Northwestern University Professor Kemi Jona testified on January 9 at a U.S. Congressional subcommittee hearing about ways to successfully involve the private sector in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education on the K–12 level.


Jona is director of Northwestern’s Office of STEM Partnerships (OSEP), which since 2006 has worked to connect K–12 teachers and students to the world-class STEM resources of Northwestern University and beyond.


At the invitation of U.S. Representative Dan Lipinski ’88, Jona described some of the successful and replicable models his office has developed in conjunction with scientists and engineers in academia and industry to excite young students in STEM subjects and STEM career possibilities.


What’s often missing from discussions about the proper role of federal STEM policy and the involvement of the private sector in STEM education is the need to develop robust mechanisms that support scalable and sustainable high-quality education programs, Jona stressed.


In his testimony to members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space and Technology, he described three promising models developed by Northwestern’s Office of STEM Education Partnerships to increase federal and private sector support of STEM education.

The OSEP models outlined by Jona include:

  • A partnership with Baxter, an Illinois-based global healthcare company. Baxter has supported the creation the Biotechnology Center of Excellence at Lindblom Math & Science Academy, a Chicago public school serving predominantly minority and low-income students.
  • Illinois Pathways, a State of Illinois-led STEM education initiative that to date has created nine new statewide, public-private partnerships known as STEM Learning Exchanges.
  • FUSE, an out-of-school project funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation and private sector sponsors including Motorola Mobility, Siemens and IBM. FUSE aims to engage youth — especially from underrepresented groups — in topics such as robotics, electronics, mobile app development, and 3D design through a series of increasingly difficult challenges.

Visit the Northwestern News Center for the full story. Learn more about the Office of STEM Partnerships (OSEP).