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Illinois Digital Agriculture Summer Course


Students in the new Illinois Digital Agriculture Summer Course work over two weeks of virtual lectures and virtual hands-on activities on various topics revolving around digital agriculture. Students will be mentored by faculty and staff members from the crop sciences, animal sciences, and computer science departments in multiple activities on topics like computer coding, data science, IoT, and modern remote sensing technologies. This course is designed to integrate various disciplines, and the discussions are centered around a variety of real-world problems. On the last day of the course, participants will be challenged to develop a solution to a digital agriculture problem in an inspiring 24h Virtual Hackathon. This program is being funded by the CHS Foundation.

Applications and Admissions

We invite you to apply to the Illinois Digital Agriculture Summer Course if you are:

  • At least 16 years-old by the program starting date, and
  • Entering your sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school or will be a first-year student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign or Parkland College in fall 2021.

We strongly encourage the participation of traditionally underrepresented ethnic groups, under-resourced communities, first-generation college students, students currently attending a high school with historically low admittance rates to top-tier institutions, and/or students with disabilities to apply.

Admission decisions take into consideration your high school grades, essays, and recommendation from a former high school teacher.

Required Documents

The recommendation form and transcripts are to be emailed to Dr. Isabella Condotta at and Dr. Hamze Dokoohaki at

Application Deadline

The deadline to submit your application and supplemental materials is Friday, June 4th, 2021.

Decisions will be made, and applicants will receive notification of acceptance status between April 30th and June 7th.

Schedule 2021

The course is a FREE virtual experience. The course dates are weekdays from July 26th to August 6th, 2021.


The course will cover the following topics:

  • Coding
  • Digital Agriculture
  • Digital Management of Animals
  • Machine learning
  • Image processing
  • Signal processing
  • Remote sensing
  • Robotics
  • IoT
  • Edge processing

Because this year the course will be online, longer breaks were added to the schedule to provide eye rest and opportunity for students to move between sessions.

Morning Sessions: theory and invited speakers

9:00 – 09:10 AM. Morning announcements
9:10 – 10:00 AM. Session
10:00 – 10:30 AM. Break
10:30 – 11:20 AM. Session
11:20 – 11:50 AM    Break
11:50 – 12:30 PM    Session


12:30 – 1:30 PM. Lunch Break

Evening Sessions: hands-on activities

1:30 – 3:00 PM Hands-on learning
3:00 – 3:30 PM Break
3:30 – 5:00 PM Hands-on learning

24-hour Hackathon

The real-world problems that students will have to solve will be released on Monday, July 26th. On that same day, the Hackathon groups will be formed. The Hackathon will happen between 3:30 PM on Thursday, August 5th, and 3:30 PM on Friday, August 6th. At that time, groups will present their findings in a 3-minute presentation, and winners will be announced by the end of the day.