As part of its effort to highlight its 2012-13 class, the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana has selected Anthony Thurman and Connie Bachmann as its March Innovators of the Month.
Anthony Thurman, an animated filmmaker from Gary, is the first Ivy Tech alumni to be inducted into The Society of Innovators. The founder of Alt Key Productions launched an award-wining animated series of short films that have won local, national and international acclaim.
Drawing from his own experience with depression, these films describe the challenges of a fictional police officer named “Detective Downs.” He has produced two in this series, including his latest film, “The Depression of Detective Downs 2: On Depression’s Edge.” It won accolades at the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival in Glasgow, Scotland. Last October, it was selected for screening and competition at the Marbella International Film Festival in Spain.
Thurman works at Ivy Tech Northwest’s Gary Campus part-time in the computer lab. Now starting his third “Detective Downs” film, he said producing these films helps others deal with depression because “Detective Downs” manages his caseload and life’s challenges despite his disability.
When U.S. Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan visited Lake Hills STEM Magnet School, he encouraged educators to develop a rigorous STEM curriculum. His emphasis in 2011: Help students at the first STEM public elementary school in Northwest Indiana and the first non-charter magnet public school in Indiana become future problem solvers and innovators.
“Since we became a STEM school, ISTEP+ scores have dramatically improved,” said Lake Hills Principal Connie Bachmann, “Students demonstrating proficiency on science rose from 61 to77 percent.”
Today, this Michigan City school is a model on spreading science, technology, engineering and math across the curriculum. Throughout the year, there are four themes that influence education among the 430 students, 85 percent on free and reduced lunch. These are life sciences; physical science; engineering and technology; and space and earth.
The society is part of the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center of Ivy Tech Community College Northwest.
For more information, call O'Merrial Butchee, director of the Lamkin Center at (219) 981-4942, or John Davies, assistant director, at (219) 981-1111, ext. 2292.