Small, Yet Mighty: the STEM Council Student Staff

Michelle Matchell, Ashlyn Thompson, Madison Flesch
The students helping power the statewide STEM engine are: (left to right) Michelle Matchell (Des Moines), Ashlyn Thompson (Ottumwa) and Madison Flesch (Waukee).

Contributed by Michelle Matchell, student assistant 

There are three student assistants currently working in the Iowa STEM Council office this school year. Ashlyn Thompson is a junior from Ottumwa and is majoring in Mathematics Education and Spanish/English Translation. In the future, she wants to be a middle school mathematics teacher. Madi Flesch is a senior Chemistry major, minoring in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. She is from Waukee and is currently applying to chemistry Ph.D. programs. I, Michelle Matchell, am from Des Moines. I am a double major in Biology and Biochemistry and aspire to be in the medical field.

We spend our time working in the STEM Council office because we are passionate about science, technology, engineering and mathematics and growing these fields in Iowa. STEM is important to us because it is ever-changing and can open so many doors for the future. Madi says she loves STEM because she enjoys learning about science and creating on a fundamental level in the laboratory. There are so many avenues to pursue in STEM, the possibilities are endless, and we want to help build these opportunities for all students in Iowa.

Our role as a student team for the STEM Council consists of many different tasks. Many of us do behind the scenes work such as creating databases, researching topics in STEM education, designing documents such as certificates, preparing mailings or putting folders together for conferences, as well as other tasks to build capacity and help the Central Operations Office run smoothly. Sometimes we are assigned to certain STEM programs like Madi who works on the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program. From the office, she maintains the records of the applicants, ensures that all parties involved are properly informed and connected, and monitors the Externship email account. We do various jobs that can be large or small but are always meaningful to the success of the STEM Council. As Ashlyn says, we are a small force at the Central Operations Office, but we are certainly mighty.