Governor's STEM Advisory Council Names First Tech Challenge, Project Lead the Way as Scale-up Program

Thursday, February 20, 2014

With the top priority of boosting student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council has approved 10 high-quality STEM education programs for 2014-15 that will be offered to schools, after-school programs and other settings for grades pre-K through 12.

Among the ten selected Scale-Up programs are FIRST Tech Challenge and Project Lead the Way, both administered by the UI College of Engineering.

Since January 2010, the UI, in collaboration with the Official National Sponsor, Rockwell Collins, has hosted workshops, training session, kick-off events and competition events for the FTC teams located in Iowa. Each team, consists of five to 10 high school students, as well as an adult coach and mentor, design, build and program a robot. The robots then compete against each other during the FTC-Iowa Championship held at the Iowa Memorial Union in February.

The University of Iowa is a co-affiliate university of Project Lead the Way -- a national program that forms partnerships among schools and the private sector to increase the quality and number of engineers.

Selected through a national RFP process and multi-level evaluation, the Scale-Up programs were chosen from an outstanding pool of 29 applicants. School districts, nonpublic schools, after-school programs and other active learning communities serving students will have the opportunity to apply for these Scale-Up programs beginning Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, at www.IowaSTEM.fluidreview.com.

“Seeing children actively engaged in STEM in classrooms and afterschool programs across Iowa is what the Council is all about,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. “As external evaluation shows a positive impact, the Scale-Up programs will continue to be vital partners in our mission to deliver the best possible STEM education to Iowa students.”

In 2012-13, nearly 40,000 students participated in Scale-Up programming across Iowa. That number is expected to exceed 100,000 this school year. Mathematics and science test scores and interest in STEM careers were higher among Scale-Up participants in year one. Data is still being collected on year two.

“The feedback from educators and students is encouraging,” said Mary Andringa, Vermeer Corporation CEO and Council co-chair. “When a student says, ‘I want to be an engineer,’ it’s gratifying knowing these programs are feeding the workforce pipeline.” To learn more about each Scale-Up program visit: http://www.iowastem.gov/2014-2015-stem-scale-programs.