Kemi Jona Presents on New STEM Education Initiatives at Illinois Innovation Day

Kemi Jona Presents on New STEM Education Initiatives at Illinois Innovation Day

Kemi Jona in Springfield

SESP professor Kemi Jona gave a presentation on new STEM education initiatives in Illinois at the Illinois Innovation Day event on April 11 in Springfield. Preparing Illinois students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is the goal of a new state plan for “learning exchanges” linking educational opportunities and business resources, and Jona has been involved in the state effort to establish these education-business partnerships. 

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, members of the Illinois General Assembly and members of the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition heard Jona’s presentation showcasing the development of STEM education learning exchanges for Illinois students. “These resource centers are unique public-private partnerships that have galvanized industry support for STEM,” says Jona, who advises one of the new STEM learning exchanges.

Jona is on the advisory board for the new Research and Development Learning Exchange, led by the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition. At Northwestern, he is the director of Northwestern University’s Office of STEM Education Partnerships, which connects K-12 schools with the cutting-edge resources of Northwestern University. The office assists Illinois schools in three primary areas: teacher professional development, creation of new STEM programs and technology, and capacity building for schools.

In September Quinn unveiled the state's plan for developing learning exchanges, a $10.3 million partnership among business, education and government, with state funding coming from federal Race to the Top funds. Eight organizations were awarded contracts to develop STEM learning exchanges, which will combine educational resources with practical experiences in the workplace.

Other presentations at the Innovation Day event showcased new initiatives in other sectors: energy storage research, smart grid entrepreneurship and biotechnology. Jeffrey Chamberlain of Argonne National Laboratory spoke on energy storage, Jason Blumberg of Energy Foundry presented on smart grids and David Baker of Illinois Institute of Technology discussed biotechnology and bioparks. A roundtable discussion followed.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 3/7/17