News Highlights

iCons Program Creates First Student Philanthropy and Leadership Awards

The Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) program, a College of Natural Sciences curriculum initiated in 2011 that teaches teams of undergraduates to integrate various science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas to solve global problems, has created the Crowley-Nowick Award for iCons Student Philanthropy and Leadership with a gift from Peg Crowley-Nowick, founder and president of Zipher Medical Affairs Co. of Marion.  Read more:  UMass News

UMass Amherst iCons Students Land Summer Internships in Massachusetts Life Science, Energy Firms


UMass Amherst iCons Students Land Summer
Internships in Massachusetts Life Science, Energy Firms

AMHERST, Mass. –  Ten students in the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) program are working at paid internships with Massachusetts life science and energy technology firms for the summer, at corporations including Tesla, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Anika Therapeutics of Bedford and Waters Corp. of Milford.

Venkataraman advises Amherst Middle School science club and student-led water tests

Students in a science club at Amherst Middle School are conducting their own versions of water tests and thinking about solutions to the problem. The science club is modeled on the Integrated Concentration in Science program (iCons), in which students use a multidisciplinary approach to solve real-world problems, and is advised by D. Venkataraman, Chemistry, iCons 4 Instructor. Daily Hampshire Gazette

Bringing it Home: iCons Finales

iCons presentors

Every year the iCons students publically share their work in three events at the semester's end:

On May 5, iCons 1 students tried their hand at presenting (for some) their first poster.  Their final team project was to create their own case study on a societal problem of their choice.  The iCons 2 Biomedicine students also shared posters -- answering questions such as:  Which type of genetically engineered microorganism is the most cost-effective and efficient source of biofuel?

iCons 2 Renewable Energy students had their Annual Energy Debate on the question:  Which proposal will feasibly create a quantifiably and quantitatively positive impact on campus sustainability that starts within the next 5 years and continues thereafter?

---Low-Flow Showers

---Eco Doors

---Alternative Lawns

Rebecca Kim-Hong Toohey, iCons Senior, Named 21st Century Leader

Rebecca Toohey

Please congratulate our own Rebecca Toohey for being named one of only 10 recipients campus-wide for this year's 21st Century Leader Award.  Rebecca will be honored at the Commencement Ceremony and even gets to sit on stage!  She is a tremendous student both in and out of the classroom; most notably, she instituted the MEDLife organization here on the UMass campus (Medicine, Education, and Development for Low Income Families Everywhere).  

Read more on UMass News




Fourth Dimension Bends Space and Time!

Fourth Dimension

iCons Fourth Dimension (4th cohort) began their journey in Spring 2013. On May 4, 2017, four years and lots of work later, they stood proudly in front of their independent research posters, eager to share their work with the attendees of the Senior Research Exposition.  One of the learning objectives in iCons 2, "Students will learn to make science interesting to various audiences" -- was readily apparent during the Expo, as students worked to make the science relevant to an audience with a wide range of backgrounds.

End-of-the-Year iCons Events

Come see what problems iCons students have worked on this Spring 2017!

Thurs  May 4 (3:30-5:30):   iCons 4 Senior Research Expo -- Posters and Talks (ISB Atrium / 135)

Fri  May 5 (3:30-5:30):   iCons 1 & 2 Poster Session and Annual Energy Debate (ISB Atrium / 135)

Wed May 10 (1:00-3:00):  iCons 3 Genomics/Energy Labs -- Innovation Posters (ILC S110)

Sustainability Projects Abroad: Organization Founded by iCons student, Bryan Chua

Sustainability Projects Abroad (SPA) is a registered student organization in the University of Massachusetts Amherst that seeks to serve the world abroad through 100% student-led sustainability projects that local communities can independently run and replicate. If you are able to help spread the word of our RSO and our MinuteFund, we would be really appreciative!

iCons Team Finds Success in the Process

iCons 1 students

Teamwork is essential to iCons.  It is in its blood. 

However, working on a team does not always make the job easier – making the team work takes skill.  Although teamwork is not explicitly taught, a key element of the iCons way is reflection (a skill that iCons 1 students practice often).  Here is one team’s reflection on their first team experience in iCons, where they tackled the problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria in smog.

Team 4 (Achala Narayanan, Alex Main, Erika Allen, and Grace Ortgiesen)

Explore iCons students’ senior research in digital “Student Showcase”

iCons 4 students

Creating nanowires to improve memory storage in everyday devices, looking at the connection between diet and breast cancer risk, and investigating the effects of climate change on aquatic insects - just a few of the real-world challenges that students in the iCons Program's fourth cohort “The Fourth Dimension” are tackling in their iCons 4 research projects.