DevUp Scholars

The Illinois Tech DevUp Scholars Program is an interactive three-year program to expose high school students from Chicago’s South Side to STEM and entrepreneurship, to connect them with mentors, and to prepare them to pursue STEM majors and careers. DevUp focuses on social justice through STEM entrepreneurship, equipping students to be innovative STEM leaders in their communities. Students are empowered with the skills and knowledge to influence peers in their school community through student-led events at their home schools.

Program Structure and Benefits

A cohort of DevUp Scholars is selected at the end of their freshman year in high school. They receive a full scholarship to participate in structured STEM enrichment activities every month from the summer before their sophomore year through high school graduation, hosted at Illinois Tech and their home high schools. The monthly activities are designed to expose students to the depth and breadth of STEM, to cultivate their leadership and an entrepreneurial mindset, and to build their college readiness:

  Focus Example Activities
10th Grade In the first year of DevUp, students develop a relationship with their mentors, explore STEM disciplines through structured events and summer programs, and become familiar with the Illinois Tech campus and its resources. Each student develops a plan for their high school career to stay on track to pursue a STEM major in college.
11th Grade In year two, DevUp students continue to explore STEM disciplines and careers. They also prepare for standardized tests and learn the mechanics of writing a compelling college essay to convey their individual experiences and academic goals.
12th Grade In year three, DevUp students are immersed in the college application and selection process. They learn about concrete strategies for completing and submitting applications, applying for financial aid, and networking. The goal is to prepare students to successfully pursue and thrive in higher education.

Each cohort of DevUp Scholars will be connected with mentors who are current Illinois Tech undergraduate students. We will prioritize pairing students with mentors who graduated from Chicago Public Schools or local charter schools. Scholars will also network with STEM professors and industry professionals.

At the completion of the program, DevUp graduates who are admitted to a degree-seeking undergraduate program at Illinois Tech will earn a guaranteed Tuition Scholarship of $25,000 and Housing Scholarship of $5,000 annually to attend the university. Students may be eligible for additional aid to attend Illinois Tech after submitting the FAFSA.

Illinois Tech Contacts

Natalie Polacek
Assistant Director of Pre-College Programs
npolacek@iit.edu

Vinika Porwal
STEM Partnership Manager
vporwal@iit.edu