Iowa STEM Helps Teacher Shortage through RAPIL Scholarships


Iowa school administrators lament a shortage of teaching applicants in high-need areas including science, mathematics and technology. Industry leaders lament the lack of access to K-12 teaching pathways for retirees or career changers. The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is helping to address these concerns with scholarships to STEM professionals intending to become classroom teachers through the Regents Alternative Pathway to Intern Licensure (RAPIL) Program.

The RAPIL Program is designed to help experienced professionals with a bachelor’s degree transition their talent and expertise to Iowa's secondary classrooms. This collaborative program of The University of Iowa, The University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University provides an accelerated, alternative pathway to obtain an initial Iowa teaching license that includes coursework designed with the working professional in mind, pedagogy development, field experiences and a year-long internship with an Iowa school district which completes their first year of teaching with school-based mentorship.

The Iowa STEM RAPIL Scholarship is only one of two scholarships available to candidates in the RAPIL Program. Since first offering the Scholarship in Spring of 2022, Iowa STEM has helped 51 RAPIL Program candidates pursue their dream of teaching.

Some of these individuals and their school administrators had this to say about the RAPIL Program:

RAPIL Scholarship recipient and consumer mathematics/computer science teacher Walaa Alshafei shared, “The RAPIL Program incorporates modern teaching tools and technology to prepare educators for the classroom. The most important thing is the flexibility in the program.”

RAPIL Scholarship recipient and high school science teacher Kari Buck said, “I worked part time as a medical laboratory technician and decided to pick up hours subbing as a paraeducator once all three of my kids got into school. I found so much joy working with the students, and the school atmosphere was very welcoming. The [STEM Council RAPIL] scholarship allowed me to work even more part time as a lab tech and spend more time in the classroom. I was able to visit different school districts and sub in different classrooms, subjects and grades.  It was a great opportunity to make connections with teachers, gather advice and collect ideas that I could implement in my own classroom.”

Interim Superintendent Scott Blum stated, “In my seven years as principal at Dallas Center-Grimes High School, I hired several teachers that participated in the RAPIL program. Overall, I was extremely impressed with each and every one of them and found them to be incredible additions to our students and our school. Their unique experiences were extremely valuable to our teaching team. I have had nothing but positive experiences with the talented teachers coming out of the RAPIL program.”

Please help spread the word about the RAPIL Program and the Iowa STEM RAPIL Scholarship to potential candidates. More information about the RAPIL Program can be found at:

Send any questions or comments about the RAPIL Program to .

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