Symbolic of Iowa's broad-spectrum commitment to STEM education, record-setting attendance at the fourth annual Iowa STEM Summit drew in STEM leaders from eight states, including 13 percent business and economic development, 10 percent public universities, 33 percent preK-12 education, 12 percent private and community colleges, 15 percent nonprofits and informals, 8 percent extension and AEAs, 8 percent state and local government, plus a valued handful of unaffiliated advocates.
The transformation of STEM education was on full display, highlighting the progress of the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council's four STEM-focused classrooms and best practices of the recipients of the STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching, sponsored by Kemin Industries.
The future of Iowa's STEM education came into focus through provocative sessions, panels and speakers. As a result, the STEM Council is zeroing in on answers to major challenges, including the place for computer science, STEM support of the arts, leverage of counselors, diversity of the STEM talent pipeline, connecting business and school, engagement of higher education, maximizing the out-of-school learning zone, recognition of excellence and building STEM awareness.
Opening keynote Kwizera Imani, former Tanzanian refugee and now a senior enrolled in five advanced placement courses at Des Moines North High School, will attend Iowa State University for Aerospace Engineering and encapsulated the day's big message, "The best way to influence students is to grab their attention at a young age. If we involve them at a young age, they will become confident and proud, and the number of students interested in STEM careers will grow," Imani said.
Thank you to all who took part in the 2015 Iowa STEM Summit. For those who could not make it, all materials will be archived by early next week at www.iowastem.gov.