ROI’s STEM Fellows Program Grows to 97 Educators Working to Advance Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in Regional K-6 Schools

Fifth cohort includes 17 new STEM Fellows in the Indiana Uplands

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – ROI is pleased to announce the selection of its fifth cohort of STEM Fellows. The 17 K-6 educators chosen will begin their fellowship year in August 2021, bringing the total number to 97 Fellows working to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities in Indiana Uplands classrooms and schools.

“Early interventions in STEM learning are crucial to keeping students engaged in these fields through middle school and beyond,” said ROI Vice President of Talent Development Michi McClaine. “In the Indiana Uplands, there are abundant career opportunities in STEM fields, and our regional employers need a workforce ready to excel in technology-enabled environments, in engineering-related fields, and in the sciences. ROI’s STEM Fellows expose our region’s youngest learners to STEM exploration and regionally relevant career pathways that they can pursue beginning in elementary school and into postsecondary education and careers. Not only does this program benefit educators, students, and school districts, it also benefits our communities as we seek to grow our workforce and high opportunity industries in the Indiana Uplands.”

ROI STEM Fellows – Cohort 5 (August 2021 – May 2022)

First NameLast NameOrganizationCounty
LuAnneAllenWhite River Valley ElementaryGreene
AbbyBrassChilds ElementaryMonroe
LeviClarkGosport ElementaryOwen
MaggieHamiltonBurris ElementaryLawrence
AmyHammondShakamak ElementaryGreene
MeganHawkinsShoals ElementaryMartin
BridgetJeskewichEastern Greene MiddleGreene
NickoleKayGosport ElementaryOwen
SarahKneppLoogootee MiddleMartin
TaraLengacherLoogootee ElementaryMartin
MorganLindquistLinton-Stockton ElementaryGreene
CrystalMcBrideNorth Daviess ElementaryDaviess
ChrisMillerBrown County MiddleBrown
PamMillerShakamak ElementaryGreene
HeatherMontgomeryNorth Daviess ElementaryDaviess
KatelynnSchnellFerdinand ElementaryDubois
KerriWinklerFerdinand ElementaryDubois

STEM Fellows are Indiana Uplands elementary and middle school educators nominated by their school principals and selected by ROI. Selected educators attend STEM Fellows professional development events over the course of the fellowship year, serve as a STEMbassador to peers in the second year, and catalyze STEM growth within their school. Fellows receive a $2,500.00 stipend at the conclusion of the fellowship year and relevant supporting STEM resources and materials. Substitute teacher costs are also covered by ROI.

The STEM Fellows program is designed to open doors for a brighter future for students. The program enhances student and educator confidence with STEM topics. 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 addressing a wide range of content, including project-based learning, the engineering design process, making and makerspaces, computational thinking and microelectronics, and making connections between language arts and STEM. At each professional development event, educators leave with new lesson plans and a better understanding of how 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 to meet current and future workforce needs and provide a basis for continued economic growth and prosperity in our region. Throughout their fellowship, educators are encouraged to think deeper about STEM teaching and find ways to make meaningful connections between the content covered in class and future opportunities for their students. Fellows explore STEM content and topics related to the Uplands’ key industry sectors of defense, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. Each fellowship development event includes participation from industry and sector partners and guidance on how to effectively integrate their expertise in ways that are age-appropriate for their students.

“My students are excited to come to class because of the STEM activities,” said Cohort 4 STEM Fellow Jayne Jones from Helmsburg Elementary in Brown County. “They’re asking, ‘What are we making today? What are we building today? Can we learn about this?’ There’s an excitement in the kids that was missing at Helmsburg before.”

The 17 members of the fifth STEM Fellows cohort bring the total number of Fellows to 97. These new Fellows join a vibrant community of practice that extends to 23 of the 27 school districts in all 11 counties of the Indiana Uplands region.

“To see these STEM Fellows grow as professionals over the past four years has been truly amazing,” added McClaine. “We have participants who are leading professional development, adding credentials to their licenses, and completing master’s degrees. The fellowship we envisioned to train teachers has grown into a program where dedicated educators are effecting change both in their own classrooms and by modeling for their peers. ROI’s STEM Fellows have become remarkable ambassadors for best practices.”

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