Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Indy Advances in Chase for $50,000+ US2020 STEM Mentoring Grant

Release Date: 
Nov 14 2013

Indianapolis has been selected as a finalist in a competition that would fund and provide resources to create a powerful new mentoring program with the expressed purpose of influencing student interest in STEM college and career pathways.

US2020 announced the first round finalists for its City Competition, and Indianapolis is one of thirteen finalists that were chosen out of 52 applicants nationwide. The US2020 City Competition capitalizes on the role of cities as centers for innovation, supporting outstanding efforts to build science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentoring capacity at the local level.

TechPoint Foundation for Youth (TPFY) is serving as the Guiding Coalition project manager for the US2020 City Competition, which is a White House call to generate large-scale, innovative solutions to our STEM education challenge, with a focus on increasing access to STEM careers for girls, underrepresented minorities, and low-income children.

The City of Indianapolis and TPFY have already proven to be highly effective at encouraging students to take interest in STEM-related activities, like the city's VEX Robotics Championship coming up this weekend at Banker's Life Fieldhouse, and TPFY's IndianaFIRST robotics movement. The next step is to create a pipeline connecting current and future STEM programs with quality professional and graduate level mentors from prominent STEM organizations.

The Indianapolis US2020 Guiding Coalition is made up of the following representatives:

  • Stephanie Bothun, City of Indianapolis, Office of Education Innovation
  • Reginald McGregor, Rolls-Royce
  • Sherrie Bossung, Lilly Foundation
  • Karen Jung, ExactTarget Foundation
  • Terri Talbert-Hatch, IUPUI School of Engineering & Technology
  • Simon Rhodes, IUPUI School of Science
  • Robert Schnabel, Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing
  • Paul Ainslie, Indiana I-STEM Network
  • Debbie Zipes, Indiana Afterschool Network
  • Sonny Kirkley, NASA Ignite!, WisdomTools
  • Tracey Puckering, Conexus Indiana
  • Terri Shulz, Project Lead The Way
  • Jason Zielke, IndianaFIRST
  • Don Kent, Net Literacy
  • Tracy Bunting & Evelyn Gearries, MSD of Pike Township
  • LeeAnn Harris, Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis

This Guiding Coalition is working together to develop a list of high impact opportunities for STEM professionals to engage in hands-on, experiential, STEM mentoring opportunities serving underrepresented populations that are specifically targeted to help meet our city’s STEM workforce needs.

“The Indianapolis Guiding Coalition is an amazing group of STEM thought leaders who came together to create our city’s initial US2020 plan, a plan that will impact generations of Indianapolis students normally underrepresented in STEM fields,” said Laura Dodds, Executive Director of TechPoint Foundation for Youth. “And while this list of committed partners is an impressive start, we know there are more organizations that need to be added to the Guiding Coalition in order to ignite this movement citywide. We are looking forward to connecting our current coalition with new partners.”

Indianapolis already has successful STEM programs in place, such as the IndianaFIRST movement and the City of Indianapolis VEX Robotics Championship to be held November 16-17 at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse under the leadership of the City of Indianapolis Office of Education Innovation. The next step is to create a pipeline connecting current and future STEM programs with quality professional and graduate level mentors from prominent STEM organizations.

“Creating a climate that is attractive for businesses to retain, create, or relocate jobs to our city is dependent upon our ability to supply the skilled workers employers demand,” said Mayor Greg Ballard. “Workforce development is a priority for Indianapolis, and we fully support the city’s application for the US2020 Competition. It is imperative that our students receive innovative and effective STEM education and mentoring experiences.”

Finalists will move onto the second round of the selection process, joining peers and STEM experts in Boston for "Ideas Camp," a 2-day strategy session to take place on December 4-5 and help teams move their plans from concept to implementation. The second round applications will be due in January and the awarded cities will be announced in February. Winning cities will share nearly $1 million in direct and in-kind support, including:

  • A cohort of on-the ground service corps members to help implement their plans
  • Access to a state-of the-art online volunteer matching platform
  • Funds to hire a local project manager
  • Pro bono consulting services from a top consulting firm to help operationalize their plans
  • Participation in communities of practice with national leaders in STEM
  • National recognition as leaders in the STEM mentoring movement

Via Techpoint Blog, Joshua Hall