INL News Release
May 4, 2010

Kortny Rolston, 208-526-0962,
Misty Benjamin, 208-526-5940,

Idaho teachers to get training and materials at summer workshops

IDAHO FALLS – Two hundred Idaho teachers will learn about energy, engineering, space or robotics and how to integrate those topics into their classrooms during two expense-paid workshops this summer.

The "i-STEM Teacher Academies" will be held July 19-22 at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene and the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls. Idaho National Laboratory, Boise State University and partner schools received a $210,000 grant to help cover the cost of the workshops.

The academies are part of the Idaho STEM initiative (i-STEM), a broad and growing partnership of educators, government and businesses working to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the state.

"As State Superintendent, I have worked to increase critical science, technology, engineering and math opportunities for students and educators through numerous programs and ongoing professional development for teachers," said Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. "The i-STEM initiative is a valuable partnership among state government, federal government, business, industry and higher education that will offer even more comprehensive programs to ensure we reach all students and teachers statewide."

Members of the i-STEM initiative include Idaho National Laboratory, the state Department of Education, Energy Solutions, Micron and Idaho Power. More information is available at

"INL needs well-educated scientists and engineers to remain competitive in the global marketplace," said Anne Seifert, INL's STEM education coordinator. "To equip today's students to perform the jobs of tomorrow, we must improve STEM education at all levels."

During the four-day, expense-paid workshops, teachers will explore research-based practices and cross-curricular applications along with specific STEM content. Teachers will be taught by experts and professionals in content areas like energy, engineering, environment, space or robotics. They also will earn continuing education credits for their participation and receive hands-on resource kits to take back to their classrooms.

Once the workshops are over, Boise State University will assess the impact on teachers who participated and how they incorporate the information into their lessons.

In addition, members of the i-STEM initiative are donating kits to the colleges’ libraries. Their goal is to develop regional STEM centers that will house a variety of materials and resources for Idaho’s K-12 teachers as well as comprehensive online resources.

"We want these centers and website to be a one-stop shop for teachers," said Seifert.

STEM education is a priority for the U.S. Department of Energy, INL and Battelle Energy Alliance, a nonprofit organization that operates the lab for the DOE. In 2009, Battelle contributed a total of $473,000 to local and regional K-12 programs that promote STEM education and encourage students to pursue careers in these areas.

INL is one of the DOE's 10 multiprogram national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of the strategic goal areas of DOE: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation's leading center for nuclear energy research and development.

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