STEM Scale-Up Programs Provide Career Context

Winterset High School Teacher Kacia Cain utilizes STEM Scale-Up Program SoapyCilantro to connect genetics to medical careers.
Winterset High School Teacher Kacia Cain incorporates STEM Scale-Up Program SoapyCilantro in her classroom to connect genetics to precision medicine careers.
Each year, the STEM Council introduces a new menu of STEM Scale-Up Programs available to educators across Iowa. The Scale-Up Program aims to bring top STEM education opportunities to all learners, inspire young Iowans to pursue STEM career opportunities and increase student achievement in STEM.
SoapyCilantro is one of 12 STEM Scale-Up Program that is currently being implemented in Iowa classrooms, including the classroom of Winterset High School Teacher Kacia Cain. SoapyCilantro examines the principles of genetics, molecular biology and bioinformatics as it relates to real life in terms of precision medicine and potential careers.
With SoapyCilantro, Cain’s students can relate the difference in taste of cilantro, herbal or soapy, to other medical issues, such as chemotherapy success differences between individuals with the same type of cancer.
Based on her experience with the STEM Scale-Up Program, Cain said, “Scale-Up also helps teachers get a better understanding of these topics from an expert who is an excellent educator so they are able to help the students understand these topics more in depth. The STEM Scale-Up Program also provides equipment and ongoing support.”
The STEM Scale-Up Program reaches up to 100,000 youth and thousands of educators each year. Students who participated in the STEM Scale-Up Program perform better on statewide tests and are more interested in working in Iowa compared to students statewide.
The 2022-2023 Scale-Up Program menu will be announced and open for application in January 2022. For more information, visit
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