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The White House on a summer day

Dean invited to White House for STEM Mentoring Award

September 1, 2016

Executive Associate Dean Mathew J. Palakal traveled to the White House in August to receive a 2016 US2020 Stem Mentoring Award for the iDEW (Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce) program.

The iDEW program was one of two finalists honored for Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships at the STEM Mentoring Symposium on August 11.

“The US2020 STEM Mentoring Public-Private Partnerships honor is a major recognition at the national level for iDEW,” said Dean Palakal, iDEW program director.

The award recognizes iDEW’s unique collaboration among the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, Indianapolis high schools, the IT industry, and the Indianapolis community—as well as the program’s creative and multi-tiered approach to building an IT talent pipeline in at-risk urban areas.

After a successful pilot year in three Indianapolis high schools, iDEW has become a national model for programs that address the dearth of underrepresented minorities and females in informatics-related careers, while building a much-needed workforce in IT—the fastest-growing field for new jobs in the STEM sector.

“Among the other mentoring programs at the White House Symposium on STEM Mentoring, the iDEW program was unique because of its holistic, innovative curriculum,” said Palakal.

High school students in the iDEW program complete a problem-based, project-based curriculum that is designed and taught by faculty from the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. The program includes input from and contact with industry mentors, college campus visits, and tech company visits.

“iDEW provides excellent opportunities for our students, who are pushed to think critically and apply computing skills to solve real-world issues,” said Benjamin Carter, director of career and technical education at the Indianapolis Public Schools.

Learn more about the US2020 Stem Mentoring Awards.

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Joanne Lovrinic