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OUR MISSION

Fighting for What We Believe In. Together.

The CS+X Foundation began as a local K-12 spin-off of the University of Illinois CS+X initiative. Based on the early success of CS+X inside the College of Engineering, the CS+X Foundation soon became recognized as an empowered collection of community leaders independent from UIUC. The Foundation is now engaging with more and more people, adding more and more supporters, and amplifying more and more voices.

The CS+X Foundation leads local campaigns that promote real solutions to the grand challenges faced by society. We challenge the notion that the way things are is the way things should always be, and we are proud to be a force for positive transformation.

The Foundation is committed to the recruitment and retention of under-represented populations into STEM careers by increasing participation in today’s engineering and humanitarian grand challenges. The CS+X Foundation is a registered 501(c) 3 working to expand the impact of the "computer science plus any field" paradigm into communities at-large. By retooling the institutional relationships between education, urban research, workforce development, and entrepreneurship, the CS+X Foundation is working to achieve change that has yet to be successfully implemented at scale.

In support of early and life-long literacy, the CS+X Foundation accomplishes its mission by:

  1. Creating and promoting innovative educational materials and events that allow for year-round, progressive, hands-on exposure to leading-edge topics. The scope of this work serves to encourage meaningful connections between professional and community educators, interactive museums, and university institutions.  These activities enhance discovery and research in formal and informal settings, create tangible connections to mentors and career advancement, help identify novel teaching concepts, and train educators to replicate successful examples of innovative curricula, experiments and demonstrations.                                                          

  2. Broadening impact within civic and community organizations that service populations underrepresented in technical careers (e.g., women, African Americans, American Indians, Hispanics, and persons with disabilities) by assisting in the design, execution, and promotion of educational materials and events. These partnerships will assist in centralizing, systemizing, and broadening STEM participation of critical underrepresented groups for career development and advancement.                                                                                                                                    

  3. Curating and disseminating novel educational materials and guidelines for interactive events. Many excellent progressive curricula and events fail to gain wider adoption because they lack attention to curating key content and managing outcomes.  CS+X partners with K-12 teachers, museums, community activists, and academic administrators to create mechanisms and guidelines for how to sustain, measure, and enhance learning outcomes of culturally sensitive STEM curricula from year-to-year.                                                                                                                                               

  4. Partnering with community creatives, visual/performing artists, and journalists, to better connect technical innovation to a broader community, thereby enlisting art to help recast grand challenges as more interesting and visible for early adoption. These partnerships may foster the creation of new outlets for entertainment, assist journalists with reporting on technical topics, enhance and develop new art forms that communicate innovation to wider audiences, and assist in the creation of online content that better engage non-scientists and the public at large.

 

MEET THE LEADERSHIP TEAM

Faces of CS+X

 
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RUTH WYMAN

CS+X President & Board Member

Ruth is an attorney and the current Vice President of the Champaign County ACLU. She has done more pro-bono legal work than any other attorney in the county, for which she has received several awards. As the child of immigrants from Latin America, Ruth is a native Spanish speaker who is acutely aware of the importance of civil legal aid, which she provides through the La Linea legal clinic.

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JORGE ELVIR

CS+X Vice President & Board Member

Jorge is a long-time K-12 educator and administrator who teaches culturally responsive restorative practices (RP) nationwide for the Bureau of Education Research. He is a continuing member of the Community Violence Response Team in the Champaign Urbana area, and is RP and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention train-the-trainer certified.

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SAM SMITH

CS+X Treasurer & Board Member

Sam is a university-community engagement expert with a focus on civic outreach in schools and challenged neighborhoods. At the University of Illinois, Sam develops residencies and networks of connectivity, promotes creative place making approaches, and plans professional developments with artists, cultural workers, educators and organizations that promote the arts, community peace making and social justice.

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LAURA KALMAN

CS+X Secretary and Board President

An electrical engineer by training, Laura is a serial entrepreneur. Her current venture is Studio Helix, where Laura relies on her cross-disciplinary training in engineering and medical manual therapy to create and deliver advanced rehabilitation and human performance solutions. She is an outspoken and well-received presenter on topics related to community-university engagement, economic deelopment, and the under-representation of women and minorities in STEM-careers and start-ups.