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 2018 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award, including:
Northwest STEM Region
Jacquie Drey, a fourth-grade teacher at Storm Lake Elementary School, believes that science is more than a school subject. She has integrated STEM learning into her classroom and paved the way for creating a lifelong interest in STEM fields. She has put together several in-school and after-school STEM events at Storm Lake Elementary. She uses social media feeds and pages to connect with the parents of her students and continue her students’ STEM learning at home. She has also brought in science leaders to her school, regularly attends professional learning events regarding new Iowa Science Standards and is a Storm Lake Community School District science leader as the elementary representative.
North Central STEM Region
Teresa Green, technology teacher librarian at Edwards Elementary School in Ames, created the Edwards Elementary STEM Makerspace through grant-writing and research, and has now taken on the role of makerspace manager and STEM leader at Edwards, creating kits and activities for K-5 classrooms to incorporate hands-on STEM learning. She has worked with Iowa State’s Education Department to host practicum students as co-teacher in technology classes. She has also partnered with the Central Iowa Institute of Electrical and Electric Engineers (IEEE) chapter to teach her students about circuits and their applications in small electronics.
Northeast STEM Region
Stacey Snyder, the Expanded Learner Program and Gifted Resource Teacher at Orange Elementary School in Waterloo, is a part of numerous state and national professional organizations and serves as a leader in science education throughout the state and local region. She has been in the education field for over thirty years, serving in a variety of roles. She currently serves as the coach for the FIRST Lego League Junior and FIRST Lego League teams at Orange Elementary. She hosts the Society of Women Engineers at Orange each year, as they offer five month-long after-school sessions for fourth and fifth graders. This is an empowering program for girls who are eager to learn more about STEM and STEM careers.
Southwest STEM Region
Denise Hoag, a computer science/business teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School in Council Bluffs, kick-started the high school's computer science curriculum, with three concurrent enrollment courses and two AP courses. Her students participate in a variety of activities with her mentorship. She has provided her students with computer science department tours and opportunities for professional collaboration. She places a large emphasis on preparing elementary and middle school students, especially girls, for high school computer science classes and programs. She has led several summer camps and after-school programs for these age groups.
South Central STEM Region
Holly Showalter, an instructor in medical and bioscience research at Waukee APEX, created the curriculum for the Health Science and Medicine course at Waukee APEX and has grown the program immensely. She is an excellent example of creating business and professional partnerships for her students. She has arranged for professors to speak to and mentor some of her students. One of her focuses, as well as Waukee APEX’s, is differentiating her students’ learning to prepare them for specific STEM careers. She has provided her class with a diverse range of experiences and she sits on three scientific committees that have opened incredible doors to her and her students.
Southeast STEM Region
Cassidy Reinken, a Magnet Coordinator at Johnson STEAM Academy in Cedar Rapids, works to inspire and encourage teachers to become more engaged in and understand the importance of STEM subjects and careers through cross-curricular connections. She works with students and teachers through professional learning, coaching conversations, co-planning and co-teaching to STEM lessons. She holds five Discovery Days throughout the year, where students learn in cross-graded age groupings on a select topic, such as 3D printing, building/construction, coding or Makey Makey art. She sits on and leads many forward-thinking educational committees in the Cedar Rapids Community School District.