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Iowa Lakes Community College Trustees hear about STEM efforts

August 21, 2012
By David Swartz - Managing Editor , Estherville Daily News

The Iowa Lakes Community College Board of Trustees convened Tuesday in Estherville and learned about the many Science, Technology, Engineering and Math options available at Iowa Lakes that will help this region reach the goal of educated students in those academic areas.

About two years ago, a group of Iowa Lakes science professors began meeting to share ideas of how to enthuse students in those subject areas. In September of 2011, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad launched an initiative to build interest in STEM subjects and appointed Iowa Lakes President Valerie Newhouse to serve on the statewide advisory council.

In May of this year, Iowa Lakes was named a Regional Hub for northwest Iowa.

Subsequently, Kari Webb was selected to be the regional manager of the Northwest Iowa STEM. She addressed the trustees Tuesday afternoon.

"The top priority of the Iowa Governor's STEM initiative is to increase student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and math," Webb said. "The Northwest Region will be infused with full funded STEM programs for students in all grades."

Iowa Lakes Community College will become the region's central location for information and implementation of the 'scale-up' programming in STEM. The scale-up projects were determined by a state committee.

Webb said there are 80-100 school districts within the Northwest Region.

Webb has an extensive background in science education having taught science at Spirit Lake High School for a decade. More recently, Webb served as academic dean at Spirit Lake. During her time at Spirit Lake, Webb coordinated a variety of innovative projects. She has an undergraduate and graduate degree in chemistry and is presently working on an additional advanced degree in educational leadership.

In other business, Executive Director of Facilities Management, Delaine Hiney, showed several pictures to the trustees of upgrades on building projects, which have occurred this summer.

Hiney said an internal committee called the campus "boring." A new color scheme using Laker blue and gold along with poster depicting Laker life were added to each of the five campuses.

Jolene Rogers, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement told the trustees that participation has increased this past summer in golf outings, which generate scholarships for students. She said there were 274 participants, which included a 14 percent growth in the number of individuals golfing and a 40 percent increase in sponsorships. In addition, the 'We Believe' annual campaign kicks off this week.

Upcoming Iowa Lakes Foundation events include the Farm Expo and Tractor ride Aug. 30; the Car Cruise Sept. 22; and the Fine Arts scholarship event Oct. 6.

At the Farm Expo, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northy will speak at around 6 p.m. Also students will be conducting tours of the Iowa lakes farm.

In addition, the list of summer graduates was officially accepted.

Executive dean Mark Gruwell said there were 157 summer graduates with 75 taking part in the ceremony-the largest number of participants since 2006.

The next meeting of the Iowa Lakes Board of Trustees will be Tuesday, Sept. 18 at the Administrative offices of the college in downtown Estherville.



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