Operations Team

Meet the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council's Operations Team

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s Operations Team oversees STEM in Iowa and works tirelessly to continue to advance STEM awareness and knowledge with various events, programs, and partnerships throughout the state.

Jeffrey Weld, Ph.D.

Jeffrey Weld, Ph.D.

Jeffrey D. Weld, Ph.D., is the executive director for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and associate professor of biology at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Jeff has directed the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council since fall 2011, and the Iowa Mathematics & Science Education Partnership, the Council’s operations arm, since 2008. He has been a member of the UNI biology faculty since 2000. In 2007, Jeff was named the College Biology Teacher of the Year—four-year institutions—by the National Association of Biology Teachers. He has authored more than 50 research articles, essays, book chapters and the textbook, “The Game of Science Education,” published in 2004, focusing on research into the barriers to innovative science teaching at the secondary and collegiate levels and how to overcome them. He is past president of the Iowa Science Teachers association and of UNI’s chapter of Sigma Xi—the scientific research society.

Prior to joining UNI, Jeff served on the faculty at Oklahoma State University after earning a doctorate in science education with an emphasis in ecology and endocrinology from the University of Iowa in 1998. Formerly a high school biology and chemistry teacher in Mission, Texas; Kirkwood, Missouri; and Pella, Iowa, Jeff was named the Ciba-Geigy 1993 Life Science Teacher of the Year in Iowa; a 1994 recipient of the Pella Corporation Focus on Teaching Excellence award; and in 1995, one of 50 national Access Excellence Fellows of the Genentech corporation. Jeff serves on several state and national boards including the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity Education Foundation and the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology.

Contact Jeffrey Weld, weld@iowastem.gov

Carrie Rankin, B.A.

Carrie Rankin, B.A.

Carrie Rankin is the assistant director for development for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. As assistant director for development, Carrie develops corporate, private sector and grant partnerships on behalf of the STEM Council to further the investment in Iowa STEM Council initiatives. Carrie brings more than 13 years of development experience to this position, most recently as executive director with the Waterloo Schools Foundation, and as development director with both the Allen Hospital Foundation and University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Foundation. A 1989 UNI graduate, Carrie earned her bachelor of arts in chemistry and marketing.

Contact Carrie Rankin, rankin@iowastem.gov

Kari Britain, MPA

Kari is the Program Manager of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council operations center. As program manager, she is responsible for the office operations, budget oversight and coordination of communication and efforts among all stakeholders involved with this partnership. Kari brings with her over 20 years of executive assistant experience in both the public and private sector. She also has an academic background in secondary education, office administration and public administration.

Contact Kari Britain (formerly Jastorff), jastorff@iowastem.gov

Angel Mendez, B.S.

Angel Mendez, B.S.

Angel Mendez serves as the communications and marketing manager for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. She works to effectively communicate and educate constituents throughout Iowa about the STEM Council’s initiative and its programs on various platforms. Angel brings more than three years of experience from the news industry—working as a reporter for various newspapers and as a television reporter for ABC 17 News in Columbia, Missouri. Before moving to Iowa, Angel earned her education as a Gates Millennium Scholar from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and graduated with a bachelor of science in integrated media with a minor in business marketing from Stephens College, the second-oldest women’s college in the nation.

Contact Angel Mendez, mendez@iowastem.gov

Rebecca Wilhovsky, Secretary

Rebecca Wilhovsky

Joining the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council team in October 2012, Becky Wilhovsky, a half-time secretary, happily provides clerical support for the STEM Council’s initiative. Prior to this position, Becky was a residence hall secretary as well as a secretary in the University of Northern Iowa’s (UNI) Career Services office. Originally from Waterloo, Iowa, she has been with UNI for 12 years. Before coming to UNI, she worked for Vocational Rehabilitation, and has years of customer service experience under her belt. In her spare time, Becky enjoys spending time with her furry “child”­— her cat.

Contact Rebecca Wilhovsky, Becky.Wilhovsky@uni.edu

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