December 2018

Mary Trent

NW Regional STEM Manager


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Northwest Regional Advisory Board Members
A special thank you to the STEM Advisory Board
of NW Iowa
Teresa Alesch, Emmetsburg
John Bedward, Storm Lake
Kathleen Bottaro, Sioux City
Benjamin Bouza, Hawarden
Derek Brower, Orange City
Beth Bunkers, Primghar
Eric Forseth, Sioux Center
Linda Gray, Everly
Ginny Gunderson, Lake Park
Kiana Johnson, Primghar
Nancy McDowell, Sheldon
Jordan Menning, Rock Rapids
Teresa Putnam, Hartley
Brenda Welch, Meriden
Mark Zabawa, Spencer
Your Community -
Your Events

Learning happens inside and outside of the classroom.
Learning can happen to anyone at any age.

If you know of any STEM events happening,  please submit your STEM event  
learning can happen anywhere, anytime, for  anyone. 

Apply in January: Computer Science is Elementary

Application details are now available for Computer Science is Elementary. The project will transform six high-poverty elementary schools across Iowa into models of innovative computer science instruction by the 2020-2021 school year. A growing number of jobs require computer science skills. This program will help prepare students for success in computer science and future careers opportunities.

School districts and non-public school systems with an elementary building of at least 40 percent of students eligible for free- and reduced-price lunch are eligible to apply. Six awardees will be selected to receive a $50,000 planning award through a competitive award application process. One Computer Science is Elementary School will be located in each of the six regions established by the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council.

The application period will open in January 2019 and awards will be announced in the summer of 2019. The 2019-2020 school year will be used as a planning year for schools to weave computational thinking and other elements of computer science into their broader curriculum. After the Computer Science is Elementary Schools launch in August 2020, the schools will serve as a statewide resource for Iowa educators by sharing their curriculum and community engagement strategies.

The application template and additional information about the Computer Science is Elementary project can be found at

Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council Releases 2017-18 Evaluation Report

The Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council released the 2017-2018 Iowa STEM Evaluation Report. This independent evaluation measures the STEM Council's progress toward increasing student interest and achievement in STEM education and workforce development in Iowa.

Highlights of the report include:

* Students who participated in the STEM Scale-Up Programs scored an average of 2 points higher in National Percentile Rank on the Iowa Assessments in mathematics and reading and 3 points higher in science.

* For minority students, STEM Scale-Up Program participants scored an average of 5 points higher in National Percentile Rank on the Iowa Assessments in mathematics and reading and 5 points higher in science.

* Among educators taking part in the STEM Scale-Up Program, 91 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they now have more confidence to teach STEM topics and have increased their STEM knowledge

* The percent of students who said they were very interested in someday working in Iowa was 45 percent of STEM Scale-Up Program participants compared to 36 percent of students statewide.

* From 2012-2013 to 2016-2017, STEM awards (including certificates, associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees and other awards) have increased 26 percent at Iowa's four-year public universities, 20 percent at Iowa's four-year private colleges and universities, and 2 percent at Iowa's two-year community colleges.

To view the entire report, please visit

Sioux City Makerspace STEM Festival

On November 8, NW STEM hosted a STEM Festival at the Makerspace in Sioux City. 310 4th and 5th graders attended afternoon sessions and 300 families and community members attended the evening portion of the festival.  Area businesses and organizations as well as state wide organizations offered hands-on STEM challenges for the festival goers.   It was an amazing site to see over 300 students all on task and engaged in STEM education!  Great day had by all!

NW STEM Advisory Board Tours POET Biorefining 

On November 16, NW STEM Advisory board toured Poet Biofuel Plant in Emmetsburg. POET as a corporation is the largest ethanol producer in the world, producing 2 billion gallons annually. POET has a total of 28 plants, 27 are starch plants and the other is called "Project Liberty," which is the first endeavor into cellulosic ethanol (biofuels), housed right next to the POET starch plant in Emmetsburg. General Manager, Daron Wilson reported he would not be surprised to see Emmetsburg, IA in the history books in the future. POET ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, IA was built in 2005. There are currently 44 team members at this plant. The plant is designed by its own engineers and the automation of plants is automated by their own automation team. The radius is only 35 miles that brings in corn. Corn is brought in Monday - Friday and on weekends only during harvest season. It takes 65 hours to process the corn into ethanol from bringing the corn in to shipping it out. Chemistry, microbiology, math and computer skills are all important subjects for students to learn if they are thinking of entering into the ethanol field. 

Buena Vista STEM Festival 

On November 10, NW STEM participated in a STEM Festival at Buena Vista University.  NW STEM greeted the 100 students in grades 4-8 and also offered a session on fingerprint analysis.  After students analysed and categorized their fingerprints, we turned them into works of art and framed them for students to take home. STEM and creativity go hand in hand! 

Checkout STEM Kits

Be sure to check out our STEM kits we have available for checkout on our website:  Resources Page  We pick up and deliver!  You can have them for an extended amount of time if needed. 

Share your Scale-Up Story with Us!

Were you awarded a Scale-Up Program this year?  If so, please share your story and pictures with us!  We will share your story in our newsletters and social media. Invite me out to see the Scale-up Program in action! 



Check out NW STEM Website!

Northwest STEM Calendar  - Stay up-to-date on all Northwest STEM regional opportunities and even a few state-wide. Use this calendar to share your STEM events with others.
NW STEM Lending Resources - Check out the STEM lending library for educators and place you order online.
Don't forget to connect with NW STEM on social media as well!

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