The Donaldson Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Donaldson Filtration Solutions, recently awarded a $10K grant to the IU School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) at IUPUI’s Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce (iDEW) program. The iDEW Summer Program will support students’ participation in the school’s summer technology workshops and trainings, which are being held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Planned online activities include Scrum training/project management certification, Code Black Indy-Salesforce project build-out training, Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA)-iDEW mentorship, and a customized Speaking College, as well as a virtual workshop in Game and Creature Design taught by SoIC faculty.
Programs will be presented through a virtual platform. In addition to the IT skills learned via the workshops, these students will be guided by trained student mentors, who will encourage and support them along the way.
The award-winning iDEW program is now finishing its fifth year of providing free computing by design (CxD) support and instruction to eight area high schools—Pike, Providence Cristo Rey, Arsenal Technical, Herron, George Washington, Riverside, McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology, and Southport—and has reached more than 1680 students through its curriculum. To date, 492 students have graduated from the iDEW program and over 90% of them are now attending college; 80% percent in STEM-related majors.
In addition to completing learning modules in robotics, internet of things (IoT), trivia apps, chatbots (AI), video game design, and data visualization, iDEW students are offered internship opportunities, visit IT industries, receive SAT prep assistance, and attend summer workshops and national IT conferences. Beyond building coding skills, students develop confidence and learn teamwork and communication.
“We have grown the iDEW program in size and scope over the last four and half years,” said Mathew J. Palakal, senior executive associate dean of the School of Informatics and Computing and iDEW program director. “The grant from the Donaldson Foundation gives us needed resources to fund this unique opportunity to benefit underserved youth in the Indianapolis community during the summer months as well.”
Established in 1966, the Donaldson Foundation has funded charitable causes on behalf of Donaldson Company, Inc. The Foundation’s mission is to positively impact the communities in which Donaldson Company employees live and work by supporting education. The company has manufacturing or distribution in Anderson, Frankfort, and Rensselaer, Indiana.
“We are excited and honored to contribute to the success of the iDEW program,” said Chini Zeman, Donaldson Foundation board member. “Donaldson has a strong footprint in the greater Indianapolis community and this program allows us to help support our community while aligning perfectly with our core charter of supporting educational opportunities for those who otherwise may not have them.”