STEM Council draws FY2015 to close, kicks of FY2016 with flare

Student panelists discuss STEM effort at the 12th STEM Council
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.

The 12th meeting of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory 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.