Enacting a directive of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals, the operations team annually seeks out dynamic role models to carry the banner of STEM Gem to students throughout the State. The project began in 2009 with a science teacher and a naturalist presenting compelling examples for where STEM can lead. They’ve since been joined by a Respiratory Therapy instructor, an aviation electronics company CEO, a computer programmer, a food systems engineer, a graphic designer, a cockpit controls technician, a science-minded race car driver, an Air Force pilot and two more new Gems studying animal science and nursing.
This year’s STEM Gems , all Iowans as is tradition, were mailed out to 4,891 teachers of mathematics, science, technology and engineering across Iowa. Today it is hard to find an Iowa STEM classroom not adorned by a gallery of STEM Gems .
Lisa Benjamin, an Ankeny mathematics teacher said recently, “Several of my students commented on the one with pictures of horses when I asked which one drew their attention and why. The pictures seems to be what grabbed their attention.” And Bart Mueller, science teacher at Adel DeSoto Minburn said, “I like them and have put them up in my room in the past.”
The posters are dedicated to those young Iowans whose minds may wander to walls and windows midway through class. If the STEM Council’s STEM Gemsposter series ensnare just one drifting mind onto the STEM career pathway, mission accomplished! Suggestions for future STEM Gems are always welcome. The complete set may be viewed here: https://iowastem.gov/stem-gem-poster-series.