IUPUI Solution Center
“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match … “
Teresa Bennett may not have starred in “Fiddler On the Roof,” but the lyrics to “Matchmaker” are an apt description of the role she plays every day as director of the IUPUI Solution Center, the nearly three-year-old organization that helps build bridges between the campus and the private sector.
As head of the center, Bennett and her staff connect Indianapolis business and nonprofit leaders with IUPUI schools, centers and programs. They help create internships that offer students valuable work experience, launch research projects linking IUPUI and community partners, and develop business partnerships and intellectual property relationships that help move the Hoosier economy forward.
It’s a familiar role for Bennett, who previously worked in the IUPUI-based School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the School of Engineering & Technology. In both schools, she “made matches,” helping community leaders navigate the IUPUI hierarchy, and guiding campus researchers and leaders through the maze of the private sector.
Under her guidance, the Solution Center has successfully built a new “engagement” culture at IUPUI by fostering intriguing projects in a host of areas vital to IUPUI’s mission: health and life sciences, technology, research, entrepreneurship and the nonprofit sector.
Among the partners Bennett and the Solution Center have linked to IUPUI: the Indiana Pacers and the Indiana Historical Society (preserving the historically significant memorabilia of basketball legend Oscar Robertson for the Crispus Attucks Museum); the Damien Center (a series of health-related public service ads and videos on HIV/AIDS); the Starfish Initiative (IUPUI students help match high-achieving high school students with community mentors and college prep programs); Goodwill Industries (dental students learn by serving Goodwill clients); and the MIVAS project (a pilot project which eventually will offer health care providers the ability to more quickly interpret patient care data in critical-care units).
Those and the other 1,000-plus partners who have made successful connections to IUPUI’s people and resources have found the Bennett and the Solution Center an ideal “match” for their goals — and for Indiana’s future.