Friday, January 25, 2019

A $285,000 grant from the Iowa Governor’s STEM Council will help the University of Iowa expand its STEM Innovator program, which encourages Iowa middle and high school students to become entrepreneurs or consider careers in innovative STEM fields.

STEM Innovator, a part of the Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship in the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, hosts an annual program for Iowa middle and high school teachers that shows them how to turn their classrooms into innovation and entrepreneurial incubators. The grant will allow up 100 additional teachers to participate in the coming years.

Since the program began in 2013, STEM Innovator participants have taught more than 62,000 Iowa students about innovation and entrepreneurialism. Those educators transform classrooms into incubator spaces where student teams solve real-world problems alongside industry mentors. Students develop innovation and business prototypes that incorporate science, engineering, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The process prepares students with the skills and mindset to pursue STEM careers and become future innovators.

The program primarily focuses on helping teachers work with students who are underrepresented in STEM fields.

The 2019 STEM Innovator program will take place on the UI campus July 15-19.