About IdeaFestival Bowling Green
In 2011, The Center for Gifted Studies, The Gatton Academy, and the WKU Honors College were awarded a $500,000 challenge grant by the James Graham Brown Foundation – the first of its kind ever given to a public university. We met the challenge grant by raising a matching $500,000 from individuals, businesses, government offices, and foundations.
Through this funding we created the i4 Initiative, later named Innovate Kentucky, to promote a culture of innovation through a series of outreach and programming opportunities that instilled a sense of importance of STEM education. Innovate Kentucky focused on encouraging children, young people, and adults to combine their innovative ideas with an entrepreneurial spirit. One of the initiative’s top priorities was to establish an annual speaker series at Western Kentucky University.
Thankfully, a perfect model for a speaker series already existed in Kentucky: IdeaFestival®. Founded in 2000 and held annually in Louisville since 2006, IdeaFestival brings in world-renowned speakers and has attracted thousands of participants. IdeaFestival branched out in 2013 with IF Lexington, which focused on creative disruption. Following that event, Innovate Kentucky was offered the opportunity to host an IF event in Bowling Green.
The tagline for IFBG is “Just imagine” because we want to inspire the next generation of thinkers, creators, and entreprenuers. Our one-day event has always featured innovators from a variety of fields who were eager to share their passions, paths, and solutions. In 2016, with the introduction of minds-on, hands-on activities and a new focus on middle and high school student, IFBG positioned itself to continue to work towards Innovate Kentucky's overall goal: spark innovation – one idea at a time.
Thanks to the members of the IFBG planning committee for their tireless work and dedication to make this event a reality.
2021 IdeaFestival Bowling Green Planning Committee
Fabián Álvarez — WKU Department of English
Sandra Baker — Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce
Tyler Clark — World Council for Gifted and Talented Children/The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU
Troy Coleman — AT&T
Dr. Mary Evans — The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU
Krupa Hegde — The Gatton Academy
Gloria Huang — The Gatton Academy
Dr. Tracy Inman — The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU
Jesse Knifley — The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU
Dr. Cassandra Little — Warren County Public Schools, retired
Dr. Julia Roberts — The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU
Andee Rudloff — independent consultant/artist
Erika Solberg — The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU
Natalie Tyree — WKU Department of Art
Wade Vierheller — The Gatton Academy
Past Committee Members
Dr. Gordon Baylis — WKU Research Foundation
Dr. Dawn Bolton — WKU Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Ron Bunch — Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce
Emily Buttrum — WKU Center for Research and Development
Kelsi Cline — Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Craig Cobane — WKU Honors College
Sydnee Dorris — Hitcents
Dr. Julie Ellis — WKU Department of Engineering
Tracy Harkins — World Council for Gifted and Talented Children/The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU
Dr. Anne Heintzman — WKU MakerspaceBrian Mefford — CNX Inc
Jeff Hook — WKU Center for Research and Development
Lynn Minton — Kentucky Innovation Network
Sam Oldenburg — The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU
Dr. Whitney Peake — WKU Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Kim Phelps — Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce
Josh Raymer — Scribe Media
Zack Ryle — The Gatton Academy
Joe Tudor — Hitcents