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 STEM 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.