Hinsdale Central students present at energy conservation challenge

A team from Hinsdale Central present its solution to an energy conservation challenge during a learning exchange program at the Museum of Science and Industry.

The Illinois Science and Technology Institute brought together students and teachers with industry and higher education to celebrate the conclusion of the R&D STEM Learning Exchange Challenge’s pilot year. More than 400 students and 20 teachers in 12 Illinois high schools partnered with experts at Motorola Solutions, Baxter International, The Greatest Good or TGG Group, IIT’s Institute for Food Safety and Health, and Northrop Grumman throughout the semester to solve complex real-world, problem-based science, technology, engineering and math challenges.

The Central students gathered data, conducted experiments and worked with industry professionals throughout the spring semester. They shared their solutions to challenges such as conducting a trade study for a missile defense system, using behavioral economics to encourage better environmental practices and developing an app for first responders in emergency situations.

The R&D STEM Learning Exchange is part of Illinois Pathways, a $10.3 million initiative launched last year by Gov. Pat Quinn to better prepare students to compete in the global economy. The STEM Learning Exchanges are designed to coordinate investments, resources and planning for programs that empower youth and adults to explore academic and career interests.

In its pilot year, the learning exchange has impacted more than 500 students and their teachers through three key initiatives. Students are also engaged with industry and university mentors through a new virtual platform, the Mentor Matching Engine, around authentic research experiences. Teachers and students can also connect with partners through the R&D STEM Resource Repository, a curated collection of programs and resources in Illinois.

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