The co-branded space serves as a resource for students from both campuses to learn, grow and prepare for successful STEM careers
GARY, Ind. – Together, Indiana University Northwest and Ivy Tech Community College Lake County unveiled the STEM Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
Located on the second floor of the John W. Anderson Library on IU Northwest’s campus, the collaborative center serves as a place for STEM students from both colleges to learn, connect and take advantage of internship, peer mentoring and leadership opportunities both on- and off-campus.
The STEM Center came to fruition thanks to a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and Articulation Program, which IU Northwest was able to apply as a federally designated HSI. The grant’s goal is to increase the number of Northwest Indiana students graduating with bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields.
Since receiving the grant in 2021, IU Northwest has implemented several programs, including TRIUNFOS (Transforming IU Northwest for Opportunities in STEM), which led to the creation of the STEM Center.
But while the center is located on IU Northwest’s campus, it is a truly collaborative and active learning space meant to serve students and faculty on both Northwest Indiana campuses to prepare them for successful STEM careers.
“This is a co-branded space,” IU Northwest Chancellor Ken Iwama said. “That is remarkable because in higher education often we can become competitive with each other as leaders of institutions. … IU Northwest has a tradition and history of really collaborating with Ivy Tech. I think in some ways we’re a model across the state of Indiana in terms of our collaboration.”
TRIUNFOS, and in turn the STEM Center, was created thanks to a team of IU Northwest faculty and staff, including Director of Sponsored Research Sandra J. McMullen and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Vicki Román-Lagunas along with an interdisciplinary team of STEM faculty and administrators, including Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and Principal Investigator, Dr. Kristin Huysken; Associate Professor of Biology and STEM Center Coordinator, Dr. Jenny Fisher; and Professor of Mathematics Dr. Vesna Kilibarda.