East Carolina University and Partners To Host Middle School Innovators Academy

Published 5:56 pm Monday, July 14, 2014

GREENVILLE — East Carolina University will host the national award-winning Middle School Innovators Academy (MSIA) from July 14 to July 24.  Other partners include the Pitt County Development Commission, DSM Dyneema, Pitt County Schools, Beaufort County Schools, and North East Carolina Preparatory School.

The Middle School Innovators Academy is a nine-day, team-based educational workshop covering topics such as practical sketching techniques, 2-D and 3-D digital imaging essentials, physical model building strategies, presentation skills, and marketing and patent research.  Classes will take place in the Willis Building and at the Greenville Center, and students will make final presentations on July 24th.

Upper management and representatives from several departments at DSM Dyneema will join ECU faculty and staff in teaching innovation techniques and practices to participants. The session marks DSM Dyneema’s second summer as an MSIA partner with ECU.

Jim Lawless, site director of DSM Dyneema states, “We are proud to partner again with East Carolina University to offer the Middle School Innovator’s Academy to promote the development of young innovators. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to share our knowledge and resources with children in our community who will one day make the world brighter through their creativity and ingenuity.”

Wayne Godwin, director of the MSIA, noted, “We’re excited to have Dyneema as a partner again this year. They know the methodology we use in the Middle School Innovators Academy attracts children to become innovators. Like us, Dyneema recognizes that without fresh ideas and innovation, you’re not growing. Developing young innovators who will comprise an innovative workforce is important to companies like Dyneema that are considered leading edge in their industries.”

The Pitt County Development Commission has provided financial support of $5000.00 to the MSIA as part of the organization’s strategic planning goals, one of which aims to enhance the local entrepreneurial support system.

“The Innovators Academy is a terrific investment for us because it supports economic development in so many ways. We all know that middle school is a crucial time for getting and keeping students engaged, and the Academy does an excellent job of engaging students and their parents in academics, imagination, and future careers.  A major Pitt County employer, Dyneema, engages with ECU students, faculty, and staff to show these young people that stretching their brains and working hard can also be a great deal of fun. That’s the workforce we want Pitt County to have,” said Wanda Yuhas, executive director of the Pitt County Development Commission.

This session of the MSIA precedes an upcoming series of academies that will be funded by a $1.25 million Golden LEAF Foundation grant that will include 16 Pitt County schools, P.S. Jones Middle School in Beaufort County, North East Carolina Preparatory, as well as partners ECU, Pitt County, the Pitt County Development Commission, STEM East and area economic developers and manufacturers. Those academies will begin Summer 2015.

Learn more about the Academy at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_bNdtojxzE.