YMCA MetaMedia Center for Teens Features FUSE

YMCA MetaMedia Center for Teens Features FUSE

MetaMedia Center

Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro and Executive Vice President Nim Chinniah recently toured the innovative MetaMedia teen space at the McGaw YMCA in Evanston, a University-community partnership between Northwestern, McGaw and Y.O.U. The newly created MetaMedia center features FUSE, a video game-inspired model for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts/design and math) exploration and learning, created by Kemi Jona and Reed Stevens, professors at Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy.

FUSE, designed to provide an “on ramp” for children who are typically disengaged or underserved in math and science, seeks to cultivate creative, adaptable and flexible problem solvers. FUSE provides more than two dozen engaging challenges that children choose from based on their own interests. As with video games, each challenge grows progressively more complex.

“MetaMedia presents an unprecedented opportunity to create a space that provides a safe, fun and productive destination for Evanston teens while also supporting cutting-edge research on learning and engagement,” said Jona, director of the Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) and a research professor at Northwestern.

"Kids this age spend a lot of time consuming media, but we want to move them across the boundary to making things," said Stevens. "The goal is to go from hanging out, to messing around to geeking out."

An interest-driven learning model, FUSE engages pre-teens and teens in STEAM topics while fostering the development of critical 21st-century skills, including adaptive problem-solving, creativity, self-directed learning and persistence. FUSE is supported by the National Science Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation and numerous corporate donors. 

Housed in 32 schools, libraries and YMCAs throughout the Chicago area, the FUSE program currently serves approximately 4,000 children. In the fall, FUSE studios are expected to open in several other cities, including Palo Alto, California, and Los Angeles.

Schapiro and Chinniah visited the innovative McGaw YMCA MetaMedia teen space on May 28 to recognize the innovative university-community partnership that led to its development. Y.O.U. is a youth development agency that has served Evanston for more than 40 years. The McGaw YMCA is a charitable organization that focuses on community building by offering programs on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Photo: Executive Vice President Nim Chinniah and President Morton Schapiro tour the new MetaMedia Center at McGaw YMCA in Evanston that features FUSE interest-driven STEM activities.

By University Relations and Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 7/1/15