VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Vincennes University is launching ‘Design and Innovation Studios’ in elementary schools throughout the state of Indiana.

It’s in partnership with the Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center.

The partnership invests in youth in Dubois and Perry counties by purchasing equipment and technology, training the instructors, and implementing the curriculum.

The robot balls, cars, robotic arms, and the studios’ other cutting-edge educational tools offer elementary students hands-on experiences through the use of relevant STEM equipment and technology. The studios provide various opportunities for schools, educators, students, and industry to discover new ways to explore design thinking, problem-solving, technology, and creative skill sets.

“Northeast Dubois Elementary School is excited to receive a Design and Innovation Studio thanks to the help and hard work of Vincennes University and IN-MaC,” Northeast Dubois Elementary School Principal Courtney Hopf said. “This grant has allowed our youngest students an opportunity to experience STEM equipment and education that promotes problem-solving, teamwork, and career-readiness skills. We truly appreciate this opportunity for our students to further expand their education.”

According to VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson, “The main goal is to introduce younger students to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math concepts through hands-on project learning. By doing so, we hope to engage students in topics like robotics, advanced manufacturing, computer sciences, physics, engineering, electronics, and design.”

According to Johnson, VU and IN-MaC are working with other school corporations, mostly in Southern and Southwestern Indiana, to deploy additional Design and Innovation Studios in 2022 and beyond.

“VU is so excited to support these programs,” Johnson said. “Seeing the pure excitement and joy on the students’ faces when they are using the technology and getting it to work as they intended is a special feeling. We look forward to seeing how this program leads to future STEM students and contributors to our economic growth.”