2016 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award Recipients

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and Kemin Industries joined together to honor teachers who are inspiring Iowa’s students to develop a passion for STEM subjects. The I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award Program is for teachers who are making a significant difference in the lives of students across the state by providing excellent curriculum, encouraging lifelong learning and inspiring a passion for STEM beyond the classroom and into the future.

The a panel of judges selected the recipients of the 2016 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award, including:

Northwest STEM Region

Kent Muyskens, science teacher who has taught Computer Programming, Principles of Engineering, and a Project Lead The Way class at Carroll Community High School submitted a STEM RLE (Redesigned Learning Environment) proposal selected for implementation in 2015 by the STEM Council. Kent hopes to create a Carroll STEM Institute at Carroll High School, and is creating a new class called STEM Training and Research (STaR), allowing students to collaborate with various scientists and engineers from around the world. 

North Central STEM Region

Ed Birkey, technology and engineering teacher at Fort Dodge Senior High School, has been a part of the Iowa Central Community College Engineering Design Technology advisory board for the past seven years, and coordinates an advisory board as part of the schools Industrial Technology Department. Ed stays dedicated to STEM efforts by working with students in the after school FIRST Tech Challenge robotics program, as well as organizing a series of Robot Camps over school breaks for students in grades 4-8, as well as nontraditional students interested in coding and robotics.

Northeast STEM Region

Dirk Homewood, math and PLTW teacher at Cedar Falls High School, was the first teacher in his district to begin teaching Project Lead The Way classes six years ago. Dirk dedicates his time to STEM efforts by connecting the school district with the many STEM related businesses in the area. His work has led to Cedar Falls High School earning the title “Official PRIME Site” by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation, one of only seven schools in the country holding this designation.  Dirk organizes Cedar Falls High School’s annual STEM Open House and the Cedar Falls District STEM Advisory Council.

Southwest STEM Region

Erin Wetzel, computer and PLTW teacher at Southwest Valley Middle School, recently received ST Math through the STEM Scale-Up Program. She trained other teachers how to use the program in order to continue student growth in math skills. Erin provided her students with the opportunity to build a 3D printer, which is now being used in her classroom.

South Central STEM Region

Ryan Lensing, science teacher at Dowling Catholic High School, has participated twice in the Iowa STEM Teacher Externship Program where his research with Dave Williams at the Tallgrass Prairie Center led to the creation of the Dowling research prairie. Lensing created “DCHS Snake Club” at Dowling High school, offering students the opportunity to do self-motivated learning outside of the classroom.

Southeast STEM Region

Reagan Boeset, STEM teacher at Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Middle School, worked with the Kirkwood ACE Mentor Program in 2014 to bring a STEM Center to Clear Creek Amana. This program brought 130 area high school students together to work with in-field STEM experts. Reagan coordinated the Science/STEM Nights for both CCA elementary and middle school students. Outside of the classroom, Reagan coaches STEM club and STEM Nature Trail group.