Lilly Endowment grant offers more youth opportunities for Trine’s STEM programming

LEGOPre-college students from northeast Indiana and beyond will have increased opportunities to participate in Trine University STEM camps and programs thanks to a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant.

Supported by $845,557 from Lilly Endowment’s Indiana Youth Programs on Campus Initiative, Trine will launch the Center for Pre-College Outreach and Engagement. The Center will partner with area organizations serving youth to provide students and families with camps and programs that will build science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and social development skills.

In order to make programs more easily available to students from families with limited resources, they will be offered at reduced or no cost over the first three years.

“We want to provide regional K-12 students with additional opportunities to explore new areas and learn new skills to prepare them for postsecondary education,” said Gretchen Miller, vice president for administration and chief of staff at Trine. “We trust that these experiences will help foster the excitement and encourage the realization that they can succeed as college students.”

The Center will begin by enhancing and expanding Trine’s existing LEGO Robotics Camp, which gives students the opportunity to build and program robots, and STEM with Storm program, which offers videos and activities related to different engineering fields.

Trine also will launch the new Storm STEM Trackers program, which will provide after-school, weeklong or weekly STEM programming in partnership with area organizations serving youth.

The Center will offer an e-newsletter, website, opt-in texts and calls, and events throughout the school year and summer, both on campus and on-site in partnership with youth-serving organizations, to keep parents and families involved and connected.

In addition, students who participate in camps and programs will earn grants and scholarships toward tuition at Trine.

The university estimates it could impact more than 25,000 students over the three-year grant cycle.

According to Lilly Endowment, the Indiana Youth Programs on Campus (IYPC) initiative is designed to help Indiana colleges and universities create new or expand and enhance existing high-quality, on-campus programs for Hoosiers ages 5-18. The initiative, in part, is a response to recent declines in the number of Indiana high school graduates attending college.

The IYPC initiative seeks to increase opportunities for Indiana youth to participate in learning experiences on college campuses, expose more Hoosier youth to the state’s higher education institutions, provide experiences that will help prepare youth to succeed in college and life, and ultimately Increase the numbers of Indiana youth who earn college degrees and credentials.

These programs will help support students academically and personally and prepare them to transition successfully to higher educational opportunities.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

Photos: Top, Fremont Elementary School Students help Storm, center, Lindsay Omlor, director of charter schools, second from right, and Jason Blume, executive director of Innovation One, right, prompt students to decide whether certain professions are engineers during STEM with Storm in 2017. Top right, children work with a robot during a LEGO Robotics Camp at Trine University in 2019. A Lilly Endowment Inc. grant will provide more opportunities for pre-college students to participate in Trine University STEM camps and programs. A Lilly Endowment Inc. grant will provide more opportunities for pre-college students to participate in Trine University STEM camps and programs. (File photos by Dean Orewiler / Trine University)

Last Updated: 07/20/2022