UMass iCons Program Launches 14th Cohort with Focus on Urban Climate Change

Picture of students brainstorming real-world problems to solve

The 14th cohort of the UMass iCons Program, 72 diverse students spanning 29 majors across seven colleges, was launched on Saturday, December 2, 2023.

The iCons program, renowned for its commitment to cultivating undergraduate innovation, serves as a creative platform for real-world problem solving, offering students a unique and impactful certificate experience. For the second consecutive year, the program witnessed a surge in applications, marking an increase of over 22% from the previous year. Two-thirds of the students identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and 63% identify as non-male.

Pic of 14th cohortA member of the new cohort majoring in public health sciences expressed her motivation for applying to the program, stating, “I was drawn to iCons by the prospect of stepping outside of my major and comfort zone, collaborating with students from a diverse range of majors.”

The main objective of the new cohort launch is for iCons students to collectively determine the real-world problem they will address in their upcoming iCons 1 course in Spring 2024. This year’s first case study will center on Urban Climate Change, a complex challenge requiring expertise from various academic disciplines, including but not limited to environmental sciences, urban planning, architecture, engineering, public health, economics, and policy.

The mission of the iCons Program is to inspire a diverse generation of innovators in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and business with the attitudes and skills needed to solve problems facing our world. Building on the disciplinary strength of each student’s major, iCons projects at all levels involve collaborative student teams working on cross-disciplinary communication and integrative problem-solving skills.

Check out photos (Facebook photo album) from the 14th Cohort Launch.