Iowa Classrooms+Workplaces Summit: Forging Work-Based Learning Partnerships’s Chief Academic Officer Pat Yongpradit and Director of Policy Hannah Weissman present information on the future of computer science education in the age of artificial intelligence.

The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council (Iowa STEM) at the Iowa Department of Education produced the Iowa Classrooms+Workplaces Summit on April 10 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. Nearly 400 leaders from business and industry, education, nonprofits, trade organizations, professional societies, governmental agencies, elected officials, students and others registered with the focus on career-connected, experiential and community-applied learning through school, workplace and community partnerships.

Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Co-Chair and Foundation Analytical Laboratory, Inc., Owner and Director of Technical Services Diane Young kicked off the Summit underlining that those in attendance were presented with an extraordinary opportunity to glean insights from exceptional speakers, engage in meaningful networking and reignite our collective passion for advancing STEM education to prepare the future workforce in local communities in our great state.

Iowa Department of Education Director McKenzie Snow’s opening remarks acknowledged this Summit as a celebration of steps forward to continue to advance our shared mission to increase student interest and achievement in STEM, to connect learners to high-quality, work-based learning experiences and to foster innovation and support economic development.

Iowa STEM Bureau Chief Justin Lewis added that the day marked a significant milestone — a gathering of STEM advocates and partners from every corner of Iowa, each providing to the transformative power of collaboration and innovation fostered by the STEM Council’s and Iowa Department of Education’s mission and vision.

Plenary session speaker Quentin Suffren, an ExcelinEd Senior Advisor, noted that high-quality pathways that begin in K-12 and span postsecondary to the workplace create direct connections between learner experiences and the world of work.

Attendees experienced a unique opportunity for a hybrid presentation from where Pat Yongpradit, the Chief Academic Officer, joined the Summit virtually while Hannah Weissman, Director of Policy, was in person to co-present. There is a nation-wide movement to try to ensure every student has the opportunity to learn computer science. CAO Yongpradit drew attendees into a conversation around the future of computer science education in the age of artificial intelligence (AI).

Rebecca Lucas, Kemin Industries Human Nutrition and Health Global Director of Research and Development, shared her perspectives on the importance of curiosity education in our world today.

Breakout sessions on engaging topics from building mathematics relevance to teachers in the workplace to scaling work-based learning through school+business partnerships to elevating career and technical education with industry recognized credentials and more provided valuable exploration and networking time.

A pinnacle segment of the Summit was the recognition of the six 2024 Iowa STEM Teacher Award recipients. Kemin Industries has sponsored this prestigious award for the past ten years.

Governor Kim Reynolds wrapped up the day with heartwarming remarks about how proud she is of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council which has done so much to make Iowa a national model for the type of engaging, hands-on education which truly prepares our students for a successful future. She thanked the many professionals across education, government and the private sector for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend the Summit.

The excitement and energy for further advancement in future preparedness was made possible by generous support by the Summit event sponsors (see below) and STEM education advocates throughout the year!

For the program, recordings, presentations and other archived materials from the April 10, 2024, Iowa Classrooms+Workplaces Summit, visit

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