Science Iowa minutes

February 1, 2022

4 p.m.


Call to order


President Dan Chibnall called the meeting to order at 4:03. Present: president Dan Chibnall, treasurer Ruth Henderson, secretary Tom O’Donnell, board members Laurie Neuerburg and Nathan Steimel; members Diane Jones and Kate Garner.


Welcome and Introduction of board members – Dan Chibnall and board


Board members introduced themselves. In particular, new directors Laurie Neuerburg and Nathan Steimel. She is a science reference and outreach librarian at the University of Iowa and helps organize the annual Darwin Day program, to be held April 8 and 9 this year. He is a Valley High School senior who is heavily involved with STEM activities. He’s doing research at Corteva Agriscience.


Introduction of members in attendance – Kate Garner is a Des Moines broadcaster working in news with a strong interest in science. Diane Jones a retired West Des Moines engineer.


Member input and comments


No comments.


Approve the minutes of the January 4, 2022, meeting. See:


Ruth moved; Tom seconded. The motion passed unopposed.


Treasurer’s report – Ruth Henderson


Business savings balance is $120. Business checking balance is $1,327.67. No payments or receipts for the month.


Old business:


Obstacles to initiating online donations – Ruth Henderson


Dan noted that we’ve been trying to set up accounts to collect donations online. Ruth has encountered obstacles to establish a Facebook charitable donations account, which would allow us to have a donation button on the site and to use Facebook Pay. She is an administrator on the page but is not the financial administrator. She doesn’t know who that is and can’t go to the settings to see. 

Tom noted that Kaitlin Higgins, one of the original Science Iowa organizers, may have some of the history and ideas on how to fix the issue.

Ruth also has attempted to enroll in Paypal, but an email the company says it has sent to to confirm the account never arrives. She may delete the application and start from scratch. She suspects the issue is that her name and address don’t match what’s on the documents, such as the Employer Identification Number, which usually list Kaitlin as the registered agent.

Tom will contact Kaitlin to see if she has ideas and can help. We may need to do a Zoom call.


Addition of new board members – Dan Chibnall


Dan noted that Nathan is filling the position left by a board resignation. Laurie is completely new. Tom and Dan will work on coordinating term endings, etc.


2022 candidate survey – Tom O’Donnell


Tom met with the folks from ASPIRE at Iowa State University and Connecting Science to Society at the University of Iowa. They edited the current question list, refining and deleting to seek a manageable number. They focused on the federal office questions, which also will be adapted for state offices with additional questions specific to those positions. Tom now will work with the federal questions and merge them with the state questions for a second editing session. Then the group will send the questions to participating organizations for their review. 

We’re also seeking new organizations to join. We likely will get the Iowa Public Health Association, which would be a major addition.

Dan asked how others can help. Tom suggested that they review the list of organizations. If board members or Science Iowa members have a connection to any or the group, they could contact those about participating. Tom will share the organization spreadsheet.


Update on additional events and plans – Board


Dan noted that we’re still in the gray world of waiting to see what we can do given the pandemic. It’s hard to plan events for the coming year and Dan is seeking suggestions. We may look at what similar groups in other states are doing and see what works. 


New business


IEC Environmental Advocacy Day – Ruth Henderson


Ruth noted that Science Iowa has participated in this before. She’s willing to do it again on February 16. She noted it might be a good way to find organizations interested in signing on to the candidate survey. It also is a good way to network with groups and find ones who want to participate in a possible Science Festival Trail. She’s seeking ideas and needs to assemble an informational brochure. Ruth will send Tom the text from a previous flyer and he will rework it to add the candidate survey and our nonprofit status.


Science Festival Trail ideas and dates – Ruth Henderson

Ruth noted that we did this event with great success in 2019. She has ideas about how to reconfigure it, especially putting exhibitors in a single location rather than placing them around the trial. 

She plans a trip to Germany in June, so we’ll look at mid- to late July. We must decide soon to reserve the Raccoon River Park shelters. Kate Garner may be able to help with publicity.

Dan noted that Science Iowa can help Laurie promote Darwin Day.


Next meeting

Dan will send a poll to board members.