MAY 2015
Monthly News 
of the 
Iowa Governor's 
STEM Advisory Council 
214 East Bartlett
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0298
June 17, 2015
 Iowa STEM BEST Event 

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

FFA Enrichment Center 

Ankeny, IA

(Registration Required)


June 23, 2015

Governor's STEM Advisory Council and Executive Committee Meeting

8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Monsanto Learning Center

Huxley, Iowa


July 9, 2015

STEM Festival at the Central Iowa Fair

1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Marshall County Fairgrounds 

Marshalltown, IA

Each node of this social network schematic is an Iowan connected to the Governor's STEM Advisory Council.

The ties that bind Iowa STEM 

Who across Iowa makes up the fabric of our STEM network? That question is one of the factors being examined by Iowa's assessment consortium working under the National Science Foundation-funded Iowa STEM Education Evaluation (I-SEE) grant. The answer will strengthen ties across Iowa and help inform other states seeking to replicate the STEM Council's model.


The process is called Social Network Analysis (SNA), which measures and maps relationships and flow of information between individuals, groups and organizations. Iowa's SNA will identify partner connections, leaders, bridges and clusters in the network, visually and statistically. So far, the SNA data reveals that partners in Iowa's STEM network average 31 connections with two degrees of separation on average -- a very tight network. Moreover, Iowa's STEM network is nearly clique-free, whereas most networks of this size are hobbled by cliques that inhibit information flow.


Next for Iowa's SNA analysis is to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) strategies for deeper, more specific questions regarding the growth, limits and key players in the STEM network and how information is transmitted across the network. Uses of the data include identifying individuals for new leadership positions, connecting people across STEM professions, identifying key STEM people by region and profiling engagement by sector-educators, business leaders, non-profits or government.


The full preliminary SNA will appear in the annual Iowa STEM Monitoring Report due out in early August. For more information, send your contacts and curiosities to the SNA project leader for STEM, Andres Lazaro Lopez, Ph.D. Student, Department of Sociology at Iowa State University and research assistant for the Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE) at [email protected].

MVP for Iowa STEM: Hy-Vee, Inc. 

One of the many ways that Hy-Vee supports
STEM education is by hosting Teacher Externs
each summer. Cindy Percival, STEM teacher
at Lewis Central Middle School, helped the company develop software for a new product
rollout in 2012.

Iowa STEM's success in building a talented workforce pipeline is a credit, in part, to the strong support from Iowa's business and industry sector. Whether through time, talent or treasures, the STEM Council's corporate partners play a critical role in the sustainability of these efforts.


This month, Hy-Vee, Inc., yet another of Iowa's leading and homegrown businesses, recognized the value in partnering with the STEM Council and invested $100,000 in the STEM Council's work. This investment will support future STEM programming and events developed and administered by the STEM Council.


This is not the first and only way Hy-Vee has had a direct hand in the Iowa STEM movement. The company has helped sponsor two previous Iowa STEM Summit events, as well as the "Mom's Night Out for STEM" events early on. Since 2010, Hy-Vee has hosted eight Teacher Externs with the STEM Council's Real World Externships Program for teachers of mathematics, science and technology. The company even devoted an article in its fall 2014 issue of "Seasons" magazine (see page 76-77


It is great to have Hy-Vee's helpful smile in the STEM aisle! For more information on how to connect with Iowa STEM, read our "Guidelines for Business-Education Partnerships in STEM" or contact Carrie Rankin, assistant director for development, at [email protected]

STEM Scale-Up evaluation reveals gains in student awareness, interest and achievement in STEM.

Kennedy Coleman (left) and Maci Gambell (right) of Pekin Community High School have earned all four certifications offered through the Microsoft IT Academy in just one year.

STEM Scale-Up evaluation informs STEM Council  


While the 2014-2015 implementation of STEM Scale-Up Programs winds down, evaluators are winding up to capture effects across a thousand educators and 100,000 Iowa youth.


Dr. Erin Heiden, senior research scientist with the Center for Social and Behavioral Research at the University of Northern Iowa, coordinates the STEM Scale-Up program evaluation that is in collaboration with the Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE) at Iowa State University and Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa.


Between the three state university evaluation centers, each takes on one portion of the three-part assessment that captures the STEM Council priorities of raising interest, raising awareness and raising achievement in STEM. The first task -- the teacher/leader survey -- focuses on how an educator implemented the Scale-Up program in a classroom or informal setting, increasing the awareness of STEM. The other two tasks focus on students, using Iowa Assessments scores in mathematics and science to gauge achievement and a student questionnaire to measure for increased interest in STEM education or careers.


"By tracking student participation in Scale-Up programs, it may show differences in mathematics and science achievement scores over time, but that's not something that you're going to see on a year-to-year basis," Heiden said. "This component of the evaluation is based on the STEM Council's priority to increase mathematics and science achievement among Iowa students."


The evaluators ask that educators complete all three tasks once the Scale-Up program has ended. However, some educators use the programs all year long, so the team sees more tasks completed in between March and May. Then, within four to six weeks after the assessment tasks are due, a small team of staff from each university devotes a portion of their time to work on the report alongside a handful of student research assistants who help collect, enter, track and analyze the data for the annual Iowa STEM Monitoring report.


But, every year is different. Heiden said the biggest challenge to overcome is annually reviewing and monitoring the three tasks to ensure they still capture the variety of Scale-Up programming added to the menu each year and the relevant data needed despite the different offerings and methods of implementation per program.


"On a personal level, it's always fun to hear the educators' success stories as I'm in the depths of crunching numbers," Heiden said. "Even after answering questions from an educator that has some sort of technical difficulty with one of the tasks or they're wondering how to proceed, almost all of them end the e-mail or telephone call with gratefulness for the Scale-Up program and how they and their students have enjoyed the program."


This year's monitoring report will come out in early August. In the meantime, take a look at last year's Iowa STEM monitoring report at

Business and education share demand for Microsoft IT Academy
Both businesses and educators agree that developing skills with the Microsoft Office suite will lead to success in the future offices of Iowa businesses. That is why Microsoft IT Academy, operated at capacity by Ann Watts on behalf of the STEM Council in 150 schools and community colleges, certifies hundreds of students and some teachers throughout the state in Microsoft Office programs. A waiting list testifies to demand for the program.


Tim Magill, business teacher at Pekin Community High School in Packwood, recognized this demand early on and applied to bring Microsoft IT Academy to the school this past fall.


Magill said he replaced a previous class on computer applications with Microsoft IT Academy and offers two semesters of the coursework -- one for Microsoft Word and the other for Microsoft Excel -- for all grade levels.


Only one course is required for graduation, yet Magill said most of his students
recognize the importance of the certifications and take both semesters. Magill credits that belief to his class roster of 29 students this past fall semester and 43 students this spring semester. In just one year, Magill has helped students achieve a total of 88 certifications in a school of roughly 200 students.

His previous experience working with a computer software company revealed the businesses' demand for this skillset. Now, however, Magill is also seeing some colleges requiring these certifications for certain majors before college graduates earn their degrees.


"These skills are recognized internationally -- all the way around the world -- so that, when you say, 'Hey, I'm certified in Word,' you're one step ahead of every other applicant. I don't care what job you're applying for," Magill said.


Fortunately, Microsoft IT Academy brings the STEM pedagogy to the forefront and allows Magill to teach the class non-traditionally, letting the students explore and learn the programs at their own pace. It has allowed Maci Gambell, freshman at Pekin Community High School, to earn all four certifications in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook in only her first year.


"This is going to benefit me immensely later on in my schooling and career," Gambell said. "With so many advances in technology in recent years, and so many more advances to come, most places are switching to higher technology, and more than not, throughout your life, you are going to have to work with technology and Microsoft's programs."


To bring the benefits to your school, submit an application of interest to be included on the waiting list at