Autumn is AweSTEM in Iowa  

STEM is in full swing across Iowa this fall, including eighteen STEM BEST sites connecting schools and businesses. Here, DelCo BEST (West Delaware) students consult with designers and salespeople on the remodel of their Chemistry Lab. Now that's personalized learning!

As leaves and temperatures begin to fall, the STEM learning takes off across Iowa each autumn. Some 44 2 educators fan out to clubs and classrooms throughout the state to implement their summer STEM Scale-Up Program training, inspiring about 300 2 young Iowans. Down the hall perhaps one of the state's 150 implementers of the Microsoft Imagine Academy is preparing a few of the 18 3 students who will emerge next spring with Microsoft credentials. Next door might be one of 62 educators back from a summer STEM Teacher Externship linking lessons to soft skills, safety consciousness and problem-solving so vital to modern workplaces.
On the remote chance that student attention spans may wane, Iowa Air National Guard pilot Major Jen, posterized on 5,000 classroom walls this fall, will capture their imaginations as Iowa's 2017 STEM Gem. Another two dozen educators across the state are connecting labs and lessons to local issues and industries after pioneering the first STEM Professional Development Palooza. And a few hundred young Iowans are treated to exceptional learning in the hands of six freshly minted I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Awardees (sponsored by Kemin Industries), to join twelve from previous years.
Outside of school this fall, scores of youth and families eagerly build on the spark of a summer STEM Festival or STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair. And learning at the library, zoo, nature center, museum or 4-H Club will complement the excitement of the classroom with scores of informal educators trained now in the Dimensions of Success (DoS) approach thanks to the Council's Active Learning Community Partners.
These and more STEM activities warm the mind against the chill of fall. Autumn is aweSTEM in Iowa.
October 1, 2017 - 1:00 p.m.
Marion County STEM Festival
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October 6, 2017 - 5:00 p.m.
I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award Nominations Due
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October 12, 2017 - 3:30 p.m.
Northeast Iowa Family STEM
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Iowa STEM Operations Center
University of Northern Iowa
214 East Bartlett
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0298
PHONE 319-273-2959

STEM Knows No Borders: Midwest STEM Forum V

Midwest STEM leaders convened for a pre-forum reception in downtown Madison, Wisconsin, earlier this month.
Iowa STEM Council members from DuPont-Pioneer, Rockwell Collins and John Deere summoned the executive director in 2012 to encourage more inter-state collaboration, "After all," they said, "...our businesses span these state borders." Solutions to talent development in Iowa or Wisconsin or North Dakota ought to be shared for the good of the region. With the help of the Governor's office, STEM leaders across Midwest states were identified, and a regional STEM community was born. September 8 was the fifth annual Midwest STEM Forum, held in Madison, Wisconsin, after first convening at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines, then at John Deere Technology and Innovation Center in Moline, followed by ACT® in Iowa City, then DuPont-Pioneer in Johnston.
Membership has expanded to include members from beyond the Midwest, and turn-over in these transient positions is evident. Of the original leaders convened in 2013, three are still in place (Wisconsin, Kansas, and Iowa).
Forum V included representatives from Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa, along with guests from Change The Equation and STEMx. Corporate representation included Rockwell Collins, Vermeer and Alliant Energy.
The agenda included an evening reception at the Wisconsin Science Museum and the Maker Space at the Madison Central Library. The Forum was kicked off by Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch who inspired the gatherers with the array of STEM solutions operating in the state. Alliant Energy President and CEO Pat Kampling spoke at lunch of the demand for employees in the utilities industry and how hopeful she is over gatherings such as this one.
Most of the day was devoted to sharing both successes and challenges ranging from infrastructural (such as establishing local networks) to political (gaining the attention of elected officials) to programmatic (including computer science, state ESSA plans, diversity initiatives, etc.). As varied, unique and specific as each state's landscape (political, economic, geographic and demographic), STEM is a common denominator.
Regional Boards: The Backbone of Iowa STEM 

The Southeast Regional Board of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council convened by Regional Manager Kristine Bullock recently at the UI/KCC Regional Center. Members are listed here.

One of the earliest and most significant questions asked of and by the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council back in 2011 was how to deliver inspiration and innovation locally throughout the state. A working group of volunteers assembled around the question, chaired by DMACC President Rob Denson. Their product was a network of six regions administered by Regional STEM Managers housed at competitively awarded and cost-sharing Hub institutions, guided by Governor-appointed Advisory Boards, analogous to a model operating in Massachusetts shared by then-Council member Isa Zimmerman.
Today the system is fully functional, executing the STEM Council's vision at the classroom and community level from Larchwood to Keokuk and Lansing to Hamburg and all points in between. The Boards are extremely active in programming and building connections. They promote opportunities throughout the region such as STEM Scale-Up programs, the I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award sponsored by Kemin, Family STEM Festivals, STEM Teacher Externships, STEM BEST ® and more. Iowa's 90 Regional Board members, then, do the essential work of sifting through piles of applications, nominations and proposals to recommend recipients of STEM Scale-Up program awards, I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Awards and STEM BEST ® awards. They staff regional Festivals, volunteer for numerous STEM Council working groups, generously invest their time and talent in meetings and events and perhaps, most importantly, build bridges for STEM to regional workforce development, business and industry, higher education, Extension, libraries, economic development, school boards, nonprofits, Area Education Agencies, local government and, of course, K-12 schools. (These are the assigned seats on each Regional Board.) Two Board members shared their insights recently:
Scott Fortune, owner of Upper Iowa Tool & Die in Cresco, and a charter member of the Northeast Regional Advisory Board, serves because he wants to be a part of the change in the education of Iowa students (future employees). The most rewarding aspect for Scott is when the Board meets students impacted by their programs, "especially those in grade school or middle school" who can explain in great detail how their project works, the failures they ran into and what they did to overcome those problems. Says Scott, "This tells me our work as a Board in supporting the STEM education of students is working."  

Alan Ladd, Iowa State University Regional Education Extension Director in Atlantic, is a 5-year member of the Southwest Regional Advisory Board. His commitment to the Board springs from "... the excitement generated by STEM" when "both kids and parents' eyes light up when they see what STEM is and how much fun it is for the youth and for parents to see potential jobs for their children." Alan sees his role as supporting Regional STEM Manager Deb Frazee in making connections throughout the Southwest Region, "...and being a part of something bigger than ourselves."
Last year alone, Regional Managers collectively made 569 new connections across stakeholder groups thanks to this model. Iowa's network of Regional Advisory Boards is the backbone of the state's STEM initiative. Details on Regional Boards may be accessed at  

Advanced Manufacturing Month Activities

Manufacturing Day events are a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

October brings an emphasis on the world of manufacturing and the quickly changing demands of that portion of the workforce. Technology and highly specialized skills have opened many new and interesting positions in the Iowa workforce. Elevate Iowa has partnered with businesses and training programs throughout the state to offer dozens of opportunities for visits during October. There are a total of 153 MFG DAY events planned across Iowa in 2017. All of the events of the state can be filtered by community at

Check with local intermediaries, workforce representatives and manufacturers for additional events that may take place in association with Manufacturing Month.

(Content for this piece contributed by Deb Frazee, Southwest Regional STEM Manager)