The Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced today the formation of the Science Technology Engineering and Math Action Center board and selection of the chair. With the board in place, specific goals for STEM education are being prioritized and long-term execution of those goals will drive statewide coordination of STEM-related activities and the alignment of industry needs with higher education.

“Education is a top priority of mine and is one of the most important investments Utah can make,” said Governor Gary R. Herbert. “STEM Education is an essential part of this investment and is critical in developing Utah’s workforce for the future.”

The Governor appointed Jeffery Nelson, President and CEO of Nelson Laboratories, as the Chair of the STEM Action Center Board. Nelson will oversee the STEM Board’s decisions and STEM Education’s progress throughout the state.

Mr. Nelson is a Specialist Microbiologist with the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists. He currently serves as the Vice Chairperson for BioUtah, a trustee on the Westminster College Board, and as an adjunct professor at Westminster College.

The STEM Board is comprised of:

  • Bert VanderHeiden, Vice President of Aerospace Structures, ATK
  • Blair Carruth, Assistant Commissioner for Academic Affairs, Utah System of Higher Education
  • Brad Rencher, Senior Vice President and General Manger, Adobe
  • Christine Kearl, Deputy for Education, Office of the Governor
  • Gene Levinzon, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
  • Jeffery Nelson, President and CEO, Nelson Laboratories, STEM Chair
  • C. Mark Openshaw, State Board of Education
  • Martell Menlove, Superintendent, State Board of Education
  • Robert Brems, President, Utah College of Applied Technology
  • Stan Lockhart, Government Affairs Manager, IM Flash Technologies
  • Spencer P. Eccles, Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, STEM Vice Chair

The STEM Action Center will help to increase the number and quality of STEM educators and professionals, and will drive research and implementation of STEM education best practices across Utah.

The STEM Action Center will leverage a $10 million investment, appropriated by the state in HB-139, to create a hub of collaboration to improve the effectiveness of STEM education in the state.

The board will advance STEM by using the 2013 appropriation of $5 million to build the math skills of sixth, seventh and eighth graders and $3.5 million for college math readiness.

In the next decade STEM will be required by almost all of the 30 fastest growing occupations in the state and Utah has one of the fastest rates of STEM growth in the nation, according to a Georgetown University study.