Why iCons?

The UMass Amherst iCons program prepares our best undergraduates to be problem solvers, leaders and innovators in science and technology. iCons faculty recruit top tier students across a diverse range of science and engineering disciplines to identify global problems and find cutting edge solutions. The iCons program positions students for high achievement in graduate school and in their careers.

iCons Goes High School

iCons 2016 Educational Innovation Interns

For two and half months this summer, the iCons summer interns diligently toiled to produce the first set of iCons Case Study materials for use in the high school science classroom. Interns Dominique Kiki Carey, Rebecca Howard, and Corrine Losch (all iCons class of 2019) joined iCons alumna, Erica Light (Class of 2016) to form a team charged with the mission of creating and executing high school curriculum that prepares students to be leaders in solving the world’s challenges through problem solving and critical thinking.

Using the 5 steps of an iCons case study as their guide (Inception, Engagement, Research, Create, and Reflect) – the interns developed four case studies for use in a high school classroom, with a range of topics: Environmental Sustainability, Ocean Acidification, Oil Spills, and Antibiotic Resistance.

In the true spirit of iCons – this team was integrated and student-driven. Each of the four students hail from various majors (Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Math, and Environmental Science). Although College of Education graduate student Stephanie Purington was their fearless leader, it was the students who sailed the ship.

Their endeavor began with a mere two weeks’ time set aside to plan and create two case study lesson plans in time for them to be facilitated in three Chicopee high school chemistry classes before the end of the school year. Preparation included research on the city of Chicopee, in order to determine how best to engage the students on issues in their community.

Next, they moved into the classroom. The interns facilitated one case study over a two-week period in three different Chicopee high school classes. As this was the first experience with teaching for all of the them, much was learned. The feedback from the students was great --- hearing comments like, “This was the first time I got to do a presentation in science” and the case study experience “put the science in real-life” let the interns know that they were on to something. The students’ products were pushed outside the classroom (just as they are in iCons) – reaching places such as the United Nations, the Mayor of Chicopee, and the CDC.

Check out their awesome work here: Read more

Welcome Dr. Justin Fermann, the new iCons Program Director

Dr. Justin Fermann

Please welcome Dr. Justin Fermann as the new Director of the iCons Program at UMass Amherst. Dr. Fermann is a Senior Lecturer in the UMass Amherst Chemistry Department, a position he has held since 2000. Dr. Fermann was involved in the initial design and development of the iCons Program in 2009-2010, and has been teaching in the iCons 1 “Global Challenges, Scientific Solutions” course since its inception in Spring 2011. Dr. Justin Fermann has been appointed by CNS Dean Steve Goodwin as the new director of iCons.

“I am delighted that Dr. Fermann will be stepping in as Director of iCons,” says Goodwin. “He has been an important part of the iCons team since the program’s inception. A recipient of the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the CNS Outstanding Teacher Award, Justin’s deep commitment to students and to innovative education is impressive and much appreciated on campus.”

“I am thrilled to take the reins of the iCons Program, with its potential to transform how we teach science, engineering, and beyond,” Fermann says.

Fermann holds a BS in Chemistry and a BA in Physics, both from Hartwick College, and a PhD in Theoretical Chemistry from the University of Georgia.

Syndicate content