About

The Creating Pathways and Access for Student Success™ (CPASS) Foundation was created to attract, encourage, educate, guide, and increase the number of promising, yet underrepresented Illinois students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related professions. We are committed to providing a holistic educational foundation and exclusive access to career development resources for students to persist in STEM careers.

CPASS’ predecessor program, Chicago Area Health and Medical Careers Program (CAHMCP) has been in place since 1979 and has primarily focused on increasing the number of qualified underrepresented minority applicants and matriculants from the city of Chicago to medical and other health professional schools.

 

Our Mission

CPASS provides STEM programming for underrepresented Illinois students while impacting policy change, providing access to valuable STEM programs, empowering their STEM identity, supporting them to excel as advocates, and lead social justice efforts in their home communities.

 

Our Vision

CPASS will be the premier pipeline organization for underserved students to persist in STEM careers and dismantle health inequity.

Offering Exposure & Opportunities

A STEM education is your pathway to a career in exciting technology-based fields. We offer exposure to STEM careers in medicine and other fields. We partner with universities, medical schools, and other organizations, providing enrichment opportunities that strengthen academic skills. Our clearinghouse lets you find your best program.

Who We Are

We introduce traditionally underrepresented middle school, high school and college students to STEM subjects, majors and training. We encourage them to learn about the curricula, unique benefits and the ever-growing job opportunities that STEM-based companies like tech and health care offer. Our goal is to create multiple opportunities so Illinois-based students can participate in STEM-related activities, receive an invaluable education and continually grow in this intriguing field. The more they learn about STEM, the more career opportunities – and confidence – our students can expect.

Learn about STEAM Programs, Camps, and activities

What We Offer

We educate students to realize STEM careers have expanded far beyond tech and into medicine and other health-related and creative fields. We partner with universities, medical schools and other organizations to provide rewarding enrichment opportunities that strengthen STEM-based skills. After school, weekend and summer programs are available for every student. A quick search for programs in your neighborhood should produce a list of STEM-focused courses, majors and activities.

Our Partners

We partner with leading universities in and around the State of Illinois, as well as an innovative nonprofit organization on the South Side of Chicago to offer hands-on STEM and STEAM programs for underrepresented grade school, middle school and high school-level students. These pivotal, beneficial programs, camps and activities will help them launch into careers and lives they may never considered possible. We are grateful to call the following our partners and friends:
Institute of Medicine of Chicago logo

Institute of Medicine of Chicago

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group logo

Health & Medicine Policy Research

Southern Illinois University (SIU) - Carbondale building

SIU Carbondale

MAPSCorps logo

MAPSCorps

Rosalind Franklin University building

Rosalind Franklin University

Rosalind Franklin University building

University of Illinois Chicago

Chicago State University building

Chicago State University

Smash logo

SMASH

Illinois Institute of Technology building

Illinois Institute of Technology

Rush University Mini-Medical School building

Rush University Mini-Medical School

Logo for STEM Summer Camp by Governors State University

GSU STEAM Camp

Our History

The CPASS Foundation builds upon the successes of the Chicago Area Health and Medical Careers Program (CAHMCP, known as “Champs”). Founded in 1979 at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), this was a pipeline program for underrepresented high school and college students. CAHMCP prepared motivated students for careers in healthcare and medicine by showing them that they could succeed in these fields. The instruction included hands-on activities and field trips, as well as counseling for graduate school and medical college admission tests.

The CPASS Foundation builds upon the successes of the Chicago Area Health and Medical Careers Program (CAHMCP, known as “Champs”). Founded in 1979 at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), this was a pipeline program for underrepresented high school and college students. CAHMCP prepared motivated students for careers in healthcare and medicine by showing them that they could succeed in these fields. The instruction included hands-on activities and field trips, as well as counseling for graduate school and medical college admission tests.

What We Learned

What we learned from CAHMCP is that underrepresented students should start preparing for STEM careers much earlier. We needed to begin our program in middle school, so that students would be motivated to form good study habits. We also needed to take a broader view of technology-based medical careers for underrepresented students.

Looking to the Future

Established in 2018, the CPASS Foundation is the second chapter in our story. The CPASS Foundation exposes underrepresented students to the wide range of career paths open to them. Mentoring and hands-on instruction help students prepare for a great future in STEM. We invite alumni of the CAHMCP program to work with us, as mentors, donors, and shining examples of career success for underrepresented students.

Banner image for book by CPASS Foundation titled PocketBook A Quick Guide for STEM students

Study Tips for STEM Students [Guide]

Get your free Quick Guide to become a successful S.T.E.M student.

Use our search tool to find STEM programs near you in the areas that you’re interested in.

Our Staff

Headshot photo of Dr. Stephen A. Martin, Jr. PhD, MPH

Executive Director

Stephen A. Martin, Jr., PhD, MPH

Photo of Tracie Screven

Associate Director

Tracie Screven

Our Board

Headshot photo of Dr. Eric Whitaker MD, MPH

Chairman

Eric Whitaker, MD, MPH

Headshot of Dr. Laura Lucero MD

Director

Laura Lucero, MD

Headshot photo of Dr. Terry Mason MD, FACS

Secretary and Director

Terry Mason, MD, FACS

Headshot photo of Dr. William A. McDade MD, PhD

Treasurer Director

William A. McDade, MD, PhD

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