Consistency through change was the message delivered by members, friends and allies of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council at their bi-annual meeting on Monday, November 13, in room B100, Grimes State Office Building, Des Moines. As Jeff Weld steps down from the post of executive director, smooth and swift leadership transition is a top concern among attendees. It is matched by their expectation that current programs, services and communications maintain consistently high quality throughout the re-alignment process in to the Department of Education. Highlights of those programs constituted the early part of the meeting, where STEM at Van Meter and CAL community schools were showcased, followed by updates on the Youth Advisory Board, the STEM-for-All committee and key initiatives including the STEM Scale-Up Program, STEM BEST® Program, STEM Teacher Externships Program and Regional STEM Festivals.
The distinguished history and bright horizon for Iowa’s STEM organization were furnished by Cindy Dietz of Raytheon and Diane Young of Foundation Analytical Laboratory (Council co-chair). Director Weld alongside Department of Education Director McKenzie Snow led a critical conversation regarding STEM vitality in its new home at the Iowa Department of Education. Key takeaway: Council members are confident and optimistic over a strong future for STEM education in partnership with the Department of Education. A warm farewell to Director Weld capped the meeting. He will be returning to the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa and can be reached at Jeff.Weld@UNI.edu.