Students and teachers returning to class in Elkhart County have a new destination for science, technology, engineering and math learning opportunities. The $8.2 million ETHOS Innovation Center, which opened in April, is a hands-on museum and learning space located at a former Bayer Corp. pharmaceutical facility in Elkhart. The center features science camps in the summer months, during spring and fall breaks, after school and for field trips, as well as professional development opportunities for teachers. During our recent Elkhart Road Show edition of Inside INdiana Business With Gerry Dick, Executive Director Patsy Boehler was joined by Elkhart Community Schools Interim Superintendent Mark Mow, who said ETHOS Innovation Center "helps students regardless of where they’re headed."
Focus areas at the center include robotics and underwater robotics programming, nature studies, chemistry and drone technology. "Our core business is to manage science materials for area schools and then to provide the professional development training that teachers need in order to teach those science kids," Boehler added. "Then, we have wrap-around programs, if you will. Robotics is our most popular program. It’s a kindergarten through 12th grade program." Boehler says expansion of the center could on the horizon "as we try to cast the vision for what those needs of the community might be met with." Her organization has an additional 14 acres at the property.
Mow says students can pick up skills that will benefit their academic life or future in the workforce. "The ability to solve problems, work collaboratively and think critically — we know — is important for employers in the Elkhart area, and really, across the nation," Mow said. "(ETHOS) is a huge benefit here and from a school standpoint, having the expertise at ETHOS — particularly in the areas of critical thinking and problem solving — those are areas that impact not only STEM education, but education in general."
You can connect to more about the ETHOS Innovation Center by clicking here.