JUNE 2015
Monthly News 
of the 
Iowa Governor's 
STEM Advisory Council 
214 East Bartlett
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0298
July 9, 2015
STEM Festival at the Central Iowa Fair

1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Marshall County Fairgrounds 

Marshalltown, IA


August 6, 2015

Teacher Externships Forum 

August 23, 2015

STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair
 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

State Fairgrounds

Des Moines, IA


Iowa's STEM Council Co-Chair Mary Andringa is recognized by Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds for her exemplary service in bringing an international manufacturing perspective to Iowa STEM and for giving Iowa STEM international exposure.

STEM Culture of Excellence: 
Andringa Legacy 

Ben Franklin advised that if we want something done, it's best to ask a busy person. Governor Branstad acted on that advice in 2013 by approaching Mary Andringa to co-chair the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council alongside Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.

At the time, Mary was President and CEO of the global manufacturer Vermeer Corporation, a member of the President's Export Council, a director for three national companies, a trustee for two colleges and a deeply devoted family leader fresh off of a successful term as Chair of the National Association of Manufacturers (the first woman to hold the post). The Governor's odds on a favorable response were strong based on Mary's extensive record of service on Iowa councils, task forces, boards and commissions. To the benefit of Iowa STEM, she said "yes," and her impact has been profound.


Immediately, the operations team was brought to Vermeer Corporation for two intensive Kaizens that have vastly improved programming and forever imbued the team with a lean, efficiency mindset. Her global manufacturing perspective brought the best known examples to Iowa and put Iowa STEM on the global map. She brought business to the table by leading as an example in community engagement, school partnerships and investing in STEM. She committed countless hours behind the scenes working with her co-chair and the executive director to set a strong course for the STEM Council.  


Under Mary's and the Lt. Governor's watch over the last two years, Iowa STEM has more than doubled the number of participants in high-quality STEM programs across the state without a single penny's increase in legislative funding thanks to continuous improvement in operations, as well as ramped up cost-sharing and investment by private sector partners. These gains are now a well-established culture of excellence for the STEM Council, a permanent legacy and tribute to Mary Andringa. Thank you Mary, and best wishes on the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.

Walls between school and work tumble down with Teacher Externships

Erin Weatherly (center), life science instructor at Marshalltown High School, shares her excitement with fellow educators at a Teacher Externships orientation earlier this month.

With an adventurous spirit that would rival Magellan, nearly 40 educators throughout Iowa will cross cultural boundaries into the world of commerce this summer, applying their skills and updating their understanding of how their school subjects apply to life beyond the classroom wall. In its seventh season, Real World Externships for Teachers of Mathematics, Science and Technology kick off with an immersive orientation session that prepares them for what lies ahead and how to make the most of the experience.


"Externships Orientation week is always an exciting time, and it's an honor to work with such dedicated teachers who are so ready and willing to learn," said Meghan Reynolds, a program coordinator of the Teacher Externships program. "The meetings focus on the professional development aspect of Teacher Externships, with the goal of giving Teacher Externs the tools to effectively bring their experiences back to the classroom."


Three, day-long professional development sessions held across the state introduce Teacher Externs to the program expectations, evaluation and assignments, prominently including the idea of project-based learning to spring from their windows into the world of business and industry. This year, teachers will create a video lesson in their final projects that can be implemented back in their classrooms to give students a first-person account of how studies in STEM have real-world applications.


For example, Marshalltown life science teacher Erin Weatherly will extern at Central Iowa Healthcare in Marshalltown with the Dietetics Department, and Ames life science teacher Mary Glenn will extern at Barilla American in Ames. She sat next to Weatherly at the orientation meeting in Jester Park and said, "I ask my students to step out of their comfort zones all the time when I ask them to try something different. I thought it was time that I step out of my comfort zone and try something new, too."


In early August, all Teacher Externs from across Iowa will convene to discuss their experiences and share project ideas for the classroom. STEM Council members and friends are invited to follow their learning adventures chronicled in weekly blogs at www.IowaSTEM.gov/educators/externships/extern-blogs.

Nick Beckwith, a recent graduate of Clinton High School, discussed his perspective on the STEM effort alongside five other student panelists at the 12th STEM Council meeting last week.

Des Moines Area Community College President and STEM Council Executive Committee Member Rob Denson helped kick off the inaugural STEM BEST Event in Ankeny earlier this month.
STEM Council draws FY2015 to close, kicks off FY2016 with flare 


The 12th meeting of the STEM Council began with closing the books on end-of-fiscal-year business to begin anew for the innovative and exciting developments to come in the year ahead for STEM in Iowa.


Hosted at the Monsanto Learning Center in Huxley, the Executive Committee started the day with observations of a strongly shifting landscape regarding student attitude towards STEM in the state. The group approved the FY2015 financial summary and FY2016 budget before Strategic America gave a recap report that showed Iowa STEM received more than 200 media placements on television, billboards, radio and print media with a circulation of nearly 20 million views last year.


The Executive Committee also voted unanimously to issue another competitive proposal round for STEM BEST/STEM RLE models across Iowa set to launch on July 6. They reviewed and commented on an innovation fund and unanimously approved the refreshing of Iowa's STEM Scale-Up menu of programs by inviting all current partners to re-apply alongside other suitors in the coming year.


The full STEM Council meeting opened up with a presentation by Monsanto of a $10,000 gift that will be used for STEM Scale-Up and Teacher Externship programming. It was the first of several gifts the STEM Council "unwrapped" as five different working groups presented their recommendations to the Council, each focused on how the STEM Council could better support Computer Science, Ag. Science, the Arts and Culture, school counselors and STEM volunteers. Council members and interested stakeholders across Iowa are invited to post comments on the recommendations.  


The STEM Council enjoyed great food for thought as a six-member student panel shared their perspectives on the STEM effort during lunch. A resounding agreement emerged from them on the idea that leading students to Iowa's STEM careers will take exposure at a younger age and calls for partnerships since "teachers cannot do it alone."


Following an outstanding profile of one of the STEM Council's STEM BEST partners, Iowa BIG of Cedar Rapids, the day ended with a heartfelt 'thank you' to Vermeer's CEO and Chair of the Board Mary Andringa for her two years serving as the STEM Council's co-chair alongside Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. To read more on her contributions to the STEM Council and what lies ahead, see the first story of this edition, called "STEM Culture of Excellence: Andringa Legacy."


For exclusive images and videos from the day's agenda, follow our Instagram and Twitter accounts @IowaSTEM and visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/06-23-2015-Meeting for the archived presentations and documentations from the meeting.

BEST practices in business-education partnerships paid forward

No more "take a seat" or "open your textbooks." Instead, "get to work" is what students can look forward to when they enter STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) classrooms popping up across Iowa thanks to partnerships driven by the STEM Council. Strategies for success in bridging the business-education chasm were aplenty at the first-of-its-kind STEM BEST event this month.


More than 140 community partners packed the conference room of the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny, representing K-12 education (47 percent), higher education (20 percent), business and industry (23 percent) and nonprofits or other interested stakeholders (10 percent).


Breakout sessions spanned over a dozen topics, including how to form business-education partnerships through collaborations. An essential shared by one of Iowa's STEM BEST awardees is to learn from each triumph and to "fail forward." This fall, an estimated 315 students will partake in the five STEM BEST programs with the involvement of more than 140 local business partners.


"It is about partnerships," said Maureen Griffin, school improvement leader at Hoover High School. "When we partner with someone who really wants to make a difference, that is when something magnificent happens, and that is what is being asked of you today."


Griffin, alongside Eric Hall, International Baccalaureate program coordinator at Hoover High School, led their morning session about the integration of technology in the classroom. It featured a hands-on activity inviting participants to list out the ideals of today's high school graduates, which led to a discussion on whether or not the classroom, current math or science standards and an external partnership could help students achieve them.


Attendees received great coaching on what it takes to launch and sustain a business-education partnership. Then Jeff Weld, executive director of the STEM Council, provided the "how" with the announcement of a call for proposals for additional STEM BEST or STEM Redesigned Learning Environment (RLE) partnerships in the coming year. The proposal window will open on July 6 at www.IowaSTEM.gov and this fall, the STEM Council will award at least one model in each of the six STEM regions.


To learn more about Iowa's STEM BEST models, visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/STEMBEST.