To the UI College of Education’s 2018 Young Alumni Achievement Award winner, there’s no place like the Beckman Institute, her self-described "home away from home” for a good chunk of the 2000s.
“As an education major, I obviously have warm memories of the College of Education building and the wonderful professors and friends I had there. But I also have such a special connection to the Beckman Institute, where my research group was located,” two-degree grad Meg Bates says from Chicago.
“Every day, I could just go to the cafeteria for lunch and end up meeting folks working on robotics, eye tracking and other cutting-edge fields. It was a whirlwind of ideas and unbridled enthusiasm for new knowledge, and I felt at 22 years old like I was on the cusp of innovation.
“I also have fond personal memories of my colleagues there. Learning to play cricket behind the building with my many international colleagues, including Sujai Kumar. Listening to musical theater and discussing a zillion research ideas with Linda Sims, our lab manager. And getting so many opportunities from Michelle Perry, my advisor, and Kevin Miller, the co-director of our research group.
“I have countless other great memories of Campustown—my first dates with my future husband in the various hot spots of downtown Champaign; going to the old video, record and bookstores on Green Street that are now just a memory; and cheering on Dee Brown and Deron Williams at Assembly Hall.
“But the Beckman Institute was my first home away from home on campus, and I’ll always remember it.”