Summer STEM Teacher Externships set up school year for STEM

Monsanto Huxley Learning Center
Monsanto’s Huxley Learning Center, a Workplace Host this summer, also hosted the Year-End Forum of the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships program, where participating teachers and workplace partners reflected on the summer and planned greater impacts.

The Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Year-End Forum helped “plant the seed” for new STEM curriculum tied to workplace needs for about five dozen Teacher Externs at Monsanto’s Huxley Learning Center in early August.

The annual gathering of both Teacher Externs and their Workplace Hosts strives to build on the Teacher Externship experiences, equipping both with the final pieces to develop new STEM curriculum through school+business partnerships.

Executive Director of the STEM Council Dr. Jeff Weld opened the event with impact data, including results that show 92 percent of surveyed past Teacher Externs agree the experience was their most valuable professional development and at least 75 percent of them are more confident about advising students regarding STEM jobs in Iowa.

The day-long event featured breakout sessions that provided opportunities to share insights across STEM disciplines, offer program best practices, identify areas for improvement and foster project-based learning ideas.

Ben Kuker, a Teacher Extern who teaches technology at Mount Vernon High School, worked side-by-side with American Profol in Cedar Rapids this summer. Kuker and Mark Thoeny, president and CEO of American Profol, keynoted the lunch hour to talk about how the experience is now being integrated in Kuker’s classroom.

For more information on how you can be a Teacher Extern or Workplace Host for Summer 2017, please visit

Story first published in August 2016 newsletter on Wednesday, August 31, 2016

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