Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency

Congratulations to the 2021 Iowa STEM Teacher Award Recipient - Devan Walker from Southeast Valley

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and Kemin Industries have announced the recipients of the 2021 Iowa STEM Teacher Award, sponsored by Kemin Industries. 

The North Central STEM region’s honoree is Devan Walker, science teacher at Southeast Valley High School in Gowrie, Iowa. She was selected for her efforts to create accessible and engaging content for students—in any subject she teaches. 

At Southeast Valley High School, Walker covers a variety of classes, including chemistry, environmental science, biotechnology, anatomy and physiology, food science and physics. She strives to incorporate hands-on activities that demonstrate the principles of each topic. Some of her hands-on projects have been inspired by professional development workshops, which Walker regularly attends to learn from and collaborate with other educators. In 2017, she was one of 18 teachers selected to attend the Iowa Space Grant Consortium—resulting in an interactive physics experiment brought back to her classroom. After attending biotechnology programs, Walker has been able to lead students through labs to learn more about DNA.  

Walker works hard to make sure students understand how STEM concepts will serve them in life. In food science, learners see fractions, conversions and even chemistry come to life in the kitchen. She also helps students explore STEM topics, allowing learners to understand scientific data and work on critical thinking. 

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 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 their classrooms—as well as another $1,500 for personal use.

Walker and the other five recipients will also be recognized together at STEM Day at the Fair, held August 22, 2021. Usually held during STEM Day at the Capitol in February, the change was made with the health of teachers, their students and families in mind. For more information about the award and all current and previous recipients, please visit

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