Northwest Regional Advisory Board Members
A special thank you to the STEM Advisory Board
of NW Iowa

John Bedward, Storm Lake
Benjamin Bouza, Hawarden
Derek Brower, Orange City
Beth Bunkers, Primghar
Eric Forseth, Sioux Center
Makenzie Reiling, Sioux City
Ginny Gunderson, Lake Park
Kiana Johnson, Primghar
Nancy McDowell, Sheldon
Jordan Menning, Rock Rapids
Teresa Putnam, Hartley
Brenda Welch, Meriden
Mark Zabawa, Spencer
Andrew Roelfs, Sioux Center
Tyler Hahn, Cherokee

Mary Trent

NW Regional STEM Manager


 Send me an email!

February 2020
NW I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher of the Year 2020

The Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council and Kemin Industries have announced the recipients of the 2020 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award sponsored by Kemin Industries.

The Northwest STEM region's honoree is Matt Hansen, industrial technology teacher at MMCRU High School in Marcus, Iowa. Mr. Hansen approaches his work in the classroom with a focus on quality. His students understand they are striving for quality-and understand the education they receive from their instructor is quality as well. 

Nominated by two of his students, Mr. Hansen was recognized for his effort to bring hands-on work into the classroom. In his first year of teaching, he wanted more real-world experience for his students. That's why he went out into the community and started connecting with people in the jobs he was preparing his students to have in the future. That work evolved into an industrial technology advisory board that helps Mr. Hansen create curriculum that reflects the needs of the industry and local businesses. 

In addition to his collaboration with the local community, Mr. Hansen also invites trade professionals into his classroom to help teach students about the careers they could have one day. He has seen both business partners and students excited to connect with each other. 

Mr. Hansen was also recognized for his efforts to get all interested students involved in the industrial technology program at MMCRU. According to the school principal, Travis Sprague, around 70 percent of the student body has been involved. Additionally, 60 percent of their female students have been involved. Mr. Hansen attributes the great representation from diverse backgrounds to a strong junior high exploratory program and the noticeable success of former students after they complete the program.
Not only does he work hard to bring professionals into the classroom, Mr. Hansen also works hard to help his students find a place in a professional environment before they even graduate. His jobs intern course allows seniors who are on track to graduate to spend half their days working with industrial professionals. It has helped prepare his students for future jobs-and in some cases even kickstarted their careers. Mr. Hansen is proud of the positive effects for both students and professional partners. 

This award recognizes and celebrates one teacher from each of the six STEM regions who goes above and beyond to increase their student's interest in STEM. Each recipient is recognized for their dedication in representing I.O.W.A.; by being Innovative in their methods, Outstanding in their passion for education, Worldly in the way they help students see that STEM is all around them, and Academic through engaging students in the classroom to prepare them for higher education and high-demand careers. Each recipient was selected by a panel of judges after being nominated for the award by a colleague, school administrator, parent, student or community member and completing an application showcasing their contributions to STEM education. Each recipient will receive $1,500 for their classrooms-as well as another $1,500 for personal use.

Mr. Hansen and the other five recipients have each been honored with ceremonies in their classrooms with their students and peers. They will also be recognized together at STEM Day at the Capitol, with Gov. and STEM Council Co-Chair Kim Reynolds and a representative from Kemin Industries on February 19, 2020. For more information about the award and all current and previous recipients, please visit

2020-2021 STEM Scale-Up Applications Are Open!

The Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council will release the menu for next year's STEM Scale-Up programs on January 13, 2020. Applications open for these programs on Monday, January 21, 2019 and close March 2, 2019. These programs range from PreK-12 grade formal and informal learning programs. Selected applicants will be notified of their award beginning in early April.

Iowa's Scale-Up programs are reinventing the educational experience and introducing students to fields in STEM that have never been taught this way. To learn more about the Scale-Up programs, visit

Join an upcoming webinar highlighting the Scale-Up Menu: February 4, 2020 at 3:30-4:00 pm

Join Zoom Meeting
Phone: 1-646-687-9923
Meeting ID: 528 589 426
Governor Reynolds Tours Storm Lake Elementary's Computer Science is Elementary

On January 23, Governor, Kim Reynolds, toured Storm Lake Elementary School to check on their progress with their Computer Science is Elementary award.  Students impressed the Governor with their programing skills and creativity in the Scratch program. Teachers met with the governor to discuss their progress in this project.  

The vision of the Computer Science is Elementary project is to transform 12 high-poverty elementary schools into showcases of outstanding computer science education, including career exploration with employer partners, no later than the 2020-21 school year. These 12 Computer Science is Elementary Schools, plus Loess Hills Computer Programming School, will serve as a statewide resource for Iowa educators by sharing their curriculum and community engagement strategies. Computer science is a new basic skill in the 21st century, so building a strong foundation early for all students is critical. This will ensure they are well prepared later in their personal and professional lives, including for a dynamic workforce where a growing number of jobs require computer science skills.

At least one Computer Science is Elementary School is located in each of the six regions established by the Governor's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Advisory Council. Loess Hills Computer Programming School in Sioux City also will receive $50,000 to serve as a project resource.
New Timeline for 2020-2021 STEM BEST

To better serve our schools in Iowa, the timing for STEM BEST applications and awards has changed this year. If you would like to begin or expand a current work-based learning program, this application is for you!  For more information, visit:

December, 2019
Gather a community-based team
Teams could include students, educators, parents, business, post-secondary entities, non-profits, etc.

January, 2020
Ensure district administration and community support.
Draft plans for a long-term work-based learning experience that's customized for your community.

February 10, 2020 -- BEST Application Opens
Districts may apply for funds for an exploratory year, implementation plan, or expansion idea.
Reach out to past BEST schools and your Hub Manager.
Write to the rubric.

May 15, 2020 -- BEST Application Closes
Look for informational webinars and in-person gatherings before this deadline.
11:59 PM deadline.

July, 2020 -- BEST Awardees Announced
Schools awarded the $25,000 in funds will need to commit equal in matching funds. Matching funds may be defined in several ways. Click here for examples of Cost-Share ideas.
NW STEM Checkout System 

NW STEM Checkout system utilizes the AEA van system to make deliveries and pick ups of all our kit.  You can find a complete list of our items and check out form here:
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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