Teacher preparation intersects with STEM education at the 2021 Pre-Service Teachers STEM Conference planned as a virtual event on April 9 and 10.

Hosted by the University of Northern Iowa College of Education and the Northeast Iowa Region Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, the two-day virtual conference is entitled “Be Inspired: STEM in Your Future Classroom.” The effort is a shared initiative of the two hosts plus University of Iowa, Iowa State University and Upper Iowa University. UNI campus

Three keynote speakers are among the state and national leaders in STEM education who will lead a full slate of presentations, breakouts and workshop sessions. The keynote presentations include:

  • Ohkee Lee, professor, childhood education, New York University, “STEM Education with Equity”
  • Barb Schwamman, superintendent, Osage Community School District, “Computer Science Education, Why YOU Matter!” 
  • Jeff Weld, executive director, Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. 

The conference is for pre-service teachers – students in teacher preparation programs across Iowa – and interested educator preparation faculty, with sessions specific to elementary and secondary education. Among several panels, one features STEM Teacher of the Year award winners. 

Though participants will attend remotely, several speakers and guests will present live from Lang Hall on the UNI campus. In addition, four virtual “field trips'' are planned to the UNI Metal Casting Center, the UNI Botanical Center, Wartburg Ioponics and the Iowa Regents’ Center for Early Developmental Education. The agenda also includes hands-on sessions during the two days. 

“The majority of the registered participants are pre-service elementary teachers and my hope is that they come away from this conference both more excited and better prepared to integrate STEM into their future classrooms,” said Dana Atwood-Blaine, UNI assistant professor and co-lead of the planning committee with Jeff Beneke, Northeast Iowa Region Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. 

The addition of the “STEM from the field” sessions led by early childhood, elementary and middle school teachers adds a special element to the conference. “I’m very excited to offer sessions during this virtual conference that we wouldn’t be able to offer in a traditional face-to-face conference,” Atwood-Blaine said. 

Find a full schedule and registration information on the conference website

Others on the planning committee include: Mason Kuhn, Lisa Reidle, Chepina Rumsey, Karen Breitbach, Marcy Seavey and Doreen Hayek, University of Northern Iowa; Mark McDermott, University of Iowa; Sue Burrack, Upper Iowa University: and Kristina Tank, Iowa State University.