South Central STEM Region

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STEM for All

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The Iowa STEM Advisory Council was created to increase interest and achievement in these key areas. In order for Iowa students to complete in a global economy and make smart, socially-responsible decisions, Iowa graduates need a solid STEM education. In addition, it is vital to Iowa’s economy and quality of life.

The Council unites educators, students, businesses, legislators, nonprofits, and communities in an effort to improve STEM opportunities and awareness. The SC STEM Region is just one of six around the state. Our efforts fall into three main categories: 1.) provide programming and support for K-12 teachers, 2.) host community-wide STEM festivals and events, and 3.) seek out opportunities to offer STEM to diverse communities around the region.


In the News….

STEM Innovation Funds Available

The Iowa STEM Council is launching a statewide Innovation Fund, a financial resource available to organizations with ideas for innovative STEM programs that show promise for supporting the goal.  The intention of this fund is not to support past or current STEM Scale-Up programs with additional resources, but rather serve as an incubator for new STEM Scale-Up programming (  Programs wishing to be selected for the Iowa STEM Scale-Up program menu will be evaluated through the STEMworks database at

The Iowa STEM Council invites applications for ideas that will have an impact upon Iowans locally, regionally, and potentially on a statewide level.  The Iowa STEM Council will not fund marketing or promotional campaigns for commercial products or services, nor will it fund policy advocacy activities.

Available Funding

Awards will range from $500 (minimum) up to a maximum of $10,000 per award. Applicants must provide a 10% cash match.  All programs funded must be completed within one calendar year of the award date with a final report due at the end of the award period.  A reporting template will be provided.  Funding will be provided on a cost reimbursement basis.  The Iowa STEM Council reserves the right to determine the number of awards made based on the quality of applications and availability of funds.

Eligible Applicants

Organizations eligible to apply for the STEM Innovation Fund are Iowa’s public and private educational institutions, home school associations, area education associations, and Iowa-registered non-profits. Individuals or for-profit entities are not eligible to apply-though those groups may be partners in the work conducted by the award recipient. Though for-profit businesses do not meet the eligibility to apply, they are encouraged to be a part of a partnership program which would be submitted by an eligible entity on behalf of all of the partners.

The following are examples of ideas for Innovation Funds:

  1. School competitions
  2. Summer camps
  3. Educator/volunteer professional development
  4. A “student STEM corp”
  5. Pre-service educator support – conferences, etc.
  6. Higher ed. + K-12 minglings
  7. Parent engagement
  8. Work-based exposures, working with business
  9. Mentoring system
  10. STEM events
  11. Networking opportunities
  12. Curriculum development or STEM activity design and pilot
  13. After school programs
  14. Programming for underserved students

More information about the application can be found here

Questions?  Contact Dr. Sarah Derry at




Congratulations to all the Scale-Up Recipients!

Click HERE: 2018-19 Scale-Up Awards List

2018-19 Scale-Ups have been chosen! We hope there’s something on the list that’s perfect for you! The application cycle will begin again in January. Please contact the Hub if you have questions prior to that.

For program details, please visit the Iowa STEM website.



STEM BEST in the SC Region

The STEM Council Executive Committee voted unanimously to award 13 of 23 proposed new or expanded STEM BEST® (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Program partnerships.

These newly added partners bring the total to 50 partnerships in Iowa, since the inception of the program in 2014.

The STEM BEST® Program fosters a learning environment where students are able to participate in collaborative, real workplace projects designed by business professionals along with educators that apply K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics to skills, knowledge and behaviors needed for STEM careers.

The 13 new partners were awarded up to $25,000 each. Employer partners and program awardees contribute a dollar-for-dollar match or, in some instances, well beyond a 50 percent cost-sharing commitment for equipping collaborative workspaces, educator training and development in workplace-classroom integration, and curriculum development and coordination. The 2018 STEM BEST® Program awardees are (SC Regional Awardees in BOLD:

  • Allamakee Community School District in the Northeast STEM Region
  • Belle Plaine Community School District in the Southeast STEM Region
  • CAM Community School District in the Southwest STEM Region
  • Cedar Falls Community School District in the Northeast STEM Region
  • Central Community School District in the Northeast STEM Region
  • Des Moines Independent Community School District in the South Central STEM Region
  • Keokuk Community School District in the Southeast STEM Region
  • Okoboji, Graettinger-Terril and Ruthven-Ayrshire Community School Districts in the Northwest STEM Region
  • Ottumwa Community School District in the South Central STEM Region
  • Sioux City Community School District in the Northwest STEM Region
  • St. Mary School (Humboldt) in the North Central STEM Region
  • St. Theresa School (Des Moines) in the South Central STEM Region
  • Woodbine Community School District in the Southwest STEM Region

Each STEM BEST® Program awardee submitted an in-depth proposal, which described factors like education driven by industry need, rigorous, relevant and dynamic STEM curriculum, authentic partnerships and connection to post-secondary education or training. Each awardee will serve as a model to share unique perspectives, strengths, demographics and program focus with others schools across the state.

To learn more about the STEM BEST® Program and all 50 partners, visit





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If you live in South Central Iowa and need help with STEM, start here!

Dr. Sarah Derry, SC STEM Regional Manager

Collier-Scripps Hall #314/317
2702 Forest Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50031

Phone: 515-271-2403

facebookFacebook: South Central Iowa STEM Region

instastram logo 2Instagram: sc_iowa_stem

 Event calendar:  Visit the SC STEM Hub’s calendar!

Share your STEM stories through the hashtag: #STEMinYourWorld.

The South Central STEM Region is part of the Iowa STEM Council. Click HERE to learn more about the state-wide program.





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