Spotlight: Increasing diversity in STEM fields

iDEW shows we can

The image caption follows
Da’Vion Stewart, a former iDEW participant, thinks everyone who can should take part in the program.

An idea to attract more diverse students into STEM programs has become an initiative that can drive Indiana’s workforce.

Our award-winning Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce (iDEW) program partners with local businesses to provide cutting-edge IT education to a diverse population of Indianapolis high school students.

According to School of Informatics Dean Mathew Palakal, “iDEW students work on socially relevant, real-world problems by learning and using informatics and computing technology; and through these learning experiences, they are prepared to further their education and are introduced to in-demand, high-potential career opportunities.”

In our first year, we decided that 30 students per school was the most we could handle. Today, three years later, we have 413 students in multiple grades, and we have demand for even more.

Alvin Givens, Executive Director, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chair Of iDEW Advisory Council

iDEW works for students

Da’Vion Stewart, a current undergraduate student in the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, participated in the program as a high school student. After completing a number of projects, he knew he wanted to do more. In 2017, Da’Vion graduated from Arsenal Technical High School before starting his freshman year at IUPUI.

From his perspective, nearly every field out there requires an understanding of IT in some form, so he strongly supports iDEW for all students, saying, “Everyone should participate in iDEW if they have the opportunity.”

See the program in action

Description of the video:

Student 1 speaks: I want to continue in the field of informatics and computing


Student 2 speaks: I’m going to Purdue to study health and sciences


Student 3 speaks: I want to be a web developer


Student 1 speaks: I want to be a game developer


Student 4: I want to pursue careers in technology


[Video: Aerial view of a city skyline]


Text appears on screen: There will be over 1 million new IT jobs by 2024.


[Video: Aerial view of a city plaza.]


Text appears on screen: But not enough IT talent to fill them.


[Video: A man wearing an iDEW shirt walks down a hallway lined with clapping people.]


Text appears on screen: 2017 US2020 STEM Mentoring Award Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships


[Video: A woman wearing an iDEW shirt smiles at someone off-screen.]


Text appears on screen: 2017 Techpoint MIRA Award Nominee Tech Educator of the Year


[Video: A woman looks up from behind a computer]


Text appears on screen: iDEW Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce


[Video: A man faces the camera]


Text appears on screen: Terry Morris, Director, Global Services IT, Eli Lilly and Co.


Morris speaks: We need talent and it’s a pipeline challenge. We need students that are interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. That will be the workforce of our futures and iDEW is actively helping to create that pipeline for us.


[Video: Camera pans past an eagle statue]


Text appears on screen: 3 Indianapolis high schools pioneering the iDEW program. Arsenal technical, Pike, Providence Cristo Rey, 84% minority students


[Video: Aerial view of a city]


Text appears on screen: An innovative IT curriculum designed by faculty from the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI.


[Video: A man smiles at the camera.]


Text appears on screen: 14 classes exposing students to IT career possibilities 2015 - 2017


[Video: A teacher lectures a class]


[Video: Student 1 stands in a hallway]


Student 1 speaks: In my iDEW class, I have the ability to innovate, provide solutions, and be creative and collaborate with a lot of different people which is something that you don’t really get from too many other classes.



[Video: A teacher lectures a class.]


Text appears on screen: 413 students have taken iDEW classes 2015 - 2017


[Video: A close up of a hand using a tablet]


Text appears on screen: 150 student projects Mobile trivia apps, Internet of Things, Video games, Data visualization, Chatbots, Robotics


[Video: A group of students speak to a teacher]


Text appears ons screen: 30,000 contact hours with IUPUI faculty and students 2015 - 2017


[Video: A woman stands in front of machinery.]


Text appears on screen: Sherry Aaholm, Vice President and CIO, Cummins, Inc.


Aaholm speaks: So one of the things that’s really cool about the program is the work the kids have been doing most recently has been in the I-O-T or internet-of-things space and the work we’re doing at Cummins is directly applicable to what they’re doing.