Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI) is funding an elementary school STEM Fellows Initiative to create a network of skilled STEM educators throughout the Southwest Central Indiana (SWCI) region. The initiative will develop leaders and STEM experts who will:

  • Provide support to colleagues
  • Model innovative STEM lessons
  • Participate in their own learning through provided professional development
  • Design and complete a community project
  • Be a part of a regional STEM teacher leader network.

Fellows are expected to commit to being at the same school for two years, to serve as a STEMbassador to peers in the second year, and to attend all professional development throughout the year. Fellows will receive a $2,500 stipend the first year and relevant supporting STEM resources and materials. Substitute teacher costs will also be covered by ROI.

The first cohort of Fellows will be selected to begin during the 2017-18 school year. STEM Fellows will be identified through a principal nomination process and subsequent brief teacher application. STEM Fellow candidates will be considered on the basis of commitment to expanding and building capacity for STEM education, passion for STEM fields of study, strong peer leadership skills, a commitment to building a STEM community of practice, and a commitment to regular collaboration with other Fellows. Professional development will focus on hands-on experiential learning and other innovative models as well as instructional coaching support. Professional development topics will include the engineering design process, project-based learning, coding, and other relevant topics.


ROI’s Occupational Needs Assessments (ONAs) emphasize the importance of having STEM-literate students to meet current and future workforce needs within our region and to provide a basis for continued economic growth and prosperity. Currently, Southwest Central Indiana is home to over 27,000 jobs in the life science, defense, and advanced manufacturing sectors. Employers within those sectors foresee growth here in SWCI, however, the quality and availability of talent is a limiting factor.

A key finding from the ONA is the transferability of STEM-related skills and competencies across all key sectors. A STEM-literate and competent student is able to be successful in a variety of fields, but particularly in our three primary sectors of life sciences, defense, and advanced manufacturing.

Research shows most Indiana elementary students receive approximately two hours of science education per week. These early grades are a critical time for young learners to build self-efficacy and to see science, technology, engineering, and math content as accessible and attainable. We believe one solution is to support elementary educators in developing STEM teaching and leadership skills.

Principal Nomination and Educator Application Process

Principals within the 11-county SWCI region may nominate one teacher (K-6) from their building using the nomination link below. ROI will then contact nominees directly to apply to be a STEM Fellow.

Nominations for Cohort 1 of the STEM Fellows program are now closed and Fellows have been notified. Nominations for Cohort 2 will be open in Spring  of 2018



July 31 & August 1 Kick-off Event
Location: WonderLab Bloomington
Topic 1: Engineering Design Process
August/September Cohort Session 2 (2 days) Training Topic 2: STEM and PBL
October/November Cohort Session 3 (1 day) Training 3: Code.org
January/February Cohort Session 4 (1 day) Training Topic 4: Field Trip
March/April Cohort Session 5 (1 day) Training Topic 5: TBD
Early May Cohort Session 6 (1 day) • Year End Celebration
• Fellow Led Presentations
• Community Project Displays

Questions? Contact Michi McClaine, ROI Assistant Director for Education Initiatives, mmcclaine@swcindiana.org or 812.287.8116 ext. 113