Press Releases

Grant awarded to Pete Hill, Adjunct Faculty at The Illinois Institute of Art—Tinley Park

By: The Art Institutes

March 10, 2016

Peter Hill, Adjunct Faculty, General Education, at The Illinois Institute of Art–Tinley Park*, recently received a grant from Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER).

The grant is to fund a Solar Powered Park Bench—an invention that’s a park bench with a USB port that can charge mobile devices. The charge will come from a battery that is maintained by a solar panel. To leverage the impact of this bench, Hill will partner with a local middle school, South Loop Elementary, to design the bench—the electronic components as well as the graphics.

Students will be lead through the design ‘give and take’ that occurs when many ideas are brought together to achieve one fully functional product. Hill and volunteers from Illinois Institute of Art—Tinley Park will work with the students over a six-week period in April and May. The program will allow students to collaborate in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) for the good of the community.

Students that participate with the project will be included in the final assembly and testing of the components at Catalyze Chicago, a maker-hub, at 650 W. Lake Street. Once assembled and tested, the bench will be transported to its new location (to be determined) and will be invited to a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The development process will be documented and presented at the SENCER 2016 July Summer Seminar at Harold Washington College in Chicago. The project will be made available to other schools in the SENCER network who wish to do the same or improve upon our final design.

Sponsors are being sought for supplies: benches, paint, and various electrical components that will be used for the solar charging, regulation and distribution.

SENCER courses and programs strengthen student learning and interest in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics by connecting course topics to issues of critical local, national, and global importance.

*This Art Institute school is no longer accepting new students.

The Art Illinois Institute of Art—Tinley Park is one of The Art Institutes, a system of over 50 schools throughout North America. Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Several institutions included in The Art Institutes system are campuses of South University or Argosy University. The Illinois Institute of Art—Tinley Park, 18670 Graphic Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477. © 2016 The Art Institutes.  All rights reserved. Our email address is

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By: The Art Institutes

March 10, 2016