Seeing More in Your Fields Through STEM Teacher Externships

Tricia Reichert, science teacher at Emmetsburg High School, is a STEM Teacher Extern at MaxYield Cooperative
Tricia Reichert, science teacher at Emmetsburg High School, is a STEM Teacher Extern at MaxYield Cooperative this summer, working on recruitment and retention of interns.

Tricia Reichert, Emmetsburg High School science teacher, is completing a six-week Iowa STEM Teacher Externship with MaxYield Cooperative this summer. In line with MaxYield’s mission of “Seeing More In Your Fields,” she has been tasked with assisting this progressive cooperative with “seeing more” in their young agronomy interns in terms of recruitment and retention. Reichert plans to translate this experience into the classroom by helping better prepare her students to enter the workplace.

“Education and ‘the real’ workplace share many commonalities. Whereas I am looking for student engagement and academic growth in the classroom, MaxYield is currently very focused on Agronomy interns who are willing to learn to be productive members of the MaxYield team who then ultimately remain with the company. As a classroom teacher, I have seen a shift in the work ethic of my students, and it seems this is a trend that has been felt in the work place as well,” said Reichert. “One of my main tasks this summer is to brainstorm how MaxYield can better recruit and retain the young interns. How can I as a classroom teacher better prepare students of today to be well-qualified MaxYield team members of tomorrow?”

Year after year, educators and business partners find great value in these partnerships. According to an externship survey completed in 2018, the most valued outcomes for externship host employers were:

  • Elevated awareness by the educator of their business in the community
  • Increased interest in future workforce
  • School-business partnerships
  • Workplace relevance

Based on the same survey, educators indicated the primary reasons for participating were:

  • Bringing authentic business experiences into the classroom
  • Discovery of the “soft skills” students need to succeed
  • Becoming better equipped to advise students on career opportunities
  • Building partnerships with employers

This experience is one of 83 six-week externships taking place across Iowa this summer. To learn more about the STEM Teacher Externship Program, visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/externships.