Scheppler headshotFor Immediate Release: November 14, 2014

From: International Association for STEM Leaders

International Association for STEM Leaders makes debut in the nation’s capitol and designates the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy as a national leader in STEM Student Research Engagement

On April 24 and 25, Millwood Virginia-based, International Association for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Leaders successfully launched its inaugural leadership event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Nearly 100 STEM leaders from around the world joined IASL leadership. This invitation only annual STEM Leadership Summit recognized several attendees for their leadership in STEM education through a formal awards ceremony. The awards were presented to programs, schools, school districts and individuals who exemplify STEM Excellence as defined by criteria developed by IASL.

The STEM Student Research Engagement Award was presented to the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and to Dr. Judith Scheppler, the leader of the program, for their work in providing students extensive weekly research opportunities in STEM fields. Dr. Scheppler further established standards for student research engagement, one of the first known of its kind in the nation. At the school, students are provided authentic experiences each week by visiting a real-world working environment that allows them to generate knowledge that ultimately will advance the human condition for the global community. All students participate for approximately six hours per week. This is a state funded program designed to encourage students to remain in Illinois, thus keeping the talent local.

International Association for STEM Leaders is globally recognized for creating a "golden standard" for STEM excellence in traditional and non-traditional educational settings for all Pre-kindergarten through adult students. In collaboration with global STEM leaders, the IASL will provide guidance for implementing excellent STEM programming and develop a STEM framework that is industry-based and globally recognized. In the coming months, IASL will host regional events to continue its recognition of exceptional leadership, through awards and to focus its outreach activities around regional education and economic development issues.

The STEM Leadership Summit was held in conjunction with the world’s largest STEM event, hosted by the USA Science and Engineering Festival. STEMconnector, the leading one-stop shop for STEM information participated as an initial sponsor and Edie Fraser, the founder, spoke to the IASL leaders and recognized them for their important work of impacting the lives of students every day through STEM leadership and education. Other partners include Diversified Education Systems (DES), a leader in “turn key” laboratories including: casework, equipment, curriculum, training and support. DES is further a collaborator with Root Cause and Pitsco Education, two additional partners of IASL. On the online side of STEM, Learning Blade and Career ATG offer career and STEM awareness, exposure and training to students. Finally, Concept Schools, a charter school management company and Vista Teach an early elementary robotics and engineering education company took part in the event as sponsors.

For more information, please contact Dr. Carole Cameron Inge at (540) 837-2175 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Judy Scheppler is coordinator of Student Inquiry and Research (SIR) and director of the Grainger Center for Imagination and Inquiry at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA). The SIR program serves as a model learning environment that provides a framework for students to partner with researchers and scholars to conduct original investigations on compelling questions of interest, and to share those results. As coordinator of the program, she guides all aspects of over 300 students conducting independent research. NSTA has chosen to publish two chapters on SIR, authored by Judy and colleagues, in its Exemplary Science series.

Judy received her doctorate in molecular immunology from Emory University, while conducting research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before joining IMSA, she was director of the Biotechnology Teaching Laboratory at SUNY-Stony Brook, where she designed and delivered science outreach programs to middle and high school students and teachers. She is author and co-editor of several books on science and science literacy, including Portraits of Great American Scientists, a collection of scientists’ biographies written by students as part of the SIR program, and co-edited with Nobel laureate Leon Lederman. She publishes, presents, and offers professional development locally and nationally on conducting hands-on science and student research.