A lifelong love of STEM learning and engagement starts early in a student’s academic journey. To support elementary educators in developing STEM teaching and leadership skills, ROI created a STEM Fellowship to build a network of skilled K-6 educators throughout the Indiana Uplands. Over the course of the year, Fellows meet monthly to learn new and engaging ways to build STEM knowledge and skills in their classrooms as well as strategies to help their colleagues grow as STEM educators. We envision Fellows as “pebbles in a pond:” one enthusiastic champion for STEM in a school can have a huge impact. Students, teachers, and administrators across the Indiana Uplands are reaping the benefits of having STEM Fellows serving in their district.

Findings outlined in the ROI Occupational Needs Assessment consistently highlight the importance of having STEM-literate students to meet current and future workforce needs within the Indiana Uplands. Highly skilled graduates also provide a basis for continued economic growth and prosperity. A student competent in STEM knowledge and skills can find success in a variety of fields, but particularly in the Uplands’ three primary sectors of advanced manufacturing, life sciences and national security and defense.

The initiative develops leaders and STEM experts who:

  • Provide support to colleagues
  • Model innovative STEM lessons
  • Design and complete a project-based learning unit
  • Participate in professional development activities focused on experiential learning, engineering design process, project-based learning, coding and other relevant topics
  • Actively contribute to the Uplands regional STEM teacher network

STEM Fellows are active classroom teachers serving kindergarten through 6th grade. Fellows are asked to attend all STEM Fellows professional development events over the course of the Fellowship year, to serve as a STEMbassador to peers in the second year, and to be a catalyst for STEM growth within their school. Fellows receive a $2,500 stipend following the Fellowship year and relevant supporting STEM resources and materials. Substitute teacher costs are also covered by ROI.

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