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MashUp Event Celebrates Evanston, Northwestern Connections

Catalyst Award recognizes STEM education partnership between University and high school

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October 5, 2012 | by Matt Paolelli
Officials gather for the presentation of the Catalyst Award. Pictured are (from left): Eugene Sunshine, senior vice president for business and finance at Northwestern, Kemi Jona, director of Northwestern’s Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP), Eric Witherspoon, superintendent of Evanston Township High School and Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. Photo by Jim Prisching

Evanston’s third annual MashUp event brought together local business owners, city leaders, Northwestern University officials and Evanston residents to celebrate, network and reflect on the city’s future. The Sept. 19 event originally was scheduled to be held on the Northwestern lakefront, but high winds forced the MashUp to move to the Hilton Orrington Hotel at the last minute.

Coordinated by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, the event featured a wide variety of free food from area restaurants, live music and the presentation of several awards.

Northwestern was recognized with the evening’s biggest prize -- the Catalyst Award. Eugene Sunshine, senior vice president for business and finance at Northwestern, presented the award to Kemi Jona, director of Northwestern’s Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP), and Eric Witherspoon, superintendent of Evanston Township High School (ETHS), for a new partnership that strengthens ties between the University and the high school by promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in Evanston.

“Receiving this award really helps make visible all the work that we do with our partners in Evanston and throughout the city and shows the value of the work we do every day,” Jona said. “I look forward to working with Mayor Tisdahl and the city of Evanston, along with President Schapiro, to build great new things here in Evanston.”

The partnership is part of the Good Neighbor, Great University Initiative and uses Northwestern’s strong educational offerings and facilities to enhance learning opportunities for ETHS students. A new full-time position based at ETHS and funded by Northwestern was created in May to strengthen the relationship between the University and the high school and to coordinate opportunities for them to connect.

“Last May, U.S. News and World Report ranked ETHS in the top 2 percent of all of the high schools in America,” Witherspoon said. “Thanks to the generosity of Northwestern University and President Schapiro, we’re going to go from that top 2 percent, to the top 1 percent.”

Read more about the collaboration between Northwestern and ETHS.