Newswise — AURORA, IL  (Feb. 23, 2018) — Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, Deputy Governor Leslie Munger and officials from the Illinois Math and Science Academy today announced the launch of the Illinois Bicentennial STEM Fusion campaign.  The three-year program will be offered to students at 25 elementary and middle schools in underserved communities across Illinois. 

The highly renowned IMSA Fusion program presents a unique curriculum for middle school teachers to inspire 4th through 8th graders to study math and science and pursue careers in technology, medicine, education and business.

Abbott and Wintrust are the presenting sponsors of the Bicentennial STEM Fusion campaign.  All Bicentennial Office programs are privately financed.  Additional funding for this campaign is provided by Boeing, Ingredion and Motorola.

“The Bicentennial STEM Fusion campaign will inspire hundreds of young students across the state at an important time in their educational development,” said Lieutenant Governor Sanguinetti.  “This program is another great example of the emphasis we have put on early education.”

“IMSA Fusion is a unique and proven approach to providing teachers with stimulating curricula in math and science,” commented Illinois Math and Science President Dr. Jose Torres.  “We are very excited to partner with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and the Bicentennial Office and to reach 25 additional schools in Illinois.”  

IMSA Fusion is a teacher professional development and student STEM enrichment program for Illinois students who are talented, interested and motivated in mathematics and science. IMSA Fusion places a special emphasis on students who are historically underrepresented in those areas.  Fusion works with teachers and students in grades 4-8.

 “The Bicentennial is a commemoration of 200 years of people, places and events that have made us all Illinois Proud and it is about investing in the next 200 years,” commented Deputy Governor Leslie Munger.  “The Bicentennial STEM Fusion effort is an important legacy project and we thank Abbott and our other sponsors for their commitment to students across Illinois.”

A STEM Fusion school committee will award the program to 25 schools, each receiving a three-year teacher training program.  A five person school selection committee will review the applications.  The committee includes:  Emily Bastedo, Special Advisor to the Governor- Office of the Secretary of Education; Kevin Pitts, Vice President of Undergraduate Education- University of Illinois; Ross Hemphill, Board Member- IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education; and Jenna Daugherty, Divisional Vice President of Global Social Responsibility- Abbott; and Susana Meza, Vice President, Marketing-Wintrust Financial.

The schools will be chosen based on serving predominately under-represented populations, commitment to embedding IMSA Fusion into the regular school day as an elective/encore/CTE course, requiring teachers to undertake 5 full days of professional development and a sustainability plan to continue the IMSA Fusion after the three-year award expires.

Applications can be submitted through


On Dec. 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state in the union. The Illinois Bicentennial is a yearlong celebration of what has been BORN, BUILT & GROWN in the state and a reminder of why we are #IllinoisProud. 

Citizens are encouraged to participate in the celebration by visiting and using the hashtag #IllinoisProud. Partners and event and project managers planning activities between Dec. 3, 2017, and Dec. 3, 2018, can apply for endorsement to become an official part of Illinois Bicentennial by visiting the PARTICIPATE page at