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Fists in Solidarity


Ensuring that All Voices are Heard

Advocacy is an essential pillar of our approach to engineering and humanitarian grand challenges. There is strength in numbers, and we work to inform and encourage others to take a stand for what they believe in. Our themes include:


Adolescence is an extremely influential time in an individual’s life, setting the trajectory for development (including social, cognitive, emotional, and cultural) and behavior across a lifetime. Youth that engage in antisocial behaviors and/or have adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are at greater risk for future problem behavior and negative physical and mental health outcomes.


Violence is a pervasive part of society with severe and long-lasting negative consequences for health and well-being. In Illinois, interpersonal violence takes many shapes and affects people across the state. Partnerships to reduce interpersonal violence can benefit from a mutual understanding of the variety of violence prevention approaches.


During criminal proceedings, defendants are guaranteed legal counsel as a right under the U.S. Constitution. However, there is no such right for those involved in civil legal proceedings. Civil legal aid organizations provide free legal representation and other services on civil court matters to low-income individuals. 


Reentry is defined as the transition of an individual from a corrective setting back into the community. Most who are incarcerated go through the reentry process; studies have shown that approximately 95 percent will eventually be released, or upwards of 600,000 persons annually.


Economics is the study of how humans make individual, family, business, or societal decisions when faced with scarcity of goods, services, and resources. Economic development is measured by changes in socioeconomic factors, such as improvement in the quality/availability of housing, increased life expectancy, increased per capita earning rates, and decreased poverty rates.




CS+X President & Board Member

Ruth is an attorney and the current Vice President of the Champaign County ACLU. She has done more pro-bono legal work than any other attorney in the county, for which she has received several awards. As the child of immigrants from Latin America, Ruth is a native Spanish speaker who is acutely aware of the importance of civil legal aid, which she provides through the La Linea legal clinic.



CS+X Treasurer and Board President

An engineer by training, Laura is a serial entrepreneur. Her current venture is Studio Helix, where Laura relies on her cross-disciplinary training in engineering and medical manual therapy to create and deliver advanced rehabilitation and human performance solutions. She is an outspoken and well-received presenter on topics related to community-university engagement, economic deelopment, and the under-representation of women and minorities in STEM-careers and start-ups.

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