Nurturing Innovation and Collaboration: Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Transforming Education


Introduction: In the heart of Iowa, a groundbreaking initiative is shaping the future of STEM education. The STEM Teacher Externships Program provides Iowa educators in STEM fields with immersive summer experiences, fostering collaboration between teachers and industry professionals. This unique program not only equips teachers with valuable skills but also paves the way for exciting and innovative careers for students.

Unlocking Opportunities for Educators: STEM Teacher Externships open doors for Iowa teachers, offering a 6-week journey into the world of work. Immersed in a host business or organization, educators gain hands-on experience, acquiring skills and knowledge to enrich their teaching methods. The program recognizes their dedication by providing up to $5000 in compensation and the opportunity to earn 3 graduate credit hours, ensuring a holistic approach to professional development.

Grant Support Amplifying Impact: The STEM Teacher Externships Program continues to thrive with the support from grants, demonstrating a commitment to enhancing STEM education in Iowa. The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) has generously funded up to 30 externships over 3 years in the Energy Sector, propelling the program's reach into critical fields. The Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP-CEP) further champions the cause, funding 16 externships again this year that align with conservation professionals. This financial backing not only broadens the program's scope but also empowers the STEM Council to facilitate more Teacher Externships, creating a ripple effect of educational transformation.

Voices of Impact: Jeff Gorrie, CEM, Director of Energy Services, Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities:

"The Iowa STEM Externship program has helped a number of municipal utilities in Iowa and has the potential to make even more impact. This program helps us in accomplishing those difficult to complete projects and reach towards our stretch goals. Many hands make for lighter work, and this program gives us a highly skilled and professional pair of hands to achieve our goals. This program strengthens the bonds between educators and the workforce and prepares students for exciting and innovative careers. I am proud to support the Iowa STEM Externship."

Heather Gamm, First-time Extern Host with Bremer County Conservation:

"The [STEM Externship] Program sounds like a great way to work with a local science teacher and get their valuable insight into our current programming. Our Environmental Education staff would enjoy learning about teaching techniques in working with students, social media outreach, and we also hope to have our Extern align our programming with science standards in order to better serve teachers and students in our districts."

Join the Journey: Teachers and hosts alike are invited to be part of this transformative experience. Both can apply for STEM Teacher Externships at, contributing to the growth of STEM education and the preparation of students for a future defined by innovation and discovery. Together, educators and industry professionals are shaping a brighter tomorrow for Iowa's STEM landscape.

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