Fueling The Passion for STEM: ROI’S Adding 33 Elementary and Middle School Teachers to Fellowship Program

(BLOOMINGTON) – Thirty-three teachers from schools in the Indiana Uplands region gathered July 30-31 at the Indiana University Multidisciplinary Engineering and Sciences Hall (MESH) to begin a year-long leadership and teaching program to advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities in elementary and middle schools.

The two-day kick-off event was an opportunity for STEM Fellows in Cohort 3 to develop both content knowledge and peer coaching skills. Fellows are encouraged to think deeper about STEM teaching and leave with not only new lesson plans and ideas but also a better understanding of how to make connections to science, technology, engineering, and math throughout the instructional day.

Fellows work to develop skills that will help them become a STEM leader within their schools, share learning with their colleagues, and encourage other teachers to integrate STEM into their own curriculum.

Cohort 3 STEM Fellows also toured Cook Polymer Technology, TRISTAR Engineering, and TASUS Corporation to learn more about STEM fields available in our region, how companies solve problems, and the skills that children will need to thrive in the careers of the future.

“In the previous two academic years, ROI had the pleasure of working with 32 forward-thinking and passionate elementary educators who were eager to become STEM experts in their schools,” said Vice President of Talent Development Todd Hurst. “We are excited to double that number this year, creating a network of 64 teachers working to purposefully integrate STEM within their schools – a task that not only directly supports the key industry needs of the Uplands region, but also has the potential to change the lives of kids.”

ROI STEM Fellow Cohort 3

  • Angela Antrim, University Elementary, Monroe County
  • Michelle Blacconiere, Marlin Elementary, Monroe County
  • Sarah Bodie, Lakeview Elementary, Monroe County
  • Jorja Boller, Fairview Elementary, Monroe County
  • Martha Bowman, Tri-North Middle, Monroe County
  • Irene Burch, Eastern Greene Middle, Greene County
  • Elizabeth Chadwell, Arlington Elementary, Monroe County
  • Kara Cheslock, Batchelor Middle, Monroe County
  • Kortnee Crockett, Lincoln Elementary, Lawrence County
  • Hailee Fox, Grandview Elementary, Monroe County
  • April Fraze, Rogers Elementary, Monroe County
  • Mitzi Garman, Brown County Intermediate, Brown County
  • Melissa Gilbert, Orleans Elementary, Orange County
  • Shelly Hatfield, Binford Elementary, Monroe County
  • Carly Kaiser, South Crawford Elementary, Crawford County
  • Hannah Kidwell, Loogootee Elementary, Martin County
  • Caitlin Leichter, Edgewood Intermediate, Monroe County
  • Tabitha Lengacher, North Daviess Elementary, Daviess County
  • Kris McGlaun, Jackson Creek Middle, Monroe County
  • Kate McQueen, Templeton Elementary, Monroe County
  • Kelly Misheikis, Unionville Elementary, Monroe County
  • Melissa Nicholson, West Washington Elementary, Washington County
  • Debbie Olson, Van Buren Elementary, Brown County
  • Jessica Ryan, Summit Elementary, Monroe County
  • Amy Sherrill, Clear Creek Elementary, Monroe County
  • Beth Smith, Childs Elementary, Monroe County
  • Katy Sparks, STEM, Computer Science Coach, Monroe County
  • Samantha Stillions, Highland Park Elementary, Monroe County
  • Sabra Stoner, White River Valley Elementary, Greene County
  • Shannon Strange, North Elementary, Daviess County
  • Ashley Sullivan. West Washington Elementary. Washington County
  • Tiffany Todd. Linton-Stockton Middle School, Greene County
  • Eric Yoder. Barr-Reeve Elementary, Daviess County

The STEM Fellows program was developed in response to ROI’s Occupational Needs Assessment, which emphasizes the importance of having STEM-literate students to meet current and future workforce needs and to provide a basis for continued economic growth and prosperity in
our region. The STEM Fellows program aims to build a sustainable network of skilled STEM teacher leaders by equipping them with the tools and resources to expand STEM programming in their schools.

“In the world of today, STEM skills equate to success and opportunity,” said President and CEO Tina Peterson. “Here at home, in the Indiana Uplands, we know that our key employers desperately need a workforce equipped to handle the changing face of work. These educators are forging a path that can only lead to greater success for students. Young people are naturally wired to be curious and engaged in all things STEM. ROI is excited to work with these dedicated professionals in empowering kids and educators to
make STEM come alive.”

During the school year, STEM Fellows will participate in additional professional development activities focused on experiential learning, engineering design process, project-based learning, meaningful technology integration, computer science, and other relevant topics. Fellows will also provide support to colleagues to grow the regional network of skilled STEM educators.

STEM Fellows are elementary and middle school educators, nominated by their school principals, who participate in a year-long professional development experience that focuses on STEM content, pedagogy, and strategies for leading professional development for peers. The program develops pedagogical and leadership skills so that educators emerge with the know-how to create, deliver, and model effective, grade-level-apropriate STEM lessons. These educators proactively engage with local industry to design innovative real-world learning projects. They become STEM advocates and experts who serve as resources for other educators within their own schools and participate in a regional community of practice across the Uplands.

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