In 2018 with the support of trustee Andrea Berry, our President, our Provost, our CFO, our CIO, Howard Tullman, and many more we were able to secure funding to open a dedicated space on campus for esports and digital arts. Esports has a wonderful ability to unify people and the Illinois Tech Esports student leaders take community building very seriously. We offer scholarships not only for top performers in-game but for leaders willing to build and develop our esports community.
The opportunity to hire people, purchase furniture and equipment, lay new conduits, and build a new collaborative learning space in 2010 complete with a rapid prototyping lab was amazing! All our hardware and software purchases were informed by what our students needed at the time. Our mission to design a space to showcase what programming we would do and what we could accomplish if we had funding for a building was a success! The new Ed Kaplan Center for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship is open for business.
The trust of my boss and our CIO led to the opportunity to lead a small, tireless and dedicated team on our university-wide Salesforce implementation. We researched, learned, and worked hard to successfully sunset one system while bringing up a new one. It is a very rewarding experience to projects from the idea state to reality. The whole core team has moved on to six-figure jobs at different companies, I could not be prouder or happier for them. Helping people achieve their dreams is one of the most fulfilling things about working in high education. Salesforce offers free training via Trailhead for anyone willing to learn.
Our 4 week long Exelon Summer Institute for incoming first-year students is an incredible opportunity for students to acclimate to college life before the semester starts. We make sure the students start the school year with friends to study with and prepared for the rigor and speed of college courses. We work on math and science skills, and we provide faculty guest speakers, hands-on project work, team-building exercises, and communication skills to help students with stress and conflict resolution. The new students are taught by current students and they all form small communities of learners. They registered for classes together and they support each other. We meet monthly throughout the school year. Students work hard, identify what course of study resonates, and take action to create a joyful future.
Illinois Tech values experiential, hands-on, action-oriented learning. This robust approach to education transforms our students into graduates who are uniquely equipped to create, solve, and innovate—confident people with the ability to bring world-changing solutions to life. Elevate at Illinois Tech connects students with out-of-classroom opportunities and other experiences that provide unparalleled opportunities for growth. From internships to competitions to immersive research to study abroad, the Elevate programs empower students to be dynamic leaders and innovators.
We currently have a small group of staff and faculty completing the AWS Academy training. We made certain to use this opportunity to help improve diversity, equity, and inclusion amongst the people in teaching roles at Illinois Tech. Next year we should have our first cohort of staff credentialed and certified to teach the AWS content.