ROI expands STEM Fellows program to middle school educators

BLOOMINGTON – ROI is pleased to announce the selection of its 2022-2023 STEM Fellowship cohort. The 17 middle school educators began their fellowship year in August, bringing the total number to 111 Fellows working to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities in Indiana Uplands classrooms and schools.

“Middle grades are a critical time for students to build confidence and gain interest in STEM content areas,” said ROI Vice President of Talent Development Michi McClaine. “By supporting not only elementary educators but also middle school educators with strategies to integrate STEM and computer science across the curriculum, students will continue to grow their STEM competency and see STEM career fields as accessible and attainable.”

Through a partnership with Nextech, an Indiana-based nonprofit and trusted computer science professional development provider, STEM Fellows in the sixth cohort will also pursue computer science licensure to support their existing licenses and content curriculum.

“Computer science and IT careers are in high demand across every industry sector in the Indiana Uplands,” added McClaine. “Increasing the number of licensed computer science educators in our region will better prepare students for technology-enabled environments and careers. This not only benefits students but also communities as we seek to grow our workforce and high opportunity industries in the Indiana Uplands.”

ROI STEM Fellowship – Cohort 6

First NameLast NameOrganizationPositionCounty
JeriBrownMitchell Community SchoolsDigital Fabrication TeacherLawrence
MeganCargalWhite River Valley School DistrictSTEM & Business TeacherGreene
KallieFuhrmanShoals Community SchoolsScience & English TeacherMartin
MichaelGilliamEast Washington School CorporationSTEM Innovation SpecialistWashington
JacobGrahamWhite River Valley School DistrictSTEM CoordinatorGreene
RebeccaHayesSpencer-Owen Community SchoolsDesign & Fabrication TeacherOwen
KatieHelmsBloomfield School DistrictSTEM & Music TeacherGreene
JessicaJohnsonOrleans Community School DistrictSTEM & Social Studies TeacherOrange
AlisonKernMitchell Community SchoolsProject-Based Learning CoachLawrence
HannahKniesMonroe County Community School Corp.English TeacherMonroe
MollyLefflerEast Washington School CorporationSTEM Lab TeacherWashington
CliffordMarrMonroe County Community School Corp.STEM TeacherMonroe
AndreaMcIntoshMitchell Community SchoolsScience TeacherLawrence
JessicaMorganSalem Community SchoolsSTEM CoordinatorWashington
CassiePhillipsShoals Community SchoolsScience TeacherMartin
KyleSmithMitchell Community SchoolsEngineering TeacherLawrence
BrittanyVan HookSpencer-Owen Community SchoolsSpecial Education TeacherOwen

STEM Fellows were nominated by their school principals and selected by ROI. Selected educators attend STEM Fellowship professional development events over the course of the fellowship year, serve as STEMbassadors to peers, and catalyze STEM growth within their school and district. Fellows receive a $2,000.00 stipend at the conclusion of the fellowship year, relevant computer science licensure preparation materials, and licensure exam registration fees. Substitute teacher costs are also covered by ROI.

Fellows kicked off their cohort year with an introduction to key industry sectors in the Uplands region, STEM challenges, and career-relevant tours of Cook Polymer Technology and SAIC.

The STEM Fellows program is designed to enhance educators’ confidence and capacity to integrate STEM topics across the school day. Fellows also develop skills to become effective peer leaders within their schools, share learning with their colleagues, and encourage other teachers to integrate STEM into their curriculum. Working with ROI’s education team, Fellows participate in ongoing professional development activities in the fall semester that address best practices in STEM teaching, practical strategies for integrating those practices into their classrooms, Uplands region-specific career awareness, and strategies for incorporating career awareness into daily instruction. Professional development events in the spring semester will shift to computer science content in preparation for the computer science licensure exam that will be taken at the conclusion of the fellowship. Each professional development event will contribute to Fellows’ ability to make connections to science, technology, engineering, and math throughout the instructional day.

The STEM Fellows program was developed in response to the findings of ROI’s Occupational Needs Assessment, which emphasizes the importance of having STEM-literate students meet current and future workforce needs and provide a basis for continued economic growth and prosperity in our region. Throughout their fellowship, educators are exposed to the Uplands’ key industry sectors of defense, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing in order to make meaningful connections between the content covered in class and future opportunities for their students. Fellowship events include participation from industry and sector partners and guidance on how to effectively integrate their expertise in ways that are age-appropriate for their students.

The 17 members of the sixth STEM Fellowship cohort bring the total number of Fellows to 111. These new Fellows join a vibrant community of practice that extends to 24 of the 27 school districts in the11 counties of the Indiana Uplands.

Read more about ROI’s STEM Fellows Program:

Feature Video showcasing STEM Fellows & student experiences:

About Regional Opportunity Initiatives

Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to advance economic and community prosperity in the 11 counties of the Indiana Uplands (Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, and Washington counties). ROI is growing potential and possibility through a focus on advanced industry sectors, regionalism, transformative school and workforce redesign, and placemaking strategies. To learn more about ROI’s programs, visit

Information: Betsy Trotzke, Regional Opportunity Initiatives