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Funding available to ‘Scale-up’ STEM

Focus is on science, technology, engineering and mathematics; Application deadline is Sept. 14

August 24, 2012
By David Swartz - Managing Editor , Estherville Daily News

As the coordinator for the Northwest Iowa STEM Hub, Kari Webb has been busy contacting schools in informing them of money available to promote science, technology, engineering and math programs.

But other non-profit groups like 4-H and Scouts also can apply for grant money.

As one of Iowa's six regional hubs, there is $450,000 to distribute throughout the Northwest Iowa hub, which extends from Estherville to Sioux City.

Article Photos

Kari Webb, Northwest Iowa Regional STEM Coordinator, and Mark Zabawa, a member of the regional STEM Advisory Council, were busy promoting STEM’s Scale-Up program.
EDN photo by David Swartz

"There are probably 90 to100 schools," said Webb. "There are already a lot of applicants and I receive emails and phone calls every day.

The focus of STEM is on encouraging students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade into pursuing a career path in science and technology and to take those course at the college and university level.

The state of Iowa has designated 12 programs for Scale-Up in 2012-13.

Each program brings high-quality STEM pathways to Iowa's learners.

Those 12-Scale-Up programs are:

n FIRST Lego League,

n First Tech Challenge

n Kid Wind

n A World in Motion

n Engineering is Elementary

n iExplore STEM

n HyperStream

n F.R.E.E.

n CASE: Ag Ed

n Project H.O.PE

n State Science/Tech Fairs

n P.E.E.R.S

The STEM grants are convenient in that they're streamlined, Webb said.

"A teacher, a Scout master, a 4-H leader can all fill out a user-friendly application," she said "We're waiting to hear from individual program leaders and want the people who are directly in contact with the students."

The deadline for the first round of applications is Sept. 14.

"I don't know if I'll get a 100 applications and the money will be gone or if there will be a second-round. It's important to get the applications in early," Webb said.

Mark Zabawa teaches chemistry and biology to students primarily on the Emmetsburg campus, but also has classes in Spencer. He is on the Northwest Iowa STEM Hub Advisory Board.

"I'm looking forward to getting the kids excited about science and technology," he said. "There's a great need for these skills in Iowa."

One of the main goals of the state STEM program is to train teachers in science, math and technology so that there are more candidates that can teach them.

Webb said that in some disciplines, schools receive several applicants for the position. But when seeking a physics teacher, the pool of applicants is much less.

"There's also still a disparity between minorities and females still shy away from the science disciplines," said Webb.

For more information on the STEM program, contact Kari Webb at



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