Center for Innovation and Inquiry


The Steve and Jamie Chen Center for Innovation and Inquiry is a leading center for innovative and entrepreneurial thinking and applied learning for youth and adult development. We turn ideas into impact.

A $1.9M, 6,400 square foot state-of-the-art renovation located at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (IMSA) campus in Aurora, Illinois, seeded by a generous lead gift of $1M by alumnus Steve Chen ‘96. The Center is a physical space designed to be “an organic, crowd-sourced solution to prototype and test new models of educating the next generation of innovators.”

The IMSA innovation community is a vibrant network of innovators, designers, and entrepreneurs who are sharing ideas, testing inventions, taking risks, launching businesses, and along the way, turning ideas into impact.


The Steve and Jamie Chen Center for Innovation & Inquiry will be one of the world’s leading centers for inquiry-led innovative and entrepreneurial thinking for youth and adult development.


The mission of the Center is to empower youth and adults through world-leading applied, collaborative, and culturally responsive experiences that inspire innovative and entrepreneurial thinking; and the launch of breakthrough projects into the world.


In pursuing its vision and mission, and conducting its daily operations the Center is committed to cultivating a culture of possibility and growth by serving both IMSA and external communities around the state. We value our ever-growing community and business partners, sponsors, mentors, and members.

Core Program Areas