STEM Council Youth Advisory Board Co-Lead Job Shadows Iowa STEM Central Operations Team for Youth Shadow Week

Youth Shadow
Shreyas Shrestha, a junior at Johnston High School, visits with Web Programming and Cybersecurity Instructor Kyle Kuhlers at the Waterloo Career Center.

On Monday, February 19, 2024, Shreyas Shrestha traveled from Johnston to spend the day in Cedar Falls with the STEM Council Central Operations team as a part of the Department of Health and Human Services Annual Youth Shadow Week. In addition to being a Co-Lead of the STEM Council Youth Advisory Board, Shreyas is a member of the Iowa Youth Congress. He is a junior at Johnston High School and is actively involved in the community, serving as the Secretary of the National Honor Society (NHS). He is an avid advocate for STEM education and mentors a robotics team in the metro area. Shreyas has held leadership roles in Science Olympiad, Technology Student Association and FIRST Robotics. He is also involved in National History Day, Cross Country and Soccer. He enjoys public speaking and legislative discourse, especially as a participant of Congressional Debate where he was able to be a national qualifier. In the future, Shreyas plans on majoring in either software or mechanical engineering.

Youth Shadow Week was started by the Department of Health and Human Service in 2021 to provide youth an opportunity to shadow a state government leader in order to gain insight and experience into the state government. The Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council was honored to be included this year.

Shreyas chose the STEM Council for his job shadow because he shares a passion for STEM education and the importance of making STEM accessible to all. He wanted to learn more about the work of the STEM Council and forge valuable connections with the team. Shreyas commented, “I believe our future is in the hands of STEM, and alongside this goes STEM education. With the proper skills learned from education in STEM, students are equipped with the skills they need to succeed in the long-run and help progress our society. From farming to medicine, everything in our world runs on technology and STEM based tools and having a strong STEM education allows for the fostering of these abilities from a young age.” Shadowing the STEM Council team allowed Shreyas to learn about the programs driving Iowa’s growth in STEM and provided a platform to learn how he can increase the impact of STEM education in his community. Shreyas was also given a tour of the STEM BEST Program at the Waterloo Career Center to see the STEM Council’s work in action.

In reflection on his day Shreyas had this to say:

“I learned about many valuable tools during my experience, most significantly in regards to creating, and capturing more engagement in activities, and initiatives. This included focusing on the target audience’s ROI, or return on investment when creating projects, and working to gather feedback from target demographics on what types of events or activities they would be most interested in. I learned about targeted promotion, and expanding connections by reaching out to as many people as possible to build an audience when setting up events, but also for my own personal growth to seek new opportunities. I had an amazing experience with Tanya, Ann, and the STEM Council, and will continue to reach out, and work with them in the future. This experience has allowed me to build upon my passions, and projects, and streamline them towards directed efforts, which I aim to use to continue to spread STEM!”

Thank you, Shreyas Shrestha, for choosing to spend your time with the STEM Council, for your service on the Youth Advisory board and for your advocacy of STEM education in Iowa!

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