Alumni and community partners join STEM Teachers’ Summer Institute

28th July 2023
Indiana University 2030 Strategic Plan icon for service to the state and beyond, showing an outline of the state of Indiana.

By Alan Zollman, Ph.D. (New Albany, Ind.) What do The Great Train Robbery, Jenga colored blocks, anxiety ocean waves, hot air balloons, Eisenhower matrix, walls of whiteboards, admitting mistakes, water purification, and happiness assignments have in common?  The answer is an engaging, enlightening, and very enjoyable two days.

Chancellor Debbie Ford welcomed local middle and high school science and mathematics teachers to the sixth annual Growing Tomorrow’s STEM Teachers (GTST) 2023 Summer Institute on July 20.

Participants of the Growing Tomorrow’s STEM Teacher’s Institute

Based on teachers’ interests, the institute included professional development sessions on content knowledge (what to teach), pedagogy content knowledge (how to teach), technological pedagogical knowledge (how to use technology to teach), and wellness pedagogical knowledge – both internal, self-regulating skills (time management, setting priorities, and stress management), and external, interpersonal skills (communication, active listening, and teamwork).  

IU Southeast alumnae and award-winning instructors Tasman Wrock (Floyd Central HS), Susan Pratt (Clarksville HS), Kelly Book (North Harrison HS), and Brooke Stewart (South Central HS) provided all the hands-on workshops in the teaching of science and mathematics.

Michael Day, Director of IU Southeast Counseling and Psychological Services, shared strategies to overcome anxiety. ILTE Technology Coordinator David Rainbolt demonstrated inexpensive methods of doing green screen instruction and Professor Lynn Reed explained how to balance importance and urgency in time management.

This year’s program included a special community guest and a field trip for participants, as well.

Headquartered “just down the hill” from IU Southeast School of Education, Samtec is a multinational technology corporation with over $1 billion in yearly revenue. Samtec has partnered with the IU Southeast GTST program since 2017. Mark Bobo, executive vice president of global compliance, sustainability, and government affairs, visited to discuss industrial, medical, military, and artificial intelligence applications with the Institute’s teachers.

Water purification system at WaterStep
Water purification system at WaterStep

The GTST Summer Institute ended with a field trip to WaterStep in Louisville. WaterStep is a non-profit organization manufacturing and freely supplying products that make water safe to drink in third-world countries and disaster areas in the U.S. Donations of used shoes, with private contributions, support the efforts of WaterStep. WaterStep’s motto is “3 pairs of shoes = safe water for 1 person for life”. IU Southeast’s partnership with WaterStep now includes two used shoe donation boxes in Hillside Hall.

The Summer Institute is challenging and exhausting for co-directors Drs. Sumreen Asim and Alan Zollman. But Alan says, “Seeing the GTST/IU Southeast graduates and how skilled they have become as teachers make the work fulfilling! It’s my happiness.”

With financial support from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the GTST project has supported over 60 STEM teachers with tuition scholarships.

Do you know someone interested in teaching a STEM subject in elementary, middle, or high school, or as dual credit instructor? Contact Dr. Zollman at to learn how IU Southeast can help you share your STEM enthusiasm!

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