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Angela received her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Boise State University, an M.S. focusing on microbiology, a B.S. in biology and chemistry, and a teaching certificate in science. She spent 14 years in high school and college STEM classrooms inspiring students to participate in science competitions and community service events. She transitioned to the State Department of Education where she served as Assessment and Accountability Director. In August 2015, Governor Otter appointed her the Executive Director for his newly formed Idaho STEM Action Center where she oversees a variety of STEM opportunities, ensuring Idaho’s long-term economic prosperity.
Erica Compton is an Idaho native with a background in education, technology, and training. Erica has worked primarily with educational and training organizations for over 25 years. Much of her work has been in the area of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education with students ages 5-18. In 1998 Erica co-founded an education company and spent four years as Director of Operations and Lead trainer. The company developed a product where tweens and teens could design and build their own 3D environments to address complex challenges and interact in those environments in fully-immersive virtual reality. She was also fortunate to work on two incredible projects in California and Florida designed to address the issue of under representation of women in STEAM fields of study. Both projects focused on introducing middle school girls to STEAM education, with the goal of increasing the percentage of women pursuing careers in related fields. Erica joined the Idaho Commission for Libraries in February of 2010 as a Project Coordinator. She co-developed the Make It at the Library project which implements ‘making’ in Idaho libraries with the goal of strengthening STEAM skills and supporting entrepreneurship for people of all ages. Erica has had the privilege of participating at a national level in the Maker Movement through a variety of presentations and committee memberships including the Capitol Hill Maker Faire, Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship, and the National Advisory Board on 3D Printing in Education & Accessibility. Erica joined the Idaho STEM Action Center as Program Manager in November 2015 and will assist in best practice research and dissemination, grant development and management, and building partnerships with STEM organizations nationwide.
Finia graduated with a B.S. from Boise State University and has over 10 years of recruiting experience within private, educational and public sectors. She worked at the Idaho Department of Labor as a Regional Business Specialist focusing on workforce development in the Technology industry. She partnered with key stakeholders and helped identify workforce gaps in the community. She collaborated with businesses, community partners, municipal agencies and educational institutions to strategically form long term workforce solutions that allowed companies to grow and thrive; which in turn allowing Idaho to maintain a healthy economy. Finia has also been heavily involved with the Junior League of Boise and participates with various committees focusing on both workforce and education. In addition, she has over 10 years of experience leading various projects/teams, planning/coordinating events and volunteering. Her passion is being involved in education initiatives and giving back to the community.
Stephanie is a native Idahoan with over 10-years of experience in the development, deployment, and administration of statewide programs. She worked at the Idaho State Department of Education supporting districts, schools, and state-wide education leaders with student development and innovative testing programs. Most notably, Stephanie demonstrated her proven leadership skills as the Idaho State Assessment Program Specialist overseeing the design and facilitating implementation of the Idaho Reading Indicator Program and monitoring the program’s multi-million dollar budget as well as providing legislative reports. She also collaborated with numerous state agencies, districts and schools throughout Idaho to directly advise and support the special needs of Idaho students and educators. Stephanie continues to demonstrate her extensive working knowledge of Idaho state education systems and has achieved progressive growth throughout her career. She eagerly joined the Idaho STEM Action Center team in October 2016 to lead and guide effective implementation of the Idaho STEM AC Grants and Contracts Programs.
Kaitlin received her Ph.D. in integrative biology from UC Berkeley, an M.S. in geology from Ohio University and her B.S. in biology from George Washington University. She coordinates the i-STEM summer institute programs that provide professional development for teachers through out Idaho. She also works for the U.S. Geological Survey as an ecological modeler working on vegetation change in the American west and as a curator of paleontology at the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History at the College of Idaho. She is dedicated to improving STEM education and has worked for the San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum, overseeing the scientific content for an evidence-based exhibition on fossil mammals and she has volunteered with various K-12 schools inspiring the next generation of scientists.
Brooke founded Tech Savvy, LLC - the only woman-owned and operated computer repair business in the Pacific Northwest, helping customers with everything from building custom gaming computers to cleaning up a slow PC. She also founded KidBuildIt which was created out of a community need for complete computer science instruction that included not only computer programming but computer hardware knowledge as well. Over the past ten years, Brooke has been closely involved with hundreds of programs, providing invaluable community education and awareness about the need for STEM education in Idaho. She now works as the webmaster for the Idaho STEM Action Center, charged with creating a more robust website experience for users.
Dr. David J. Hill is a technology and management consultant in Boise, Idaho. An internationally acknowledged expert on nuclear technology and policy issues, Dr. Hill has extensive experience in the area of international nuclear cooperation, working with the countries of both Western Europe and the former Soviet Union. From 2005 to 2012 Dr. Hill was deputy laboratory director for Science & Technology at the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory, responsible for the science and technology strategy for the lab and for about 1B dollars of R&D programs pertaining to nuclear energy, national and homeland security, and clean energy. In the State of Idaho, Dr. Hill was appointed to the IGEM council in 2012, where he is now the chair, and the State Board of Education in 2014. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a doctorate in mathematical physics from Imperial College, London University, and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
As Executive Director of the Micron Foundation since 2006, Dee Mooney drives the Micron Foundation’s programs aimed at advancing science and technology education and enhancing the quality of life in Micron’s manufacturing site communities. Dee collaborates with internal and external partners to develop, maintain, and improve programs as well as develop strong partnerships with community and educational organizations. The Foundation provides more than $5 million in grants annually around the world. Prior to Micron, Mooney worked for Albertsons Inc., serving as its director of charitable contributions and community relations. In this role, she also served as vice president of Albertsons Stores Charitable Foundation and president of Albertsons Assist Foundation. Mooney spent more than eight years with Albertsons, where she held a variety of other positions, including investor relations manager, special projects manager to the CEO, and integration analyst. Prior to Albertsons, she worked for Andersen Consulting as a change management consultant. Mooney holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in industrial psychology from University of New Haven. Mooney serves or has served on the following non-profit boards and committees: Power Engineers Foundation Board, Treasure Valley Educational Partnership, Women and Children’s Alliance, The Leonardo – Center for Arts and Science, Special Olympics World Winter Games 2009, St. Luke’s Health Foundation Board, and St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital Advisory Board. She enjoys spending time with her two young daughters and her husband.
Dr. Lorna Finman is Chief Executive Officer for LCF Enterprises, a high-tech engineering and manufacturing firm in Post Falls. She also serves as President of STEMbusUSA.org, a high tech non-profit which works to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM fields. Dr. Finman received Bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Math before graduating from Stanford University with a Master’s and PhD in Physics. She has one patent to her credit; an award from the military for saving our troops through the development of jamming devices that disable roadside bombs; and an award from the Air Force for Research and Development of our nation’s strategic defenses. Dr. Finman is the 2015 recipient of the Idaho Innovator of the Year Award presented by the Idaho Technology Council. In her career, she was program manager for the Sunshield corporation on communication satellites for Raytheon and technical director of Raytheon’s multi-million-dollar Research and Development Program. She is also one of the founders of the North Idaho STEM Charter Academy, which opened in 2012 for grades K-12.
Von Hansen is currently President/CEO of AlertSense, Inc., an Idaho-based software company. AlertSense has become a leader in providing cloud-based alerting and critical communication solutions across the country. Previously, Von spent 38 years at HP, where he was Vice President and General Manager in the Imaging and Printing Group. Von is known as an innovator in product development, bringing to life some of HP’s most successful products and businesses. Von is currently the Chairman of the Idaho Technology Council and has been actively involved in helping to grow technology companies across Idaho. In 2012, he was appointed by Governor Otter to the IGEM council with a focus to create technology jobs by accelerating technology transfers from Idaho universities to the private sector. Von holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Utah State University and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering (with emphasis in Computer Science) from Stanford University.
Dr. Peters is the director of Idaho National Laboratory and president of Battelle Energy Alliance LLC (BEA). His credentials and experience include leadership and management of large institutions with substantial efforts focused on technology research and development. Prior to joining BEA, Peters served as the associate laboratory director for Energy and Global Security at Argonne National Laboratory. Peters serves as a senior advisor to the Department of Energy on nuclear energy technologies, research and development programs, and nuclear waste policy. As a recognized expert in nuclear fuel cycle technologies and nuclear waste management, Peters is called upon frequently to provide expert testimony to Congress and to advise in formulation of policies for nuclear fuel cycles, nonproliferation and nuclear waste disposal. He serves on the ANS Public Policy Committee and also served on the Executive Committee of the ANS Fuel Cycle and Waste Management Division. In 2015, he was honored as a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society for outstanding accomplishments in the area of nuclear science and technology. In his earlier career, Peters had the opportunity to work in science and research positions at both Los Alamos National Lab and the California Institute of Technology. Peters received his doctorate in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago and his bachelor’s in geology from Auburn University. He has also received extensive management and leadership education and training, including completion of the Strategic Laboratory Leadership Program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
In January 2016, Megan Ronk was appointed by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter to lead the Idaho Department of Commerce and further the mission of driving Idaho’s economic growth. Megan has played a leadership role on the Idaho Commerce team since January 2012, most recently serving as the agency’s Chief Operating Officer. Prior to serving at Idaho Commerce, Megan held a variety of leadership roles in the private, public and non-profit sectors. She launched and served as Executive Director of the Idaho Meth Project, led international projects for Blue Cross of Idaho, and was a Policy Advisor to former Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne, specializing in economic development and criminal justice issues. Megan holds a B.A. in Business Administration from the College of Idaho and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. She is an adjunct faculty member at the College of Western Idaho and is actively involved in a number of non-profit organizations. She was named one of the Idaho Business Review’s “Women of the Year” in 2015, and was one of the newspaper’s “Accomplished Under 40” award recipients in 2008. However, Megan’s highest priority and greatest accomplishment is her family including husband Jayson and two young sons, Simon and Harrison.
Tim McMurtrey attended the University of Idaho and in the spring of 1978 transferred to and graduated from Boise State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. McMurtrey taught sixth grade for three years in Twin Falls, Idaho, and then returned to his hometown of Mountain Home and taught sixth, fourth and third grades in the Mountain Home School District. While teaching, McMurtrey attended the University of Idaho to obtain a Master of Education Degree in Educational Administration. In 1987, McMurtrey started his administrative career as principal of East Elementary in the Mountain Home School District and then went on to become principal of Stephensen Middle School for five years, then principal of Tom W. Hacker Middle School. McMurtrey received his Education Specialist Degree from the University of Idaho and moved to the Mountain Home School District Office where he served as Curriculum Director, Assistant Superintendent, and during his last ten years served the district as Superintendent of Schools. Along with involvement in public education, McMurtrey has been heavily involved in community organizations. Past and present involvement includes membership in the Mountain Home Lions Club (President, Vice President, and Secretary), Mountain Home Jaycees (Charter President), Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish Council, Mountain Home Library Board (Chairman), Elmore County Impact Steering Committee, Mountain Home Elks, Mountain Home Vandal Boosters (President), Military Affairs Committee (Board Member 2004-2007), and a CYO Youth Instructor. In 2015, McMurtrey took the position of Chief Performance Officer/Strategic Planner with the Idaho State Department of Education and currently serves as Deputy Superintendent of Operations for Superintendent Sherri Ybarra.
Mission Statement: Engineering innovative STEM opportunities for educators, students, communities and industry to build a competitive Idaho workforce and economy. Vision Statement: Produce a STEM competitive workforce by implementing Idaho’s Kindergarten through Career STEM education programs aligned with industry needs. Introduction, History, and Future: Idaho is facing a crisis: Idaho citizens are not entering the STEM pipeline at a rate that will meet the current and future workforce needs of Idaho employers and sustain Idaho’s economic development and future prosperity. According to a report by the Idaho Department of Labor, by 2025 Idaho will be lacking approximately 63,000 individuals needed to fill projected positions ranging from construction and service jobs to medical and technology positions, many of which involve STEM-related skills and knowledge. Numerous research studies including the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce, Idaho Business for Education and Idaho Department of Labor demonstrate that more than 60% of the projected jobs by 2020 will require a college degree or certificate beyond a high school diploma. During the 2015 Idaho legislative session, a small group of visionary legislators, education leaders and industry stakeholders began a STEM Caucus that led to legislation creating the Idaho STEM Action Center. House Bill 302 became law on July 1, 2015 (Idaho Code §67-823). This new law permits some flexibility in implementation which will allow the Center to develop unique grant, training, professional development and student opportunities aligned to Idaho’s workforce needs from kindergarten through career. Decisions related to the STEM Action Center are guided by a nine member Board appointed by the Governor. The Board is a unique blend of educational leaders from the State Board of Education and the State Department and seven Idaho industry leaders including the Idaho Department of Labor, the Idaho Department of Commerce, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and Micron. The Idaho STEM Action Center’s enabling legislation focuses on five broad areas: Student learning and achievement (including underrepresented populations) Student access to STEM including equity issues Teacher professional development and opportunities College and career STEM pathways Industry and workforce needs During the 2016 legislative session, two pieces of legislation were passed that focused on a statewide computer science initiative. The STEM Education Fund was created through Senate Bill 1279 into which two million dollars was deposited from the state’s general fund to support the computer science initiative (House Bill 379). The legislative intent of the computer science initiative is to increase statewide efforts in computer science awareness and access, kindergarten through career. These efforts will continue to be driven by the needs of Idaho’s industry and developed in partnership with industry, the state board of education, professional-technical education, the state department of education, administrators, educators and the community at large. The ultimate goal is to secure industry participation in the funding of the state’s computer science education initiatives. The Idaho STEM Action Center supports the recommendations of the Idaho Task Force for Improving Education and the State Board of Education’s STEM Strategic Plan, which support the state’s 60% goal and seeks to meet the workforce needs of Idaho business and industry. As a result of these statewide efforts, Idaho will become a STEM business destination. Idaho will have a citizenry that not only recognizes the importance of STEM, but also possesses the necessary STEM skills for the workforce. A highly skilled STEM workforce will lead to increased investment and business opportunities throughout Idaho. Educators will have the necessary STEM skills to engage students. Students will possess the 21st century skills that employers require: critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and innovation. The result of this multi-tiered approach will be an increase in the number of businesses in Idaho and the number of STEM jobs available for Idahoans which will serve to bolster Idaho’s economy and lead to long-term economic prosperity for the state and her citizens.