U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth visited the Research Park on Friday, Sept. 8 for a lively fireside chat discussing innovation, global impact, and Illinois’s role in developing emerging technologies.
The panel discussion featured Grainger College of Engineering Dean Rashid Bashir, Prof. Shaloo Rakheja, and moderator John Reid, a clinical faculty member at Illinois who has significant ties to two companies with deep roots at UIRP.
“As a hub of agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and technology, Illinois is the ideal location for greater investment from international business, and I’m committed to helping bring home the kinds of investments that create good-paying jobs and strengthen our state’s economy,” Duckworth said. “As a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I am dedicated to promoting Illinois on a global level—which includes much of the groundbreaking research and innovation happening right here at U of I. Illinois is ready to help bring our world into the future—and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure the whole world knows it.”
Senator Duckworth encouraged students to “blur [their] boundaries.” The idea of blurring boundaries is integral to Research Park, where students from various disciplines work together on project teams.
Senator Duckworth continued this advice: “Don’t think of a specific area as ‘my area’…If you allow yourself the opportunity to follow your own interest wherever it leads you, that space is where you will be the most productive.”
The event also included a meet-and-greet with the Senator and s’mores by the Atkins Building firepit.
The University of Illinois is one of America’s leading research universities, and the Research Park plays an instrumental role in the research sphere. “From the farm of the future to the wheelchair of the future, our scientists and engineers are hard at work, imagining what’s next,” said Susan Martinis, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Illinois and principal officer of the Research Park Board of Managers.