Center for Creative Solutions, Inc.® Honors Students and Spark Labs for their Innovation

at Community Breakfast Celebration of World Creativity and Innovation Week

Throughout April, Northwest Indiana has been celebrating World Creativity and Innovation Week 2017. Sponsored by the Center for Creative Solutions, "Dream BIG!" has been the theme for many community events.

On Friday (April 21), the Center for Creative Solutions hosted a community breakfast in celebration of regional creativity and innovation. Keynote speaker was Justin Kiel, entrepreneur, newspaper publisher and La Crosse Town Councilman.

Highlighting the morning was presentation of the Tej Ram Gupta Scholarships to three, innovative students from the A. K. Smith Career Center and the CREO! This year’s CREO! recipient was Spark Labs of the La Porte County Public Library for its extraordinary efforts to promote an innovative culture in Northwest Indiana.

Spark Labs is a library based makerspace. There, people of all ages are encouraged to learn and explore many Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math related topics. Challenging hands-on and fun activities involving robotics, 3D printing and 3D CAD, electronics, jewelry making, solar energy and much more are presented regularly. These activities can develop skills and confidence in advanced technologies leading to future job skills.

Spark Labs is the result of extensive planning and work of many interested individuals including library colleagues and local volunteers. Their work has been recognized on both a local and national level in several articles and presentations, according to Cynthia Hedge, CEO of the Center for Creative Solutions. Spark Labs activities are available in a new, recently opened dedicated makerspace in La Porte Public Library's downtown library, in all branches of the library and in local schools and other public places, she noted.

The Tej Ram Gupta scholarships are given each year in conjunction with Dr. Rakish and Bina Gupta, the B. R. Foundation of Michigan City and the Center for Creative Solutions. The awards are named after Ms. Gupta’s father, Tej Ram Gupta.

This year’s recipients were:

Alexis Biggers is a positive young lady who uses here creative problem solving skills in every aspect of her life. "You could put two people in a room at the opposite end and she could get them to come together," said Audra Peterson, director of the A. K. Smith Center. She is a 21st Century Scholar recipient, senior varsity athlete on the volleyball team and is very active in her church youth group. She is at the Michigan City St. Stans Elementary School this year for her Early Childhood Education experience. Alexis would like to be a social worker and work for the Department of Family Services.

JeanCyri McCully is extremely creative and is participating in the skills sculpture. He also helped with sculptures displayed at Ames Field in Michigan City. He is planning to open a business when he graduates. 

D’Calvin Oliveris extremely artistic. He has been commissioned to do many sculptures. He is active in Debutant-Master Commission Division, runs with the Michigan City High School track team and manages the Michigan City High School girls basketball team. He plans to pursue his higher education in the fields of welding/engineering.

In addition, other adults and youth are being honored in poetry, song writing and art contests throughout April.

 Pictured (left to write: Bill Halliar, co-chair of the World Creativity and Innovation Week 2017 committee; Pam Okuson and Stephanie Murphy from the La Porte County Public Library; Karen Jedrysek, Spark Labs volunteer; Kristi Chadderdon, La Porte County Public Library; and Earl Adams, Spark Labs volunteer; and Keri Marrs-Barron, co-chair of the World Creativity and Innovation Week 2017.

Pictured (left to write: Bill Halliar, co-chair of the World Creativity and Innovation Week 2017 committee; Pam Okuson and Stephanie Murphy from the La Porte County Public Library; Karen Jedrysek, Spark Labs volunteer; Kristi Chadderdon, La Porte County Public Library; and Earl Adams, Spark Labs volunteer; and Keri Marrs-Barron, co-chair of the World Creativity and Innovation Week 2017.