Student Staff Fill Big Shoes for Iowa

Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council operations center student assistants
Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council operations center student assistants – (L-R) Katie, Crystal and Carissa – are teaming up on the STEM Gem poster mailing.

The efforts of capable student assistants at the STEM Council operations center, headquartered at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), help support myriad high-profile programs throughout the year. Their duties range from research and development; data gathering, compilation and analysis; database creation and management; special events and meetings preparation; records maintenance; and much more.

The latest crew in a distinguished lineage of student assistants, each recruited from UNI’s Honors Program, are Crystal Barajas from Cedar Rapids majoring in Chemistry, Carissa Cummings of Spencer double majoring in mathematics and graphic technologies and Katie Dyer of Pleasant Hill double majoring in biology and biochemistry. 

Crystal mainly supports the Council’s STEM Teacher Externships Program amidst a full academic schedule in addition to cheerleading for the Panthers and competing on an Ultimate Frisbee club. Carissa chiefly helps out with website maintenance and newsletter production while balancing an overloaded course schedule, making time for Math Club, Service Leadership Council and other commitments. Katie is a utility player for the operations team, diving in to any and every imaginable task with gusto while juggling coursework and training her peers in leadership as a certified Leadership in Action trainer and officer in the Phi Sigma Pi national honors fraternity. 

All three of the STEM Council operations center student assistants have logged vital hours on the STEM Gem posters mailing this month to all of Iowa’s STEM educators across the state. (See STEM Gem blog at https://iowastem.gov/blog /latest-stem-gem-poster-series.) Overall, the STEM Council’s broad base of stakeholders are better able to grow, learn and thrive with the STEM Council because of the fruits of their labors.