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Current Initiatives | Past Initiatives | Support and Collaboration

Current Initiatives

Block City

In collaboration with the IIT Alumni Association, and the Mies van der Rohe Society, SASDI has hosted “Block City,” since 2010.  Block City is a fun-filled event for LEGO enthusiasts of all ages! Using over 40,000 LEGO bricks, participants build a city of LEGOs.

SASDI Fellows Program

This program provides a unique opportunity to be part of something exciting and meaningful within higher education – to work on projects of consequence and to interact with the leadership at the university. Fellows can volunteer, work, and/or do research with SASDI to gain additional professional experience, to learn different perspectives and approaches, and to expand professional networks.


“FastForward to Illinois Tech” engages current community college students with life on Illinois Tech’s campus, paving the way for transfer students’ successful transition to the university. The Undergraduate Transfer Admissions team provides academic guidance regarding transfer credits and course planning. SASDI’s FastForward: Campus Connections initiative offers FastForward participants access to opportunities unique to Illinois Tech and engagement with its campus community. In addition to providing valuable experiences to participants, Campus Connections will encourage transfer student enrollment to Illinois Tech – and prepare students for success, persistence, and degree-attainment once they matriculate.


In June 2012, in light of the horrific conditions unfolding in Syria and the increasing number of students without access to higher education, Illinois Institute of Technology became interested in bringing Syrian students to study at our main campus in Chicago. Members of the Office of the Vice Provost of Student Access, Success, and Diversity Initiatives worked together with national and international partners to announce the educational and scholarship opportunities for Syrian students at Illinois Tech. These opportunities were possible through collaboration with the Syrian expatriate organization Jusoor and EducationUSA-Syria, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.


Piloted in January 2016, the Peer Career Coaching (PCC) program at Illinois Institute of Technology is a peer-to-peer career coaching service. The Peer Career Coaches (PCCs) represent the various years, majors, and backgrounds of Illinois Tech undergraduate students. PCCs serve their student peers in developing resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and answering questions about Jobs4Hawks (Illinois Tech’s Symplicity-based career management system). Additionally, PCCs support the operations of the Career Services.

To Learn more about this program click HERE.

Past Initiatives

Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program at Illinois Tech

The Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP) was an initiative by the Brazilian government to  grant 100,000 scholarships to high achieving undergraduate and graduate students to study abroad. A close relationship with the Institute of International Education, who administered BSMP, brought 12 students to the Illinois Tech campus in Fall 2013. By the end of the program in 2015 more than 400 BSMP scholars attended either year long programing or summer research at Illinois Tech.

Read about a BSMP student’s experience HERE.

CARIBBEAN VISIONARIES (formerly St. Lucian Visionaries)

In August 2010 Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) committed to granting up to 79 scholarships to recruit young academics from St. Lucia to pursue a higher education. This effort was in partnership with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the St. Lucia government, and Goldman Sachs. After securing funding and completing the application process, 28 students were admitted to Illinois Tech for the Fall 2010 semester.

Through this initiative students from other Caribbean islands, namely Grenada, Antigua, and Jamaica, joined the St. Lucian Visionaries to expand the cohort of Caribbean students and promoted the initiative to change its name to the Caribbean Visionaries.

STEM Launch

Hosted at Illinois Institutes of Technology’s Mies (Main) Campus and Harold Washington Community College from 2014 to 2016,  STEM Launch was an enrichment program developed to support students and teachers from five Chicago Public School (CPS) designated STEM schools and two CPS military academies. Developed by a members of the Office of Student Access, Success, and Diversity Initiatives team at Illinois Tech, STEM Launch was also supported by CPS, City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), and the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research Science and Technology. STEM Launch developed a curriculum intended to introduce students to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields; higher education; and the U.S. Navy. Through STEM Launch, students gained the skills needed to pursue higher levels of STEM education, both secondary and postsecondary, and STEM related careers. Throughout STEM Launch students participated in educational workshops, learned leadership skills, attended field trips, and attended STEM and Navy related lectures.

Parent University

Established in March 2015, Parent University was a program designed to equips parents of middle and high school students with the tools, knowledge, and resources to encourage and support their child’s pursuit of college and careers goals.  From 2015 to 2016 this program served approximately 200 parents and students.

Support and Collaboration

Initiatives we have directly supported or co-hosted are listed below.


The “100 Syrian Women, 10,000 Syrian Lives” Scholarship Program for Syrian university women to resume their studies despite ongoing conflict in their home country. Implemented in partnership with Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and with support for educational advising from the EducationUSA network of international student advising centers, the scholarships are expected to bring 100 Syrian women to study at U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities over the next four academic years.

The goal of “100 Syrian Women, 10,000 Syrian Lives” is to leverage higher education and philanthropic partnerships to address common barriers to educating students during the crisis. Program partners identified areas of need such as gaps in connecting students with universities, poor access to information, and scarce funding – all of which this initiative seeks to remedy by partnering with donors and universities, and recruiting through Jusoor’s extensive network. In addition to receiving scholarships, recipients will benefit from career development and leadership workshops.