Iowa STEM Teacher Externships

How many times have you heard a student ask, “When will I ever use this?”  The Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program aims to help teachers answer that age-old question.


During six weeks in the summer, educators work side-by-side with knowledgeable and skilled industry employees who help bring the classroom curriculum to life.  The Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program provides educators with the exposure to answer questions about real-world application, prepare students for careers they may have in the future, and improve educational experiences.


The goals of the Teacher Externship Program are to;

  • create lasting partnerships between businesses and local schools.

  • connect Teacher Extern experience with STEM content and 21st century skills identified in the Iowa Core.

  • give students real-world career information about career possibilities right here in Iowa.

  • give teachers the opportunity to see and use the latest real-world applications STEM disciplines in a local business or industry.


Teacher Externships are full-time, six-week temporary summer positions in local businesses and agencies for secondary teachers of mathematics, science and/or technology.  Teachers earn a stipend of up to $4,800 (including two days of professional development), as well as one graduate credit through the University of Northern Iowa’s Continuing Education program.



Click on the button below to apply for an Iowa STEM Teacher Externship. Pre-service teachers are eligible to apply:

Extern Teacher Application


Are you a business or organization interested in hosting a teacher extern, or just want to know more about the teacher externship program?  Click on the button below to complete a Workplace Host Interest Form.

Externship - Workplace host




2023 Iowa STEM Teacher Externships


Amanda Fowler

Amanda Fowler, math and science teacher at Eason Valley Schools in Preston.

Externship Host: Jackson County Conservation

Amanda worked on finding the genus and species for the native landscaping in front of the Hurstville Interpretive Center for new signs that include the plant scientific names, and communicated with a local print shop to create signage. Amanda has become a compost expert and worked as a tour guide for Maquoketa Caves State Park for externs and interns with stopping points along the tour.


Bridget Schaufenbuel, math teacher at Clayton Ridge High School in Guttenberg.

Externship Host: Clayton County Development Group

Bridget created TripAdvisor accounts for Clayton County lodging to display great places to stay in the county. In addition to this, she assisted in updating the Clayton County industries database and learned about opportunities and resources available in the county and developed a tear-off map for bicycling and ATV routes to highlight best stops on the trails.

Bridget Schaufenbuel

Carter Harris

Carter Harris, science teacher at Independence Jr/Sr High School

Externship Host: Upper Iowa University

Carter worked in streams in Northeast Iowa everyday and examined water quality, temperature, and the habitat. Organisms like fish, macroinvertebrates, and aquatic plants were examined to determine stream health. He also worked with the DNR to help ensure what streams suitable habitat for different trout species. All data was used to tell the DNR if a stream is suitable for trout or if it has wild-spawning trout in it.

Chet Chapin, industrial technology teacher, Western Dubuque High School

Externship Host: Geater Machining & Manufacturing

Chet spent time learning the finer details of the manufacturing process among dedicated industry professionals, as well as developing and refining learning materials for his students. The processes he learned about include machine operation, machine set up, machine programming, and parts design. He also worked on project plans for students to build their own machining tools like hammers, squares, and basic measuring tools.

Chet Chapin

Dawn Colsch

Dawn Colsch, science teacher at MFL MarMac Middle School in McGregor

Externship Host: Iowa DNR at Decorah Fish Hatchery

Dawn's main duties were to feed rainbow trout, clean the raceways, stock the streams, and help the DNR employees. She learned about trout in Northeast Iowa, including stream locations, population count, and daily care. Down also participated in water sampling and data collection. She was exposed to data sites that show levels of nitrogen, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, etc.

Hallie Matthias, science teacher at Oelwein High School

Externship Host: Iowa DNR at George Wyth Park

Hallie worked with the DNR officers that managed the park. Her main duties were to develop accessible Iowa Hunter's Education materials for diverse cultures. She also assisted in daily duties and procedures in the park. Hallie was able to learn new skills, develop lesson plans, and gain practical perspective on real world jobs for her students in the classroom.

Hallie Matthias

Jennifer Strohbehn

Jennifer Strohbehn, science teacher at Gladbrook-Reinbeck Jr/Sr High School

Externship Host: Collins Aerospace

Jennifer was assigned to the Tactical Communications Systems Engineering Group. Within that larger group, she was assigned to the High Frequency Airborne and Ground Communications Products. Jennifer helped the Systems Engineers in the section with things like documentation, lab work, integration, and information assurances. She learned how radios are used in many applications by both the military and other entities.

Jessica Duprey, Art Teacher at Jesup Community School District

Externship Host: Buchanan County Conservation

Jessica worked with the hosts to design and paint a mural on two sides of an outdoor building and create interactive sidewalk art. The hosts wanted to use art to help the public learn about and interact with nature. The mural is of the creek and wildlife living in and near the creek. Jessica researched the plants and wildlife and created an artistic version. She also created permanent sidewalk art that is interactive.

Jessica Duprey

Kayla Britt

Kayla Britt, math teacher at John R. Mott High School in Postville

Externship Host: Winneshiek County Conservation

Kayla's focus was to prepare and teach the weekly Discovery day camps held for children going into grades 1-9. These camps give children a chance to learn about the environment, how they can protect it, and interact with it. Kayla prepared three fun and engaging lessons each week related to the environment and age appropriate. She also assisted with creating eye-catching displays for the county fair to attract people to their booth.

Kenan Willey, 6th grade teacher at Notre Dame Catholic School in Cresco.

Externship Host: Winneshiek County Conservation

Kenan assisted conservation staff with educational programming. She worked on Discovery Camps, interactive displays for the county fair, and community educational events such as kayaking and fishing clinics. Kenan gained knowledge and a deeper understanding of many science and conservation topics that will benefit her future students.

Kenan Wiley

Kim Ross Kim Ross, science teacher at Waverly Shell Rock High School

Externship Host: Zoetis

Zoetis is a global leader in the animal health industry. The Charles City facility is mainly focused on poultry vaccines but also produces vaccines for other animals like hogs, dogs, and horses. Eggs play an important role in the manufacture of the vaccines. Kim worked on tracking the path of the egg from entry into the facility to final vaccine production.

Lindsey Ernst, science teacher at Expo Alternative Learning Center in Waterloo

Externship Host: Blank Park Zoo

Lindsey reviewed STEM lessons for Summer Safari Camp to see how they align with the NGSS. The education staff at BPZ wanted to be sure that campers have fun and learn about the zoo, but that they also gain experience and information relevant to the NGSS. She also assisted in teaching STEM lessons to the K-2 grade level Summer Safari Campers.

Lindsey Ernst

Madyson Larson

Madyson Larson, math and writing teacher at MFL-MarMac Community Schools

Externship Host: Allamakee-Clayton REC

Madyson's main project was to upgrade the current programming on their current routers, so they are able to work with the REC's current firmware. Additionally, she put together lists of IP addresses to see which ones are incorrectly named and shouldn't be included in the company list, and ensure that they are being used appropriately. She also completed an instruction sheet for some of the linemen, using the company's mapping program.

Travis Angell, math and science teacher at Waverly Shell Rock Middle School

Externship Host: Iowa DNR at Sweet Marsh

Travis worked with the DNR staff to maintain that health of the wetland. This included planting seeds in plots, maintaining the dikes and grounds around Sweet Marsh, and tagging a variety of birds to monitor. He also learned the process and procedures required to develop and maintain wetlands areas around Sweet Marsh

Travis Angell



Previous Teacher Externs in the Northeast Iowa STEM Region

Summer 2023 STEM Teacher Externs

Summer 2022 STEM Teacher Externs

Summer 2021 STEM Teacher Externs

Summer 2020 STEM Teacher Externs

Summer 2019 STEM Teacher Externs

Summer 2018 STEM Teacher Externs

Summer 2017 STEM Teacher Externs


Video about Teacher Externship Program:


Learn more about the Teacher Externship program by reading the Extern Blogs or read the FAQ.

Please contact for additional information.