STEM Cafés

Feed Your Mind!

Join us for monthly STEM Cafés - fun, casual gatherings where adults can eat, drink, and chat with STEM professionals about the latest scientific research. These events are free and open to the public. Usually, we meet in a local restaurant, but for now our STEM Cafés are online, so bring your own food and drink and join us for the next virtual STEM Café. Interested in accessing our previous STEM Café recordings? Find them all - including our series of cafés related to COVID-19 - on our YouTube channel.

Upcoming Cafés

Teen Cafés

Our Teen STEM Cafés are designed specifically to appeal to high school students to spark and expand their interest in science, technology, engineering and math. We collaborate with libraries, park districts and high schools to bring intriguing STEM-related conversations to your community. Our speakers are vibrant college professors, graduate students and STEM experts. We will work together to create content around a theme that supports your curriculum and program goals. Previous Teen STEM Café topics include robotics, biology, and music. Find more information about joining Teen STEM Cafés.

Want to learn more about hosting or attending a Teen STEM Café? Contact Judith Dymond at

Past Cafés

Music as Therapy with Jamie Mayer, Associate Professor, NIU School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders and Lilli Bishop, Speech Language Pathologist, Northwestern Medicine Physical Therapy Center

Mapping the Future with Philip Young, Research Associate and Director, NIU Geovisual Mapping Lab and Ryan James, Associate Professor, NIU Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences

Online Aggression and What We Can Do About It with Jessica Reyman, Associate Professor, NIU Department of English, Erika Sparby, Assistant Professor, Illinois State University and Kristen Myers, Director, NIU Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality and Distinguished Teaching Professor, NIU Sociology

The Hunt for Dark Matter: How the New SENSEI Experiment is Advancing Astrophysics with Greg Derylo, Fermilab Engineer

Brews and Bison with Holly Jones, NIU Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

The Changing Face of Sports Today with Christina Sutcliffe, NIU Softball Head Coach, Debra Boughton, NIU Senior Associate Athletics Director, Lisa Carlsen, NIU Basketball Women’s Head Coach, Thomas Hammock, NIU Head Football Coach and Mike Eads, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Physics

Managing Health – How Our Response to Disease has Changed with Jeanne Isabel, NIU Associate Professor and Chair of Health Studies

Stargazing with Wesley Swingley, NIU Associate Professor of Biology, Philip Carpenter, NIU Professor of Environmental Geophysics, and Jeremy Benson, Director of NIU STEM Summer Camps

Combatting the Opioid Epidemic – One Year Later with Cindy Graves, DeKalb County Health Department, Rick Amato, DeKalb County State’s Attorney, Joe Przybyla, NIU Police Commander and Paramedic, Laura Meyer-Junco, UIC College of Pharmacy and Steve Lekkas, DeKalb Police Department

Up for the Count – The 2020 Census in Illinois with Sherrie Taylor, NIU Center for Government Studies Senior Research Associate

Nuclear Waste – A Dangerous Problem or a Valuable Resource? With Melissa Rose, Nuclear Engineer, Argonne National Laboratory

Measles Epidemics and Immunizations with Cindy Graves, DeKalb County Health Department

Musical Bow Research and Creative Artistry in Africa and Brazil with Gregory Beyer, Professor and Head of Percussion Studies, NIU School of Music

Recorded Cafés

View previously recorded STEM Cafés

There’s a lot more to urban wildlife than squirrels, geese and raccoons. American toads, blue-spotted salamanders, red foxes and coyotes all make their homes in urban or suburban areas, including DeKalb and the Chicago suburbs. Find out more about how scientists study these animals and how humans and pets can safely coexist with them. In partnership with DeKalb Citizens’ Environmental Commission.

  • John Vanek, Associate wildlife biologist and doctoral candidate, NIU Department of Biological Sciences