Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program

Tristan Sikkema

Greatness STEMs from Teacher Externships

How many times have you heard a student ask, “When will I ever use this?”

The Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program aims to help teachers answer that age-old question.

During the summer, educators work side-by-side with knowledgeable and skilled industry employees who help bring the classroom curriculum to life. Teacher Externships provide educators with the exposure to answer questions about real-world application, prepare students for careers they may have in the future, and improve educational experiences.

“The experience I've had here will definitely change how I approach certain topics because I've seen the kinds of skills that the people who work here at different levels need to have. I will be able to give my students an idea of the kind of future employment they can expect to have if they only aspire to certain levels of education and training.”

Doug Darland, Muscatine High School, 2011 Extern – Monsanto (Muscatine)

Teacher Externships began in the summer of 2009 with a few goals in mind:

  • Create lasting partnerships between workplaces and local schools.
  • Connect Teacher Extern experience with STEM content and 21st century skills identified in the Iowa Core.
  • Give students real-world career information about career possibilities right here in Iowa.
  • Give teachers the opportunity to see and use the latest real-world applications STEM disciplines in a local business or industry.

Teacher Externships are full-time, six-week temporary summer positions in local businesses and agencies for secondary teachers of mathematics, science and/or technology.  Teachers earn a stipend of up to $5,000 (including two paid professional development days), as well as three graduate credits through the University of Northern Iowa’s Continuing Education program.

Learn more about Teacher Externships by reading the Extern Project-Based LearningFAQ or Brochure.

To apply, go to

Please contact for additional information.

Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program, a program of the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council, is supported through state-appropriated funds and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (NR) Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP-CEP) Grant #17-20 for Teacher Externships with Environmental and Conservation Professionals, along with investments by Iowa business and industry partners.