IMSA aims to be a laboratory for learning where imagination and inquiry drives innovation. The IMSA Innovation grant, funded by the Stephanie Pace Marshall Endowment, has been designed to give colleagues and students an opportunity to propose new ideas that align with the school year priorities of Equity and Excellence, Impact and Well-being. Our intention is to offer many mini-grants to spur ideas (up to $5000 for colleagues and up to $2000 for students), and continue to fund those which are yielding positive outcomes. In addition, we wish to fund new initiatives or improvements of previous initiatives that will be implemented in the current school year and currently do not have a funding source. Grant proposals will be reviewed and selected by a team of representatives from the IMSA Cabinet (leadership), IMSA Fund (business community) and/or IMSA Board of Trustees, IMSA colleagues, and IMSA students. All grant recipients will be expected to produce a professional artifact(s), suitable for the digital commons, that can be shared with audiences within and beyond IMSA.
IMSA’s priority areas this school year include:
Equity and Excellence
The Academy recognizes and acknowledges the historical underrepresentation and marginalization of culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse groups, both universally, and particularly, in STEM education and professions. These disparities also exist in the representation of the Academy’s workforce. We are committed to advancing equity in STEM education and representation and creating a diverse, inclusive community of global citizens who can realize their full potential, and execute our mission to advance the human condition, through a model of Equity and Excellence. Examples of potential proposals may include, but are not limited to, special educational programming, approaches to recognize excellence with equity, mentoring partnerships, and classrooms/club projects that address inequity around the globe (e.g., UNSDGs) and/or intend to have social impact.
We desire to improve our representation of the Illinois population, both at the academy and educator/student audiences around the state. We desire to engage alumni and partner organizations, particularly with CLED-focused initiatives, to partner with us. We desire students and colleagues to share their equity-related work with broader audiences. Examples of potential proposals may include, but are not limited to, outreach educational programming to underserved or under-resourced areas, recruitment to improve representation of the state at the Academy, programs that aim to “give back” to local communities where students serve as mentors, and engagement with alumni that enhances educational outcomes.
Our community is returning to learn and work in person. We believe the trauma of COVID and being away from campus has had a significant impact, so we need to prioritize our own human condition by closely nurturing academic, socio-emotional, mental and physical health, and igniting how colleagues and students are engaging back in our community. Examples of potential proposals may include, but are not limited to, programs that teach community members about wellness and resources to offer support, initiatives that motivate wellness behaviors and celebrate progress/success, and programs that provide direct support to community members who are struggling.
Janelle Le Roy '23, Julia Tran '23, Ela Gadi '23, and Michelle Li '23
IMSA is a residential school with a rigorous math and science curriculum. Students here are ambitious and competitive, taking a variety of advanced classes. With IMSA’s many academic benefits, comes various intense pressures in its high-stress environment. As a part of this community, we have noticed our peers often negatively handle their stress by isolating themselves, staying up late, under and overconsumption, and procrastination. These habits are so normalized that as new students come into IMSA, they start to develop them too.