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Science Iowa minutes

October 25, 2021


President Dan Chibnall called the meeting to order at 5:05 p.m. Present: President Dan Chibnall, Treasurer Ruth Henderson, Secretary Tom O’Donnell and board member Maurine Neiman. Science Iowa members Cornelia Flora, ISU emeritus professor, Diane Jones, retired engineer from West Des Moines, and Tim Coble, retired IT person and Science Center of Iowa volunteer. 


Ruth moved to approve the minutes of the September 26, 2021, meeting. Tom seconded. 

Approved unanimously.


Treasurer’s report – Ruth Henderson


Business savings account: $120. Checking: $1,427.67. One check for $275 to Tom O’Donnell for IRS filing fees cleared.


The Green State Credit Union account came with a debit card. Ruth recommends dropping it because it costs us $1.59 per month. We can add it later if necessary.


Tom moved that we drop the debit card. Dan seconded. Motion carried.


Old business:


Report on actions related to member-suggested topics at the September meeting – Board members


Dan recapped the idea, forwarded at the last meeting, of contacting other groups to collaborate. 


Dan contacted Jesse Wilcox, an assistant professor of biology and science education with a K-12 emphasis at the University of Northern Iowa. He is active in the Iowa Academy of Science (IAS). He and Dan are collaborating on an article. Wilcox likes the idea of collaborating. He will confer with friends and colleagues in IAS. He and Dan brainstormed ideas, including having teachers in IAS provide information on what students are doing. The Science Iowa could help boost those projects or connect students with professors for collaboration. 


Wilcox was IAS president three or four years ago but may no longer be on the board. Nonetheless, he knows many people within the organization. 


Dan also asked Wilcox about the Iowa Science Foundation grant status. Wilcox had no information.


Ruth will contact ISEA after the contentious school board elections next week. She also will contact Jay Staker, the science coordinator for ISU Extension.


Tom will contact the IAS executive director to see what’s happening with the grant.


Bank account and online donation options – Ruth Henderson


Ruth has looked at Venmo as a possible way to collect online donations. PayPal’s fees may be onerous. She’d like to put a payment link on Facebook and on the Science Iowa website. 


Dan loves Venmo and uses it frequently. Maurine supported choosing Venmo.


Ruth is working with Green State to link whatever we get to the bank account so donations go in directly.


Ruth is an administrator on Facebook so she should be able to add that button. She’ll have to check to see whether we can do it on Wix. 


Tom asked about taking donations before we are certified as a nonprofit. Diane said she thinks donations can be tax deductible retroactively. 


Ruth asks whether it’s wise to add the pay button at the end of the year when people may make donations. They may assume it’s deductible when it isn’t.


Tom and Dan suggested waiting until after the first of the year so we can offer a deduction when we get nonprofit status. Ruth agreed.


Board resignation and replacement – Board members


We discussed having a Slack discussion of possible members.


Seeking board members from outside the Des Moines area – Tom O’Donnell


Tom updated his thoughts on science museums. Soliciting board members may not be the best source, since they often are businesspeople with little science connection. They also may be reluctant to join a statewide science organization when their main interest lies with their communities.


Dan suggested generating a list of places like the science center and considering whether they could be affiliates or a source of possible board candidates. Tom will compile a list of science museums.


Maurine suggests graduate students as board members. She also has an emeritus faculty member in mind.


Tom noted that we worked with grad students for the voter guide, Annabelle Lolinco of ISU’s ASPIRE chapter of the National Science Policy Network and Riley Troyer of Connecting Science to Society at U of I. They were great to work with.


We’ll compile a list and discuss in Slack.


Email list – Tom O’Donnell and Dan Chibnall


Dan has done Twitter and Facebook posts soliciting people to sign up for our emails.


Ruth added that we need to continue the scientist spotlight and might solicit suggestions.


Using the email list of volunteers from 2017 –Tom O’Donnell


Tom will look at volunteers for potential board members and could contact them to draw them back into the fold of active members.


Tom will compose a message updating the volunteers on our activities. We’ll contact them later about actions.


Tom brought up the voter guide and suggested we should start now on the 2022 version for the primary election. He will contact riley and Annabelle to get the ball rolling.


Tom also brought up grants. This could be a major source to finance our activities, but we need help finding possible sources and writing applications.


Ruth recalled our Science on the Stump forum and suggested doing something like that again.


Dan said he doesn’t have a lot of experience in applying for grants. Tom suggested Maurine may be able to help. She said she is willing to review applications. It probably will be easier to find grants we can fit projects into rather than developing a project and seeking grants that fit, Maurine said.

Next meeting: Tentatively set for Monday, November 29 at 5 p.m. Dan will send a poll.

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