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STEM Bright Spots

Bright Spot: Astronaut Inspired Meridian


When asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, kids promptly reply “Astronaut.” Students at Barbara Morgan STEM Academy are reminded each day as they walk through the front door that when your head is in the stars, it leads to the future. Barbara Morgan is a former Idaho teacher that went on to work for NASA, serving as an education liaison and astronaut. Barbara Morgen STEM Academy was opened in 2013 as part of a strategic district plan to expand opportunities for STEM learning throughout the West Ada district. As community awareness for the school’s special brand of success grows, so does its waiting list.

How is BMSA different? BMSA students experience an environment of collaboration with hands-on, project-based learning at the core of the curriculum and access to an abundance of relevant technology. Coding, robotics, engineering and 3D printing technology are 21st-century skills even the youngest students are building on. These STEM explorers take it beyond the classroom with pextracurricular activities including the school’s Technology Club, which models an active Help Desk business to prepare articipants for a real-world work environment, the Coder’s Club with more than 85 students taking part each year, an Engineers Club, Robotics Club and STEM Racing Club. Students also formed four school teams to compete in Idaho STEM Action Center’s regional FabSLAM 3D design and fabrication competition.

Idaho STEM School Designation

Barbara Morgan STEM School is one of four schools in Idaho to complete Idaho STEM School Designation, a certification process supported by Idaho STEM Action Center and the State Board of Education. The Idaho STEM School Designation recognizes schools that provide rich STEM learning experiences for students, educators, and communities and defines the best practices of STEM schools. Because of the strong performance of STEM schools and the importance of STEM skills for the future workforce, STEM School designation is broadly supported in communities with schools seeking designation.

With more than 8,800 STEM jobs in Idaho unfilled in 2019, many of them in the Treasure Valley, Barbara Morgan STEM School is contributing to the local economy by preparing students for their career futures. As for Barbara Morgan, she is an Idaho resident and continues to serve as an advisor for the school, encouraging students to set their sights on the moon, and shoot for it!

View and/or download this or other Bright Spots by clicking on images below (pdf format).

Idaho STEM Action Center

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. It's in these subjects that students learn the skills of critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration - skills that translate to success in many fields. The STEM  Action Center is here to support this development and provide Idaho with the talent pipeline it needs for its economy to thrive. Idaho can generate a strong, STEM-competent and competitive workforce that will make us become a prime STEM business destination.


Industry participation is essential for success, and we’re here to help make that participation easier. We’ve created many ways for Idaho businesses to engage with STEM education. From mentoring and volunteering to donating and partnering, you can help move the economy forward by closing the gaps in Idaho’s workforce. Let us help you help Idaho!


To learn more about the STEM Action Center’s strategies, success stories, and positive impacts in your community, email:

Idaho STEM Action Center
802 W. Bannock St., Suite 900
Boise, Idaho 83702

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