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Randi Shares Her Experience As a Teacher Extern

Posted on 5/24/2023
by Randi Endriss, Talented and Gifted Instructor with Treynor Community School District
We were so happy to host local Treynor educator Randi last summer for a teacher externship sponsored by STEM Iowa. Learn more about her experience:

Teacher externships have a lot to offer both local educators and our environmental education team by providing opportunities to share knowledge, resources, and perspectives that improve our ability to reach and inspire learners of all ages.

As the Pottawattamie Conservation team looks to host another teacher extern this coming June, we wanted to take a moment to share Randi's experience from last summer. Randi is a Talented and Gifted (TAG) instructor with Treynor Community School District.

Randi teacher extern with STEM Iowa and Treynor Community School District.
Randi (left) with our Pottawattamie Conservation Environmental Educator Coordinator, Amy (right).


Thursday, August 4th, 2022

"As I am awaiting a meeting to end my second to last day at Pottawattamie County Conservation, I sit and think about my experience to make my post....

My favorite part had to be the exposure to what they do in the conservation area. I knew of the program prior to being here, but never really thought about what all goes into the 'conservation' aspect of things. It has been a great experience to show me that there is so much to what goes on from the backside of their programs to make this place what it is.

I think we occasionally take for granted that things are just 'there' for us. An example is that Pott County has this gorgeous land and beautiful lodge, but what goes into keeping this land and lodge like it is it takes a lot of hard work from a lot of different people. The NAM (Natural Areas Management) Team puts a lot of hard work into maintaining the land through cuts, burns, and trims. They also work hard on trying to restructure some of the land back to some of the natural prairie that it once was.

Prior to coming in, I had NO IDEA that this land was once owned by an individual that was trying to turn it into a landfill. The efforts were quickly shifted back to the conservation of the area when Pott County obtained the land. Due to the damage done during this landfill phase, they have worked even harder to restore some of the area to its natural beauty. That takes a lot of time and dedication from the team.

I was able to witness some of this work, as well as be part of it through my seed collection trips out on the trails. I have also helped on the educational side of things by helping with camps, talking with the Environment Educational Coordinator on ideas to help their educational component be more aligned with the standards and what we do in schools, and going over the educational intern packet to help revamp that a bit. I offered tips and tricks that I know have been successful in the classroom so that they have some new ideas to utilize in their camp programs. I have had conversations with the interns to offer some educational guidance to them.

They have always been open to new ideas and tricks to assist them, while also teaching me more about the environmental side of things.

After my work with this department, I have to say one of the most impactful things is seeing that education truly is not only in the classroom with the teacher, or at home with the parents/families, but in everything and everywhere we are every day... regardless of the setting!"


About the  Iowa STEM Teacher Externships Program

Greatness STEMs From 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 the summer, STEM educators work side-by-side with knowledgeable and skilled industry employees who help bring the classroom curriculum to life. Iowa STEM Teacher Externships provide 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.

Iowa STEM Teacher Externships began in the summer of 2009 with a few goals in mind:

  • Create lasting partnerships between workplaces 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.

Iowa STEM Teacher Externships are full-time, six-week temporary summer positions in local businesses and agencies for secondary teachers of mathematics, science and/or technology. STEM Teachers earn a stipend of up to $5,000 (including two paid professional development days), as well as three graduate credits through the University of Northern Iowa’s Continuing Education program.

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