After nearly 12 years in the role, Dr. Suzanne Mitchell will retire as executive director of the Arkansas STEM Coalition and be succeeded by Hannah Vogler.
Mitchell was a founding organizer of the group in 2010 along with Jerry Adams, John Chamberlin, and James Hendren, business leaders advocating for support and improvement of STEM education and opportunities in Arkansas.
“The Arkansas STEM Coalition was founded on the principle that STEM MATTERS and that the study of STEM subjects is central to the state’s competitiveness in this knowledge-based economy,” Mitchell said.
The Arkansas STEM Coalition Board of Directors includes 30 high level executives from companies and organizations who employ STEM-skilled workers in Arkansas.
The Arkansas STEM Coalition sponsors premier programs including the signature Science Equipment program, funded by the sale of Arkansas education license plates. The program has provided funds allowing the Arkansas STEM Coalition to distribute over $1.1 million dollars of science equipment to 294 elementary public schools serving 61,600 students in grades 3 to 6.
Other activities include STEM Girls Leadership Conferences for 7th to 12th grade girls, Health Sciences Career Tech Days for 8th graders, STEM Venture Academy for 10th grade students, and a laptop loan program for education and community organizations.
“Suzanne has provided leadership, collaboration, and encouragement for the board of directors during the past 12 years of growth. We applaud her amazing ability to imagine, explore, and ignite curiosity among leaders in communities across Arkansas and the United States,” said Paul Rich, chair of the board.
New executive director Hannah Vogler started in January. She spent over 20 years in the nonprofit world. Most recently, she has been the executive director of both the Pulaski County Imagination Library and the Argenta Community Development Corporation. She also co-founded The Colon Club, a national nonprofit organization that educates younger people about colorectal cancer after her cousin Amanda died from colon cancer at 27 years old.