2016 Participant Breakdown

Countries represented at SISE 2016!

Countries represented at SISE 2016!

38 participants from around the United States - and the world! - were selected from a pool of 110 applicants to join us from August 4-17 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. SISE'ers are all offered free lodging with us on campus, and many are offered partial travel scholarships so they can attend the program with minimal financial impact to them. (And, there's no program fee!)

50% of attendees identified as female, 45% identified as male, and 5% preferred a different gender identity. 53% identified as a racial minority - including Asian, African, or mixed descent - and 11% identified as Latinx. Just over 1/2 of participants were in their early 20s, and 82% were still enrolled in school, primarily at the graduate level. They represented 34 different majors and came from 22 different academic institutions. Check out the stats below!

Some 2014 SISE'ers in an elevator. They didn't spend the whole program there. Don't worry.

Some 2014 SISE'ers in an elevator. They didn't spend the whole program there. Don't worry.


Academic Background

Applied Mathematics
Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
Biomedical Engineering
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Community Development and Sustainability
Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems
Earth & Environmental Sciences
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Energy Science and Engineering

Energy Systems
Environment Resource Management
Environmental Economics and Policy
Environmental Science
Environmental Studies and Philosophy
Industrial Design
Materials Science
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Molecular Engineering

Political Science
Quantitative Policy Analysis,
Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy
Sustainability Education
Sustainable Energy
Sustainable Systems
Urban and Regional Planning
Urban Planning and Public Administration


Academic Affiliation

Argonne National Laboratory
Dickinson College
Eastern Illinois University
Florida State University
Furman University
Goshen College
Illinois Institute of Technology
Northeastern University

Northern Arizona University
Penn State University
Portland State University
Princeton University
Purdue University, West Lafayette
University of California ­ Berkeley
University of Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
University of Tennessee
University of Texas at San Antonio
University of Washington



The Program

The program this year focused on the nexus of energy, water, and food. For two weeks, SISE'ers zipped around the UIC campus and the city of Chicago to: 

  • engage with presentations and SISE faculty, drawn from awesome Chicago-based speakers and local organizations;
  • tour Argonne National Laboratory and UI LABS;
  • network and socialize, as they did at Clean Energy Trust sponsored BBQ, a reception sponsored by the Canadian Consulate General of Chicago and Coalition:Energy, and the annual closing convocation at the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier; and
  • tackle real-world issues facing UIC, Chicago, and the world by developing unique visions through large and small, competitive, team-based research projects.




SISE 2016




Project Results

On August 16, eight groups of SISE'ers provided eight unique visions to revitalize derelict sites around Chicago, and in the process, create businesses that solved any number of sustainability and energy challenges around the city. Each vision was developed over the two weeks with the help of mentors and the expertise of our 2016 SISE crew. Each project was presented before a panel of judges on the final day. 

Group #6 (Chicago Dreamland) took first place overall, while Group #2 (Energy2Go) placed second and Group #4 (Hydranalytics) came in fourth... even though, at SISE, we're all winners.


What They Thought

At the conclusion of each SISE program, we take a couple hours and ask participants to assess the program through a written survey, and then in a "think tank" environment where our director, George Crabtree, moderates a group discussion about the program. We pride ourselves in taking the suggestions of our participants seriously and implementing changes annually, and SISE has become what it is now after seven years of comments and surveys. While we can't divulge most of the comments on the surveys, we can share two figures that we have seen time and time again: our participants found SISE to be a truly unique experience and they would overwhelmingly refer the program to their classmates and colleagues.


2016 Testimonials