AERO-STEM Illinois College

AERO-STEM group photo

AERO-STEM scholars at Illinois College will receive the following:

  • A full-tuition scholarship for four years.
    • Total amount calculated after other financial aid sources applied.
  • Research opportunities.
  • Academic coaching and career support services. 
  • Connections to STEM-field internships with Illinois College's professional partners.
  • A fully-funded summer bridge program.
  • Enhanced faculty advising and peer support.

AERO-STEM is funded by the National Science Foundation S-STEM Award 1833763

Eligibility Requirements

New applications are no longer being accepted for AERO-STEM

The AERO-STEM program is funded by the National Science Foundation with the goal of increasing the number, quality and diversity of students obtaining degrees and pursuing careers in the STEM fields. Questions? Contact Dr. Miranda Karban at

Emma Green '23

Emma Green began her chemistry research journey, resulting in her first-authored publication, under the guidance of Dr. Jocelyn Lanorio. This milestone propelled Emma toward further achievements in academia. She received the 2022 Pfizer Research and Travel Award and was recognized with the 2022 American Chemical Society Sci-Mix Outstanding National Conference Abstract Award. Additionally, Emma was selected for the prestigious 2023 DAAD RISE-Germany Research Internship and honored with the 2023 James A. Abrahamson Space Leader Fellowship. Emma graduated a semester early in the Class of 2024 with summa cum laude standing. Currently employed as a chemist at Midwest Compliance Laboratory, Emma will soon begin a PhD program in Chemistry.

Learn more about Emma

Bella Aguirre '24

In the summer of 2022, Bella Aguirre conducted research alongside Illinois College Biology professor Miranda Karban. For this research project, Bella collected measurements from human growth study x-rays to study the development and sex-related differences in the shape of the eye orbit. She has presented the findings of her research project at a national conference, the annual meeting of the American Association of Biological Anthropologists, as well as at local and regional conferences. Her presentation was honored with a first-place poster presentation award in the Division of Anthropology & Archaeology at the annual meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Science. Bella will soon graduate with a bachelor's degree in Biology with a concentration in Physiology, and plans to attend graduate school next year.

Learn more about the Human Biology Laboratory

Nathan Garnett '23

With support from the AERO-STEM program, Nathan Garnett participated in a 10-week summer research program alongside Illinois College Physics professor Josiah Kunz. During this program, Nathan developed a video game to illustrate the impacts of special relativity. This video game has since been incorporated into the Physics II class at Illinois College, helping students to better understand this complex topic. While attending Illinois College, Nathan was awarded the George W. Horton Sr. Prize in Physics. Nathan is currently pursuing a dual degree program in Electrical Engineering at Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville.

Learn more about the Physics program

Ainslee Stroup '24

In the summer of 2022, Ainslee conducted research with Dr. Bryan Arnold examining the use of automated recorders to study social behavior and communication in free-flying insect eating bats in Siloam Springs State Park. As part of this project, Ainslee analyzed thousands of recordings using computer software and identified different types of social calls produced by different species of bats. By documenting the types of calls, the number of calls, and the context of the recording (e.g. whether the recorder was placed in an area that was open vs. a closed tree canopy, the time of night the recording was made, the period of the summer the recording was made etc.) she was able to make inferences about the function of the calls produced by the bats as well as look at differences in call types among different species of bats. As part of her summer research experience, Ainslee also helped capture bats using mist-nets to help document the presence of endangered and threatened bat species. Ainslee presented the preliminary results of her research at the annual North American Society for Bat Research meeting in Winnipeg Canada in October 2023. This summer she will begin a full-time job as a bat technician at the Missouri Dept. of Conservation. 

Learn more about Bat Research at IC