The state of Iowa has announced a new award for teachers who inspire students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. And this award has an agricultural connection. The Governor's STEM Advisory Council, in conjunction with Kemin Industries, unveiled the STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching on November 10 at the governor's weekly news conference at the Iowa State Capitol. Lieutenant Gov. Kim Reynolds made the announcement.
"The Council is fully committed to increasing interest and achievement in STEM education and actively engaging businesses to support this work," said Reynolds, who is co-chair of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council. "This is a wonderful example of how business and industry partnerships can develop STEM opportunities for our students, as well as recognize the great instruction their educators are providing."
"Business and industry increasingly are stepping up to work with schools in ways that make a real difference," said Mary Andringa, co-chair of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council and CEO of Vermeer Manufacturing. "I'm confident that the STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching sponsored by Kemin will encourage more companies to look at how they can help prepare students to succeed in science, technology, engineering and math. That partnership is crucial in a fast-changing, global economy."
Why Kemin is sponsoring STEM education awards program
"Iowa's educators hold the key to the future of STEM through their work with our next generation of innovators," said Jeff Weld, Ph.D., executive director of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council. "It is vital that we do all we can to support them, including recognizing a job well done. Kemin has developed a generous award program enabling us to honor great teaching that impacts so many young minds."
The award will honor one K-12 educator from each of the six STEM regions across the state of Iowa for their work inspiring and encouraging students to develop an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The six teachers selected will receive an award of $1,500 with an additional $1,500 designated for classroom use.
"We're proud to support STEM educators for all they do to engage young minds and increase awareness of the numerous opportunities available in STEM fields," said Dr. Chris Nelson, Kemin president and CEO. "Science, technology, engineering and math are integral to our business, and we appreciate teachers' efforts to demonstrate to students the enormous impact they can have in these careers, not only on their own lives but the lives of others."
Nominations for these awards are due December 12
Nominations are due December 12, 2014 and can be completed online. Anyone is eligible to nominate a teacher through the simple nomination form. Once nominated, educators will fill out an application to be assessed by a panel of judges who will select the six winners. Winners will be announced in March 2015. For more information, or to nominate an educator, visit stemaward.fluidreview.com.
At the press conference, Kemin CEO Chris Nelson said the idea to sponsor the award came after talking with Kemin researchers and others involved in developing the company's products. "We surveyed over 100 scientists at Kemin and asked the question: "Where did you get your inspiration to start in science? Was it your parents or perhaps some other source that really got you started in science? We found that the vast majority of our scientists got their inspiration from a teacher."
Iowa's STEM efforts are investments in the future
Kemin officials then decided to do something to recognize the impact of teachers. "Kemin Industries, like many of the companies in Iowa, continues to search for more scientists and more technically trained people for all sorts of positions in our company," says Nelson. "We want to take this opportunity to recognize those outstanding science teachers. Because not only are they able to convey the knowledge to a particular class for a particular year, they are in fact changing the lives of their students, inspiring career decisions."
Nelson says the STEM efforts now are investments in the future, as it will take some time to see the results of this work. He believes it will take a minimum of six years to start seeing results, and probably it's going to be a 10 to 15-year effort. "It's about having the staying power to be able to look into the future and realize these are the seeds you have to plant to be able to harvest six to 10 years away."
About the Governor's STEM Advisory Council: Established in July 2011 via Governor's Executive Order, the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council is a public-private partnership of educators, companies and Iowa students and families addressing policies and programs designed to improve Iowa's educational system focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Council works to engage and prepare students for a career-ready workforce path, regain our state's historic leadership position in education, and provide a vital competitive economic advantage now, and for the future, to ensure that every Iowa student has access to world-class STEM education opportunities. The 47-member Council is chaired by Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Vermeer Corporation CEO Mary Andringa. For more information, visit www.iowastem.gov.
About Kemin – Inspired Molecular Solutions: Kemin (www.kemin.com) provides "inspired molecular solutions" specifically developed to provide nutrition and health benefits for humans and animals. Committed to feed and food safety, Kemin maintains top-of-the-line manufacturing facilities where approximately 500 specialty ingredients are made for the global feed and food industries as well as the health, nutrition and beauty markets. A privately held, family-owned and operated company, Kemin has nearly 2,000 employees and operates in over 90 countries with manufacturing facilities in Belgium, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Singapore, South Africa and the United States.