College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Project Lead the Way to showcase at the capitol

Iowa Project Lead the Way supporters will host a legislative showcase in the Iowa state capitol rotunda on Tuesday, March 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is a national nonprofit organization established to help schools give middle and high school students the knowledge they need to excel in high-tech fields. More than 100 schools across Iowa are PLTW centers.

At the showcase on March 23, legislators and other attendees will have the opportunity to learn how secondary education, higher education, business, state agencies, and PLTW have partnered to create a system to implement and sustain this dynamic educational initiative. PLTW students from across the state will display their engineering notebooks, portfolios, and projects around the capitol rotunda and exemplify the relationship between the projects they designed and the math, science, and technology they applied within the design process.

PLTW president and CEO John Lock will honor Iowa as the 2009 national winner of the Joseph H. Oakey Excellence in Education Award starting at 11:45 a.m. Iowa received this award for its visionary and innovative educational leadership on behalf of students, teachers, and citizens. Also on hand will be PLTW partners from Iowa’s regent universities, community colleges, state departments, and businesses to share information about their roles in the PLTW system.

“Iowa’s leadership in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education is key to our economic success,” says Iowa Governor Chet Culver. “We need to be diligent in maintaining and growing our investment by supporting an excellent educational system—from pre-K through postsecondary. Project Lead the Way is a key component in a comprehensive state-level suite of solutions aligning our top-notch schools, museums, community colleges, private and public universities, businesses, and youth-focused agencies to fuel Iowa’s engine of innovation.”

Project Lead the Way provides middle and high schools with a rigorous, comprehensive, hands-on curriculum developed by K–12 educators, college faculty, and engineers. PLTW success, though, is more than a strong curriculum—Iowa partners have built a system that supports the program and the students with a seamless transition into STEM-related career fields in Iowa community colleges and regent universities.

Jonathan Wickert, dean of the College of Engineering at Iowa State University, says, “Engineering is a field that is transforming in fundamental ways, and Project Lead the Way fosters that transformation by helping young students to understand what engineering is and to see its possibilities.” He adds that PLTW puts students in teams to develop creative problem-solving skills.

There are 29 Iowa schools participating in the legislative showcase.

Ken Maguire, 515 822-2035,