Community Partners

In tandem with the course lectures, graduate students collaborate with AVID teachers and students, as well as community and business partners to develop engineering solutions to important problems in our local community. During the 2017 IRISE program, we were fortunate to partner with the Illini Wheelchair Basketball Program to identify and develop solutions to problems athletes face during the course of training, competition, or every day life.

The IRISE AVID Engineering Scholars Program aims to facilitate true collaboration among all participants with a user-oriented approach to design. We work closely with individuals impacted by the problem we are attempting to solve and incorporate their feedback into the prototype development. Though our STEM graduate students often bring the most technical knowledge, the AVID students and community members are essential to understanding all aspects of the problem and generating innovative solution ideas.

This program involves a constant exchange of ideas between community members who understand their own problems best, AVID students who bring their own knowledge, experience, and youthful optimism to generate creative solution ideas, and the graduate students who apply their technical knowledge to developing prototypes of the team’s ideas. The ideal collaboration involves all team members broadening their understanding of problems impacting their community as well as expanding their technical skills at the same time!