The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and Kemin Industries have announced the recipients of the 2019 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award sponsored by Kemin Industries.

The South Central STEM region’s honoree is Matthew Eddy, agricultural teacher at Southeast Polk High School in Pleasant Hill, IA. Mr. Eddy describes agriculture as the true epitome of STEM interdisciplinary integration in education, and his devotion to his classroom is evident. He works with local businesses such as Kemin Industries, Corteva Agriscience, DMACC and more to provide job shadow experiences for his students. Some of them spend three mornings a semester with Kemin scientists and have accumulated 388 hours of industry experience. Mr. Eddy’s Advanced Science Summer Lab allows students to bring cows and run the birthing display at the Animal Learning Center at the Iowa State Fair, while also earning internship credit with DMACC. Students who have taken advantage of this incredible opportunity have gone on to become veterinarians, research nutritionists, hold advanced degrees in animal science and more.

Mr. Eddy also has his students submit research papers to the World Food Prize’s Iowa Youth Institute (IYI) each year on global food systems and world hunger. Eleven of his students have presented their papers to the Global Youth Institute and 6 have gone on to complete international internships with the World Food Prize. Three of his former students are also completing advanced graduate degrees and plan to work in solving global hunger issues, thanks to this opportunity with the IYI. One of Mr. Eddy’s other successful curriculum projects was “RAM: Farm to Fork”, where his students set out to improve the aquaculture system within Southeast Polk High School. They now raise Barramundi fish to provide a fresh fish supply to their cafeteria and grow romaine lettuce in over 500 spots in aquaponic grow beds. His students have grown over 132 lbs. of lettuce and approximately 125 fish, and now Southeast Polk students know where part of their lunch comes from.

Mr. Eddy has completed all 4 courses (320 hours) of CASE (Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education) curriculum certifications. He also has been trained as a Lead CASE teacher and has since earned the distinction of Master Lead CASE Teacher, leading institutes in five states with over 400+ hours of training and leading for other agriculture teachers. Mr. Eddy also sits as a secondary teacher for the U.S. Department of Education on the National FFA Board of Directors.

One of Mr. Eddy’s most extraordinary contributions to his students and school has been his grant writing. He has secured over $118,000 for the establishment of the agriscience lab at Southeast Polk. In 2009, he led an effort to secure funding for STEM integration into agriculture education through CASE, first from a Cargill grant through Iowa FFA Foundation and then by leading a team to secure funding through the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s Scale-Up Programming. Mr. Eddy has used almost $3 million for instructor training and implementation of CASE curriculum in over 75% of Iowa Agriculture Education programs. It is the largest investment into teacher STEM training in the history of agriculture education in Iowa.

This award recognizes and celebrates one teacher from each of the six STEM regions who goes above and beyond to increase their students’ interest in STEM. Each recipient is recognized for their dedication in representing I.O.W.A.; by being Innovative in their methods, Outstanding in their passion for education, Worldly in the way they help students see that STEM is all around them, and Academic through engaging students in the classroom to prepare them for higher education and high-demand careers. Each recipient was selected by a panel of judges after being nominated for the award by a colleague, school administrator, parent, student or community member and completing an application showcasing their contributions to STEM education. Each recipient will receive $1,500 for personal use and another $1,500 for their classroom.

Eddy and the other five recipients have each been honored with ceremonies in their classrooms with their students and peers and will also be recognized together at STEM Day at the Capitol, with Gov. and STEM Council Co-Chair Kim Reynolds and a representative from Kemin Industries the morning of Wednesday, February 13th. For more information about the award and all current and previous recipients, please visit

Release Provided by Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council