Idaho STEM Ecosystem

Our Mission

Idahoans in every part of the state have access to brighter futures when communities work together and share resources to communicate the value of local STEM education, experiences, and careers. Enter the Idaho STEM Ecosystem! We are a network of collaborators committed to leveraging shared resources that effectively raise awareness of STEM opportunities and connect all Idahoans to STEM pathways in their community.

The Idaho STEM Ecosystem includes a group of engaged partners from PreK-12 and higher education, out-of-school education, industry, nonprofits, state and local government agencies, and the legislature.

STEMx: Developing the Idaho STEM Ecosystem and State STEM Strategic Plan

Our Vision

The EcosySTEM fosters the integration of STEM experiences for Idahoans, creating problem-solvers and critical thinkers who will sustain and lead our economy.

The EcosySTEM members are dedicated to:

  • Building awareness of and ensuring access to STEM education opportunities and STEM careers.
  • Aligning STEM education with Idaho workforce needs of today and tomorrow.
  • Creating successful metrics for STEM education and programming.
  • Building STEM momentum within the state and nationally.

Idaho STEM Ecosystem Team

Erica Compton, Director
Idaho STEM Ecosystem
erica@idahostem.org

Erica Compton is a 4th generation Idahoan with almost 30 years of experience in the area of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. Her early career experiences include working with special needs students from inner city neighborhoods in San Francisco, overseeing after-school STEM learning centers across the Northwest, and co-founding an educational VR company which focused on guiding students to solve real world problems through 3d designed worlds and fully immersive VR.

In 2010 she joined the Idaho Commission for Libraries as Project Coordinator and co-developed the Make It at the Library project with the goal of creating “makers” through innovative out-of-school learning opportunities. The project impacted over 70 public libraries under her watch and received national attention for its unique and innovative model. The program continues to grow and impact students to this day.

In 2015 Erica joined the newly-formed Idaho STEM Action Center as Program Manager and helped build this new state agency from the ground up. She was responsible for overseeing professional development opportunities, grants, student competitions, and scholarships which focused on engaging students and educators in STEM learning and building a strong STEM workforce for Idaho.

Erica has had the honor of presenting at numerous national conferences, including the White House kick-off to the 2016 Week of Making, the National Maker Faire in D.C., the Capitol Hill Maker Faire, and the Mayor’s Conference on Entrepreneurship. She participates in the national Maker Movement and is Idaho’s Ambassador for the Nation of Makers.

When not advocating for education in Idaho, Erica enjoys everything related to the outdoors. She loves to garden, cook, and hike, ski, and bike with her husband Lee, daughter Emily (age 17), and yellow lab Ivy.

Erica Compton, Idaho STEM Ecosystem Director

Trisha Mick, Program Coordinator
Idaho STEM Ecosystem
trisha@idahostem.org

Trisha Mick was born and raised in the Treasure Valley and spent many weekends and summers growing up exploring Idaho forests during family camping trips. Trisha graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning. She’s spent over 15 years working in public libraries, most recently as the Assistant Director of Branches at the Meridian Library District. During her time spent in libraries, Trisha became passionate about providing resources and opportunities to the community, removing barriers of access, and ensuring each individual has access to high quality and affordable education.

In 2014 Trisha, through experiencing her first Hour of Code program, realized the incredible opportunities STEM learning creates for youth and their families. Shortly after she began developing and leading STEM and coding workshops for youth and families, including a very popular preschool coding storytime, Little Logic Learners. Through the power of STEM, Trisha has been able to experience as youth expand their curiosity, get comfortable with failing, and connect with other kids over a shared interest. While working as a Community Education Specialist for Idaho Public Television, Trisha worked with over 100 partners across the State of Idaho, to provide training and opportunities for educators providing early literacy and STEM learning in their organizations. Working with the Idaho STEM Action Center and the Idaho Commission for Libraries, Trisha co-developed the STEM Storytime in a Box program to support 70 libraries and early childcare educators.

When Trisha is not working, she enjoys rafting and hiking with her husband, Jason, and their five dogs (yes, five dogs) and dreams of one day renovating an old school bus into a mobile home, known as a skoolie.

 

 

 

Trisha Mick, Idaho STEM Ecosystem Program Coordinator

Erin Lanigan, INNC Coordinator
Idaho North & North Central Ecosystem
Idaho Regions 1 & 2
erin@idahostem.org

Erin Lanigan is a strong believer in community and learning, and is passionate about supporting and growing educational opportunities throughout Idaho. As a professional, she has leveraged many unique experiences built throughout her diverse background.

Born and raised in Montana, and graduating with a BA from Carroll College in Helena in 2005, Erin created her first business shortly thereafter. Since then she has launched and redefined several small businesses, pursued teaching, taught in the classroom and moved into school administration. She has created and developed professional development curriculum and taught mastery level classes for teachers worldwide.

Shortly after her family moved to Coeur d’Alene in 2017, while exploring the opportunities CdA has to offer, they almost immediately discovered Gizmo-CdA, Inc. makerspace. Over the past four years, she has served at Gizmo as an Innovative Educator and then Executive Director. Erin has cultivated many relationships throughout Coeur d’Alene, North Idaho, and the Pacific Northwest.

Erin completed her M.Ed. in Integrative Studies in 2022. Her business and leadership experience, combined with a passion for learning, makes her a great fit to continue to raise awareness of STEM opportunities and connect Idahoans to STEM pathways in their communities. She is committed to being a driving force in the development of Idaho’s education system.

Although her very favorite thing to do is spend time adventuring with her husband, three teenage children, three rescue dogs, and new kitten, if given a few moments alone, you would likely find her reading, or playing the piano or viola.

Erin Lanigan, INNC Hub Coordinator

ReBekha Lulu, SWISH Coordinator
South & West Idaho STEM Hub
Idaho Region 3
rebekha@idahostem.org

ReBekha Lulu was born in Boise, Idaho and graduated from Idaho City High School in 2005. After a series of adventures, including teaching overseas with the JET Program in Okinawa, she returned to Idaho to begin her formal teaching career. In 2014, she began teaching sixth-grade self-contained classes in her hometown of Idaho City and her role evolved throughout the years as her passion for STEM education grew. In 2021, she took over the role of STEM Specialist and continued on the STEM leadership team as STEM Coordinator to pursue STEM certification and designation for Basin Elementary School. In 2022, ReBekha graduated from BSU with a Masters in Educational Leadership. During the 2022-2023 school year, her role continued to evolve as Assistant Principal in the middle and high school while continuing as STEM Specialist in the elementary school. Her passion for STEM education has helped drive the progression of STEM education at Basin School District. Transitioning to the SWISH Regional HUB Coordinator for the Idaho EcosySTEM is a natural progression of her passions and leadership, and she is sincerely looking forward to working with the schools, organizations, employers, partners, and communities across Region 3.

ReBekha Lulu, SWISH Hub Coordinator

Ashley Schaffner, ISEE Coordinator
Idaho South & East Ecosystem
Idaho Regions 4, 5 & 6
ashley@idahostem.org

Ashley Schaffner started her journey in STEM as a first grade teacher in Blackfoot, Idaho. She spent 7 years teaching there and had the opportunity to serve as team lead, mentor teacher, and technology coordinator for the school. During her time as a first grade teacher, Ashley developed a Computer Science curriculum dedicated to introducing students in grades K-2 to coding and computers. She was able to share this curriculum with other teachers starting in 2018 as a strand provider at i-STEM, a summer Professional Development opportunity hosted by the Idaho STEM Action Center.

In 2019, Ashley decided it was time to move back to her hometown of Pocatello and began teaching 3rd and 4th grade at a charter school. At this time she was able to serve as a part of the leadership team, and help guide her team and school through professional development and pandemics operations. After her transition to the EcosySTEM, Ashley continues to serve as Vice Chair on the School Board.

Ashley joined the EcosySTEM in 2021 and has enjoyed her time as Regional Hub Coordinator, where she gets to work with communities, schools, industries, and other dedicated partners to support STEM across her region. She looks forward to the continued growth and partnerships with the EcosySTEM under the leadership of IBE.

Ashley Schaffner, ISEE Hub Coordinator

Jonny Smith, Graphic Designer
Idaho STEM Ecosystem

Jonathon is an artist and designer with an emphasis in print-media. He is responsible for the visual style of STEM AC designs used in advertising campaigns and public relations. He works with each department to create artwork, images, and informational graphics that clearly communicate the importance and impact of the Idaho STEM AC. Jonathon received a BA in Advertising Design from Boise State University and has over 20 years of experience as an artist and art director working on regional, national, and international marketing campaigns and publications.

Jonny Smith

Asana Draper, Webmaster
Idaho STEM Ecosystem

Asana was born in California and moved to Boise, Idaho when she was 12 years old. She started her adventure in technology over 30 years ago, working for Hewlett Packard and other local technology companies. She begin her career in website development and graphic design in the mid-90s and became a full time, independent contractor in 2003. She has worked with several local businesses and the State of Idaho. Asana joined the Idaho STEM Action Center team in March 2018 and the Idaho STEM Ecosystem Team in July 2023.

 

Asana Draper