Mary Trent to serve as northwest regional STEM manager 

The network team for Iowa STEM welcomes new member Mary Trent, northwest regional STEM manager out of Iowa Lakes Community College.

Starting in mid-March, Mary Trent will serve as the northwest regional STEM manager headquartered at Iowa Lakes Community College (ILCC). Trent personifies the excellence sought by a dedicated search committee headed up by ILCC Vice President of Administration Scott Stokes with contributors, Sharon Rosenboom, a STEM Council member, John Bedward, a Northwest Regional STEM Advisory Board member, and Executive Director Dr. Jeff Weld.
Trent, alongside her devoted counterparts, will work as the "boots on the ground" for Northwest Iowa to execute the priorities of the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council and continue to strengthen relationships with PreK-12 schools, business and industry partners, nonprofit organizations, higher education and other community leaders. Some of her duties will include promoting the STEM Scale-Up Program ; convening the Northwest Regional STEM Advisory Board; conducting local, statewide and, even national, presentations on Iowa STEM; facilitating working groups; planning local family STEM festivals and more.
Trent's qualifications for the post are numerous as she has led her school system to a regional reputation for STEM excellence, while also serving a statewide role in advancing STEM education.
"My experience with professional development and partnership with AEA PD Online will definitely help the STEM movement in Iowa in providing quality STEM professional development throughout the state," Trent said. "Also, my experience as a technology integration specialist and STEM coordinator at our school will provide me a unique insight into STEM in schools."
Trent has been involved in numerous programs of the STEM Council as well, serving as a reviewer for STEM BEST® proposals and contributor to the STEM Council's Active Learning Community Partners, Professional Development and Communications working groups.

After earning her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a minor in Educational Computing from Iowa State University, Trent devoted 22 years to the youth of Kuemper Catholic School in Carroll as a first grade teacher and technology integration specialist. During that time, she also taught many courses through Heartland Area Education Agency (AEA) and AEA PD Online. Trent later earned her master's degree in Professional Education from Morningside College in Sioux City.
"I am most excited to spread the STEM initiative to all of Northwest Iowa," Trent said. "I hope to make the Northwest a beacon for great STEM in Iowa!"
For more information on Iowa STEM regions and their respective regional STEM managers, please visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/regions , and please help us give Mary a warm welcome to our team! 
March 3, 2017
STEM Scale-Up Program Application for Educators DUE
More Information

March 16, 2017
Southwest Family STEM Festival
Woodbine High School
Woodbine, IA
More Information

March 28, 2017
Southwest Family STEM Festival
Harlan Elementary School
Harlan, IA
More Information

April 1, 2017
North Central Family STEM Festival
Waldorf University
Forest City, IA
More Information

June 21, 2017
"Fast Track Iowa's Future" Summit
9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Iowa STEM Operations Center
University of Northern Iowa
214 East Bartlett
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0298

PHONE 319-273-2959
E-MAIL Info@IowaSTEM.gov

Bringing STEM to the Capitol

The sixth annual STEM Day at the Capitol enlisted strong support from more than 160 exhibitors who represented 33 organizations contributing directly to the STEM Council's mission.
Executive branch leaders and state legislators took more than a moment on February 16 to pause from the weighty matters upstairs in the Senate and House chambers to celebrate something they created and continue to generously support -- Iowa's statewide STEM program. Reaching now more than half of all preK-12 learners and earning the support of more than 90% of surveyed citizens, this evidence-based, public-private partnership enjoys bipartisan, data-driven commitment of lawmakers.
Thirty-three partnering organizations and a sea of more than 160 exhibitor participants helped share Iowa's STEM story with dozens of lawmakers and other supporters over the course of the day, sponsored by loyal partners to the STEM Council, John Deere and Rockwell Collins.
STEM Day at the Capitol began with evaluative snapshots from Executive Director Dr. Jeff Weld. He introduced Gov. Terry Branstad who acknowledged the progress made by this group since his executive order 74 in 2011. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds followed, thanking exhibitors for their tireless work on behalf of children, many of whom made the trek and earned her warm well-wishes for bright STEM futures. In a uniquely STEM-like fashion of bipartisanship, Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, Sen. Bill Dotzler, Rep. Cecil Dolecheck and Rep. Dave Jacoby each shared their own observations of Iowa's STEM progress in earning their support as key in producing Iowa's next generation of skilled innovators.
STEM Council Co-Chair and Kemin Industries President and CEO Dr. Chris Nelson rallied attendees around what has become a signature program of the STEM Council, recognizing six outstanding Iowa educators, one per STEM region, who earned the 2017 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award, generously sponsored by his company. All leaders remained at the podium to congratulate the six honored teachers, including:
  • Heather Anderson, second grade teacher at Grant Ragan Elementary School in Waukee, Iowa
  • Benjamin Jass, industrial technology teacher at Webster City High School in Webster City, Iowa
  • Keith Juelfs, fifth grade teacher at Morningside Elementary STEM School in Sioux City, Iowa 
  • Brett Roberts, sixth grade science teacher at Shenandoah Middle School in Shenandoah, Iowa
  • Chelsie Slaba, science teacher at Dike-New Hartford High School in Dike, Iowa
  • Gregory Smith, industrial technology teacher at Davenport West High School in Davenport, Iowa
Throughout the rest of the day, exhibitors networked with legislators and other exhibiting partners in what has become something of a STEM family reunion. Students, parents, educators, business leaders, nonprofit organizations and others from communities across Iowa, including Carlisle, Cedar Falls, Charles City, Davenport, Des Moines, Estherville, Iowa City, Knoxville, Pierson, Rock Valley and more, helped Iowa STEM represent important partnerships from the STEM Scale-Up Program to the Iowa STEM BEST® Network and the Regional Hub Institutions to Corporate Partners.
Take a look at the day's happenings by searching #IowaSTEM on Twitter and Instagram and by visiting our Facebook photo album. Don't forget to hit the follow button @IowaSTEM.
Measuring STEM awareness 

According to the latest data pulled in summer 2016 as part of a statewide public awareness and attitudes survey, awareness of STEM has almost doubled from 26% measured in 2012 to 49% measured today.
The Iowa STEM effort is all about improving student interest and achievement, as well as helping connect those passions to STEM careers in Iowa, in partnership with higher education, PreK-12 schools, business and industry, nonprofits, governmental agencies and more. Instrumental in that quest is to grow a state full of STEM-literate citizens knowledgeable about the demand and eager to help convey that message on to their family, friends, co-workers and more.
To measure progress on that objective, an independent and annual statewide survey of public attitudes toward and awareness of STEM has been conducted annually since 2012 by the Center for Social and Behavioral Research (CSBR) at the University of Northern Iowa. Approximately 1,800 randomly-selected Iowans participate in the telephone survey each year to help the STEM Council gauge the public's knowledge and support for STEM efforts.
The findings from 2016 are in. Here's what they say:
  1. The number of Iowans who have read, seen or heard about STEM has almost doubled from 26% measured in 2012 to 49% today. Although that proportion is unchanged since last year, the five-year trend for overall awareness of STEM among Iowans statewide has measurably increased about every two years from one-quarter of Iowans in 2012 to approximately 40% of Iowans when measured in 2013 and 2014 to approximately half of Iowans in 2015 and 2016.
  2. 93% of Iowans believe STEM education should be a priority in their local school districts, up from 90% in 2015.

  3. 61% of Iowans agree with the statement, "Overall, the quality of STEM education in Iowa is high," up from 58% measured in 2015.

These and much more findings will be included in the 2016-17 Iowa STEM Evaluation Report to be released next summer. Programs of the STEM Council are annually measured by an inter-university collaboration of the Research Institute for Studies in Education at Iowa State University, Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa and UNI's CSBR. Until then, results from previous reports are available at www.IowaSTEM.gov/Iowa-STEM-Evaluation

MVP for Iowa STEM: Kwizera Imani 

The Iowa STEM world first met Kwizera Imani at the annual STEM Summit in March 2015 where he detailed how STEM helped him transition and excel in the U.S. after leaving Burundi in 2008.
The Iowa STEM community first met Kwizera Imani as a senior at North High School in Des Moines. He told his story on how STEM changed his life at the 2015 Iowa STEM Summit. In the short time since then, Kwizera became an official member of the STEM Council, leading efforts to bring youth and diversity perspectives to the effort. Now because of this, he is February's MVP for Iowa STEM.
After fleeing war-torn Burundi, Kwizera and his family left Tanzania for the United States in 2008. He tackled and excelled in English Language Learner classes before diving into coursework with his peers, eventually completing all required high school credits a year ahead of graduation, loading up on AP classes for senior year.
And, his ambitious nature has continued. Kwizera has almost finished year two at Iowa State University in aerospace engineering along with an internship at Rockwell Collins for which he credits his connection to the STEM Council. Along with school and work, he is an active member on the STEM Council, helping drive conversations on diversity and the importance of reaching Iowa's youth with an inspiring message about STEM.
Kwizera leads the recently-developed Iowa STEM Youth Advisory Board, a working group of the STEM Council made up of students from Iowa middle and high schools and colleges, charged with bringing the fresh voice of learners to STEM Council strategies, as well as serving as conduits to their peers about opportunities in STEM.
"One of the main goals that I hope to achieve with this group is to see a transition from teachers inspiring students to engage in STEM activities to student leaders taking that role of inspiring their peers to join STEM activities," Kwizera said. "I strongly believe that when we as students take on the responsibility to showcase the significance of STEM careers to our peers, this action will lead to greater participation from our peers."
For more information on this working group, please contact Info@IowaSTEM.gov. A full roster of distinguished members of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council is available at www.IowaSTEM.gov/Council.