Newswise — Aurora, Ill. – March 23, 2017– On March 30, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA— and esteemed alumnus, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, unveil the Steve and Jamie Chen Center for Innovation and Inquiry (IN2). The unveiling is at 4:30 pm, 1500 Sullivan Road, Aurora.

The 6,400-square-foot community innovation center opens as part of IMSA’s 30th anniversary celebration. IN2 is modeled after successful entrepreneurial spaces like 1871, MIT’s media lab, and the University of Illinois' EnterpriseWorks. IN2 also serves as a resource to civic organizations, startups, and businesses seeking technical solutions.

In addition to the opening of IN2, IMSA’s event connects the theme of “think different, act bold” through a signature program and reveal of new collaborative science lab spaces. The program’s event features a panel discussion with Steve Chen ‘96 (YouTube co-founder), Nigel Lockyer (director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory), Claudia M. Flores, J.D. ’93, (assistant clinical professor of law; director of the International Human Rights Clinic at The University of Chicago Law School) and Jessica Droste Yagan ’95, (chief executive officer Impact Engine). The program is livestreamed at

“When I reflect on the pivotal points in my own journey of innovation and entrepreneurship, IMSA was among the most important,” says Chen. “My years at IMSA sparked curiosity, exploration, and revealed to me all that was possible.”

Dr. Jose M. Torres, IMSA President says, “We are excited for the public debut of this unique and innovative center. 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.”

IMSA’s mission is to ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition. IMSA serves as a revolutionary education institution, educating 650 talented Illinois 10-12th residential students and thousands of Illinois teachers and students across the state annually. Considered to be the world’s leading teaching and learning laboratory for imagination and inquiry, IMSA builds new educational paths to applying mathematics and science to advancing the human condition.

IMSA invites all Illinois middle and high school students, businesses and organizations to its membership beginning March 30. IMSA is offering targeted community programs, including: maker workshops, startup competitions, business mentorship, and permanent incubator spaces. These programs offer these communities with the know-how and tools to be an innovator or entrepreneur.

Members will connect with IMSA students solving real-world problems, launching startups, and providing value technology capabilities to Illinois businesses. Current member partners include ComEd, Caterpillar, BP, James R. Jordan Foundation and Northern Illinois University.  

IN2 highlighted spaces include: a Makerspace, Learning Lab, Idea Bar with ‘Idea Baristas’ who serve up more than coffee, Innovation Commons, Mentoring Office, group collaboration spaces and a café. Programs offered through IN2 include entrepreneurship and makerspace FunShops on Saturdays throughout the school year and seven summer programs (day and residential). TALENT, a middle and high school entrepreneurship program in its ninth year. TALENT is designed to help develop and launch STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) student ideas. Other IN2 designed programs include: Girls IN2 STEM, Teen STEM Cafe, Power UP! Power Pitch, Day of Cyber and the “Get the Lead Out Hackathon.”

With a focus on STEM and innovation, IN2 creates authentic learning experiences for teen entrepreneurs, while serving as an ever-evolving model for applied teaching and learning in the 21st century. IN2 prepares students for emerging STEM fields, entrepreneurship ventures and new models of business and collaboration, and collaboration with innovation hubs in Illinois and across the country. Furthermore, IN2 establishes partnerships with local thought and business leaders.

About Illinois Mathematics and Science AcademyIllinois 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.

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