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


Dr. Chris Nelson, new STEM Council co-chair, has previously partnered Kemin Industries with Iowa STEM by funding the 2015 STEM Education Award that recognized six STEM teachers at the Iowa STEM Summit in March. 

Dr. Chris Nelson to Co-Chair Council 

Kemin Industries President and CEO Dr. Chris Nelson will serve as co-chair of the Iowa Governor's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Advisory Council starting this month. Appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad, Nelson succeeds Vermeer CEO and Chair of the Board Mary Andringa, who completed her two-year term as STEM Council co-chair in May.


In 2013, STEMconnector named Nelson as one of the top 100 CEO leaders in STEM at the U.S. News & World Report's STEM Solutions Summit. STEM education is important to Nelson as Kemin is a bioscience leader in the Cultivation Corridor, manufacturing and distributing approximately 500 specialty ingredients for the global feed and food industries as well as the health, nutrition and beauty markets.


"I established the STEM Council in 2011 with the goal of inspiring our next generation of innovators who can take full advantage of the great careers waiting for them across Iowa," said Governor Branstad. "Kemin is one of our state's outstanding career destinations, and Dr. Nelson is one of our most inspiring STEM leaders. I am grateful that he is willing to co-lead the STEM Council alongside Lt. Governor Reynolds."


"Kemin and Dr. Nelson have been outstanding partners to the Governor's STEM Advisory Council since the beginning," said Lt. Governor Reynolds. "So, it is a natural expansion of that partnership to invite Dr. Nelson to co-chair the STEM Council. His global perspective, STEM expertise and leadership skills will help us take Iowa STEM to new heights."


In 1980, Nelson began his career with Kemin as Director of Research and Development. Since 1993, he has served as President and CEO of the global nutritional ingredient company that specializes in improving human and animal health through molecular innovations. Under his leadership, the company has more than quadrupled in size and now employs nearly 2,000 people, operating internationally in more than 90 countries with manufacturing facilities in Belgium, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Singapore, South Africa and the United States. Nelson received his undergraduate training at Northwestern University and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Washington State University. He is the holder of 15 patents and has authored numerous peer-reviewed, published research studies.


"There is an increasingly global need for preparing students to become skilled in STEM subjects. The challenges presented by the scale and pace of change throughout the world calls for new innovative solutions from the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics," says Nelson. "I'm proud to personally further support the advancement of STEM in Iowa schools."


Outside of his role at Kemin, Nelson serves on the board of a leading international corporation, the National Institutes of Health Technical Advisory Committee, National Forum for Agricultural Executives Council, the Des Moines Symphony and the Des Moines Community Foundation among others. He continues to have a passion for science education and serves on the Board of the Science Center of Iowa where he helped lead a successful development effort for the construction of the $62 million Science Center.


Iowa STEM is looking forward to yet another great, STEM advocate to co-lead the state's mission to inspire young learners across the state! 

Four more programs earn the STEM Seal of Approval

Hiawatha Elementary students planted a series
of raised beds this past April as part of
 "Agriculture in the Classroom," a program of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation that received the Seal of Approval this month.

In June, the STEM Council endorsed four more STEM programs in Iowa with the Seal of Approval that continues to recognize great STEM programming happening organically across the state.


Since the Seal of Approval's launch in March, a committee of the STEM Council has reviewed and approved nine programs, including the four recently added:   

  • "Agriculture in the Classroom" program of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation
  • CoderDojo Muscatine
  • Wednesday Workshops at the Science Center of Iowa
  • Youth Environmental Agriculture Field Days with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Programs and events that align with the STEM Council goal of inspiring Iowa's next generation of innovators, such as community hack-a-thons, conferences, afterschool programs, citizen engagement, showcase events and more may apply for the Seal of Approval. Its dual function is to recognize and help elevate quality STEM outside of the STEM Council purview and expand opportunities for Iowans to identify and participate in great STEM by connecting to the STEM Council.


Each program or event that applies will be considered based on the program's alignment to STEM Council goals, the needs of the community and its benefits and offerings to meet those needs. The Seal of Approval can be leveraged for promotion, external funding and other types of support.


For more information about these programs, take a look at www.IowaSTEM.gov/Seal/recipients or submit your application for the STEM Council's Seal of Approval at www.IowaSTEM.gov/Seal. 

Pat Barnes, an original member of the STEM Council, notes how his and John Deere's long-standing partnership has benefited both the company and Iowa STEM. 

Two Iowa educators, Scott Henderson (right) and  Shane Peterson (left), learn how to build, race,repair and apply mathematics to small cars in a new STEM Scale-Up program, National STEM League: TEN80.
MVP for Iowa STEM:
Pat Barnes 

John Deere Inspire's Pat Barnes has also inspired the STEM Council from day one through the development of the initiative to its widespread success throughout Iowa.


Before becoming an original member of the STEM Council, Barnes started his career 34 years ago as an electrical engineer at John Deere. Throughout his experience, he realized the importance of volunteerism and mentoring students toward STEM opportunities, which is why Barnes worked alongside his colleagues to help guide John Deere to a new company strategy on STEM education.


Right around the birth of the STEM Council, John Deere launched "John Deere Inspire," which, now under the leadership of Barnes, nationally serves 16 communities and more than 20,000 students. His role with John Deere Inspire aligns directly with STEM Council goals, which allowed him the opportunity to contribute to the "Iowa STEM Education Roadmap" that helped guide the STEM Council to existence.


Yet, helping breathe life into the Iowa STEM movement is not Barnes' only contribution. As an original and newly-reappointed member of the STEM Council and the Southeast Regional STEM Advisory Board, his involvements began with committees to help establish the Regional STEM Network, to review dozens of Scale-Up program provider applications for menu approval and to select the new STEM BEST programs. When Barnes admits he is being stretched too thin, he recruits fellow John Deere employees to serve on other committees to benefit both his company and Iowa STEM.


"John Deere has a huge presence in Iowa with John Deere's largest workforce in five different communities across the state," Barnes said. "From a John Deere perspective, we get the opportunity to explain why STEM is important to us and should be important to others in Iowa, regardless of big company or small company. The networking and connecting with others of the STEM Council has allowed us to have a bigger impact directly in terms of Iowa STEM."


The company has dedicated thousands of dollars through the John Deere Foundation for five summers to host 31 Teacher Externs with the STEM Council's Teacher Externships program.


"Teacher Externships are one of the best ways to engage teachers and show them the real-world aspects of STEM," Barnes said. "There's no better way than actually working on a project at our facilities or at another company to see how STEM is actually practiced beyond the classroom."


At a national level, Barnes said John Deere supports FIRST Robotics financially and through mentorships and supplies additional funding for two Scale-Up programs, Project Lead The Way: Gateway to Technology and ST Math, for schools in Iowa.


"Today, nearly everyone needs to have strong STEM skills and be STEM-literate," he said. "It's important for all students, regardless of their career choice, to have those experiences that help them gain 21st century skills. The way to make this happen is to use your employees in your business to have a positive impact on students -- the future workforce in your business and the state. Every hour you help a student or a teacher is just as valuable of an hour that you would give to your company. The STEM Council is a great way to start and get engaged to see the positive impact of what you're doing."


Iowa's STEM Council has made great strides thanks to members like Pat Barnes of John Deere. Thank you, Pat!


For more information on the STEM Council, visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/Council.


The race is on: STEM Scale-Up professional development accelerates across Iowa

This month marks the start for dozens of STEM Scale-Up program trainings for a couple of thousand PreK through 12 educators ready to teach, prepare and inspire more than 100,000 young Iowan minds with new STEM skills and projects.


Back in March, the STEM Council awarded 14 different STEM Scale-Up programs to nearly 3,000 Iowan educators, both in and out of the classroom, that include building robots and wind turbines to virtual reality and STEM career awareness.


Each program requires hands-on, professional development that focuses on the best practices for incorporating the programs into current STEM curriculum. With the help and coordination of the six regional STEM managers, a total of 73 trainings will happen across the STEM regions of the state through October.


In one of those trainings earlier this month, a handful of educators took the wheel in the first-ever TEN80 race in Iowa's history, including Scott Henderson, an eighth grade mathematics teacher at McCombs Middle School in Des Moines.


"I will use this program in an after-school club. The car will get the kids into the room, but the different aspects of the program will keep them coming back," Henderson said. "I like that this does not only involve students with good science backgrounds but also business and graphics."


The National STEM League: TEN80 is a new STEM Scale-Up program this year that uses student-built race cars to demonstrate the use of mathematics, statistics, physics, engineering and other STEM-related skillsets. Henderson's partner for the day, Shane Peterson, an industrial technology teacher at West Lyon Community School District in Inwood, said he will implement TEN80 into his drafting and CAD class.


"We were able to take apart the cars, analyze them, race them and repair the cars when something broke," Peterson said. "The curriculum is very well-organized and easily accessible, which allows me to select how much or how fast I can implement this curriculum the first year and allows for changes and improvement for the next year. I am excited to see how my students will take this program and make it their own."


For a full list of 2015-16 Scale-Up programs, please visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/Scale-Up. For information about professional development programs, send an inquiry to [email protected].