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Bright Spot on Idaho STEM Stories


Each year at the Idaho Technology Council’s (ITC) Hall of Fame event, the organization awards and recognizes innovative leaders who have made a significant contribution to the state’s technology community. Innovative educators play a critical role in Idaho’s technology future by building the bridge from classrooms to careers with skills that students will need to succeed.

Sarah Oosterhuis, pre-engineering teacher at Renaissance High School in Meridian, received the Idaho STEM Action Center Industry’s Excellent Educators Dedicated to STEM (INDEEDS) Award at this year’s ITC virtual Hall of Fame event. INDEEDS is an annual peer nominated, industry-selected award supported this year by Vynyl, Battelle Energy Alliance, Micron Foundation, Discovery Center of Idaho, and Idaho Technology Council.

Sarah utilizes her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Degree, industry experience, and Master of Science in STEM Education to continuously improve her lessons. Her class, “Civil Engineering and Architecture” draws students from multiple West Ada district high schools.

Sarah has taught engineering at Renaissance High School in Meridian since 2008 and serves as an adjunct instructor at Northwest Nazarene University and University of Idaho, offering college credit opportunities to high school students. She has served as a Technology Student Association advisor for 11 of her 13 years in education, providing growth opportunities for engineering and technology students beyond the classroom. She also has served on the advisory board of the Idaho Technology Student Association for the last five years, first as secretary from 2016-2019 and since then as vice president.

Sara Oosterhuis


“We live in a world where technology is lending us a hand at every turn,” Oosterhuis said. “If we’re in the kitchen or on the football field or a launch pad with a rocket that’s headed to Mars, humans keep figuring out ways to make better tech. The trick is how we can equitably and ethically design, build, and maintain this complex world. I believe the answer lies in building a strong foundation in our K-12 schools, creating a pipeline into STEM education and careers that reflect the needs and diversity of the world we live in. Creating a high-quality STEM foundation is not only key to a competitive labor market and economy, but also to a more harmonious and equitable society in which all citizens have access to high-quality and relevant education and thereby careers.”

STEM learning is important for future careers that are as varied as scientists, programmers, and construction. According to the Idaho Department of Labor, 2020-2030 Long Term Occupational Projections, Construction and Extraction Occupations are expected to grow by 31.8%. Sarah is showing her students how STEM coursework can be applied to real-world construction and architecture projects.

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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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