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Science Iowa minutes

October 22, 2023



Call to order


Present: president Dan Chibnall, treasurer Ruth Henderson, secretary Tom O’Donnell, board members Laurie Neuerburg and Nathan Steimel.


Approve the minutes of the August 24, 2023, meeting. See:


Ruth moves for approval. Laurie seconds. Motion carried unanimously.


Treasurer’s report – Ruth Henderson




The check for $600 to reserve the West Des Moines shelter for next year’s Science Festival Trail went through. Balances are $120 savings and $500.77 checking. 


Old business:


Science Festival Trail 2024 dates – Ruth


June 16 is reserved. Ruth will ask the Outside Scoop ice cream truck to return. They promised a share of their profits this year but haven’t paid. She will ask about that, too. In the application for the park, West Des Moines Parks and Recreation asks about signs outside the park. She has previously said we won’t have them, but Ruth now will ask about regulations, thinking it would be good to have some farther away to attract people. 

Nathan asked about where the location for robotics. Ruth said we need to move them closer, and she is thinking of using the Biddle shelter for check-in and distributing the goody bags.

Tom suggested we invite more FIRST Robotics Teams, which have bigger, more impressive robots than the alternative FIRST Tech Challenge teams we’ve invited lately. He will look for FIRST Robotics Competition teams.


We will start seeking a speaker. Tom had earlier suggested Kimberly Wayne of Jewels Academy, a STEM program for underrepresented young women. Ruth suggested Chris Jones. Tom will contact him. Ruth said it may be good to have three speakers. (Another suggestion is Dasia Taylor, who won a science competition as a high school student and has founded her own company.)


Kemin, how to sell ourselves and fundraising – Ruth




Ruth likes that their pillars include science and general education, major components of the Science Festival Trail and other things we do. That connection isn’t as strong for other organizations Kemin has contributed to. We should emphasize that aspect if we pitch to them. Tom said we fit with most of their pillars. Dan said the groups we work with have messages related to sustainability. Nathan found this link on how to apply:


Ruth will contact them about how we submit documents. 


Tom will massage the proposal we made to Integrated DNA Technology to adapt it for Kemin.


Nathan asked about how much we would request. Ruth said to do the Science Festival Trail well, including added publicity and signs, we will probably ask for at least $5,000. Tom said a funder may want a budget. Ruth said she would need to do added research on publicity and signs. Dan said we have little to lose by asking. Nathan said we risk asking for too much and getting rejected. A budget illustrating how we would spend it is critical. 


Ruth and Tom will coordinate on the proposal. Tom will make it a Google document. 


2024 candidate survey – Tom


Tom said he has met with the folks from ASPIRE and Connecting Science to Society and we’re mobilizing to contact our partner organizations from last year. ASPIRE’s Annabelle Lolinco is back and CSTS’s Riley Troyer is still involved. There are two other people from CSTS who have taken up the torch. Meanwhile, their parent organizations, the National Science Policy Network, has assigned Arielle N’Diaye to coordinate similar science candidate surveys in other states. Iowa will have a virtual meeting with her next month.


Iowa Nature Summit 2023 – Tom




This will be held November 16-17 at Drake University. They have asked us to sponsor, but we that is expensive. Tom suggested we contribute swag for their gift bags. Ruth reported we have 66 of the “Science Not Silence” stickers, 53 of the state stickers, and 58 flyers. We need another 200 stickers and 250 flyers.

The cost of new stickers will take a bite out of our bank account, but Tom thinks it will be worth it to get contacts with other organizations we may want to work with. Ruth can cover the cost of the flyers, which she can get at cost. She will contact the print shop. Tom will cover at least part of the cost for stickers. Tom and Ruth will examine the flyer for necessary updating.


New board member




Dan suggested Jason Martin-Hiner at the Keystone Area Education Agency as a board member. He may be able to connect us with funders and organizations. Ruth suggested Chris Jones. Some thought he might be too political. Tom noted that our approach may be too slow for Jones. Dan said we have nothing to lose by asking, but Jones may indeed want to be more active. 

Laurie and Nathan said they’re unfamiliar with Jones and his work but said it would be acceptable to ask him. Tom will ask Jones.


New business


In-person gathering


Ruth said that at some point it would be nice to gather for a meeting and perhaps a meal or other activity. It may be especially important if we have a new board member.

Tom suggested Iowa City since two board members live there and it’s about the same distance for Tom and for Ruth and Dan to travel. He asked whether it’s wise to wait until after the holidays, but we’d also have to contend with weather. Tom suggested choosing two days, one as a weather day. 

Dan likes January. Nathan said that also would be OK.

We decided we would meet on a Saturday, starting at 11, with January 20 and 27 as tentative dates. We would see if we can get a room at a restaurant. Laurie noted that the Darwin Day group holds a dinner at Basta, which supplies a room. She will contact them. 


Note: Laurie prefers we use this email address exclusively:

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