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DR. ANGELA HEMINGWAY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 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, PROGRAM MANAGER Erica Compton is an Idaho native with over 30 years of experience in hands-on STEM education and training. In February of 2010 Erica joined the Idaho Commission for Libraries as a Project Coordinator. She co-developed the Make It at the Library project with the goal of strengthening STEAM skills and supporting entrepreneurship for people of all ages through maker-centered learning. Erica has had the privilege of participating in the Maker Movement at a national level 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 oversees grant development and management, best practice research and dissemination, and building partnerships with STEM organizations nationwide.
FINIA DINH, COMPUTER SCIENCE PROGRAM MANAGER Finia moved to Idaho when she was seven months old and considers herself a native. She graduated with a B.S. from Boise State University. Finia started working as a recruiter in college, and collectively gained over 10 years of recruiting experience within private, educational and public sectors.

Finia brings a wealth of experience to the Center. She has worked at the Department of Labor for the past 3.5 years, starting as a Senior Workforce Consultant and quickly moved into an into her latest role as a Regional Business Specialist. As a Regional Business Specialist she specifically focused on workforce development in the Technology industry. There 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.

She’s been heavily involved with the Junior League of Boise for the past five years. She was very active with the Junior League’s Community Research and Project Development team to enhance STEM education for elementary students with their garden projects. Finia also participates with various school advisory committees, the Boise Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce/Education committee and other tech driven committees around the Valley. Finia serves on the planning committee for the Business Educator Exchange Conference, which offers an opportunity for K-12 educators to connect with businesses and help them understand current and future workforce needs in technology, healthcare and advance manufacturing.

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.
SONDRA CHADD, FINANCIAL AND DEVELOPMENT OFFICER Sondra received Bachelors of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship Management and General Business and a minor in Marketing from Boise State University. Her engagement with the Idaho STEM Action Center preceded working as a member of its staff. She previously aided in accounting and management services for nine different agencies while tracking and disbursing multi-million dollar cash flows with the Idaho Division of Financial Management. Sondra became an official member the STEM Action Center team in July 2018 where she prepares the Center’s budget and manages financial and accounting services, personnel functions, and Foundation financials.
STEPHANIE LEE, GRANTS AND CONTRACTS ANALYST 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.
CRISPIN GRAVATT, GRANTS COORDINATOR Crispin was born in Pocatello, and grew up in various places along the Snake River. He graduated from Boise State University with degrees in Sociology, French, Gender Studies, and Economics. In 2014, Crispin was selected to represent ten states and various US territories as a human rights delegate, discussing the ways technology changes education around the world. Crispin also volunteers in his community to foster stronger relationships between business, nonprofit, neighborhood, and educational organizations. He is dedicated to ensuring that education opportunities exist for all people, regardless of any existing barrier. Crispin joined the Idaho STEM Action Center team in March 2016 to help facilitate the grants process and ensure effective accountability.
CINDY THORNGREN, MENTORSHIP COORDINATOR A lifelong Idahoan Cindy almost followed her parents into teaching but instead graduated with a degree in marketing from Boise State. She worked in the non-profit field for 10 years with Junior Achievement of Idaho, including three years as Executive Director before transitioning to software training/testing and IT project management. Returning to her education roots in 2013 she started a social media campaign under the moniker, STEM Idaho, to expand awareness of the many STEM activities educators and after-school programs were offering. Cindy is one of two Idaho trainers for CryptoClub, a math program for middle grade students and is the co-chair of Million Women Mentors – Idaho which works to increase women and girls participation in STEM programs and careers. In 2016 she joined the newly formed Idaho STEM Action Center as Mentoring Coordinator and created and administrates the virtual mentorship portal for student projects.
JOHN MCFARLANE, MAKERMINDED COORDINATOR Before joining the STEM Action Center, John was a classroom Science teacher for 33 years - the last 30 of which were in the Basin School District in Idaho City, where he also served as secondary principal and superintendent. New to the STEM Action Center, John is coordinating the MakerMinded program, serving on the STEM AdvancED review team, and working with the State Board of Education on STEM School Leadership training. He has a B.S. in Environmental Studies and an M.Ed. in Secondary Curriculum from Western Washington University, and an Ed.S. from the University of Idaho.
HEATHER LEE, EARLY STEM EDUCATION COORDINATOR Heather Lee is a longtime early childhood educator and advocate who has worn many hats over the years, including teacher, director of a nationally accredited program, classroom assessor, teacher mentor, and owner of a STEM preschool. Currently, she is pursuing an M.Ed in Early and Special Education at Boise State University and a graduate certificate in Early Childhood Technology at Tufts University. Her passion for early STEM grew out of her commitment to providing enrichment for her four daughters through homeschooling, volunteering in their charter school classrooms, and running her own STEM preschool. She joined STEM Action Center in 2017.
JOANNA MADDEN, FOUNDATION DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR Joanna is a development professional with a background in supporting the goals of small businesses, non-profits, tribal entities and local governments. She leads the Foundation’s fundraising and grant writing functions to support STEM AC programs. Joanna has a BA in Business Administration and International Business with a minor in Spanish Literature from Portland State University. A native to the Pacific Northwest, Joanna has lived with her family in Idaho for nearly 20 years where she participates in various advisory boards, and enjoys skiing, trail running and camping.
CORY COMPTON, ADMINISTRATOR Cory was born In Takoma Park, Maryland and raised in Boise. She graduated from Whitman College with a double major in Psychology/Sociology. After graduating she moved to Seattle, WA where she entered the world of investment banking. In 1989 she retired to raise her family and became a community advocate and fundraiser for several educational institutions helping to provide scholarships to underserved children. In 2013 she returned to Boise and joined the Idaho Youth Ranch as their Capital Campaign Manager. She joined the STEM Action Center in 2016 which has allowed her to combine her years of experience fundraising, producing events and community activism with passion for education.
ALIX HILTON, OUTREACH AND COMPETITION COORDINATOR Alix joined the STEM Action Center in 2018. She is responsible for organizing STEM AC events and competitions, identifying sponsorships and creating outreach materials. Alix comes from a strong background in non-profit fundraising, community outreach, marketing and communications, and event planning. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Nutrition and Family Life from the University of Idaho.
MAKAYLA GUTHRIE,INTERN MaKayla, currently a freshman at Boise State University, grew up in small-town Declo, Idaho, and later moved to Pocatello, Idaho her sophomore year of high school. Her plan is to major in Biology and Chemistry, and to continue her passion in STEM. Before joining the Idaho STEM Action Center team she had competed in ISEF and later went on to the Intel International ISEF as an observer in 2017. In July of 2018 she became part of the team helping support various projects such as a Resource Portal for Idaho public school teachers and MakerMinded, an advanced learning manufacturing platform.
CORY COMPTON, ADMINISTRATOR Asana was born in California and moved to Boise, Idaho when she was 12 years old. She started her adventure in technology over 30 years ago, working for Hewlett Packard and other local technology companies. She began her career in website development and graphic design in the mid-90s and became a full time, independent contractor in 2003. She has worked with several local businesses and the State of Idaho. Asana joined the STEM team in March 2018.
BOARD CHAIR 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.
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.
Jennifer Jackson is the K-12 STEM program manager at Idaho National Laboratory. Jackson has nearly 20 years of experience as a teacher and educational leader in Idaho, including as the director of Curriculum and Professional Learning for Idaho Falls School District 91, where her duties included designing and implementing multidisciplinary K-12 curriculum, developing strategic partnerships with state and national educational organizations, and a variety of other policy and management responsibilities. INL’s K-12 STEM program focuses on student outreach, teacher professional development, family engagement and more. Jackson also interfaces with Idaho tribes, community colleges and technical schools on behalf of INL. These partnerships with STEM-focused organizations allow INL to help eastern Idaho foster an integrated STEM program that will enable the best possible opportunities for Idaho students.
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.
Melinda Smyser grew up on a farm and ranch in Middleton and is a lifelong resident of Canyon County. As Director of the Idaho Department of Labor, she leads an agency of 536 employees. Its mission is to connect business, education and workforce; link job seekers with employers; and help people with career and life transitions. Her background includes 13 years of serving on the Parma School District Board of Trustees. She is a former educator/counselor with 30 years of experience in education, including developing and implementing a model school counseling program. She also focused on grant writing and implementation of at-risk youth programs. She is a small business owner, opening Capitol Cellars, a restaurant in downtown Boise, showcasing Idaho’s political history. She represented Canyon and Gem counties in the Idaho State Senate for two terms, serving on the Health and Welfare and Commerce committees and as Vice Chair of the Agriculture committee. For the past five years, she has served as U.S. Senator Jim Risch’s Southwest Idaho Regional Director. Melinda has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho and a Master’s degree in Education/Counseling from the College of Idaho. Among her many honors is the State GOP Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. She is a Friend of Agriculture, an Idaho School Counselor of the Year and founding member of the Mentoring Network. Her greatest accomplishment in life is the raising of her four children and being married to the love of her life, Skip Smyser. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, politics and exercise. Her favorite motto is “Live, Laugh and Love Today, Tomorrow is Fleeting.”
Bobbi-Jo Meuleman is the Director of the Idaho Department of Commerce, leading economic development efforts for the Gem State, and fostering ways of assisting communities, citizens, businesses, and visitors. Bobbi-Jo originally joined Idaho Commerce as the Chief Operating Officer in June 2016 as the right-hand to the Director where she was instrumental in legislative efforts during the 2017 session, and managing department staff and operations. Bobbi-Jo’s government career began in Washington, D.C. working for Congressman Rehberg (R-MT) and Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT). From 2009 to 2016, Bobbi-Jo had the great privilege of serving in the Office of Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, most recently as his Deputy Chief of Staff. Bobbi-Jo received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Montana in Political Science with an emphasis in Human Resource Management. She sits on the Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance Board, Idaho Invasive Species Council, Workforce Development Council, STEM Action Center Board, LINE Commission 3.0, Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) Council, and is the Public Policy Chair for the Idaho Economic Development Association (IEDA). In 2017, Bobbi-Jo was an Idaho Business Review’s Accomplished Under 40 honoree. She lives in Boise with her husband Patrick and their sons, Wyatt (4) and Wayne (2).

Agendas, Presentations, Minutes


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.

Guiding Legislation

STEM Action Center Strategic Plan

FY18 Performance Report

Guiding Definitions for STEM AC



Branding Sheet (download pdf document)

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