With a near-perfect attendance record and a long history of contributions to the foundation of Iowa STEM, it is no surprise that this month’s MVP for Iowa STEM is Des Moines Area Community College President Rob Denson.
As a founding appointee to the STEM Council and the Executive Committee in 2011, Denson has served on several working groups of the Council, including the STEM Summit Planning group, the Public Awareness Campaign search committee, the STEM Teacher Recruitment and Preparation group that produced the STEM Teaching Endorsement and even the lead of the Regional Networks Design and Governance group in the formative days of the STEM Council. He is currently active on the STEM Support of Agricultural Science group, the IT Program Proposal Selection Committee and co-chairs the STEM Counselor Engagement group alongside University of Northern Iowa President Bill Ruud.
Just last June, the STEM Counselor Engagement working group presented its recommendations to the STEM Council, and since then, Denson says co-leading this group is his most personally-rewarding involvement with the STEM Council to date. In fact, DMACC and Heartland AEA 11 recently raised the funding necessary to co-sponsor a statewide counselor stakeholder survey that will provide a deeper insight into the role, scope and function of Iowa’s school counselors.
“The Iowa School Counselor Association is a group of passionate professionals dedicated to what they do for their students and have taken the recommendations of the STEM Council to heart,” Denson said. “STEM is one of the few topics in education that will not be a ‘flavor of the month.’ It is subject matter that can really excite kids, but you have to want to get them excited about it first.”
At a national level, he promotes Iowa STEM as the chair of the STEM Higher Education Council of STEMconnector®. Yet, Denson agrees his involvement on the Iowa STEM Council is unlike any other “team.”
“We all work very well together. That’s what makes this Council fun and successful. I want to do more because of the team I’m on,” Denson said. “I am a firm believer that there is a solution to every problem, and Iowa’s problem is that we need to have more and more young Iowans interested in STEM careers and going into college who are college and career-ready. Someone will figure this out, and I am confident that it will be us.”
This month, we thank President Rob Denson for his dedication and passion that has helped move Iowa STEM forward. For more information about the other committed 46 members of the STEM Council, please visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/Council.