Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

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

The Story Behind the Name


IMSA and stakeholders participated in four workshops this past fall, led by Limered Studio (Chicago) that focused on positioning and competition, image & branding and ideation. Additionally several IMSA alumni were interviewed about the hub before names were considered and IN2 selected.  

“IN2” is a highly conceptual name that plays upon the idea of both innovation and inquiry – bridging businesses and the educational focus at IMSA. It plays on the concept of bringing both innovation and inquiry into practice at IMSA and on the concept of what is put “into” the center to make things happen – intuition, ingenuity, ideas, exploration, knowledge, experimentation, etc.

It is short, memorable and easy to say. It leaves room for curiosity and play without having to explain too much.

The three lines composing the “2” represent the different journeys of students through time and the paths that come together at IMSA through innovative practices, inquisitive learning, and problem-solving processes.



In2, a $1.9 million innovation center, will bring highly advanced technology and workspace to the world-class STEM academy in Aurora. The announcement is the culmination of a year of planning that followed the designation of a $1,000,000 lead gift by IMSA alumnus and YouTube co-founder Steve Chen. The innovation center will feature a modern open space design furnished with a maker space, 3D workstations, a media wall, an idea bar, an entrepreneur-in-residence office, and a café, and it will be optimized for entrepreneurial incubation.

"January 21st is more than the long-awaited announcement of IMSA's new innovation center name – it is the culmination of a year's worth of sharing and synthesizing ideas and involving stakeholders in creating the first secondary school location in the Illinois innovation hub ecosystem," said Chief Innovation Officer Britta McKenna. “Student interaction with peers, teachers, mentors, and community partners is at the heart of what makes IMSA a unique learning laboratory, and this event gets us one step closer to realizing our new collaboration space that will prepare students for the future of STEM.”

Click HERE for a one-page information sheet about the project.

To learn more about IN2 or to donate to the project, contact Britta McKenna at or (630) 907-5934.  


Seventeen IMSA students participated in the “Chicago Innovation Ecosystem” Intersession the week of January 4-9, 2015 to explore the robust innovation culture is right here in Chicago.  Students visited IIT Idea Shop, Chicago Innovation Exchange (University of Chicago) and Northwestern to learn about their entrepreneurship programs and visit their innovation hubs. They also participated in a Design Thinking workshop at Cannon Design, demoed emerging conferencing technology at Oblong Industry, toured Motorola Mobility’s new offices in the Merchandise Mart and met up with a number of businesses and entrepreneurs at 1871.  Guided by Innovation Hub project architects, Cordogan, Clark and Associates, the students were presented with current hub plans and renderings and spent the week in teams developing concepts for the facility, technology, programs and marketing.