Astrobuddies Assemble: STEM Read is Launching into the Awesome-sphere!

By Hannah Carmack, Creative Content Coordinator

We’ve got a behemoth of an update this summer, complete with new team members, extra exciting professional development, and awesome author news! Here’s the 411:  

Over the last four months, we’ve been silent, but we’ve been growing. Here’s what you missed:


Since our last post, three bloggers joined the STEM Read team.

Christine Brovelli-O’Brien, Ph.D., spent over thirteen years in higher education with teaching specializations in literature, rhetoric, and composition before taking the leap into freelance writing and editing. She’s excited to be a part of STEAM Read and to discover new, exciting ways of looking at the world around us. Her work also appears in Hill’s Pet Channel, Fit Pregnancy, What to Expect When You’re Expecting Word of Mom, and

Dr. Brovelli-O’Brien joins us as a Content Contributor

Isabella Cortes is a senior in the English program at Northern Illinois University. She is studying writing with a minor in Communication and a certificate in creative writing. Having grown up in Illinois her whole life, one of her greatest desires is to see more of the world. Her favorite part about reading is how books transport us to new places! She aspires to write novels and recently celebrated her first publication in NIU’s Literary Magazine, Towers.  

Isabella joins us as a STEM Read Intern

Claire Culton is a senior English major, minoring in Environmental and Political Sciences. With her unique mixture of studies, Claire hopes to one day work for a Non-Profit organization to help write grants and proposals that raise money for environmental causes. This is her first year working with STEM Read as an intern and she is very excited to absorb everything that the programs have to offer!

Claire joins us as a STEM Read Intern

On top of bringing you three new and exciting voices, we’re eager to launch two new blogging categories.

“Hot and STEAM-Y Thoughts” is our most ambitious category thus far. We’ll be writing think-pieces, buzzy lists, and analyses of trends in literature and education.

“Buddy Blogs” serves as a home for friends-of the-program who are dropping in for special guest posts. Author of the Ashfalltrilogy, Mike Mullin, will be kicking off the “Buddy Blogs” program this summer! You can learn more about Mike and his new release Surface Tension here
The STEM Read Podcast

Since our last update, we’ve dropped a new episode of The STEM Read Podcast over at WNIJ’s website. Episode 8, What You Don’t Know Could Kill You! , features Kate Moore, author of The Radium Girls, and Dr. Marilyn Black, an expert chemist and pioneer in worker and consumer safety.

Listeners stay tuned because this season on The STEM Read Podcast we’ve got special guests Andrea BeatyTodd Burleson Brendan WenzelPeter Brown, and Andy Weir joining us. We’ll also be releasing a special episode dedicated to exploring the #MeToo movement in kidlit in which we interview Martha Brockenbrough and Anne Ursu.

STEM Read on the Scene with Special Guest Andy Weir:

Hermes IV is touching down in Chicago! Join author Andy Weir and STEM Read this June for two events that are out of this world.

Professional Development Party in Space June 26, 2018, 6 – 8 p.m.
Educators, STEM Read and Andy Weir invite you to an out-of-this-world party where you can explore the science behind The Martian and Artemis through fun, hands-on games. We’ll transport you to Mars and the moon where you can solve problems to save astronaut Mark Watney and the entire population of Artemis. Also, see cool tech from BrainPOP, HTC, NIU’s Mars Rover Team, and more. Registration includes a copy of Artemis, educator resources, an appetizer buffet, soft drinks, and beer from Burnt City Brewing. Learn more and register online.

Future Telling: Imagining and Creating a Better World
June 28, 2018, 6–8 p.m.
Teens and parents, Join Andy Weir, STEM Read Director Gillian King-Cargile, and researchers from Argonne National Laboratory as we explore how storytelling fuels creativity and spurs innovation. We’ll hear Andy Weir’s origin story, play math and puzzle games based on Weir’s books, and meet experts in energy storage, nanotechnology, and supercomputing who will share their advice for the next generation of innovators. This event is free, but advanced registration is required. Learn more and register online.

STEM Read Summer Institute with Special Guest Mike Mullin:

You can become a STEM Read educator at the inaugural STEM Read Summer Institute. This July, at Northern Illinois University, you can become an expert in STEM Read’s unique approach to learning through our gamified field trips. Each day, you’ll experience a field trip from the “student” perspective, then work with STEM Read experts to understand our design process, and learn to adapt and facilitate the field trips at your school. The institute includes time for networking and collaborating with your fellow educators, experts, and even a special guest and STEM Read author Mike Mullin!  Register Now. You can learn more about Mike and his new release Surface Tension here.

More to Come…

We’re hoping to have BIG announcements regarding our 2018-2019 DeKalb, IL field trip experiences soon, but until then we’ll keep posting and keep reading.