The Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute hosted its inaugural Innovation Day, also known as I-Day, in honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week. I-Day took place at Ball State’s Oakwood Building and included a series of events for high school students from the Muncie area. Students from Burris Laboratory School, Daleville Junior/Senior High School and Muncie Central High School took part in the event Nov. 10.
The day was split up into three break-out sessions, a lunch catered by Allègre, Ball State’s student-run-and-operated restaurant, and a speech from keynote speaker Tammy Nguyen, owner of TN Events Management.
Candy Dodd, associate program director for external programs at the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute, led the event and said she is looking forward to opening it up to more students next year. Dodd said this year was a “pilot year,” so the institute only had room for 60 students total.
In the future, Dodd wants to increase the attendance of high school students and host it on campus, so the institute can expose them to Ball State. Dodd hopes that by holding the event on campus, students will see some of the things they are learning about and decide if Ball State is a good fit for them.
“My number one goal is to expose high school students to creative and entrepreneurial thinking and problem-solving,” Dodd said, “and seeking opportunities to challenges that they're facing in a different way.”
The three sessions held during the event included problem-solving exercises, lectures from members of Ball State’s Digital Corps, Sportslink and Esports, and creative programs. Dodd’s favorite session, along with Burris Laboratory School freshman Lincoln Arthur, involved Legos where students were able to use problem-solving skills to create prototypes.
Dodd said she hopes I-day will empower students to make a change. She wants students to know if they face a challenge, they can find a new, creative way to solve and overcome it.
Even though Anya Pegues, junior at Burris Laboratory School, goes to school in Muncie, she said she was still able to learn about new things that she didn’t know Ball State had. Pegues said of all the sessions, she enjoyed the problem-solving session the most.
“It was really focused on innovation and just how to craft your ideas into things that you know how to show for your ideas,” Pegues said.
Both Pegues and Arthur said they enjoyed I-Day, and their teachers are hopeful they can take students again in the future.
“I really feel like a lot of the stuff they touched on today is the direction education is going,” Eli Jones, social studies instructor at Burris Laboratory School, said. “And I feel like if they truly want to be innovative and revolutionary, they need to basically make it available to all.”
Jones said Burris started a broadcasting program this year, so the sessions were helpful for ideas. Jones said Esports has been discussed for Burris, so it helps to further the students’ knowledge and passion on the subject.
“All of this stuff … we can take back one way or another,” Jones said. “So, that to me has been the [greatest] benefit. I've already got ideas from my own classroom [for] when I get back to the building.”