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New STEM Read podcast allows NIU faculty and staff to share expertise

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University’s STEM Read is taking advantage of a new partnership with WNIJ, northern Illinois’s public radio station, to share staff and faculty expertise through a new platform: the STEM Read podcast.

The podcast, which debuted Oct. 13, allows NIU faculty and staff to reach a wider audience of K-12 educators and librarians, as well as anyone who loves books and science.

Since 2011, STEM Read has connected Illinois K-12 educators and students with NIU staff and faculty, as well popular fiction writers.

Through live and online programs – ranging from interactive field trips to teacher professional development – STEM Read has inspired young readers to learn more about the science, technology, engineering and math concepts in popular fiction books.

They’ve also been inspiring and instructing K-12 educators to incorporate STEAM-based interdisciplinary learning and technology into their classrooms.

The STEM Read Podcast includes interviews with authors, STEM experts and educators. Each episode focuses on a hot topic in education. Experts dive into the topic and share their insights and then authors discuss books that can act as a gateway for further exploration.

“We were looking for a way to share information and resources with more people,” STEM Read Director Gillian King-Cargile said in a news release. “The podcast allows us to share conversations on everything from computational thinking to cannibalism. We want listeners to have fun and come away with new ideas and awesome book recommendations.”

Kristin Brynteson, director of Professional Development for NIU’s Center for P-20 Engagement, is excited to partner with King-Cargile to spark creativity with the new podcast.

“Professional Development doesn’t have to be boring,” Brynteson said in the release. “It doesn’t have to feel like work. We’ve worked hard to make our sessions fun, funny and interesting. The podcast grew out of that. We hope listeners will start seeing connections they hadn’t seen before.”

Upcoming episodes include interviews with authors Mike Mullin (the “Ashfall” trilogy), Aaron Starmer (“Spontaneous”) and M.T. Anderson (“Feed”), as well as experts such as Erika Gebel Berg of the American Diabetes Association and NIU Professor of Cognitive and Educational Psychology Joseph Magliano.

Episodes 1 and 2 of the STEM Read podcast are available through NPR’s Podcast Directory, the iTunes Store, and through the Northern Public Radio website at

New episodes will be released the second and fourth Friday of every month.

STEM Read is part of NIU’s Center for P-20 Engagement in the Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development.

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