Iowa teachers gain experience through summer ‘internships’

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Greg Moklestad traded his Dubuque High School classroom for an office in the Millwork District this summer.

The computer science and engineering professor has spent the past month working with DMI LLC and Design Mill Inc., two sister companies in Dubuque that focus on emerging technologies, digital engineering and software development, among other things. professional services.

Her employment is part of the Iowa STEM Teacher External Internship Program offered by the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. Program educators spend six weeks in science, technology, engineering, and math workplaces, receiving a stipend and graduate credit for their work.

“I love getting back into the field to help keep my content relevant for students,” said Moklestad, who previously completed an internship at John Deere in 2018. “It also helps me see what employers want and need.”

The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports that 80 teachers participated in the statewide internship program this summer. The program was launched in 2009, and since that time nearly 800 teachers have worked as externs with companies and nonprofits in a variety of industries.

Teachers in the region participating in the program said they learned a wide range of skills and techniques to implement in their classrooms, while companies touted the new knowledge the externals brought to the workplace.

“It’s always great to get a different perspective on what we do,” said Jasmine Nobis-Olson, creative content manager at DMI. “In our field, there is so much innovation and things move so fast, … so all new ideas are welcome in emerging technologies.”

Moklestad spent his externship working with advanced LIDAR technologies, which use imaging and laser scanning to create digital environments. He said he plans to integrate more software engineering and computer coding into his courses at Senior after learning the importance of these skills at DMI.

Roger Poling teaches business administration, computer science and personal finance at Hempstead High School. He is completing his externship in the marketing and communication department of MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center.

Among other tasks, Poling has been working on a marketing plan for the retail pharmacy portion of MercyOne, which he will bring back to his class this fall as a project-based learning task that his students can help complete.

“What I hope to take away from this, personally, is to keep the information I teach my kids about marketing up to date,” he said. “…project-based learning allows them to internalize and experience that, and it’s something they can see beyond the classroom.”

Dubuque Hospital also hosted two senior science teachers, Kelly Giesemann and Stephanie Monahan, who worked as externs on the clinical side.

Christina Schauer, director of clinical and professional development at the hospital, said the two teachers observed multiple departments to create a list of career opportunities available at MercyOne. They also conducted a study to collect quantitative data on how nurses spend their time and helped create and update materials for staff professional development.

“It was really nice to have people there who were teaching experts to help us figure out the best way to help educate our staff,” Schauer said, later adding, “They really came through. ready to go, and they touched on a few of those things that we’ve wanted to do for a very long time.”

Claire Molony will begin her first year as a science teacher at Cascade (Iowa) High School this fall. She completed an internship with Jackson County (Iowa) Conservation. She has led educational and outdoor recreation programs for students and conducted invasive species and wildlife removal surveys.

“I definitely came away with a lot of knowledge about Iowa, eastern Iowa, and native Iowa plants and native animal species that I think will be really good to bring back to my class and to associate with children,” she said. “I have also seen and developed many communication and critical thinking skills, and it has been good to see that I can ensure that I am helping my children develop these skills as well.”

Jessica Wagner, environmental education coordinator for Jackson County Conservation, said Molony was the organization’s sixth external in the past five years.

“It’s been a huge benefit for us to have another person on staff during our busy summer time, as well as just connecting with teachers in our area and building relationships,” Wagner said. .

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