Illinois State University and CeMaST are pleased to be a partner on the Research and Development STEM Learning Exchange, to have Dr. Hunter serve on the Steering Committee and to support students in engaging in research and development projects. Illinois Pathways, funded through Race to the Top, is a new and innovative State of Illinois-led STEM education initiative designed to support college and career readiness for all students.
The Research and Development STEM Learning Exchange (RDLE) connects students, teachers, families, universities/colleges, federal laboratories, student organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and private sector employers so that all Illinois students can participate in authentic, high quality, student driven research and development. Students who participate in these inquiry-based learning experiences build critical thinking skills, learn foundational STEM knowledge, and apply that knowledge to real life circumstances, creating a pipeline of talent for Illinois' businesses.
Key Initiatives of the RDLE are the Mentor Matching Engine (http://www.mentormatchingengine.org/) to link students with industry and university research mentors, industry-sponsored STEM Challenges which enable real-world research experiences, and a STEM Resource Repository (http://stemlearningexchange.org).
The Illinois Science & Technology Institute was chosen to lead the RDLE as part of Illinois Pathways Race to the Top program. The ISTI is an affiliate of the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC), a statewide leader that cultivates and attracts research and technology-based economic development in Illinois.