Personal Reflections | Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Personal Reflections

May 31, 2018

Dear IMSA Family

Hats off to students, faculty and staff upon completion of the 2017/2018 academic year! Special congratulations to the Class of 2018 who graduate with distinction this coming Saturday. They only arrived here three short years ago, and now it’s already time for them to leave. How did it all go so fast?

We are very proud to send 192 of these graduating seniors to 85 different institutions next fall. 73 will attend an Illinois college/university including University of Illinois, IIT, University of Chicago, Loyola and Northwestern. 118 are headed farther from home to Stanford, Vanderbilt, MIT, Case Western Reserve, Purdue, Grinnell and Brown University just to name a few. One student will even be studying abroad.

In addition to sending off our Class of 2018, please join me in celebrating and appreciating the retirement of the following faculty and staff for their combined 146 years of service to the IMSA community:

Dale E. Arentsen, Security Manager – Chief (31 years, 9 mos.)

Steven M. Condie, Mathematics Faculty (20 years, 10 mos.)

Jeffrey S. Davis, Security Supervisor – Lieutenant (29 years, 7 mos.)

Ruth Dover, Mathematics Faculty (26 years, 8 mos.)

Carl Heine, TALENT Program Director (17 years, 2 mos.)

Ray J. Urbanski, Grainger Workshop Supervisor (18 years, 9 mos.)

At the same time we launch our seniors (Class of 2018 and our retiring faculty and staff) into the world equipped with their IMSA experience, we also celebrate the accomplishments of three outstanding IMSA alumni. Dr. Princess Imoukhuede ’98, Assistant Professor in Bioengineering at University of Illinois, award-wining researcher and the first African American woman to earn a bioengineering PhD from Caltech received the 2018 IMSA Alumni Distinguished Leadership Award. Dr. Aaron Parness ’00, Extreme Environment Robots Group Leader at NASA and researcher enabling humankind to explore new worlds, was also honored with 2018 IMSA Alumni Distinguished Leadership Award. Finally, Michael Damian Thomas ’92, co-editor and publisher of award winning Uncanny Magazine, received the 2018 IMSA Alumni Titan Award as an enthusiastic and energetic champion of IMSA who has invested significantly in the IMSA community.

It was a delight to recognize these alumni and hear how they have built upon their IMSA education, stepped forward and made a difference in the world. You can see their remarks by clicking on their names.

In just four weeks, we are excited to welcome a campus full of world-changers when we host the 2018 International Student Science Fair for the first time in the United States June 27-July 1. 34 different schools from 20 countries will collaborate on three UN SDGs—clean water, zero hunger, and affordable and clean energy—right here at IMSA ( We look forward to a fantastic event and the opportunity to share with you the results of our collective ideas for addressing the world’s most pressing challenges that cannot be resolved by any one country acting alone. Together, we are world-changers!

Best regards,

Best regards,

José M. Torres, PhD
Follow us on Twitter Follow Dr. Torres on Twitter!