where they choose (knowingly or not) to invest themselves for a time to become the independent and mature expert professionals the school is known for. This talk will present some cross-disciplinary research and also describe some of the work and thought processes behind it, in helping our current students become their best future selves.

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November 17, 2021, 5:30-6:30pm

200x200 - Alumni University - Calvin Nobles, Ph.D.

Hacking the Human: Exploring the Human Factor

Calvin Nobles, Ph.D.

Chair and Associate Professor,
Department of Information Technology and Management

This presentation explores human limitations and why cybercriminals and hackers continue to outmaneuver and deceive end-users and employees into cognitive attacks. Cognitive attacks are increasing daily because employees are underprepared and outwitted due to poor security awareness, biases, and heuristics. The presenter will explore human factor engineering solutions to address human performance issues to reduce human-enabled cybersecurity risk.

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October 19, 2021, 5:30-6:30pm

200x200 - Alumni University - Nancy Kim

How Terms of Service Control Modern Society

Prof. Nancy Kim

Michael Paul Galvin Chair in Entrepreneurship and Applied Legal Technology
Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law

Professor Kim's research explores how digital adhesive terms, often labeled “wrap contracts,” or “Terms of Service,” became instrumental in shaping the online environment and how they have had a paradigm-shifting impact upon the marketplace and society. In her presentation, she will explain how adhesive terms became so foundational to today’s Internet, discuss the ways in which they have changed society and the economy in harmful ways, and explore what the future might look like if we continue to view Terms of Service as legitimate vehicles for contracting and obtaining consent.

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September 16, 2021, 5:30-6:30pm

Alumni University Mindy Pugh

Before IIT there was Jazz on State: Buildings and Stories from Bronzeville's Jazz Era

Mindy Pugh, Ph.D.

University Archivist

Join university archivist Mindy Pugh as we kick-off our fall Alumni University sessions. Mindy will discuss the history of Bronzeville and the area around Illinois Tech’s campus as well as highlights from her Homecoming trolley tour.

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July 7, 2021, 5:30-6:30pm

Alumni University - Carly Kocurek

Dolly Ludens: Why American Girl Dolls Play Video Games

Carly A. Kocurek, Ph.D.

Director of Graduate Studies, Lewis College of Science and Letters
Associate Professor, Digital Humanities and Media Studies


American Girl presents dolls with often lavish accessories -- the catalog includes doll kitchens, bedroom sets, and even a bowling alley - and Courtney, the brand's most recent historical doll, is no exception. The character's Pac-Man obsession is a fun bit of nostalgia for classic arcade games, and the doll-sized arcade cabinet certainly made a splash. But, why, exactly, is a doll playing video games? Join humanities associate professor Carly Kocurek for a talk about dolls playing games and what American Girl's vision of the 1980s can tell us about our past and present.

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June 14, 2021, 5:30-6:30pm

Alumni University - Patrick Corrigan

Beating the Stigma of Mental Illness

Patrick Corrigan, Psy.D.

Distinguished Professor, Psychology


Research at Illinois Tech has shown that the stigma experienced by people with mental illness can be as troubling as the illness itself.  In this presentation, Professor Patrick Corrigan will review his research describing the impact of mental illness stigma and effective ways to combat it.  One such way is to promote interaction among people with lived experience of mental illness and the rest of the population.

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May 4, 2021, 5:30-6:30pm

Alumni University - Ali Cinar

Developments & New Research on Diabetes

Ali Cinar, Ph.D.

Director, Engineering Center for Diabetes Research and Education
Hyosung S. R. Cho Endowed Chair in Engineering
Professor, Chemical Engineering


Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people around the world and causes many co-morbidities ranging from cardiovascular diseases to kidney failure and blindness. The presentation will focus on recent developments for treatment to keep the blood glucose concentration of people with diabetes in a desirable range with smart insulin pens and artificial pancreas systems and on new research on curing diabetes by islet transplantation and regeneration.

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April 13, 2021, 5:30-6:30pm

Alumni University - Phil Troyk

Illinois Tech and the Intracortical Visual Prosthesis (ICVP) - a 20-Year Quest for a Wireless Brain Interface

Philip Troyk, Ph.D.

Robert A. Pritzker Endowed Chair in Engineering
Executive Director, Pritzker Institute of Biomedical Science and Engineering
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Affiliate Professor, Stuart School of Business


For the past 20 years, Illinois Tech has led a multi-institutional team for developing a fully wireless brain interface for communicating image information from a video camera directly to the brain for individuals with profound blindness.  This presentation will discuss the implantable system and the interactions of the team institutions that are making this novel project possible.

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March 30, 2021, 4:00-5:00pm

Alumni University - Maryam Saleh

Town Hall with Maryam Saleh, Executive Director of Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship 

Maryam Saleh, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Kaplan Institute

Maryam is currently executive director of the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship at Illinois Tech. She has held leadership roles at several startups including Machinify, a venture-backed startup that's applying AI to bend the cost curve in healthcare and Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems, a medical device company that used brain implants and machine learning to restore movement in quadriplegic individuals. In this town hall, she will introduce herself, her work and upcoming plans for the Kaplan Institute.

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March 18, 2021, 5:30-6:30pm

Alumni University - Ken Christensen

Town Hall with Ken Christensen, Dean of Armour College of Engineering

Kenneth T. Christensen, Ph.D.

Carol and Ed Kaplan Dean of Armour College of Engineering
Professor, Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering
Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering

Kenneth T. Christensen joined Illinois Institute of Technology in November 2020 as the Carol and Ed Kaplan Dean of Armour College of Engineering. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering and the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering. Christensen came to Illinois Tech from the University of Notre Dame. In this town hall, he will introduce himself, his work and upcoming initiatives and plans for the Armour College of Engineering.

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February 16, 2021, 5:30-6:30pm

Alumni University - Sarah Hanson and Matt Callone

Environmental, Economic and Social Performance of Regional Landscapes

Sarah Hanson (M.L.A. + U '15)

Adjunct Professor, Master of Landscape Architecture

Matt Callone (M.L.A. + U '20)

Participating in the Landscape Architecture Foundation's Case Study Initiative, Sarah and Matt’s research investigated the environmental, economic, and social performance of three regional landscapes including the Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago Botanic Garden Regenstein Learning Campus and the Argyle Shared Street in the Uptown neighborhood; they will share and discuss their research and findings.

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January 26, 2021, 5:30-6:30pm

Alumni University - Britt Burton Freeman

Fermenting for Life

Britt Burton-Freeman, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Nutrition Research
Chair, Department of Food Science and Nutrition

Join Britt and learn about fermentation in your everyday life and new information about how fermentation effects health, products and the world around us.

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