Professional Development

The STEM Connection Professional Development is aimed at providing more empowerment opportunities for educators, parents, and youth workers through newsletters, training sessions, and content-rich workshops and events.

Educator Empowerment Workshops

The Educator Empowerment Workshops are meant to help formal and informal educators strengthen their understanding and comfort level with specific STEM content. Advanced registration required and available through the website.

Children are constantly learning and educators, youth workers and parents want to help children be the best they can be! Be empowered to help the children in your life on their learning journeys. Join us to gain knowledge about STEM content; Force and Motion, Plants/Ecosystems/Invasive Species, Minerals/Rocks/Soil and Weather. Each night a topic will be highlighted, guest experts will share, lessons will be offered and connections made to Indiana Science Standards for K-8 grade. PGPs and CYC points will be offered.

Save the dates! Click the date to sign up!

9/11/18 Minerals/Rocks/Soil

11/6/18 Weather

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm – $15 per person

Educator Empowerment Workshops are adult only events.


Educator Empowerment Newsletter

Click here to sign up. Each quarterly newsletter will contain a theme, STEM content, literature connections and resources.

Train the Facilitator


STEM Challenge Club is a proven out of school time (OST) science, technology, engineering, and math enrichment opportunity. The STEM Connection Train the Facilitator program empowers area youth workers to offer weekly club experiences to youth. Facilitators receive a day of training, curriculum for 10 STEM-connected lessons, pre and post assessments, materials to run the lessons with 20 participants, and continued support and coaching through site visits and other communication. Youth will engage in hands-on STEM challenges, learn more about the scientific method and the engineering design process, consider STEM careers, and explore and connect to the natural world with their club facilitator. The DoS – Dimensions of Success – tool is used to guarantee quality curriculum and continued programming. DoS defines twelve indicators of STEM program quality in out-of-school time and it was developed and studied with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) by the Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency (PEAR), along with partners at Educational Testing Services (ETS) and Project Liftoff.


STEM is fun and everyone can do STEM successfully! Science, technology, engineering, and math have an ever-increasing role in our world, and STEM Challenge Club provides an opportunity to engage students early in their academic journeys in order to increase interest in and build positive attitudes toward STEM disciplines. Club presents children with opportunities to develop STEM skills and engage in higher-level thinking related to the steps of the scientific method and engineering design process. The STEM Connection programs aim to break down negative stereotypes related to STEM, challenge children to do their best, provide meaningful STEM learning opportunities and encourage and inspire those that are underrepresented in STEM fields. The Train the Facilitator program connects proven STEM Connection programming with a greater audience so more children are served and lives can be changed.


​ ​Area youth workers willing to commit to training and facilitating are welcome. Club curriculum is structured for kindergarten-5th grade students, with curriculum aligned to K-5th grade Indiana Academic Science Standards. Lead developers for STEM Challenge Club curriculum and facilitator trainings are Angela Fitzgerald and Vera Vander Kooy, who are science educators and curriculum developers with over 35 years of combined teaching experience and have overseen hands-on STEM experiences for preschool, elementary, and middle school children in a variety of settings. Facilitators can be formal or informal educators and will earn PGP points for participation and receive a PGP certificate upon completion of the training.


​Facilitator trainings are offered a couple times a year.​ ​Typically STEM Challenge Clubs meet for 5-10 consecutive weeks, one day per week. Club sessions are usually 60-90 minutes each session. Facilitators work with their programs to decide the best way to offer club experiences and the curriculum, and facilitator training encourages flexibility and suggestions for modification.


Cost is $1000 per site and includes: professional development for two facilitators – $350, curriculum for 10 lessons – $100, materials and supplies for 20 participants – $300, and continued coaching and site visit – $250 (breakdown for title services (1&2A) and other funding channels). Additional cost for additional training, materials/supplies, or other materials or services.


Contact Angela Fitzgerald at to reserve your spot or with questions. Spots are limited and confirmed upon payment.


We are pleased to announce that The Microsoft Store is a new corporate sponsor of The STEM Connection!  Thank you to the Microsoft Store for coming alongside us to bring The STEM Connection STEM Challenge Clubs to area schools! The Microsoft Store is located at the Fashion Mall and boasts an array of free STEM educational mini camps and experiences for kids. Check out their offerings today and stop by the store soon!

Staff Development Sample Offerings

STEM for Today and Tomorrow!

Shifting instruction to encourage daily STEM experiences and implementing STEM challenges into the elementary curriculum are excellent ways to practice STEM skills, connect state standards in a variety of subjects, work on team building, excite students about careers of the future and leads to learning and mastery. During this professional development offering learn how to introduce the engineering design process, experience a wide variety of challenges, connect subjects, incorporate literature and discover how to easily facilitate STEM and take away experiences you can implement. This offering can take place in a workshop format or over a period of weeks.

Engaging STEM Challenges!

Implementing STEM challenges into the curriculum is an excellent way to practice STEM skills, connect state standards, work on team building, excite students about careers of the future and leads to learning fun. During this professional development offering learn how to introduce the engineering design process, experience a wide variety of challenges, discover how to easily facilitate them and take away challenges you can implement tomorrow.

Nature and STEM – The Perfect Match

Nature stimulates all of the senses! Everyone loves to have their senses awakened and when the senses are engaged meaningful learning occurs. Time in nature and nature in the classroom allow teachers unique opportunities to provide invitations for children to explore STEM. Experience how science standards, literature tie ins, engineering concepts, math skills along with the use of technology can be incorporated easily in STEM and Nature opportunities. Get hands-on and try out some model lessons. Also, strategies, tips for success and lessons will be shared with participants.

Youth Voice and Choice

When children are given voice and choice in their learning environments positive outcomes result. Discover time tested ways to implement voice and choice while meeting standards, maintaining order and allowing for individuality. Best practices and DoS, Dimensions of Success criteria will be shared.

Staff development offerings can be brought to your site and tailored to your needs. Please contact

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2018 Awards

-River-Friendly Farmer Award from the local Soil and Water Conservation District. This award recognizes farmers who, through good protection management practices, kelp keep Indiana’s rivers, lakes and streams clean.

-2018 McKinney Family Foundation Scholarship award recipient to attend Fundraising and Advocacy for Environmental Nonprofits offered by The Fund Raising School

IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

2017 Awards

-Joe Wright Recognition of Excellence Award by the Environmental Educators Association of Indiana

-Hoosier Chapter Soil And Water Conservation Society’s Education and Communications award for 2017!

-SYPF grant recipient 2016, 2017

-Intern, Madeline Anderson – 2017 Excellence in Summer Service Education Award Recipient


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