A long-time proponent of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education has been named the new Environmental and Public Health Ambassador for the State Hygienic Laboratory.
State Rep. Dave Jacoby, the University of Iowa's Public Relations Outreach Coordinator on the SE Iowa STEM Region team, will serve in the honorary position this year.
"STEM students are the future workforce for our nation's laboratory system," Hygienic Laboratory Director Christopher Atchison said. "It seemed ideal to ask David to help us."
Atchison noted that in the Iowa House, Jacoby represents Coralville, where the lab is located, and advocated for funding for the lab's forthcoming Center for the Advancement of Laboratory Science.
In addition, Atchison pointed to Jacoby's current post at the UI and past experience at Kirkwood Community College for 23 years as Program Director of Workforce Initiatives, specializing in youth employment and training.
Kirkwood is opening a Regional Center at the University of Iowa — not far from where the lab is located in the UI Research Park— one of six regional STEM hubs established through the governor’s STEM council.
"We look for people whose regular activities create synergy with what we do at the laboratory," Atchison said. "STEM outreach has been a central part of our ambassadorial program since Anne Michael Langguth used it as her platform to attract young people to the sciences." A Harvard graduate, former Miss Iowa and current fourth-year student in the UI School of Medicine, Langguth was the lab's first Environmental and Public Health Ambassador in 2009.
Jacoby called it an honor to be chosen as the new ambassador. “Our team goal is to increase the awareness of the importance of science in our everyday lives and promote STEM studies for each and every student,” he said.