MVP for Iowa STEM:  
Jordan Lampe

This month's MVP for Iowa STEM, Jordan Lampe, is director of communications and policy at Dwolla and a strong supporter of STEM, both Council-driven and community-led.
Jordan Lampe, director of communications and policy at Dwolla, recognizes he brings an "outsider perspective" by not coming from an educational background in STEM. Yet, it is his expertise outside the realm of STEM that enables Lampe to bring a fresh eye and objective voice crucial to the success of the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council and why this month we recognize him as MVP for Iowa STEM.
After Governor Terry Branstad appointed Lampe to the STEM Council in September 2013 as a strategic, technology industry and entrepreneurialism representative, Lampe reached out to fellow industry partners to find out their challenges. In doing so, he found a way for Iowa STEM to be more inclusive and thereby conceived of and chaired the working group that developed the STEM Council's Seal of Approval.
"At the time, there was no clear link to external activities that have indirect ties to STEM but no direct affiliation with the STEM Council," Lampe said. "We have some amazing STEM programs, yet there are also some amazing things happening in the community, and they wanted to be able to use the STEM platform to amplify that exposure to benefit from the brand that STEM provides."
Just over a year later, the Seal has been awarded to 13 programs and events. Lampe also contributed to the "Guidelines for School+Business Partnerships in STEM" toolkit, worked on the selection committee that chose Strategic America as the STEM Council's marketing partner in 2013 and played a role in the STEM education and entrepreneurship working group.
In return for his commitment to the STEM Council, Lampe says Dwolla has been able to give back to the community and participate in an effort that's bigger than the focus of the company.
"We get to bring back a different perspective on some of the problems that we all know we have in Iowa," he said. "The key to personal growth and professional growth is putting yourself in a position where you are not sure of the outcome. It's really easy to sit back and do the things that come naturally to you, but no one benefits from someone doing the same thing. Everyone benefits when someone tries something new. Anytime you are taking yourself out of your element and forcing yourself to try something new, it's not only an opportunity for you to learn but for everyone around you to learn."
Iowa's STEM mission brings a new perspective to education, thanks to champions like Jordan Lampe. Thank you, Jordan, and all 47 members of the STEM Council for your crucial contributions.

June 29, 2016
Iowa STEM School+Business Innovation Conference
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
More Information

June 30, 2016
Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council Meeting
Contact [email protected] for more information

July 22, 2016
Marshalltown Family STEM Festival
1:00 to 4:00 PM
More Information

August 2, 2016
Iowa STEM Teacher Externships
End-of-Year Forum
More Information

August 21, 2016
STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair
STEM Council
Operations Center
University of Northern Iowa
214 East Bartlett
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0298
PHONE 319-273-2959
E-MAIL [email protected]

Let the match-making begin: Iowa STEM Teacher Externships

Lennox Industries queues up a Teacher Externship for Rob Weatherly, Marshalltown High School (left), working with Senior Manager Dane Wills (2nd from left) and Engineer Chuck (right). The meeting was facilitated by program founder Dr. Jeff Weld, executive director of the STEM Council (second from right).
"Nobody knows what we do," said an Ames manufacturer of hydrostatic transmissions, "despite the fact that we ship product around the world."
That is one of the reasons he gave for participating as a Workplace Host in the STEM Council's Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program -- to enlighten teachers, parents and especially students of the awesome jobs available right in their community. And, it doesn't hurt a bit that some basic industrial engineering work is going to get done by an able and ready teacher who will then translate it back to the classroom.
Across Iowa this summer, teachers of STEM subjects are fanning out to streamline production at John Deere, to measure water quality at state parks, to test Pella windows for hail resistance, to develop algorithms for payroll processing at the Weitz Company and many more. This year's business partners, in addition to those above, include American Profol, Climax Molybdenum, Geater Manufacturing, HNI Corp., Kemin Industries, MA Ford, Next Generation Technologies, Renewable Energy Group, Rockwell Collins, Rosenboom Machining, Monsanto, Siemens, Trinity Logistics and others just signing on. Together they contribute more than $80,000 in cost sharing in support of their Teacher Externs.
This year, a generous grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources supports Teacher Externs as naturalists in state parks and preserves across the state. Other host agencies include the Blank Park Zoo, the State Hygienic Laboratory, Des Moines Public Works, Johnson County Conservation, Mississippi River Museum, Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Polk County Conservation and others still on-boarding. Getting some work done while improving Iowa education is the goal embraced by these great partners and a worthy endeavor for every Iowa employer.
For more information about the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program, visit
Public support for STEM on the rise  

Public awareness and support for STEM education and economic development in Iowa is growing according to the latest statewide survey of adult attitudes toward STEM.
A yearly independent evaluation, produced by a partnership consisting of the Research Institute for Studies in Education at Iowa State University, Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa and the Center for Social and Behavioral Research at the University of Northern Iowa, shows that the STEM Council's work is leading to higher academic performance and interest in STEM among Iowa students.

Yet, to continue making gains, more and more educators, business leaders, parents, students and other STEM stakeholders must first be aware of the opportunities available to them through the STEM Council. Fortunately, public awareness is also assessed on an annual basis with results from the 2015 survey showing strong progress and support for Iowa STEM.
From 2012 to 2015, the number of Iowans who have read, seen or heard about STEM has nearly doubled, increasing from 26 percent to 51 percent respectively. Findings from the most recent survey show that Iowa has narrowed the gap in STEM awareness between rural versus urban communities, males versus females and parents versus non-parents, suggesting that STEM is reaching across geographic and demographic boundaries in Iowa.
Beyond awareness, public support for STEM continues to grow as well. Nearly 88 percent of Iowans agree or strongly agree that a focus on STEM education will improve the state's economy, which may be important since 74 percent felt that there are not enough skilled workers to fill STEM jobs in Iowa. To further support STEM, 9 out of 10 Iowans said STEM education should be a priority in their local school district, yet only 5 in 10 Iowans believe STEM education actually is a priority.
Findings from the 2015 survey, produced by UNI's Center for Social and Behavioral Research, will be released as part of the full 2015-16 Iowa STEM Evaluation Report in late August. Until then, results from previous reports are available at

Regional STEM Advisory Boards help advance STEM locally 

The six regional STEM advisory boards of the STEM Council help develop partnerships specific to that region and are vital in spreading Iowa STEM at a local level. The Northeast Iowa Regional STEM Advisory board [pictured above] visited South Winneshiek Community School District as part of its meeting before diving into an agenda and action items.
Of the thousands of Iowans who power STEM throughout the state, a core cadre of nearly 150 people keep the wheels of progress turning. That group of 90 Regional STEM Advisory Board members and 47 members of the STEM Council is all appointed by Governor Branstad, all volunteers and all coordinated by one of six regional STEM managers as well as the STEM Council's operations center at UNI.
Together, these two levels of volunteers help steer the Iowa STEM movement in the right direction. While the STEM Council creates the plan at the state level guided by the co-chairs, the Regional STEM Advisory Boards, served by their regional STEM manager, execute the plan at the local level and ensure that the effects reach every corner of Iowa. To do that, each board includes a representative from an AEA, a school board, K-12 education, higher education, economic and workforce development, local government, business and industry, a library, extension and outreach, informal education and nonprofit.
Each board meets monthly or bi-monthly to discuss regional budgets, select recipients for awards, like STEM BEST or the STEM Scale-Up Program and, most importantly, act as the "voice" to spread the Iowa STEM message to each member's constituency across the region.
Many regional board members go above and beyond in service to STEM. For example Mary Trent, chair of the Northwest Regional STEM Advisory Board, has advocated for STEM in a special way, helping develop an online platform (coming soon!) for STEM Scale-Up Program educators to share resources and ideas across the state.
"The STEM Council has shown me that I can contribute to the STEM movement by sharing my ideas on professional development, online communities and STEM implementation in schools," said Trent, also technology integration specialist at Kuemper Catholic School in Carroll. "It's like a flame has been lit inside of me and STEM has become my passion in education."
For more information on the Regional STEM Advisory Boards, visit For details on member appointment terms and to apply, visit and search "STEM."