Kim Reynolds - State of Iowa
Lt. Governor of Iowa
Kim Reynolds served as Clarke County Treasurer starting in 1994 until she was elected to the Iowa Senate in 2008. On June 24, 2010, Reynolds was named former Governor Terry Branstad’s running mate, and on November 2, she was elected lieutenant governor of the State of Iowa. Reynolds was named co-chair of the Iowa Governor’s Science, Technology, Education and Math Advisory Council, along with University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen in September of 2011. She also serves as co-chair of the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress board, which was created in October 2011.
Why do you believe STEM education and workforce are important to our nation?
Strengthening STEM education and workforce are critical steps to assureAmericais competitive in the knowledge-based, global marketplace. Students deserve to be well prepared in STEM subjects, so they have the opportunity to pursue exciting STEM careers when they grow up. This will make it possible for business and industry to count on a robust STEM worker pipeline to continue to fuel the innovation that makes the United States a great nation.
What principles do you, as a leader, apply to your professional and personal life to advance the STEM cause?
The overarching principle driving my commitment to the STEM cause is creating opportunity. As co-chair of the new Iowa Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Advisory Council, I am working to encourage student interest and achievement in STEM while mapping STEM education through economic development. The council recently announced the location of six new regional STEM network hubs, which will provide access to outstanding STEM education programs all across Iowa. While Iowa now has some great STEM education programs in some communities, whether students have access depends on where they live. The six regional hubs will change that.
What is your concept of mentoring and sponsorship of others for STEM careers?
One of the avenues we are pursuing in Iowa is encouraging more companies to offer students STEM internships, so they can see how what they learn in class has real-world application. This already is happening in some places, but we want to expand this effort. Another avenue is business and industry offering K-12 teachers summer externships, so they can take that experience back into their classrooms. Again, this is under way, but needs to expand.
What about STEM gives you passion?
My passion for STEM grows out of recognizing it can change individual lives for the better as well as contribute to a higher quality of life for Iowa and the nation. When I look at the disappointing share of students who are well prepared in STEM subjects, I know we must resolve to work harder together to address this shortcoming. For example, just 34 percent of U.S.eighth-graders were proficient or advanced in math on the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The percentage is exactly the same for Iowa, which led the nation in eighth-grade math two decades ago, but now ranks 25th. We can’t accept the status quo.
Of what one initiative are you most proud?
I am most proud of helping to get the new Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council off the ground. I have the privilege of co-chairing the council with University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen, and working with the 38 other members appointed in September 2011 from agribusiness, advanced manufacturing and education, among other sectors. This public-private initiative, which aims to better engage young people in STEM and energize STEM economic development, recently received generous support from the Iowa Legislature to fulfill that mission. Iowans appreciate the importance of STEM, and I am honored to help lead this effort.