IMSA Fusion

Program Type

Curriculum/Instructional Materials
Teacher Development/Training
Hands on/Project-Based
Informal /Out of School

Target Audience

All Students

Black/African American





Pre-K - 5
Grades 6 - 8

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

The Illinois Math and Science Academy's FUSION afterschool student enrichment programs are making a difference for 200 teachers and almost 3,000 students in Illinois. The program has been shown to boost students' skills in math and science, and it encourages more students to take advanced math and science classes in high school.


Program Overview

IMSA FUSION is an award-winning, research-based after-school enrichment program for Illinois 4th- through 8th- grade students who are talented and motivated in mathematics and science. The program provides ongoing professional development, curricular materials and support to teachers.

The goals of the IMSA FUSION program are to:

1. Increase access to STEM programming for students who are historically underrepresented and under-served in mathematics and science;

2. Increase student interest, involvement and literacy in mathematics and science;

3. Enhance the knowledge and skills of teachers in mathematics and science;

4. Stimulate excellence in school mathematics and science programs.

Bayer Corporation named FUSION as one of the nation's Best Practice K-12 STEM Education Programs in 2006 and 2010.

FUSION provides an array of problem-centered, inquiry-based lab work. These can include rocket launches, bridge creations, landfill designs, crime investigations, green roof and wind turbine building, and electromagnetic motor construction. FUSION also offers Inquiry Workshops, Online Monthly Problems, Family Events, STEM Webinars and Global Biodiversity Studies.

How To Get Involved

For $25,000, a donor can sponsor a program for three years, giving 90 students 200 hours of hands-on STEM activities and teachers at least 120 hours of professional development. For $50,000, a donor can sponsor a curriculum that could reach roughly 250 teachers and 1,000 students over 6 years. General donations help programs sponsor field trips, create STEM night events, or buy materials.

Funders and Partners

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy would like to acknowledge FUSION partner schools, the Illinois General Assemby, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, ComEd, William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, Inc., The Harris Family Foundation, The Pritzker Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Underwriters Laboratories, and other donors to the IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education.


Dr. Norman Robinson III, Executive Director of PFS

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Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.