Practice this skill and you'll survive any situation.

Telling apart the Olsen twins

June 21, 2016 -   An obvious difference between these two cars is the arrangement of the tail lights.Having an eye for detail is a useful thing. Getting in the habit of paying attention to what you’re looking at and noticing some characteristics can be helpful for identifying the object later in a different context as well as for spotting abnormalities or potential failures.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Taylor's got all your local and online options for buying and selling textbooks and more.

Spare change

June 13, 2016 -   Amazon can be a good place for selling books other than textbooks.There are numerous opportunities online and around Champaign-Urbana to make or get back a little cash. Consider trying some of these instead of buying everything new or throwing used stuff away.   Commonly used websites like Craigslist and Reddit are great ways to sell locally.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Taylor does the searching for you and finds some interesting hidden gems across campus.


June 9, 2016 -   Analog clock in MEL lab.The campus is full of little details and secrets, many of which beg the question, “Why?”  See how many of these you’re familiar with.    In one of the labs in MEL, there is a large analog clock behind a glass panel.  MEL also has the homebuilt puzzle case, although it’s currently incognito.
Undergraduate, Taylor
MechSE-based POETS and ENVISION provide educational outreach effort

Middle schoolers experience solar cars on Bardeen Quad

June 8, 2016 -   Students from the Urbana Middle School Summer Math Academy met up with volunteers from ENVISION and POETS to take advantage of some summer weather on the Bardeen Quad on Tuesday.The kids, with some help from volunteers, built solar powered cars and raced them along the sidewalk.
Looking for inspiration or hoping to solve a problem? Taylor suggests keeping your eyes and mind open to any possible solution.

The most unlikely places

May 31, 2016 -   Missiles were kept in underground silos during the Cold War. WD-40 was created to prevent the weapons from rusting.As engineering students, it’s pretty much a given that we should be able to come up with our own ideas.    All the problem solving we do in class serves to make us better at knowing how to find good solutions.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Two MechSE graduate students introduce a new RSO to focus on offering more local outreach opportunities to other grad students.

Grad students ENVISION more accessible STEM outreach

May 25, 2016 -   Matt Milner and Ashley ArmstrongMechSE graduate students Matt Milner and Ashley Armstrong were both student athletes while getting their undergrad degrees in STEM. And they both cut their teeth on athletics outreach— but back then, they did sports camps, not STEM camps.
Taylor wraps up 2015-2016 with a reminder of all the great (and not so great) things that happened this year.

School's out for...

May 15, 2016 -   Cantaloupe in the Ike carved like a jack-o-lantern for Halloween.Good job everyone on making it through another school year!  I’d like to briefly address our graduating seniors.     Congratulations, all of you.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Amanda has some words of advice for her former classmates, soon-to-be MechSE alumni!

Congratulations, new MechSE alumni!

May 10, 2016 -   Gah, how can this be a year ago already?! Seniors, make sure you get in line early to get a picture with Alma.It’s the final stretch! My newsfeed tells me that the next round of MechSE seniors have officially survived senior design. On that note, CONGRATULATIONS! It’s hard to believe that I was giving my presentation a year ago already.
Taylor's got some tips for beating the upcoming summer heat.

Surviving summer heat (if summer heat ever comes)

May 9, 2016 -   A dog tries to beat the heat by laying on an ice bed.Whether you’re staying on campus over the summer or going somewhere else hot for a few months, here are some tips for getting through the heat (especially useful if you don’t have air conditioning).  Most of these have assumed that you have access to a fridge. Make your own popsicles using fruit juice and a mold.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Learn everything you wanted to know about taking the GRE.

Introducing the GRE

May 5, 2016 -   The GRE focuses on testing your logic and reasoning skills.The GRE (“Graduate Record Examinations”) is the most common test required for admission to grad school.  It focuses on testing your logic and reasoning skills as well as your ability to construct an argument and some basic math skills.     You are given a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the GRE.
Undergraduate, Taylor
In the April edition of her blog series, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: April gallery

April 28, 2016 - Outside Altgeld Hall on a rainy day. Sunlight shines through a flowering dogwood across the street from the main Quad.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Taylor reminds us of the most pressing issues in grammar.

Between the three of us, its not rocket science

April 20, 2016 - To address some very common grammar mistakes, here is a simple (and hopefully useful) list.  Did you catch the two errors in the title?   Its vs. It’s This may seem self-explanatory, but it comes up all the time.  “It’s” is a shorter way of saying “it is.”  “Its” is possessive.  It’s a nice day.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Taylor brings the truth on several well-known misconceptions in engineering and physics.

Lethal pennies and other misconceptions

April 12, 2016 -   Here is a list of some common misconceptions in STEM subjects and their explanations.     Physics:
Undergraduate, Taylor
Alumni Bill Jackson and Melanie Willi each offered impactful thoughts to MechSE's fall 2015 graduates.

MechSE alumni provide sound advice for graduates

April 5, 2016 -   Over the years, MechSE has seen many successful engineers come through the department.    Two such alumni came back to campus to speak at the December 2015 Commencement Ceremony.
In a second edition this month of her blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: Farewell to March

March 30, 2016 - Looking at the Illini Union from the front of Foellinger Auditorium on a warm day in early March. A view of Jupiter, resembling a distant star, outside the Beckman Institute.
Undergraduate, Taylor
You've learned about sound waves thanks to Taylor. Now she takes it one step further with music theory.


March 28, 2016 -   Pitches with similar frequencies create an interference pattern that makes alternates between loud and soft volume, making a beating sound.Now that you’ve read about how sound waves work, here’s a follow-up looking at sound waves working in harmony (or dissonance), or in other words, basic music theory.    For whatever scale (the specified set of musical notes ordered by pitch)
Undergraduate, Taylor
MechSE graduate researchers have been named semi-finalists in the campus Image of Research competition.

MechSE grad students compete in Image of Research contest

March 22, 2016 -   Update 4/7/2016: Congratulations to MechSE's Mohamed Elhebeary!
Taylor explains how different media affect the movement of sound waves.

Faking the sound of bells

March 6, 2016 -   When Jill speaks on the other side of the doorway, Jack can hear what she says because of the way the sound waves spread out as they travel.If you remember from physics, sound waves are longitudinal waves, meaning that the displacement of the medium is in the same direction as the motion of the wave. In other words, the sound carried by the wave moves in the direction that the wave travels.
Undergraduate, Taylor
In this March edition of her blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: March gallery

March 3, 2016 - Looking north toward the Beckman Quad from outside the Digital Computer Laboratory. View of the Main Quad from outside the English Building.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Taylor shares the highlights from Dean Cangellaris' talk for Engineering Council's "Last Lecture" series.

How luminous life is

March 2, 2016 -   Dean Andreas Cangellaris gave a talk for Engineering Council’s “Last Lecture” series.
Undergraduate, Taylor


Enjoy this fun story from EM junior Taylor.

Engineering finals: A story in gifs

December 9, 2015 -   You just got back from Thanksgiving Break, and finals are coming soon.  People are telling you to start studying.  “Still got a couple weeks,” you say.  “No big deal. 
Taylor offers some tips for finals prep success this week.

T minus 10...

December 8, 2015 -   It’s the end of the homestretch now and finals are about to begin.  I was wondering how different people prepare for finals, so I took a survey.
Undergraduate, Taylor
In a new blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captured from around campus.

Views of MechSE: December gallery

December 2, 2015 - MEL from across Boneyard Creek. In the lobby of Loomis Lab. Boneyard Creek in the mid-November rain.
Undergraduate, Taylor
EM undergrad Taylor sums up the big things you need to know as a MechSE sophomore.

Things you should know by sophomore year

November 29, 2015 -   Here’s a list for you of things I’ve found that sophomores in particular should definitely know. Some of this is specific to my major (engineering mechanics).   “The flowsheet is a guideline, not a rule.”  I have heard that many times.  Let me clarify what it actually means.  The flowsheet is basically a list of every class you need to take in order to graduate.
Undergraduate, Taylor
How not to explode your Thanksgiving turkey, and a story of thanks from Taylor.

Thank you for the blessings

November 19, 2015 - The holiday season is beginning and Thanksgiving is nearly here!  Here’s some interesting science for you: as you’ve probably heard on the news, throwing a frozen turkey into a deep fryer or even the oven can cause it to explode.  This is because frozen meat is full of moisture.  When the meat experiences a sudden spike in temperature from the overload of heat, the moisture inside it is vaporized and turns to gas molecules.
Undergraduate, Taylor
In a new blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captured from around campus.

Views of MechSE: November gallery

November 12, 2015 -   View looking out to the south from within Talbot's crane bay. Next to the west main bridge on the Bardeen Quad.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Wondering what TAM 335 is all about? Taylor has the scoop.

Overview of TAM 335: Fluid Mechanics

November 11, 2015 - This semester I’m taking fluid mechanics. I really didn’t know anything about it before I signed up.  Hopefully here I can answer some questions other people might have.   TAM 335 is taught by Professor Keane. Some of the concepts covered are based on differential equations, so concurrent or prior registration in a diff equations class can be very helpful.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Ever wondered about the science behind color? Taylor explains it in a way we can all understand.

In living color

October 29, 2015 -   For artists, color theory is a guide to mixing colors and is especially useful for achieving goals such as a special effect or a certain pigment. However, there’s actually a lot of science in colors. For anyone who’s taken physics 214 or any class that works with photons, the electromagnetic spectrum should be familiar.
Undergraduate, Taylor
ASME continues their tradition for 2015 Homecoming with a fun parade float.

ASME reps MechSE with Homecoming parade float

October 22, 2015 -   Edit (11/12/2015): The ASME float won the campus' first place prize for their design.  This year, ASME has constructed their annual Homecoming parade float, hoping that it will capture the excitement of Homecoming and the school spirit of Illinois. 
If you aren't familiar with the "Crusher" in Talbot Lab, Taylor gives you several reasons why you should get to know it.

The Iron Giant

October 21, 2015 -   The Southwark-Emery Universal Testing Machine in Talbot Lab has a variety of uses.In the back of Talbot Lab is a crane bay that is home to the Southwark-Emery Universal Testing Machine. Assembled in 1929, the two-story tall machine can load up to 3,000,000 pounds in tension or compression and can measure the applied force within one tenth of one percent.
Undergraduate, Taylor
MechSE faculty, staff, grad students, and undergrads showed their guests many of the exciting educational experiences the department offers.

MechSE Open House 2015 draws freshmen, prospective students

October 15, 2015 -     On Friday, October 9, the MechSE Department hosted a departmental open house with exhibits and demonstrations in Mechanical Engineering Laboratory. Prospective MechSE students - top high school students from around the state, with their parents - visited to discover many of the exciting educational experiences the department offers.
Assistant Professor Shelby Hutchens leads the Thermodynamics undergrad students in the first poster session for the course.

Undergrads share real-world energy system findings during ME 300 poster session

October 14, 2015 -     Several undergraduates in MechSE’s Thermodynamics course (ME 300) participated in their first poster session, held October 12 in MEL.
Looking for fun things to do in C-U now that fall is definitely here? Taylor gives you lots of options!

As the trees turn

October 8, 2015 -     Even with the seventy degree days, it has definitely turned to fall here on campus.  Here is a list of fall activity ideas for the off chance that anyone has enough free time to do them.
Undergraduate, Taylor
In a new blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares some awesome photos she captured around campus.

Views of MechSE: October gallery

October 5, 2015 -   The Engineer, reading outside of Grainger Library. View of the Boneyard Creek from Mathews Street, looking south.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Taylor explores the unique history of buildings and historic sites on the Illinois campus.

Tracing the growth of Illinois

September 30, 2015 -   As we are all aware, the campus is constantly changing and growing. Forty years ago, the Bardeen Quad had MEL, Talbot, and Everitt. Farther north was DCL.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Engineering freshmen design LEGO-Bots for their Engineering 100 course.

Freshmen LEGO-Bot designs compete for Engineering 100 title

September 24, 2015 - MechSE student teams’ LEGO-Bots developed in this semester's Engineering 100 course were on full display September 16 in the atrium of Mechanical Engineering Lab. For the final class meeting, the teams’ creations competed in a ball-gathering contest, with one winner crowned for each of three class sessions. 
Taylor spent an awesome summer working with an airplane mechanic at Blodgett Memorial Airport in Houghton Lake, Michigan.

More fun than a barrel of grease monkeys

September 20, 2015 -   Over the summer I spent a few weeks working with an aircraft mechanic in a full-service hangar at Blodgett Memorial Airport (KHTL) in Houghton Lake, Michigan. I am not a certified mechanic, so there were some limits as to what I could do. However, this did not diminish the skills I was able to learn.   There are different levels of aircraft mechanics.
Undergraduate, Taylor
Taylor writes about her amazing experience at the annual summer airplane fair in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Endless sea of wings

September 10, 2015 -   Every year for one week in July, thousands of planes fly to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the convention widely known as Oshkosh. Formally called EAA Airventure, hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association and held at Wittman Regional Airport, Oshkosh is a living dream for anyone who loves airplanes. Over this past summer I finally made it back to Oshkosh for the first time in eight years.
Undergraduate, Taylor
The Fall 2015 Corporate After Hours, co-hosted with ISE, introduced undergraduates to exciting new companies looking to recruit.

Corporate After Hours welcomes exciting new companies

September 9, 2015 -   MechSE's undergraduate students met with representatives from 15 companies on the evening of September 8, 2015 at MechSE’s Corporate After Hours.
A team of researchers led by a professor in the College of Education are looking at MechSE's TAM courses for inspiration in collaborative learning.

Research for improving education looks at TAM students

June 11, 2015 - College of Education Professor Emma Mercier with her multi-touch tables in the lab classroom.College of Education Professor Emma Mercier is studying how TAM students work in groups as part of her research on collaborative learning.
Undergraduate, Taylor


Make note of these dates before you leave for summer break!

Important dates for Fall 2014

May 14, 2014 - Congrats to all our grads this year!  Congrats, also, to students who are finishing their current degree and starting in MechSE Grad Programs this fall.  Before you leave for summer break, be sure to add these important dates to your calendar!
Connect with MechSE Grad!

MechSE Grad Social Media Links

April 27, 2014 - New and Continuing MechSE Students - be sure to connect with us on Social Media! GraMS (Graduate MechSE Students) facebook page - Grad Women (MGW) facebook page - LinkedIn group - Grad on Twitter at 
MechSE celebrated the department's grad and undergrad student award recipients at a banquet on April 11, 2014.

Congratulations to our 2014 award recipients!

April 22, 2014 -
Graduate, Undergraduate
We look forward to our new class of students!

April 15th is near...

April 8, 2014 - You may remember from previous posts that our applicant pool for 2014 was a record high, and very competitive!  Applicants with an offer of aid must respond to their offer by April 15th in order to accept or decline the offer.  After April 15th, offers of admission are still valid, but we are not able to hold financial offers past April 15th.
See photos of the return of Alma Mater to her home at the corner of Green and Wright streets.

Alma comes home

April 8, 2014 -
Graduate, Undergraduate, Alumni
Congrats to our NSF-GRFP Winners!

Another great week wraps up at MechSE Grad!

April 2, 2014 - It's been another great week here in MechSE Grad---a couple days ago it was announced that 9 MechSE students were recognized by the National Science Foundation for their submissions to the Graduate Research Fellowship Program.  Five of those students were awarded fellowships, and four received honorable mentions.  Congrats to winners - Marc Deetjen, Nathan Dostart, Ritu Raman, Rishi Bal Singh, and Nicolas Tobin, and honorable mentions - Zachary Berent, Yung Fan, Kyle Mackay, and Herschel Pangborn.
On campus?  Off campus?  What are my options?

Where should I start when looking for housing options?

March 24, 2014 - Making plans for graduate study is such an exciting time.  Perhaps one of your first thoughts after receiving your offer of admission (or maybe even when you filled out your application) was, "Where will I live?"  There are a number of housing opportunities in the Champaign-Urbana area - both on campus and off campus.  Personally, I recommend that students first consider what location would work best for them.  If you're planning remotely, this may be a little tricky, but there's a great campus map
What comes after the offer of admission?

I've been offered what?"

March 18, 2014 - Congratulations to those who have been offered admission for Fall 2014!  When an offer of admission has been received, admitted students may begin contacting faculty to discuss research opportunities. In the March-September timeframe, MechSE faculty will be hiring for the coming academic year. The faculty have access to all application materials for this purpose. While the hiring process is controlled by faculty members themselves, the Graduate Programs Office assists both admitted students and faculty in this process as well.
New rankings, new admissions, and Engineering Open House!

Wrapping up a busy week at MechSE

March 13, 2014 - It's been a great week in MechSE Grad!  One of this week's highlights included the announcement that MechSE's Grad Programs are now ranking No.
Snapshots from last week's events!

MechSE Grad Events, 2014

March 6, 2014 - Last week's glad events went off without a hitch!  It was great to see such a great turnout of our current students.  I'll post a few pictures...I would also recommend you check out MechSE's Facebook page for more photos!   
How fitting that "I <3 Illinois Week" coincided with MechSE Grad's busiest week of the year!

I <3 Illinois Week...I <3 MechSE Week!

February 25, 2014 - This week, the 1867 Society is sponsoring their annual "I
This spring, Elizabeth Jones will guide a legally blind high school student through a half marathon.

MechSE grad student to guide legally blind runner

February 16, 2014 - Over the weekend, the News-Gazette profiled MechSE's Elizabeth Jones, a graduate student in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. This spring she will guide a legally blind high school student through a half marathon. The full story is here:
Apply today for weSTEM 2014!

2014 Women Empowered in STEM (weSTEM) Conference

February 10, 2014 - 2014 Women Empowered in STEM (weSTEM) ConferenceSaturday, April 19, I Hotel Conference Center GradSWE's flagship conference, Women Empowered in STEM (weSTEM), brings together women engineers and scientists with advanced degrees to share experiences from their academic and professional career paths, providing insight into their personal successes in STEM.
Over 50 posters representing numerous research projects

Graduate Students Collaborate for Poster Session

February 5, 2014 - This week our graduate students collaborated on a poster session in the Deere Pavilion commons in the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory.  It was great to see over 50 posters containing pictures and findings from research projects happening in the department.  Over 60 graduate students served as presenters for fellow students, faculty, and staff.  In addition, an invited panel of faculty from our peer institutions attended.  
Fall 2014 applications received from 40 countries.

Record high of applications for Fall 2014

January 29, 2014 - We are excited to announce that we've received a record number of applications received for 2014; over 1000 applications were submitted.  Each year the committee is excited to review potential candidates for our programs.  This year's pool represents 40 countries around the world. 
The Spring 2014 seminar schedule is out!

Seminar schedule - Spring 2014

January 21, 2014 - Every semester, MechSE invites leading researchers in mechanical engineering and theoretical and applied mechanics to visit our department and offer a seminar to our students.  Every semester we have a diverse schedule of talks covering biomechanics, controls & dynamics, fluid mechanics & thermal sciences, nanomechanics & nanomanufacturing, and solid mechanics & materials. 
Application deadline is Jan 4

Still time to apply for Fall 2014

January 1, 2014 - Welcome back from winter break, all, and Happy New Year!  We're busy processing applications so this will be a short entry.  If you have yet to apply for Fall 2014 and you would like to be considered, we are accepting applications until January 4th.  After January 4th, MechSE Grad will no longer take applications for Fall 2014.  This is a firm deadline.  If you want to be considered for Fall 2014 admission to MechSE Grad, you must apply by January 4th.
Apply today!

MechSE is accepting applications until January 4th!

December 18, 2013 - Our department is accepting applications until January 4th.  If you are interested in MechSE, we encourage you to apply today!  Application instructions can be found here. 
Important points for applicants!

Applying FAQ

December 5, 2013 - Hello all!  We are excited to be receiving your applications for Fall 2014 admission.  Please keep in mind that we receive a high volume of applications and will work to update the status of your documents in the My.MechSE system as quickly as possible.  We have been receiving many questions at mechse-gradillinois [dot] edu, and there are 3 items I would like to make sure you are aware of:
What do students do when they're not in the lab?

What do Illinois students do for fun?

December 2, 2013 - Wondering about things to do in the Champaign-Urbana area?  Champaign-Urbana is a rich, vibrant community. If you are seeking arts and cultural programs, you can find a full list here.