Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

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

Support Ignites and Nurtures Young Minds on Campus and Throughout the State

With the arrival of a new DNA sequencer, IMSA students and others throughout Illinois will be able to touch the future of personalized medicines, forensic sciences and biotechnology thanks to a grant from LI-COR’s Genomics Education Matching Funds program.

 IMSA student Ashley Smith and other students throughout Illinois will be aided by the new DNA Sequencer to study cell and molecular biology, including heredity, species relatedness and evolution.

This is just one of many examples of how support provided by the IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education nurtures and ignites creative, ethical scientific minds that will one day advance the human condition.

Touching the Future: Matching Grant Brings DNA Sequencer to IMSA

A $52,152 grant from LI-COR’s Genomics Education Matching Funds program has enabled IMSA to secure a DNA sequencer and associated software for sequence analysis.  Located at the Grainger Center for Imagination and Inquiry at IMSA, the sequencer will enable IMSA students and others throughout Illinois to study cell and molecular biology, including heredity, species relatedness, and evolution.  Understanding gene sequences has been instrumental in personalized medicines, forensic sciences, and improving crops through biotechnology.  

In addition, IMSA staff members are currently working on developing curriculum for professional development for Illinois teachers, which will include the history, chemistry, and applications of DNA sequencing as well as covering topics in bioinformatics.  

Laboratory experiences will be developed that allow students to sequence DNA, examining polymorphisms (differences) within and between different species of organisms.

Living in a Greener World

The newly created IMSA Energy Center is bringing the “greening” of IMSA to  everyday living and learning for students and staff.   A number of innovative energy research projects are underway including working with IMSA’s Becky Arundale ’03 and UIUC Professor Dr. Stephen Long on research using Miscanthus and switchgrass as alternate fuel.  In this research project, IMSA students will use plants from the UIUC site in various experiments to try and produce ethanol. 

In addition, funding through the IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education has provided two solar powered laptop stations, another lesson in energy-savings for students.   The Energy Center is also working on a number of other initiatives such as the installation of alternative energy sources on campus (multiple wind generators, bike generator and bio-diesel lawn mower), energy seminars and conducting an energy audit and energy improvements of the IMSA campus.

Learning to LEAD and Other Unique Student Programming

Thanks to support through the IMSA Fund, IMSA students have opportunities to learn beyond the classroom walls in ways that will leave a positive, lasting influence on their lives for years to come.

Students involved in IMSA’s LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) program learn from real-world leaders who make presentations on leadership concepts as part of  the annual student leadership symposium. In addition, students who participate in LEAD programming activities attend national leadership conferences including the National Association for Multicultural Educators (NAME), National Student Leadership Conference and National Leadership for College Students.  

IMSA sophomores also have the chance to honor those former teachers who most influenced their lives by participating in the annual Teacher Recognition Program.  

Finally, the IMSA Fund also supports unique student exchange programs with other countries and schools, including the Korean Science Academy and the Physical-Technical High School in St. Petersburg, Russia.  In the past, exchanges have also been held with schools in Japan and Germany.

Igniting Young Minds Throughout Illinois

Every month, students in grades six through nine throughout Illinois visit to take the IMSA-ComEd CyberQuiz 4Kids Challenge.  Students who submit correct answers to these stimulating mathematics and science brainteasers and word problems become eligible for monthly prize drawings.

The IMSA-ComEd CyberQuiz 4Kids is made possible thanks to the support of ComEd, an Exelon Corporation.  

The IMSA Kids Institute®  serves students in grades four - nine through summer and weekend hands-on/minds-on enrichment programs grounded in mathematics and science.  The programs are taught by IMSA students and staff and include IMSA on Wheels, field trips to IMSA , Saturday enrichment programs and summer camps.   

For nearly 20 years, the PROMISE – Early Involvement Program (EIP) helps Chicago area African-American, Latino and economically disadvantaged ninth grade students improve their mathematics, science and communication skills, as well as increase their competitiveness if they choose to apply to IMSA.  Sessions are held in Chicago on Saturdays and include an all-day retreat to IMSA.  Another one of IMSA’s PROMISE programs for underrepresented minority students entering ninth grade in the fall is Summer Enrichment for Academics in Mathematics and Science (SEAMS).  SEAMS, a residential learning experience on IMSA’s campus,  is designed to broaden minds and develop talent, interest and motivation for advanced studies in mathematics and science.