Fueling the passion for STEM: ROI’s adds 32 elementary and middle school teachers to fellowship program

Total number of STEM Fellows grows to 64 educators throughout 11-county region

Thirty-two 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.

Educators learn about the engineering design process through an exercise to build a tower that would hold a large marshmallow using only spaghetti, mini-marshmallows, and tape.

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

Teacher School County
Angela AntrimUniversity ElementaryMonroe
Michelle BlacconiereMarlin ElementaryMonroe
Sarah BodieLakeview ElementaryMonroe
Jorja BollerFairview ElementaryMonroe
Martha BowmanTri North Middle SchoolMonroe
Irene BurchEastern Greene MiddleGreene
Elizabeth ChadwellArlington ElementaryMonroe
Kara CheslockBatchelor MiddleMonroe
Kortnee CrockettLincoln ElementaryLawrence
Hailee FoxGrandview ElementaryMonroe
April FrazeRogers ElementaryMonroe
Mitzi GarmanBrown County IntermediateBrown
Melissa Gilbert Orleans ElementaryOrange
Shelly HatfieldBinford ElementaryMonroe
Carly KaiserSouth Crawford ElementaryCrawford
Hannah KidwellLoogootee ElementaryMartin
Caitlin LeichterEdgewood IntermediateMonroe
Tabitha LengacherNorth Daviess ElementaryDaviess
Kris McGlaunJackson Creek MiddleMonroe
Kate McQueenTempleton ElementaryMonroe
Kelly MisheikisUnionville ElementaryMonroe
Melissa NicholsonWest Washington ElementaryWashington
Debbie OlsonVan Buren ElementaryBrown
Jessica RyanSummit ElementaryMonroe
Amy SherrillClear Creek ElementaryMonroe
Beth Smith Childs ElementaryMonroe
Katy SparksSTEM, Computer Science CoachMonroe
Samantha StillionsHighland Park ElementaryMonroe
Sabra StonerWhite River Valley ElementaryGreene
Shannon StrangeNorth ElementaryDaviess
Ashley SullivanWest Washington ElementaryWashington
Tiffany ToddLinton-Stockton MiddleGreene
Eric YoderBarr-Reeve ElementaryDaviess

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-appropriate 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.

ROI STEM Fellows by County

County Cohort I
Cohort II
Cohort III
Brown 1 1 2 4
Crawford 1 1
Daviess 2 4 3 9
Dubois 3 3
Greene 2 1 3 6
Lawrence 2 2 1 5
Martin 2 3 1 6
Monroe 3 1 18 22
Orange 1 1 2
Owen 2 1 3
Washington 1 2 3
Total 15 17 32 64

About Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc.:

The mission of Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI) is to support 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 implementing education and workforce initiatives and regional engagement initiatives for quality of place development.