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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

True Grinnellian: Steve Sieck

Photo by Hung Vuong
Photo by Hung Vuong
Photo by Hung Vuong

By Lily Bohlke

Grinnellians may think of Professor Stephen Sieck, Biological Chemistry, as just another Noyce professor, but college kids are not the only ones on his mind. He keeps busy thinking about his own three kids as well as every other student enrolled in Grinnell Public Schools. Sieck was recently appointed to the Grinnell School Board and attended the first meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 14. 

“I’ve attended a lot of meetings regularly over the last couple of years as different issues have propped up,” Sieck said. “When the vacancy opened up, I had some people come up to me and they thought that I would be a potential person that would be interested and encouraged me to submit my interest.”

Previously, Sieck has been involved in several committees and boards supporting Grinnell Public School students. He served as President of the Grinnell Community Daycare and Preschool Board for two of the four years he was involved. He has also been a part of the Grinnell Youth Baseball and Softball Association, the Mid-Iowa Football Club and has helped run swim team events.

“I grew up in a small town in Iowa. So for me, being involved in the community outside the College has always been really important,” he said.   

Sieck also serves on the South Central Iowa STEM Advisory Board, which “collaborates to identify, grow and create STEM programs that strengthen the South Central STEM region,” according to Because he is a science professor, one of his focuses on the school board will be to have discussions about how the sciences are taught in the public schools.

“Just to be a voice of the community as a scientist is really important to me,” he said. “Just anything I can help guide and give a different perspective potentially. Being involved with [Grinnell Science Project] here at Grinnell, I wonder, are there things we’re doing to help encourage everyone to participate in science opportunities and science classes? Just making sure those opportunities are afforded to everyone, across the community.”

Sieck also plans to focus on accessibility — making sure the resources in town are available to all students, regardless of background, income or other measures that may impede a student’s ability to make use of opportunities.

“Grinnell is a district that has a lot of diverse population in terms of socioeconomic background and so forth and there are a lot of good resources available for a lot of students. But making sure those resources are available appropriately to everyone in the community,” he said.

Sieck pointed out that there is often a divide between the town of Grinnell and the College, but he feels that he benefits from staying involved in both the College and the community.

“Sometimes I think it’s important we understand there’s a totally different perspective of people that live in this community from the college,” Sieck said. “The issues that are important on campus are totally different than the issues involved in the community in a lot of ways … Sometimes they mix well together and other times they don’t.”

Working for the College while having commitments outside of campus allows Sieck to connect with both cultures and brings a unique perspective to all Grinnellians.

“I spend time here with students but being a part of Grinnell is really important,” Sieck said. “My family’s here now, my kids are involved in lots of things, [and] my wife works in the community. I truly am interested in spending my time like that.”

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