October 2017 Newsletter

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Building Omaha Future Leaders

October 2017

A STEM Professional You Should Know!

John Kyndt, Ph.D.

Dr. John Kyndt is a biochemist and entrepreneur who is bridging science and business by turning scientific discoveries into real-life sustainable innovations. He has a strong interest in emerging fields in the biosciences, particularly in the areas of sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. He has over 10 years of research experience in microbiology, photobiology, algae cultivation, water purification and biofuel production. His recent scientific work is in the field of developing algae for enhanced biofuel production. He obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Ghent in Belgium and a degree in Entrepreneurship from the McGuire Entrepreneurship Center (Eller College of Management, University of Arizona). Dr. Kyndt is currently an Associate Professor in Microbiology, Nutrition and the Program Director for Sustainability Management at Bellevue University.

Dr. Kyndt is passionate about integrating research into the classroom and establishing a science-based curiosity in students from an early age. His TEDxOmaha talk on “How worms, pride, and politics lead to simple science” illustrates the need for basic scientific research driven by curiosity.  He has been on the forefront of establishing innovative teaching and lab room spaces at Bellevue University that incorporate hybrid learning models and combine flexible teaching with research based learning. A recent interview with HDR on his vision of the teaching lab of the future can be found here:


Not “Random Acts of STEM”: Building a STEM Centered Workforce

October 17th

The Omaha STEM Ecosystem, in partnership with AIM Institute, hosted an event featuring Shonna Dorsey, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, AIM Institute, as the keynote speaker.   Julie Sigmon, Director of STEM Ecosystem, opened with the first year accomplishments and 2018 goal of the STEM Ecosystem. The morning session, with over 40 business partners, focused on the state of our STEM workforce nationally and in Omaha.  Ms. Dorsey addressed the trends in the workforce, educational shifts, workforce advancement opportunities and overall challenges.  Business partners and stakeholders had an opportunity to discuss ways they would recommend to bridge the STEM talent gap in Nebraska.

The evening networking event brought 120 stakeholders from all sectors of our community together.  Ms. Sigmon thanked those present for their support and talent in the success of the STEM Ecosystem’s first year and highlighted goals for 2018. Ms. Dorsey addressed the change of traditional jobs in our community, and the STEM careers of the future.

 We were honored to host visitors from the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership program, with its #HiddenNoMore Empowering Women Leaders in STEM Programs.  The program participants were from Curacao, Indonesia, Mongolia, United Kingdom and Trinidad and Tobago.


North American Reggio Emilia Alliance Conference

October 21st

The North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) in collaboration with Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and the Omaha STEM Ecosystem presented a conference for early childhood educators focused on the fundamental values of the Reggio Emilia approach.  NAREA connects educators, parents and childhood advocates with ideas, experiences, philosophies, opportunities, and challenges of lifting the future to meet the potential of all children. The topics included transforming the learning environment, learning the importance of documentation and a tour of Reggio inspired early childhood classroom at the Zoo.






Dr. Laurie Marker, Cheetah Conservation Fund

October 24th

The Omaha Zoo Foundation and the Omaha STEM Ecosystem were proud to present Dr. Laurie Marker, founder and executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund.  Dr. Marker has pioneered research, established conservation models and created cooperative alliances on behalf of the cheetah that had never before existed.

Dr. Marker spoke with the Zoo Academy 90 high school students in an interactive event answering questions about her move to Namibia and her work dedicated to saving the Cheetah from extinction.

Later that evening, she presented in a private event with over 189 in attendance about her role in establishing the most successful cheetah-breeding program and effectively stabilizing and even increasing the Cheetah population.





Professional Development Opportunities

Omaha’s Math Teachers’ Circles – “Math at the Aquarium”

Explore ways to make math more meaningful to your students! Join Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, UNO and Omaha STEM Ecosystem in the Aquarium. Engage in meaningful lessons designed to connect and apply math concepts to the aquarium setting.  The night will focus on NE Math standards 6-8, but could be applied to the secondary and elementary levels. 

To register, go to:   Omahamtc.eventbrite.com

November 14th, Tuesday 4:30 p.m. -6:30 p.m.

Light snacks included



Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming STEM Events

Greater Omaha Chamber Young Professionals’ State of Our City event

State of our City is extending conversations that began at this year’s YP Summit and opening a new discussion on what Omaha should look like, focus on and do next in the areas of transportation, diversity and talent, arts and culture, entrepreneurship/STEM and interconnectivity.

This month’s speaker is Franklin Thompson, Director, Omaha Department of Human Rights and Relations.

$10/includes snacks all evening + a drink at the after-party.

To register, go to: ypc.news@omahachamber.org

November 7th, Thursday

5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

MCC Campus/5300 North 30th Street, building #24


Hubbard Sustainability Series

The Claire M. Hubbard Foundation Sustainability Series is a quarterly event at MCC at Do Space that allows speakers to inform the public about the importance of sustainability on a local, regional and national level.

The speaker for the November 30th series will show that sustainability problems and their solutions can begin locally, but need everyone’s attention to help keep the community, country and even the planet operating smoothly.

Join Kara Eastman, executive director, Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance; Peter McCormick, executive director, Robert B. Daughtery Water for Food Institute; and Chuck Schroeder, executive director, Rural Futures Institute.

To register, go to: mccneb.edu/ce.

November 30, Thursday

4:00 p.m. -6:00 p.m.

MCC at Do Space, 72nd and Dodge Road

Light refreshments will be provided

Nebraska K-12 Science Education Summit

Get an update on Nebraska’s new college- and career-ready standards. Explore 3-dimensional learning, phenomena, and integrated science. Learn about innovative K-12 science curriculum, resources, and programs developed by university faculty. Engage with science education stakeholders from across Nebraska.

To register, go to : go.unl.edu/nesciencesummit

December 11th, Monday

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Nebraska Innovation Campus


Save the Date:

Greater Omaha Chamber Careerockit

February 12 – 18, 2018

For Information, go to:  OmahaChamber@OmahaChamber

NE Science Olympiad

March 3 – 4, 2018

For information, go to: nescioly.com

Metro Science and Engineering Fair

March 10, 2018

For information, go to: http://msefomaha.com

HOSA Nebraska State Leadership Conference

March 19 – 20, 2018

For information, contact: Kori Jensen@nebraska.gov

Nebraska SciFest

April 19 – 28, 2018

For information, go to: nescifest.com

City Nature Challenge

April 27 – 30, 2018

For information, contact: julie.sigmon@omahazoo.com

Do you have STEM related news or program to share with the Omaha STEM community? Contact us to find out how to get your story or program featured, or how to become a member.

Info@omahastem.com              Website:  OmahaSTEM.com       Facebook:  OmahaSTEM






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