The first-ever STEM hub programmer has been hired by the Iowa Lakes Community College Board of Trustees at its meeting Tuesday in Algona.
Iowa Lakes executive dean of instruction and development Mark Gruwell announced that Kari Webb, former academic dean and science teacher at Spirit Lake High School, has been hired as the regional STEM hub programmer for the college.
Before coming to Iowa Lakes, Webb taught science at Spirit Lake High School for 10 years. More recently, Webb served as academic dean of the high school since January 2011. During her tenure at Spirit Lake High School, Webb coordinated a variety of innovative projects, including online and blended learning, interdisciplinary learning and academic programming. She holds degrees in chemistry and education, and she is presently working toward an advanced degree in educational leadership.
"Kari's background in science, together with her innovative approaches to STEM education, will serve the northwest Iowa region well," said Gruwell. "She brings not only an impressive level of expertise, but also a passion for learning and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and math. We're fortunate to have Kari leading STEM efforts and initiatives."
College president Valerie Newhouse offered similar praise.
"Kari has proven herself both in and out of the classroom. Not only is she a respected educator and academic leader, but she also serves on the governor's STEM Technology Enhanced Instruction Workgroup. Furthermore, her pursuit of competency-based education initiatives complements the state's STEM initiatives."
There is an abundance of enthusiasm at Iowa Lakes as Webb begins.
"We have outstanding STEM faculty members," said Gruwell, "and they are looking forward to Kari advocating STEM initiatives throughout the northwest Iowa region. This is truly an exciting time for not only the college, but also for northwest Iowa."
Webb has an ambitious vision coming into her new role.
"I am committed to finding innovative, personalized pathways of study for both students and teachers from pre-K to pre-career in S.T.E.M. related fields," Webb said.
And, she plans to actively seek out area business connections.
"Iowa Lakes can look to many eager business partners as it moves forward as the S.T.E.M. hub. Northwest Iowa is home to diverse opportunities including agriculture, renewable energy, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and engineering," Webb said. "I want to offer a vibrant and expanding role for S.T.E.M. in our area-and am eager to become a part of that process."
Webb is familiar with the territory in which she will work.
"As a long-time resident of Spirit Lake, I look forward to renewing and establishing close connections and productive partnerships in every sector of the region's S.T.E.M. business and professional community."
When she isn't traveling, Webb's primary office will be located in the science wing at the Estherville campus. She will also spend some time at the Spencer campus.