Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

IMSA Announces 11 Renowned New Fund Board Members

IMSA has added 11 prominent new members to the IMSA Fund for the Advancement of Education (Fund Board), expanding the size and diversity of the already distinguished group of reputable leaders from the private and public sectors. These members raise donations from alumni, friends, businesses, and foundations, and use that money to support the programs and projects of IMSA.

The 11 new members, listed below, joined the Fund Board to lend their time and expertise to further IMSA’s unique mission, as well as working on advancing programs such as IMSA’s Energy Center, Student Inquiry and Research (SIR) program, and its entrepreneurial TALENT program.

New IMSA Fund Board Member Profiles

Anil Ahuja – President of CCJM

BSEE and BSME degrees from India and post graduate studies from the University of Nebraska, Ahuja is a LEED Professional and possesses dual qualifications in both electrical and mechanical engineering.  Previously a VP/General Manager for Exelon, he is regarded as one of the foremost engineers in the United States, having authored books and publications over his 30+ year career. He is Vice Chairman of the Environmental and SustainabilityCommittee at the Chicago Chamber of Commerce, leads the STEM program for women at Glass, and is a motivational speaker at the Engineer Foundation Club at the Union League and Past President of the Design-Build Institute of America.

Aziz Asphahani – CEO of QuesTek Innovations

With degrees in mathematics and engineering from France, and a Ph.D. from MIT, Aziz Asphahani is internationally distinguished in the field of materials science and metals engineering, having served on several boards, including as President of the American Society of Materials and Chairman of the ASM-Materials Education Foundation.  His current company develops cutting edge metals for use in space exploration, medical, military and industrial applications.

Bil Becker– CEO/Founder of Aerotecture Intl.

Bil Becker earned a BA in Industrial Design from Michigan State and a Masters in Design/Architecture from Cranbrook Academy in Michigan. A retired professor of Industrial Design at UIC, he has won numerous patents and awards for his work with solar-heated greenhouses, solar-electric vehicles, solar electric and wind electric energy products. His current company specializes in “architecturally integrated” solar electric and wind electric turbines for businesses, schools, libraries, municipalities and non-profit organizations.

Steve Chen ’96 -- Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of AVOS Systems, Inc.

An IMSA alumnus with a Computer Science degree from the University of Illinois, Steve Chen was one of the first employees of PayPal before co-founding YouTube. Known as one of the world’s leading digital entrepreneurs and an angel investor in multiple start-ups, he recently donated $1 million to IMSA to help launch an Innovation Center for student entrepreneurs on campus and across the state.  He said joining IMSA Fund’s board of directors is a “dream come true.” 

Steven Collens – Senior Vice President of Pritzker Group

Collens holds a BA from Washington University and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. Steven currently leads strategic initiatives at Pritzker Group, and headed the team that established 1871, Chicago’s digital start-up center in the Merchandise Mart. He has since helped IMSA grow its involvement with 1871 to create a niche for high school students in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mana Ionescu – Founder and President of Lightspan Digital

Identified as a prodigy in math and science in her home country of Romania, Ionescu earned a BA from American University (Bulgaria) and an MA from Brigham Young University. She is Founder and President of Lightspan Digital, and is considered one of Chicago’s foremost social media and digital marketing entrepreneurs.

Andre Reynolds – VP of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

BA from Michigan, MBA from Northwestern, Andre Reynolds has spent most of the past 25 years with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.  He is also an adjunct professor at DePaul University, and looks forward to helping IMSA students, particularly African-Americans, pursue their dreams of obtaining the skills needed to excel academically and in their future careers. 

Aalap Shah – CEO/Co-Founder of SoMe Connect

Shah, a serial entrepreneur and Co-Founder of the Chicago-based social media agency SoMe, has tried his hand at everything from toy store ownership to digital marketing. While earning his BA from DePaul in e-commerce technology and accounting, Shah also developed his love of volunteering. Crain’s listed him as one of Chicago’s “next generation philanthropists” recognizing his hard work for non-profits as well as lending a hand with numerous deserving social media fundraising campaigns.

Kim Taylor – President of CME Clearing

Kim Taylor holds a BA from Alma College and an MBA from Eastern Michigan University. She has been with CME since 1989, rising through the organization as a VP, Senior VP, Managing Director, and has been President since 2004.  She serves on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Global Markets Advisory Committee. She was named a “Chicago Business Woman to Watch” by Crain’s in 2009.    

Alex Weiner – Founder and CEO of INBALANCE Buildings LLC and Energy360

Alex Weiner has a Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University. His current work with INBALANCE Buildings includes development of the Energy360 software platform, which recently won Best in Class in the 2013 Global Cleantech Cluster Competition, while also overseeing operations in energy demand reduction, engineered power solutions, LEED consulting, and alternative energy solutions.

Sam Yagan ’95 – CEO of the Match Group

An IMSA alumnus, Sam Yagan holds a BA with honors in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Named one of Time Magazine “100 Most Influential People,” Yagan was a co-founder of eDonkey, Sparknotes, and OkCupid, and is now the CEO of the Match Group.