Grants focus on experiential learning for high school students, technology upgrades for IU Northwest’s library
GARY, Ind. — Indiana University Northwest was recently awarded three grants, totaling $39,000, that will help advance learning opportunities for high school students, as well as contribute to technological enhancements to the John W. Anderson Library.
With these grants, IU Northwest will help to position the next generation of college students with learning opportunities to help them grow and explore their passions.
Forensic Scientists and Criminal Investigators Summer Camp: $21,250
Funding partner: Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council, IU Foundation
Through this grant, IU Northwest’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) will host a week-long Forensic Scientists and Criminal Investigators Summer Camp (to be held in 2024) for local and regional high school students.
The program is open to all students who aspire to become forensic scientists or forensic investigators with activities focused on solving crime scenarios, lab and case-study analysis, field investigations and trips to local crime lab facilities.
“Forensic science is a growing field as it has been recognized as essential in the modern criminal justice system,” said Monica Solinas-Saunders, associate professor in SPEA and adjunct associate professor of Women & Gender Studies.
“However, the forensic science field often lacks diversity, which can contribute to bias in the solution of crimes and the search for missing persons.
“This camp — and the recent addition of the bachelor’s degree in forensic science — will help in our campus’s pursuit to transform the profession to be more inclusive and reflective of our surrounding communities.”
Additional details regarding the summer 2024 camp will be forthcoming.
Steel City Black Knowledge Bowl: $7,750
Funding partner: The Black Philanthropy Circle, IU Foundation
Thanks to funding from The Black Philanthropy Circle, a vision years in the making — The Steel City Black Knowledge Bowl — will now come to life.
The Bowl, similar to an Academic Bowl, is designed for high school participants to demonstrate academic knowledge of the African Diaspora and its accomplishments in human history, while also increasing students’ sense of pride in themselves and the contributions of individuals like them.
“Learning these facts through the Bowl is a way in which young scholars can retain and apply the acquired knowledge; thus, that information becomes a part of their daily conversations and interaction, normalizing Black knowledge and Black contributions to society,” said Dorothy Frink, interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management.
The Bowl, which will be held on the IU Northwest campus during winter 2024, will also provide students and their parents an opportunity to visit the campus and consider the university for their future educational goals.
Program and event coordinators include Frink, as well as McKenya Dilworth Smith, executive director of Morning Bishop Theatre Playhouse, Inc.; Roy Hamilton, teacher assistant at 21st Century High School College and Career Center; Antoine Hawkins, IU Northwest admissions counselor and Groups Scholars coordinator; and Candace Rayburn, IU Northwest dual enrollment coordinator & ICC management specialist.
Additional details regarding the Steel City Black Knowledge Bowl will be forthcoming.
ALA Building Library Capacity Grant: $10,000
Funding partner: American Library Association
IU Northwest is proud to be one of 17 academic libraries nationwide to receive funding from the American Library Association’s Building Library Capacity Grant, which are supported through a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
With the funding, the library will be able to better serve IU Northwest students, as well as community members through several enhancements, including the addition of a second Google Jamboard. This technology — frequently used by students — is a 55-inch touchscreen, digital whiteboard that allows collaborators to search content, draw, sketch, write, calculate equations, interact with others and access Google Workspace.
Additional library upgrades include the addition of an Infinity Game Table, a digital tabletop gaming system preloaded with new and iconic arcade and board games, as well as timer service for computers specifically set aside for community member use.
“This grant will help us to better serve our students and community patrons, as we work to enhance and utilize emerging technologies to support a 21st-century library learning environment,” said Nicholas A. Casas, assistant librarian for teaching and learning. “As a Hispanic and Minority-Service Institution, it is critical that our library plays an important role in helping Northwest Indiana residents to have equitable access to computers, essential programs and stable and secure internet connections.”
The ALA Building Library Capacity Grants assist libraries at academic Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) across the United States and U.S. Territories that have experienced economic hardship due to the consequences of the pandemic and its aftermath, which has impacted their ability to serve their students, especially traditionally underserved populations.