Bold project includes the creation of a STEM Resource Center, increased collaboration with Ivy Tech Community College, new coursework, undergraduate research opportunities, and more
Indiana University Northwest was awarded a $5 million grant from the Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Articulation Program at the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). The goal of the grant is to increase the number of Northwest Indiana students graduating with bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields, with a focus on Hispanic and low-income students. The award will be distributed to IU Northwest at $1 million per year for the next five years.
The program, funded by the grant, is named TRIUNFOS (Transforming IU Northwest for Opportunities in STEM), which translates to “triumphs” in English. It includes four strategic components:
• Curriculum redesign and faculty development, including research experiences beginning as early as students’ first year of college through a project-based STEM Summer Bridge and a First-Year Experience class in scientific research.
• Wrap-around academic and student support services for STEM, including student employment opportunities, peer mentoring, STEM-specific transfer coaching and academic advising.
• New and enhanced high school, community, and employer partnerships, including increased outreach to high schools in Gary and across the region, and collaboration with Ivy Tech to develop the advantages afforded by a shared campus.
• Infrastructure enhancement, including the creation of a new STEM Resource Center serving IU Northwest and Ivy Tech students.
“This grant is a testament to IU Northwest’s leadership in creating opportunities for the people of Northwest Indiana,” said Chancellor Ken Iwama. “Establishing a center of excellence for STEM education is an ambitious goal and this grant brings us closer to realizing this game-changing community asset.”
IU Northwest was eligible to apply for the grant because of its designation as an HSI by the DOE. The campus is the only public comprehensive institution of higher education in Indiana with this designation. The most diverse of all IU campuses, IU Northwest’s student body is 26 percent Hispanic and 17 percent African American.
“With our emphasis on increasing our partnerships with local four-year colleges and universities, Ivy Tech’s Lake County campus is a natural ally and partner in this endeavor,” Louie Gonzalez, Chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College’s Lake County campus, said. “We were thrilled by this recognition and award. As the area’s local community college, we serve as the entry point for many Hispanic and low-income students. The result will be a steady flow of students to Ivy Tech and eventually to IU Northwest.”
The project was developed by an interdisciplinary team of STEM faculty and administrators in the College of Arts and Sciences. The project will be led by the project's Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Kristin Huysken, associate dean for Student Success in the College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of geology; Dr. Jenny Fisher, assistant professor of biology (co-PI); and Dr. Vesna Kilibarda, professor of mathematics (co-PI).
“Congratulations to Chancellor Iwama and the leaders of IU Northwest for successfully identifying and obtaining this federal resource,” said Congressman Frank J. Mrvan. “I am grateful for their commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for Hispanic students and all individuals in our region.”
IU Northwest expects to make significant investments in people, technology, and research equipment over the next few years in order to activate the TRIUNFOS program.