Illinois Math & Science Academy

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The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy is forging an important new link in the state’s innovation infrastructure, called IN2 – a combination of innovation and inquiry.


The Aurora-based Math and Science Academy — a public, residential, three-year high school — launched IN2 in January as an incubator modeled after successful entrepreneurial spaces such as Chicago’s 1871 and the University of Illinois’ EnterpriseWorks. Students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA) and other high-school and middle-school students work on ideas and solutions to meet IMSA’s mission to “advance the human condition.”  


“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 José Torres.


IN2 students collaborate with corporate partners that include British Petroleum, ComEd, Caterpillar, and organizations such as Illinois Computing Educators, Illinois Institute of Technology, Northwestern, the University of Illinois and volunteer “idea baristas,”  community members with specific areas of expertise


In one IN2 venture, students and mentors are focused on a virtual reality model of IMSA’s innovative and hands-on classroom lab experience. Students in another venture are working to assist Kenyan entrepreneurs in the areas of education, affordable, locally grown food and native crafts.


IMSA raised over $2.1 million from individual donors,  entrepreneurs, foundations and corporations to design and build IN2 — officially the Steve and Jamie Chen Center for Innovation and Inquiry. Leveraging best practices in innovation spaces, IN2 is a state of the art space for learners of all ages.