Newswise — Aurora, IL – October 31, 2017– IN2, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy's (IMSA) innovation center, was named a winner of the 16th annual Chicago Innovation Awards. The winners were announced at an event held at Chicago’s Harris Theater on Monday, October 30, with nearly 1,500 business and civic leaders, and supporters of innovation in attendance. The Chicago Innovation Awards, celebrating its 16th year, is the Chicago region’s foremost recognition of the most innovative new products or services brought to market or to public service each year.

In true entrepreneurial spirit, IN2 Steve and Jamie Chen Center for Innovation & Inquiry, IMSA’s startup raised $2M in private funds from alumni, corporations, foundations and friends. Illinois’ first secondary education innovation center, IN2 is an incubator for the next generation of discoverers, creators and thinkers through STEM entrepreneurship and makerspace education. 

“Our vision is to create a model for U.S. education that empowers young people to transform their ideas into reality and into solutions to the complex social challenges of our time through entrepreneurship and innovation,” explains IMSA President Dr. José Torres.

IN2 collaborates with corporate partners that include British Petroleum, ComEd, Caterpillar, First National Bank, and organizations such as Illinois Computing Educators. Additionally, IN2 has partnerships with Illinois higher education including Illinois Institute of Technology, Northwestern, and the University of Illinois. Volunteer idea baristas – community members with specific areas of expertise – assist students and community startups in idea development and guide them to take their concept to the next level.

“Chicago’s innovators continue to demonstrate the breadth of innovation found in the Chicago region, cutting across all industries, sectors and sizes,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards.

The winning organizations receive a variety of honors including the opportunity to ring the NASDAQ Bell in New York City, and meetings with the Mayor, Governor and Cook County President. “Over 530 organizations nominated for this year’s awards,” said Luke Tanen, Executive Director of the Chicago Innovation Awards. “As a group, these nominees generated record totals in economic output, with nearly $3.4 billion in new revenues achieved from their new products and services, along with the creation of over 15,000 new jobs. The winners represent the best from this very impressive group.” 

The complete list of this year’s Chicago Innovation Award winners can be found at


Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) is the world’s leading teaching and learning laboratory for imagination and inquiry and an esteemed three-year residential high school. Nearly 700 Illinois 10-12th graders currently live at the academy in Aurora, Illinois. Students hail from across Illinois and are enrolled in tuition-free, rigorous college preparatory classes. Graduates are leaders in the business, education, scientific, and civic sectors.

Notable technology alumni include YouTube Co-Founder Steve Chen, PayPal Co-Creator Yu Pan, Yelp Co-Founder Russell Simmons, SparkNotes and OkCupid Co-Founder Sam Yagan, and Hearsay Social Founder, Clara Shih. IMSA is proud to have been named among the top 40 public and private college preparatory institutions in the world by The Wall Street Journal. It was the 2009 winner of the Intel Schools of Distinction Star Innovator Award and has been profiled by NBC-TV's Dateline, CNN's Science and Technology News, USA Today, New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.