Iowa STEM at the State-Federal STEM Education Summit

Jeff Weld moderates panel at State-Federal STEM Education Summit
Dr. Jeff Weld moderated a panel with U.S. Dept. of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, NSF Chief Operating Officer Joan Ferrini-Mundy and Smithsonian Institution Secretary David Skorton.

A diverse group of more than 200 STEM leaders representing each state in the U.S. convened for the first-of-its-kind State-Federal STEM Education Summit hosted by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Iowa was well-represented at the Summit by members of the Iowa STEM Network Team Cindy Dietz, interim executive director, and Sarah Derry, South Central Iowa STEM regional manager, along with Linda Fandel, the Governor’s special assistant for education. They worked with other STEM leaders to take part in the development of a new Federal five-year STEM Education Strategic Plan.

“Top-down approaches to STEM Education can often yield wonderful ideas, but it’s at the State and community level where the momentum happens. State leaders know best what kinds of programs will work in their communities, and where they need the power of the Federal government to help drive success in this field,” said Jeff Weld, senior policy advisor and assistant director for STEM Education at OSTP.

Attendees were able to gain insights from education leaders on how STEM education impacts the future workforce and how to leverage Federal resources to advance STEM efforts. Summit speakers included Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, Deputy Assistant to the President for Technology Policy Michael Kratsios, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator James Bridenstine, Smithsonian Institution Secretary David Skorton, National Science Foundation (NSF) Director France Córdova and NSF Chief Operating Office Joan Ferrini-Mundy.

Breakout sessions were held, during which state representatives worked together in groups to collaborate on recommendations for the five-year STEM Plan.

During the Summit, OSTP and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced more than 140 individuals and organizations to be honored with Presidential Awards for excellence in teaching or mentoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Two Iowa teachers received the award – Zac Christensen, a second-grade teacher at Perkins Elementary School in Des Moines, and Ashley Flatebo, an instructional coach at John Adams Middle School in Mason City. Flatebo is a member of the North Central STEM Regional Advisory Board.

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