Elyssa McDowell, Venture Academics strategic partnerships coordinator for Linn-Mar Community Schools, experienced a full circle moment as an educator. One of the students from the Venture Academics program, Allie Katuin, toured a local hospital as part of the biomedical course, learned about a job opportunity and recently joined the hospital as part of the staff. Katuin plans to work part time at the hospital while she finishes high school, attends college and then return to the hospital after earning a degree in the medical field. Reflecting on her experiences in the Venture program, Katuin said she is thankful for the Venture program and the opportunities it has provided her.
McDowell credits the STEM Council’s STEM BEST Program with helping establish the biomedical science course at Venture Academics. The program also provided the tools and support for an innovative and professional learning environment.
“The STEM BEST Program allowed us to offer the Biomedical Science course which has provided fabulous opportunities for students to connect to the medical field,” said McDowell. “Students get to learn about careers available to them in their own community and also develop relationships and connections with adult professionals. Students' learning is enhanced and elevated as they learn standard industry practices.”
The STEM BEST Program is accepting applications for schools interested in fostering workplace experience for students. McDowell offers the following advice for launching a STEM BEST Program, “Start small. Talk with teachers and administrators to identify needs. Consider what groups of students will benefit from the opportunity and how you will plan to market to them.”