Although her role outside the STEM Council has changed in the last few years, Rachel Hurley, an original member of the STEM Council, has not changed in her passion for Iowa STEM.
Serving in her fourth year on the STEM Council, Hurley began her journey as the Executive Director for the Iowa Biotechnology Association before transitioning into her new role as the Midwest Government Affairs Manager for Monsanto.
"While I was never an educator, I have always understood it's really important to help students find that 'ah-ha' moment." Hurley said. "It worked all around because I could see the potential for trying to help further my organization, and then also be a part of something bigger that would benefit our entire state."
Currently, Hurley leads the STEM Council's Support of Agricultural Science working group and has played a role in the public awareness and business engagement committees. In June, she and Monsanto will host the quarterly STEM Council meeting as well. Yet, with all that she does, Hurley claims that balancing her role with the STEM Council is not hard as STEM is never too far from conversations in both her personal and professional life.
"Part of my job includes what I need to do for STEM because not only is education important in its own realm, but if you look at what Monsanto needs, Monsanto needs young Iowans with a STEM education." Hurley said. "If I can help inspire those kids, and they end up getting degrees and staying in Iowa, then we as a company ultimately benefit.”
Hurley's involvement with the STEM Council has expanded her relationships, helped her understand different perspectives from different entities around Iowa and tied in well to her professional role beyond the STEM Council.
"How do we get more kids to connect the dots? How do we make them understand they can succeed, make money and stay in Iowa but also change the world and make a difference in a lot of people's lives? It's a big task, but it's one that makes me proud to be on the STEM Council," Hurley said. "We want to do what we can, and oftentimes, it has to be more than just ponying up money to sponsor an event. It's actually getting involved in STEM, speaking to a group or adding what you can from whatever you've got."
The STEM Council salutes member Rachel Hurley and all of the committed professionals just like her who, together, account for the great progress made so far for Iowa STEM. For a list of the members of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, see www.iowastem.gov/council.