FAQ

Nomination

How do I nominate someone?

Visit our site at www.stemaward.smapply.io and click the “Register” button to create an account. Once your account has been set up, you will be prompted through a series of questions to complete the nomination.

If you created an account for a previous year of the award, your account is still active within the system, so please use the previous account. If you’re not sure what email address is associated with your account, use the verify your account function. If you need to reset your password, follow the “Forgotten Password” prompts on the Log In page and follow the directions in the email message to get access to your account and reset the password.

Who is eligible to be nominated for this award?

Any licensed, full-time, PreK-12 teacher who instructs classes in science, technology, engineering or mathematics in the state of Iowa is eligible for this award. Individuals who received the I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award in a previous year are NOT eligible for nomination or application.

Can I provide supporting materials with my nomination?

No. We ask that you simply complete the 400-word essay at the end of your nomination form to further discuss why you find this teacher to be exceptional. In the application section, the teacher you nominated will be able to supply supplemental materials with their application.

What happens after I complete my nomination?

Once you have completed the nomination, you will receive a submission confirmation email message to the email address associated with your Survey Monkey Apply account. Then, our system will send an email message to the teacher you nominated, to the email address you provided on the nomination form, inviting them to open a new account or access a previous account and complete their application before the deadline in November.

I was told I was nominated by someone, but never received an email to start an application.

Make sure the nominator fully completed and submitted the nomination. If you have questions on the status of the nomination, please contact Shari Saunders-Behnke at ssbehnke@strategicamerica.com.

If I nominated a teacher last year, will my old login still work?

Yes. Please use the “Forgotten Password” prompt on the site’s Log In page and follow the directions in the email message to get access to your account and reset the password. If you’re not sure what email address is associated with your account, use the verify your account function.

Can I nominate the same person I nominated last year and keep the same nomination?

Yes. As long as the teacher was not selected as a recipient for a past year’s I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award, they are eligible for this year’s award. But any nominations that were created last year will not exist in the system and a new nomination must be created to be considered for this year’s award.

Can I nominate myself?

No. Self- nominations will not be eligible for review and will be discarded.

Can I nominate a teacher in a different STEM region than where I live or go to school?

Yes. Be sure to correctly identify which STEM region they teach in on the nomination form. You can find a map of the Iowa STEM regions here.

Can I start a nomination and return to it later to complete?

Yes. Once you create your account, you can start an application and return to complete it at any time before the nomination deadline. We do recommend copying and pasting your essay questions into a separate document to your computer for your personal record.

How long does a nomination form take to complete?

On average, it takes between 15 and 25 minutes to complete a nomination form. We do recommend copying and pasting your essay questions into a separate document to your computer for your personal record.


Application

Can I see the application ahead of time?

Yes. Nominated teachers can view the application ahead of time on the “Preview Application” tab at the top right of the home page.

If I completed an application last year, can I be nominated again this year?

Yes. As long as you were not selected as a recipient for a past year’s I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award and meet the eligibility requirements, you may be nominated for this year’s award and complete an application.

Can I provide supplemental materials with my application?

Yes. We encourage you to provide up to three supplemental materials, no longer than three pages each with your application. To be considered during the judging process, all materials must be in PDF format within your application form. You will be prompted to upload up to three documents with your application once you have completed the informational questions and short essays.

Can I submit videos with my application?

Yes. You are allowed to submit one video with your application that will not count toward your three supplemental materials. Acceptable video file formats include .avi, .mp4, .wav, YouTube or Vimeo. Dropbox links or zipped files will not be accepted. Videos must be no longer than five minutes in length. Videos longer than five minutes will not be considered.

If I completed an application last year, can I find that application again in the system for this year?

No. If you are nominated for this year’s award, you must fill out a new application on our site. You can use your old account, but a new application must be completed.

Can I start my application and return to it later?

Yes. Once your account has been created, you can save and return to your application at any time before the application close date. We do recommend saving your essay questions into a separate document for your personal records.

How long does it take to complete the application?

On average, it takes between 1 and 2 hours to complete a nomination form. We do recommend copying and pasting your essay questions into a separate document to your computer for your personal record.


Other

How does the award process work?

To be eligible for the I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award, you must first be nominated by someone else through the award site during the nomination period. Once a nomination is completed on your behalf, you will receive an email inviting you to create an account on our site and complete an application before the application closing date. Once the applications have closed, the applications and all supplement materials will be separated among a panel of judges who will select six teachers to receive the award, one in each of the six STEM regions. The judges will then present their six recipient recommendations to the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. Recipients will be announced in January of each year.

What happened to the STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching?

The STEM Education Award for Inspired Teaching was renamed to the I.O.W.A. STEM Teaching Award in 2016 to better align with STEM education in Iowa.

What is the timeline for the award?

The timeline for each year's award can be found on the home page.

What can the prize money be spent on?

Each of the six recipients receive an award of $1,500 for their personal use and another $1,500 for use in their classroom.

I’m having technical problems completing my nomination or application. Who should I contact for help?

If you are having issues starting, completing, or submitting your nomination or application, please contact Shari Saunders-Behnke at ssbehnke@strategicamerica.com.

How many teachers are selected for this award?

Six teachers, one from each of the six Iowa STEM regions, will be selected by a committee of judges.

Who selects the award recipients?

The judges for this award are volunteers from across the state, selected by the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and will be randomly assigned a preselected number of applications to rate and review. If there is a conflict of interest between an applicant and a judge, the application will be reassigned to another judge.

When should I expect to be notified of my nomination/application status?

You will receive emails confirming the completion and submission of your nomination and application.

When will recipients be announced?

The award recipients can expect to be contacted in January. A formal award reception for the year's award recipients is held at STEM Day at the Iowa State Capitol each February.

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If you have other questions, please feel free to reach out to one of the following:

Shari Saunders-Behnke at ssbehnke@strategicamerica.com.

Carrie Rankin, Assistant Director for Development, Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council at Rankin@IowaSTEM.gov