Jacobson Institute

The Jacobson Institute

The Jacobson Institute was established in 2007 as a part of the University of Iowa's John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

The Jacobson Institute engages K-12 students in innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship, giving them the tools needed to succeed, flourish, and to be workforce ready. Built on three key components: professional development for educators, innovative curricula, and ongoing support; the Jacobson Institute offers research-driven initiatives in which schools and communities can engage. Through strategic collaborations with state and national organizations, the Jacobson Institute is catching the public’s eye. In addition to an ongoing partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, this past year, Jacobson Institute’s STEM Innovator® was named one of ten STEM Scale-Up Programs for Iowa educators by the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.

View Full 2019 Annual Report

Program Impact


U.S. states with Jacobson Institute trained educators


Countries with Jacobson Institute trained educators


Students impacted (K-12)


  • Professional Development for Educators:
    • BizInnovator
    • STEM Innovator®
  • National Innovator Competition for high school students
  • CEO Camp for upper elementary and middle school students


  • Students gain 21st Century Skills essential for workforce readiness
  • Schools and communities build innovation education models
  • Classrooms transform into problem solving incubators
  • Eligible students earn University of Iowa college credit




Krista Casterline, Krystle Stehno, and Tanya Lemburg

When high school math teacher Krystle Stehno signed up to attend the Jacobson Institute’s 2013 STEM Innovator® program she hoped to learn new strategies to develop 21st Century skills in her students. Little did she know she would be a champion at her Iowa school, bringing educators from different disciplines into the program and leading Williamsburg Community School District’s efforts to create a unique model for students engaged in solving real world problems alongside community business and industry partners. Fast forward six years, today Krystle (math), Tanya (life science) and Krista (family and consumer science) make up the core team driving their school’s development of a STEM innovation and entrepreneurship pathway.