Operations Team

Meet the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council's Operations Team

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s Operations Team oversees STEM in Iowa and works tirelessly to continue to advance STEM awareness and knowledge with various events, programs, and partnerships throughout the state.

Jeffrey Weld, Ph.D.

Jeffrey Weld, Ph.D.

Jeff Weld, Ph.D., is the executive director for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and associate professor of biology at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Jeff has directed the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council since fall 2011, and the Iowa Mathematics & Science Education Partnership, the Council’s operations arm, since 2008. He has been a member of the UNI biology faculty since 2000. In 2007, Jeff was named the College Biology Teacher of the Year—four-year institutions—by the National Association of Biology Teachers. He has authored more than 55 research articles, essays, book chapters and two books, "Building a STEM Culture for Teaching and Learning" published in 2017 focused on education systems reform toward STEM, and “The Game of Science Education,” published in 2004, focused on navigating the barriers to innovative science teaching at the secondary and collegiate levels. He is past president of the Iowa Science Teachers association and of UNI’s chapter of Sigma Xi—the scientific research society.

Prior to joining UNI, Jeff served on the faculty at Oklahoma State University after earning a doctorate in science education with an emphasis in ecology and endocrinology from the University of Iowa in 1998. Formerly a high school biology and chemistry teacher in Mission, Texas; Kirkwood, Missouri; and Pella, Iowa, Jeff was named the Ciba-Geigy 1993 Life Science Teacher of the Year in Iowa; a 1994 recipient of the Pella Corporation Focus on Teaching Excellence award; and in 1995, one of 50 national Access Excellence Fellows of the Genentech corporation. Jeff serves on several state and national boards including the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity Education Foundation and is a member of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society as well as Epsilon Pi Tau the international technology honor society.

Contact Jeffrey Weld, weld@iowastem.gov

Carrie Rankin, B.A.

Carrie Rankin, B.A.

Carrie Rankin is the assistant director for development for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. As assistant director for development, Carrie develops corporate, private sector and grant partnerships on behalf of the STEM Council to further the investment in Iowa STEM Council initiatives. Carrie brings more than 13 years of development experience to this position, most recently as executive director with the Waterloo Schools Foundation, and as development director with both the Allen Hospital Foundation and University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Foundation. A 1989 UNI graduate, Carrie earned her bachelor of arts in chemistry and marketing.

Contact Carrie Rankin, rankin@iowastem.gov

Kari Britain Image

Kari Britain, MPA

Kari is the Program Manager of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council operations center. As program manager, she is responsible for the office operations, budget oversight, contracts and coordination of communication and efforts among all stakeholders involved with this partnership. Kari brings with her over 20 years of executive assistant experience in both the public and private sector. She also has an academic background in secondary education, office administration and public administration.

Contact Kari Britain at britain@iowastem.gov

Communications and Marketing Specialist Stock Image

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The Communications and Marketing Specialist with the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council develops content and writes all educational and communication materials for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, including all materials for website, publications, newsletters, social media, letters, e-mails, displays, video, audio, promotional materials, speeches, presentations and news releases; builds and implements a strategic communications plan cooperatively with the STEM Council’s marketing/public relations partner; works collaboratively with all internal and external partners to convey consistent messages; works closely with business partners to develop sustainable relationships to promote Council goals; coordinates the dissemination of strategic messages with internal and external constituents; coordinates all special events, displays and meetings; works closely with the Director, Assistant Director, Program Manager, STEM Council and all committees to establish a coordinated and effective plan for conducting meetings and provides leadership for various committees. Also supports communications at the regional manager level.

Rebecca Wilhovsky, Secretary

Rebecca Wilhovsky

Joining the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council team in October 2012, Becky Wilhovsky, a half-time secretary, happily provides clerical support for the STEM Council’s initiative. Prior to this position, Becky was a residence hall secretary as well as a secretary in the University of Northern Iowa’s (UNI) Career Services office. Originally from Waterloo, Iowa, she has been with UNI for 12 years. Before coming to UNI, she worked for Vocational Rehabilitation, and has years of customer service experience under her belt. In her spare time, Becky enjoys spending time with her furry “child”­— her cat.

Contact Rebecca Wilhovsky, Becky.Wilhovsky@uni.edu

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