The STEMM FIRE Foundation was started in 2019 by three individuals who were each raised in small towns and rural areas in Kansas and Indiana. Their paths crossed while working in the medical and engineering fields in Kansas City. They began to notice significant discrepancies that existed between rural and urban students and their exposure to STEMM professionals and careers. In large cities, STEMM professionals frequently volunteer and interact with classrooms; major exhibits and demonstrations are either brought to schools or are available for exploration just down the block. Corporate-funded programs enrich and expand students' experiences and knowledge of STEMM fields continuously.
At STEMM FIRE, we believe that rural students should have similar opportunities and exposure to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine. Rural teachers and school districts are already making significant strides in improving this area for their students. However, there are a variety of challenges that exist including distance, limited budgets and a general lack of willingness of large city corporations to expand their philanthropic goals past city limits. This leads to rural students missing out on the vast opportunities available in the STEMM world and losing out on valuable exposure and experience in these fields.
It is our mission to bring small groups of STEMM professionals out to schools and student organizations in rural areas and small towns of Kansas and potentially beyond, at no cost to our already financially stressed educators. Our aim is to provide students with examples of a variety of careers and encouragement to pursue STEMM studies. We provide long term points of contact for future STEMM career paths. This includes using a network of STEMM professionals who volunteer their time as mentors and offer job shadowing opportunities. It is our hope to encourage enrollment in and offer information on dual credit courses with the colleges and universities.
Rural areas are in desperate need of STEMM-educated individuals to return and support their communities, just as cities are in need of our outstanding STEMM educated individuals from our rural areas. It is our hope that between parents, teachers and support from the STEMM FIRE Foundation, the STEMM interested student will become inspired, equipped and prepared to pursue extraordinary opportunities for themselves, their families, and eventually give back to their own communities.
Meet The Team
Lindsay Schmidt, PA-C
Lindsay grew up in Iuka, Kansas and went to school in neighboring Pratt, Kansas. After attaining degrees at both Kansas State University and The University of Nebraska Medical Center, Lindsay began working as a Physician Assistant in Orthopedic Surgery in Kansas City in 2010. She currently works at The University of Kansas Health System in upper extremity orthopedic surgery. She lives with her husband Brandon and their two daughters in Shawnee, Kansas.
Dr. E. Bruce Toby
Dr. Toby was born in Lafayette, Indiana. He enjoyed playing football for his undefeated high school team. He went on to receive an Engineering degree from Purdue. He graduated Medical School from Indiana University Medical School. He completed his Orthopedic Residency at Wake Forest and then his fellowship in hand surgery/microvascular surgery at Duke. He is the chairman of Orthopedic Surgery and continues to practice at the University of Kansas Health System. He lives in Overland Park with his wife Dolores and his 2 hunting dogs. His son Sam is in the US Army and his daughter Rachel, her husband and their son live in St. Louis.
Brandon Schmidt, PE
Brandon grew up in La Crosse, Kansas. He graduated from Kansas State University with his degree in Electrical Engineering. He is a Senior Electrical Engineer at Burns and McDonnell in Kansas City. Since 2011, he has worked at implementing communication systems for power utilities across the United States. He lives in Shawnee, Kansas with his wife Lindsay and their two daughters.
Marian is a Chemical Engineer from the University of South Florida, with over 30 years of corporate experience. She currently works as a consultant for the KC STEM Alliance on programs that support girls who are interested in STEM.
In spite of her southern roots, she loves living in the midwest and enjoys horseback riding, fishing and hunting. She does this mostly at her home in Osceola, Missouri with an assortment of horses, cats, and a dog. She is the proud Mom of Dorothy Allen who lives in Baltimore with her husband Travis.