Making a Difference with the I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award

Class from Dike New Hartford with teacher Chelsie Slaba

For the past three years, the Governor's Advisory STEM Council has partnered with Kemin Industries to honor six STEM teachers who are inspiring students in Iowa. Award recipients receive $3,000, of which $1,500 goes towards their classroom.

Chelsie Slaba, a science teacher at Dike-New Hartford High School, was an I.O.W.A STEM Teacher Award recipient in 2017. She recently had the opportunity to take some of her students to Kemin to demonstrate real-life applications of the lessons taught in the classroom.

"I would really encourage future STEM Teacher Award recipients to take a group of students to Kemin. We can't always teach our students what the real world looks like from the classroom. We need to expose them to it and help bring things full circle," said Slaba. "Our visit to Kemin helped spark genuine interest and conversation about their future."

Slaba used the award to purchase lab tables with white board tops. The lab tables offer more interactive space that will allow for ease in collaboration and group work.

"During our tour of Kemin, we had the chance to see their work space. They really emphasize collaboration and use write-on surfaces throughout their building. I am excited to use the STEM Teacher Award to create this interactive space in my classroom to match the view of Kemin's space where science is done through collaboration," said Slaba.

The 2018 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award recipients will be announced February 14, 2018. To see a complete list of the 2017 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award recipients, visit