Michelle Hill is a seasoned professional currently serving as the Director for Work-Based Learning at the Waukee Community School District. In this capacity, she oversees impactful initiatives, including the Waukee Aspiring Professional Experience (APEX), the School-to-Work Internship program, the Introduction to Education Teacher Practicum program, and various other experiential learning opportunities.
* What inspired you to become a representative on the STEM Council?
After many years in the STEM field, I was inspired to contribute as a representative on the STEM Council. It's a meaningful way for me to give back to the council for their support of our program. Encouraged by recommendations from peers, I applied and am happy that I did. Serving on the council allows me to gain valuable insight from business and academic leaders statewide, learning about their advancements in STEM. Simultaneously, I contribute valuable perspectives from our team's experiences. Given our program's commitment to servant leadership, being on the STEM Council aligns with my values, providing an opportunity to put this into practice.
* What is something you hope to bring to the table as a new member of the STEM Council?
As a new member of the council, I hope to bring my perspective from being both a teacher and administrator in the field, which is a unique viewpoint. Having spearheaded the initiation of a program, I recognize the parallels between program development and launching a business. In navigating challenges, our experiences in Waukee have fostered creative problem-solving. I aspire to share the valuable insights gained from both our district's collective knowledge base and my personal background.
* Tell us a little bit about what you do and your current organization.
I am currently the Director for Work-Based Learning in the Waukee Community School District. I supervise the Waukee APEX program, the School-to-Work Internship program, and the Intro to Education Teacher Practicum program. In addition, we are launching new services in the district K-12 to bring more career-based experiences to all students to help students and families make the best decisions possible for their next steps after high school. I work in conjunction with those services to support our teachers, students, families, and community to find creative collisions for everyone involved. That includes strategic planning, business development, professional learning, instructor support, program and building management, and honestly, whatever the day requires.
* How important is STEM education, and what role does it play in the future of students?
STEM education is crucial for imparting technical and transferable skills, ensuring lasting student benefits. Engaging in creative problem-solving and collaborative teamwork, especially with real-world tasks alongside business professionals, provides valuable experiences. These opportunities effectively prepare students for various future endeavors. Moreover, STEM programs in Iowa facilitate local networking, encouraging students to build connections within their communities and ultimately fostering economic growth and talent retention.