Science Iowa Board Members
Dan Chibnall (President) is the STEM Librarian & Associate Professor of Librarianship at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and has been in that role since July 2016. He received his Master's in Library & Information Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2005. His professional focus is on embedded librarianship, information literacy, science communication, information behaviors, and helping students become better researchers. Dan has designed & teaches courses on the relationship between science fiction & science, misinformation & personal information behaviors, and science communication's role in educating the public about the role of science in everyday life. He is also an active member of the Iowa Library Association, volunteers with the Science Center of Iowa, and performs volunteer water quality testing through Polk County Water Quality Monitoring Program.
Thomas R. O'Donnell (Secretary) is science media editor for a nonprofit in Ames, Iowa that manages programs for the U.S. Department of Energy. He previously worked for several newspapers in Iowa, including nearly 16 years at the Des Moines Register, the state's largest daily. His last position there was medicine and science reporter. He later freelanced for a number of clients, including the Plant Sciences Institute at Iowa State University and the Iowa Biotechnology Association. He is coauthor with Bryan Berg of the 2003 book "Stacking the Deck" from Fireside Books. O'Donnell is an ISU graduate and was a newspaper management fellow at the Modern Media Institute, now the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
Ruth Henderson (Treasurer) began her science journey at Iowa State University with a BS in Biology followed by a Masters in Education. Over the 41 years of her teaching career, she taught junior high and high school students both physical and life science. Outside of the classroom, Ruth worked with young people in Girl Scouts, STEM clubs, Physics Olympics, and Science Bowl Competitions.
As a leader with Science Iowa, Ruth was able to organize the Rally for the Paris Climate Accords at the State Capitol in 2017, The Science Festival Trail in 2019 and help with the March for Science Iowa marches in 2017 and 2018. Her hope is to continue promoting science literacy, conservation, and volunteerism through involvement with Science Iowa.
Maurine Neiman is an evolutionary biologist and Professor at the University of Iowa. Her main appointment is in the Department of Biology. Dr. Neiman also is the first-ever so-called "hard" scientist to have a joint appointment in the Department of Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies. She is currently also serving as a Provost Faculty Fellow for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Dr. Neiman's research program targets fundamental questions in biology centered on the evolutionary impact of genetic variation and the evolution of sexual reproduction. Her research interests extend to a diverse set of other fields ranging from biological invasions and host-pathogen interactions to cancer biology and science studies. She is especially interested in bringing together diverse concepts, tools, and people to address important biological problems that intersect with societal challenges. Dr. Neiman is also very active in community-focused science education and engagement, including long-term leadership of programs like Iowa City Darwin Day and the Iowa-focused Science Booster Club project that bring accessible science and scientists to the public. She will bring her expertise and experience in science-focused outreach to Science Iowa, hoping to help develop more programs statewide that increase science literacy and public enthusiasm for science across Iowa.
Nathan Steimel is a senior at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa and is enrolled in Valley High School’s Honors Program. Through the Honors Program, Nathan has completed 12 AP classes while completing a senior capstone project. For his capstone project, Nathan has raised $15,000.00 through grant applications to restore his high school’s greenhouse. He is now currently the president of the greenhouse club, a student led club with over 80 club members that provides hands-on learning activities to teach members about plant sciences. Recently Nathan has been recognized as one of 4 Herbert Hoover Uncommon Students for his work with the Valley Greenhouse and Greenhouse Club. Nathan is also involved in the Scholar of Science Program. Through this academic program, Nathan has completed college level classes such as Biology, Chemistry, and Physics and is conducting a research experiment at Corteva Agriscience on the shape of the enzyme lysozyme through protein crystallization methods. In school, Nathan participates in clubs such as chemistry club, ecosystem club, future health professionals (HOSA), and student government. In student government, Nathan acts as the secretary of academics. In this role Nathan communicates with building administration to identify ways to better student learning.
In his community, Nathan has participated in the Scouts of America, formerly known as the Boy Scouts of America, since 1st grade. During his time in scouts, he earned the Eagle Scout Award, the Dr. Bernard Harris Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Supernova Award, the Thomas Edison STEM Supernova award, and the Distinguished Conservation Award. Recently Nathan has participated in the international World Food Prize Global Youth Institute. Nathan was chosen amongst 200 international high school students based on his problem-solution essay on climate volatility in Bangladesh. Nathan has a strong value of community and within the past 4 years Nathan has recorded over 400 hours of community service. Every year Nathan enjoys volunteering at Living History Farms as a junior councilor for the youth summer program. Through the greenhouse project Nathan has donated over 400 garden variety plants to inner city community gardens and over 220 pounds of produce to the Urbandale food pantry. Nathan is also a board member on the 2021 uVoice Youth Philanthropy Board focused on Immigrant Youth Health in Central Iowa. The Youth Philanthropy Board researches community needs, reviews grant applications, then allocates money to non-profit organizations. In the future Nathan plans to double major in biology and public health on the pre-med track.