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Latest LiveBIG: Illinois News

Illinois professor shows heart in attempt to climb Kilimanjaro: BTN LiveBIG

Paul Magelli is a man of many titles. Currently the visiting professor of economics, emeritus, at the University of Illinois, he’s also been in several other roles: senior director of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the university’s College of Business, founder of the student-run Illinois Business Consulting organization, and goat farmer. This August, the octogenarian is hoping to add another title to the list: oldest person to ever summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. Still, as he’s told his students, “Titles aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.” Even if he doesn’t make it to the very

BTN LiveBIG: Best of … Illinois

At the intersection of academics and innovation lie Champaign and Urbana. When it comes to success in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, few colleges can claim to be on the same level as the University of Illinois. The list of Illini alumni in these areas is long and distinguished, and includes names like Fazlur Rahman Khan (structural engineer for groundbreaking skyscrapers like the John Hancock Center in Chicago) and Martin Eberhard (co-founder of Tesla Motors). In information technology and computer science in particular, Illinois excels. From famous figures like Larry Ellison and Marc Andreessen to lesser-known —

BTN LiveBIG: Mandela Washington Fellows experience Big Ten hospitality

Rebel. Prisoner. Leader. Nelson Mandela was all of these things and more. He led the fight against the injustice of the South African apartheid state and was jailed for nearly three decades because of it. Then, shortly after he was freed, he became the father of the “new” South Africa when he was democratically elected as president of the “rainbow nation.” Though he passed on in 2013, Mandela’s name and legacy endure both in his home country and around the world, thanks in part to programs like the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Several Big Ten universities are

BTN LiveBIG: Peace Corps gets a B1G hand

The Big Ten Conference made quite a mark on the Peace Corps last year, as evidenced by the organization’s tally of volunteers by alma mater in 2015. Eight of the top 25 large universities (those with more than 15,000 undergraduates) were from the B1G, and the conference accounted for half of the top 10. Moreover, the University of Michigan was second on the list of volunteer-producing graduate schools. Wisconsin and Michigan are second- and fourth-place, respectively, on the list of all-time undergraduate volunteers (since 1961). Here’s a look at where Big Ten universities placed in 2015: 2. Wisconsin (68 undergraduate

BTN LiveBIG: Illini app gives kids something to chew over

The only thing more difficult than getting kids to make healthy dietary choices is holding their attention in a classroom. The new “Food for Thought” app, a project developed at the University of Illinois, might help children do both. Emma Mercier, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Illinois, designed “Food for Thought” with a team of researchers. The technology aims to help kids make more environmentally friendly decisions with what they eat, as well as provide a window into how today’s youth analyze data. “Over the course of nine months, we really tried to look at what would be

BTN LiveBIG: Illinois faculty achievements add up to big impact

Imagine you’re highly skilled in software coding or the finer aspects of machine learning. You’d be a sought-after commodity in today’s employment market, and the odds of finding a fulfilling job that allows you to make a good living would be pretty good. Now imagine you live in Kenya or Bangladesh. Though there might be opportunities available to you in those countries, it’s just as likely that you’ll find yourself in a job in which you’re over-skilled or doing something completely removed from your talents. Furthermore, there are many others in a similar situation throughout the country, creating a ripple

BTN LiveBIG: Illinois grad finds his calling on social media

A college education is so much more than what one learns in the classroom. Extracurricular opportunities are integral to any student’s learning and professional development. Sometimes, those activities turn into a job. Or even a career. Scott Emalfarb studied sports marketing at the University of Illinois. He said that he was always interested in public relations and marketing, but his knowledge of the field really grew out of how he and his friends utilized their free time at school. “My friends and I started a promotion company where we threw hip-hop battles in Champaign,” Emalfarb said. “At first, it was