Science Pioneers, Inc.
30 W. Pershing, Suite 410
Kansas City MO 64108
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 460-2261
Mission Statement

Science Pioneers creates innovative and supportive education activities that inspire and engage Kansas City area youth to use science and critical thinking skills in their everyday lives and future careers. Science Pioneers (SP) works to inspire and encourage young people to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) studies to meet the demands of global competition and acquire the skills needed for 21st century careers.

CEO/Executive Director 141Ms. LeAnn Smith
Board Chair Ms. Dorene Shipley
Board Chair Company Affiliation Carondelet Health Foundation
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1956
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $430,500
Projected Expenses $420,416
Mission Statement

Science Pioneers creates innovative and supportive education activities that inspire and engage Kansas City area youth to use science and critical thinking skills in their everyday lives and future careers. Science Pioneers (SP) works to inspire and encourage young people to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) studies to meet the demands of global competition and acquire the skills needed for 21st century careers.

Background Statement

Since 1956, Science Pioneers (SP) has played an important role in supporting science education in Kansas City. This unique organization was founded by Dr. Charles N. Kimball, then president of Midwest Research Institute. He and other leading scientists and educators were dedicated to supporting youth who were interested in the study of science. The formation of Science Pioneers supplemented classroom teaching and gave students exciting opportunities to deepen and demonstrate their scientific knowledge. SP utilizes the resources of the corporate and academic communities to offer students and teachers experiences with real world scientists and engineers. Science Pioneers continues to host the area’s annual Science & Engineering Fair and provides education programs to an ever-expanding metropolitan region, responding to changes in society and the educational needs of students and teachers. Science Pioneers also serves as a clearinghouse for other science education programs, collaborating with and supporting the efforts of schools and other nonprofits throughout the area in order to further bolster science education in our community. Over the years, SP has expanded its programs to provide a unique range of STEM learning opportunities for students and teachers alike and reaches an average of 15,000 people each year.

In addition, Science Pioneers maintains a website where teachers and students can locate information about upcoming SP programs and register for these events. Website visitors can also find links to other science education websites, lesson plans, student resources, grants for the classroom, and local science education organizations. Science Pioneers is unique compared to similar organizations in other communities because it is a stand-alone nonprofit, not dependent on a single university or school district. This allows it to be inclusive and to respond to the needs of students and teachers throughout the region and on both sides of the Kansas-Missouri state line. 

Impact Statement

Science Pioneers’ (SP) achievements in 2013-14 demonstrate our ability to connect students with STEM learning opportunities across our area. The majority (87%) of the school districts in our seven-county area utilize SP programs. On average, districts participate in at least half our six major programs. Last year, we know at least 5,399 students and teachers attended our programs as participants.


  • The Greater Kansas City Science & Engineering Fair (GKCSEF) had 1,309 students with 882 projects collecting 105 academic awards and 150 special awards. In addition, the top 3 winners received an all-expense paid trip to the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF). In the past 5 years, GKCSEF entrants have received 6 awards at ISEF in addition to meeting and interacting with like-minded peers from around the world.
  • Saturday STEM Seminars reached an audience of 2,616 students and adults over eight seminars, the largest audience since the program’s inception.
  • Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) reached 428 girls during a Friday evening conference where they engaged in hand-on activities with female STEM professionals and heard a terrific keynote speech by a female STEM CEO. In addition, 15 girls participated in two Saturday workshops of continued hands-on, STEM learning experiences.
  • Science Pioneers offered 14 online courses for teachers, plus 12 face-to-face ScienceWise courses. Together with contracts for professional development with schools and districts, Science Pioneers reached more than 1,000 teachers with proven curriculum and techniques for improving student learning and understanding. Each month, our redesigned website has surpassed the previous year’s comparable month by an increase of over 50%. 


These efforts reflect Science Pioneers' capacity to meet the challenges of STEM education in our community and the need to provide more opportunities to inspire the next generation to consider STEM career opportunities.

Needs Statement

Our current needs include funding and/or pro bono resources to help accomplish the following crucial upgrades:


  1. Appropriate technology/tools – all SP program evaluations are paper-based (8 programs), as are the Science & Engineering Fair applications. In addition, we have separate databases for Fair information (Access) and donor/participant information (Raisers Edge). We use Constant Contact for emails, Moodle for online courses and Excel for tracking evaluation data and other miscellaneous information – ideally, one tool can be used to solve this issue.
  2. Integrated fundraising/marketing/communications plan – SP has no staff dedicated to any of these daily tasks and no specific fundraising plan. In addition to identifying additional funding opportunities, a plan and staff to implement it will help elevate our visibility and community awareness. Our funding mix is currently 36% grants, 49% corporate giving, 9% registrations/fee for service and 6% from individuals; we have no fundraising events.
  3. Unrestricted grants or other funding to help add one part- or full-time staff to help with the increased work load – staffing is currently about 3.5 FTE.
  4. Assistance evaluating possible ways to celebrate our 60th Anniversary in 2016.


Service Categories
Student Services
Management & Technical Assistance
Elementary & Secondary Schools
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County
MO - Clay County
MO - Platte County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
KS - Leavenworth County
KS - Lawrence
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

I want everyone to know I am thrilled to be the new Executive Director for Science Pioneers (SP). I was hired early in 2014 to replace the previous ED, who retired. SP is an amazing organization with a long, rich history and an excellent array of programs and services. Our staff manages to get a tremendous amount of work accomplished with minimal resources, which is a real source of pride. I keep hearing that Science Pioneers is one of KC’s best kept secrets – well, I think it’s time that we stop being a secret and ensure people know about our programs! We all know that there aren’t enough students in the pipeline to fill the growing demand for STEM professionals but Science Pioneers is here to help!

In addition to continuing our regular programming, one of the first major tasks is be to update our strategic plan this winter. The plan was last updated in 2011. We will host focus groups and conduct online surveys with all our stakeholder groups to identify strengths as well as gaps in programming across the community; included will be representatives from industry, education, philanthropy, parents, students and peer STEM nonprofit organizations. We believe true collaboration with and among all interested parties is the only way to address the pressing need for more and more STEM graduates. As the planning process unfolds, we will evaluate the need for changes to current programming or potential new program offerings to meet the needs of our communities. Research shows our area will need 80,000-100,000 more STEM professionals by 2018—Science Pioneers is well poised to help grow the pipeline of students who are engaged critical thinkers and problem solvers!

To aid our efforts in building students’ interest in STEM studies as well as their teacher’s ability to provide high quality STEM teaching, Science Pioneers needs an expanded revenue base from corporations, foundations and individuals. While economic conditions are always in flux, what Science Pioneers does cannot be neglected. The long-term health and viability of our community is at stake. Students need our help today, for they are our future life sciences, engineering and technology workforce—our efforts must be collaborative, constant and growing.

Description Students in grades 4-12 enter a project as an experimental, engineering, computer science, mathematics or invention in this annual Fair, which we’ve hosted since 1952. Experimental projects may be in behavioral and social science, botany and zoology, health and medicine, molecular biology, physical science—force and motion, physical science—matter and energy, earth & space science, chemistry, or environmental science & sustainable energy categories. Students from more than 20 school districts, plus parochial, charter and home schools, enter as individuals or as teams of 2-3 students and are eligible for academic awards based on stated criteria. Nearly 50 community and national organizations sponsor Special Awards to recognize the quality of student efforts. The top 3 winners in the senior division, our Pioneers in Science, receive an all-expense paid trip to the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF). In the past 5 years, GKCSEF entrants have received 6 awards at ISEF in addition to meeting and interacting with like-minded peers from around the world.
Category Education, General/Other Elementary & Secondary Education
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), ,
Short-Term Success Having students understand scientific methodology or engineering design processes and demonstrate this understanding in their design and execution of their science fair projects is the short-term definition of success. Judges evaluate each project against a scoring guide, which assesses student understanding and success. These judges' evaluations, determined that 88% of the projects merited silver or gold ribbons, which indicates that their research, experimental design and execution show a high degree of accomplishment.  84% of the students rated science fair projects as a better way of learning science than other ways of studying science.
Long-Term Success Adults who have participated in the Science Fair as students report that they are life-long science learners, that what they learned in doing their projects has influenced their problem-solving skills and that as a result, they are better critical thinkers. Many of them actually pursue a career in science, technology or engineering. A recent National Science Foundation funded study concluded that undergraduate research was the major factor in pursuing research as a career.  The authors further recommended that involving students in research needs to begin in the elementary school and continue through high school. According to Bayer's Facts of Science Education 2010, 60% of career scientists and engineers report that they developed their interest in science before age 11.  The Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair begins its work with students at age 9 and continues its influence with students up through age 18.
Program Success Monitored By Each August, staff updates the Science Pioneers website with the latest Science Fair rules, forms, FAQ's and highlights changes for the Science Fair the following March. These forms set the standards for students to follow. Staff is available to answer questions via e-mail or telephone to aid students in developing quality projects. Science Pioneers holds teacher workshops to help them teach research techniques and motivate their students. Meet the Science Mentor Day, held each November, offers students the opportunity to obtain advice and longer term assistance in developing their project. The Scientific Review Committee reviews all changes in International rules to be certain that our Fair is in compliance. Following the submission deadline, a volunteer committee of experienced judges reviews all projects to be certain they qualify and are placed in the most suitable of the 12 categories of the Fair. Student evaluations monitor their learning experience against short-term outcomes.
Examples of Program Success 1,309 students entered 976 projects in the 2012 Fair. On written evaluations of the Fair, 49% of the students said they were considering a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Annually, Science Pioneers sends the three Grand Award winners to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. One of the three Grand Award winners won awards at the International Fair. In the last three years, five out of eight of our Fair's Grand Award winners were also Grand Award winners at the International Fair. More than 230 judges determined the winners of the academic awards. Over 100 judges from 45+ organizations offered special awards of cash, products, certificates and opportunities for additional competition, scholarships and internships. One hundred ninety-two students received academic and special awards at the 2013 Fair.
Description ScienceWise incorporates both onsite and online courses for teachers. For 2014-15 it includes: a Kickoff event; 14 online and 11 onsite ScienceWise courses; a Science & Engineering Fair Kickoff workshop; and Teacher Resource Day. All aim to improve science teaching by providing teachers with project-based learning tools and resources for use by classroom teachers. For every 3 onsite courses or 1 online course (12.5 contact hours), teachers can also enroll for 1 hour graduate credit from UMKC or Baker University. Online courses permit teachers to work at their own pace over a month's time. They can practice techniques in between sessions, share successes and receive mentoring on difficulties. Other courses are held in the evening or on weekends. ScienceWise Teacher Resource Day allows master teachers to share outstanding lessons with other teachers. Area science-related organizations also present programming available to schools. Teachers attending receive a CD with all the lesson plans that were demonstrated that day and contact information on the organizations they encountered at the event.
Category Education, General/Other Teacher & Faculty
Population Served Adults, ,
Short-Term Success After attending a ScienceWise course or event, if teachers return to their classroom and use their new knowledge or techniques, then this is success. These courses also offer teachers standards-based instructional content through hands-on learning activities for their students. Teacher Resource Day, held in February, presents demonstrations of successful hands-on lessons, and offers visits with representatives from other science education organizations. When teachers take science lessons and inquiry techniques that they have experienced in ScienceWise programs back into their classrooms, then those programs have been successful in improving science teaching. On their evaluations, 98% of the teachers say that they have incorporated lessons, or gained knowledge from these courses and events. 98% state they have gained new teaching techniques. 100% of teachers who have taken courses previously reported that what they have learned has had a positive impact on student learning.
Long-Term Success The overall goal of ScienceWise is to improve the STEM content knowledge and teaching effectiveness of instructors. All components of this program seek to make science more exciting for students through hands-on inquiry methods. Many elementary teachers are not comfortable teaching science so they rely totally on textbook instruction or do not teach science at all. With the Next Generation Science Standards, the addition of engineering practices poses an additional area of challenge for them. The success of this program lies in recruiting new participants and keeping them over time so that their comfort with teaching science improves and translates to better science learning for their students. To refresh their pedagogical skills, and to update their science content knowledge, middle and high school science specialists benefit from new effective methods of instruction. Science Pioneers' ScienceWise Professional Development succeeds by meeting these goals for area teachers.
Program Success Monitored By

At the close of all programs, evaluations measure the likelihood of the course impacting their teaching and their projected use of any specific lesson materials. They ask past participants if they have incorporated any lessons from past courses and events into their teaching and if the teachers have witnessed any impact on successful student learning from the knowledge and techniques they have garnered from ScienceWise events.

Examples of Program Success Almost without exception, teachers report that they have used lessons and materials from past courses in their teaching. At the same frequency, they affirm that the implementation of these lessons has had a positive impact on student learning. A teacher from Visitation Catholic School praises ScienceWise, "Classroom teachers who have endless experiences and real insight into the teaching world brilliantly presented every class and seminar that I attended. All experiments are exciting and fun to do with other teachers and, of course, with students! The hands-on activities are invaluable to me. I am able to take the activities/ideas straight from the Science Pioneers seminars to the classroom." Another teacher wrote “I wish we could make teachers attend [these courses]—so much more relevant than the mandatory PD [professional development] we currently attend." In the past 2 years, attendance at ScienceWise programs has grown nearly 25%.  
Description These eight seminars, held from October through March, are presentations by area scientists, engineers and technologists on current and upcoming developments in STEM fields. Often called seminars on "hot topics in KC science”, students learn about career options they could pursue as well as the achievements of their hometown companies and institutions. The program is geared for 8-12 grade students and their teachers, who are seeking enrichment and extended knowledge in these fields. These professionals from corporations and academia are available for student interaction following their presentations.
Category Education, General/Other Elementary & Secondary Education
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), Adults,
Short-Term Success The program is successful if teachers send their students to the seminars year after year. If students gain an appreciation of the achievements of Kansas City area scientists, techologists, engineers, those same professionals become role models. The program strives for repeat attenders to maximize the students' exposure to different avenues of scientific study and, thereby, more ways to interest students in these careers. From seminar evaluations, the following short-term data were collected:
95% of the students gained new knowledge from the speakers.
63% of the students were interested in learning more about the speakers’ topic.
14% had attended four or more seminars; 89% had attended two or more.
Long-Term Success Saturday Science Seminars seeks to inspire students with the progress that companies and institutions of higher learning are making in science research and development in areas of national and international interest. As a result of attendance, students will be able to see themselves in one or more of the careers represented by the scientists, engineers, and technology experts who present these seminars. The students will decide to follow these professionals and enter similar careers. The National Association of Science Teachers stresses that exposure to career professionals in the real world makes science come alive for students.
Program Success Monitored By Various promotions are used to encourage participation. Since moving the seminars to the Extreme Screen at Union Station in 2003, attendance has averaged over 2,100 students annually. Since the Extreme Screen seats 440, the seminars are open to the public. The success of individual presentations are defined by the observations of the program's coordinator who gauges student attention and response, teacher comments, and the presenter's sense of audience satisfaction. Twice a year, students complete an evaluation, which asks if they have gained knowledge, if they are interested in learning more about that topic, and if the topics relate to what they are studying in school.  Students are also asked if they are attending multiple seminars and if any of those seminars is causing them to think about following the career path of a particular presenter. Annual statistics benchmark the number of school districts which send students to the seminars.
Examples of Program Success
The fact that students actually get up early on a Saturday morning and drive to Union Station speaks volumes to the success of this program.  Averaging more than 250 per seminar speaks to the confidence that area teachers have in the program's quality. The most attended 12-13 seminar drew 468, while total attendance was 2,330, only 68 fewer than the highest year on record  One teacher wrote an unsolicited email that praised Saturday Science Seminars "In addition to offering what I consider valid, extra credit opportunities for my science students, the seminars provide the springboard to discuss a variety of topics in class this year.  It is always a good thing when students come to your class on Monday and ask/talk with you about what they learned on a Saturday."
Description Students pursuing projects for the GKC Science & Engineering Fair or who want to learn more about research methods and engineering design often require mentors. On this day, students can meet professionals willing to provide help with project design and research. They can also view projects created in the workplace by scientists and engineers. Those displays encourage students, teachers and parents to interact with presenters about their research, invention and design. Past student winners of the Fair display their projects and explain their research as examples of how excellent student projects are executed and displayed. The half-day program offers workshops on brainstorming project ideas, inventions and engineering, computer science projects, experimental design, and science fair rules. Science Pioneers also provides a Mentor Directory of corporate and academic volunteers who visit classrooms or consult with individual students.
Category Education, General/Other Elementary & Secondary Education
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), Adults,
Short-Term Success Success of the program has these components: 1) Participants at "Meet the Science Mentor Day" actually use the knowledge and advice they gained to develop higher quality projects for their school and/or district fairs and for the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair. 2) Students develop contacts with mentors for ongoing consultation during the subsequent planning and project execution. Students each visited with an average of 3.8 mentors. 3) Program evaluations substantiate real additional evidence of program success.  83% indicated that they plan to enter the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair. 71% of the students indicated that the professional research display increased their interest in a possible career in science.85% felt that the student fair projects helped them understand what is expected in a project. 70% of the mentors reported offering ongoing consultation to one or more students.
Long-Term Success The success of this program is determined by how much students learn about, appreciate and understand research skills, scientific methods and engineering design. National studies have consistently shown that students learn science best by "doing science."  Hands-on research, design or invention projects follow the real world models of how science is done. Since 60% of scientists determine that career path by age 11 and 80% before leaving high school, inspiring students and teaching these skills can steer them into STEM careers--science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Feeding the STEM career pipeline is the long-term aim of the program.
Program Success Monitored By The format of the day includes several strategies to monitor success. The day includes an extensive period where students can visit one-on-one with mentors in their field of interest and receive specific advice. It is not unusual for one student to explore ideas with up to five mentors. Science Pioneers collects evaluations from students and mentors to monitor the effectiveness of these sessions and visits. The staff also tracks if mentor scientists and engineers return year after year, as proof that they believe their advice is truly impacting the quality of student research. In 2014, 72% of the mentors had volunteered two years or more.  Teachers are another measure of success if they return year after year with their students. If teachers and students observe company displays and report that they see the connection between research and design methods in the work world and science fair projects, this program is working.
Examples of Program Success The 2014 Meet the STEM Mentor Day drew 119 students. Mentors report fielding questions about specific content, experiment design, control of variables, analysis of data, and use of technology. As a result, students indicate that they intend to clarify a project idea, fine-tune a hypothesis, control variables differently, or change their process of data analysis. Students and parents report that they like the program because they can access mentors with experience in the careers that interest the students. In the words of one middle school student, "We can find our mentor with people who have experience . . in the field we're interested in." A parent praised the fact that "My son actually worked with a mentor and it was the first time I have seen him passionately engaged in something. . . . The mentor was able to guide him through the project. It was great for my child."
Description Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) immerses young women in 6th-8th grades in hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering and math. Professional women from these fields facilitate workshops and serve as role models for the participants. The one-evening conference features a keynote speaker, who is a woman scientist of national prominence. While fostering an awareness of career opportunities, EYH presents science in a way that is fun and relevant to daily life. This event,  held in conjunction with the Girl Scouts, annually draws between 400-500 girls. Expanding Your Horizons offers an added dimension with its expansion program. EYH Conference attendees and their friends spend two Saturdays in groups of 8 to 10 with one of the career mentors. In three-hour sessions, they explore through hands-on activities that reveal components of the mentor's actual work. The Expansion program is designed for 40-50 participants. 
Category Education, General/Other Extracurricular Math & Science
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years), ,
Short-Term Success Short-term success is keeping these middle school girls interested in science and math. As a result of this program, girls will continue to enroll in science and math classes the next year and beyond.  Over the years, more than 80% of their evaluations have affirmed interest in taking more science and math courses. The program seeks to inspire girls to become like the role models in the program. Likewise, on the average 71% report an increased interest in a science/STEM career as a result of EYH.  Since the percentage of respondents for these questions is equal to and above 70% positive, these indicators affirm the success of the year's program.  In 2007, Science Pioneers created an expansion program which gives up to 40 conference participants an opportunity to work closely with a mentor in their chosen field over a period of two Saturdays. Their desire to apply for the EYH Expansion Program is another indication of the short-term success of the EYH Conference.
Long-Term Success The purpose of this program is to encourage young women to enter science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. The program's long-term success lies in producing female scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technologists. EYH becomes the spark behind the dream to achieve a bachelor's and then advanced degrees in these science-related fields. 
Program Success Monitored By From written student evaluations, Science Pioneers is able to determine whether students report that, as a result of EYH, they are interested in taking more science and math courses and if they are more interested in a career in math and science. Also, students who will be in 7th and 8th grade next year are asked if they want to return to EYH. At the 2013 Conference, 67% of the then 6th and 7th graders indicated a desire to return the following year. If presenters also want to return the next year, then that strengthens the measure of success. Having an exciting female keynote speaker with regional or national prominence has proven to be a key motivator to draw participants. For the Expansion Program, Science Pioneers will track those girls annually through high school to determine whether they have an interest in more science and math course work and to determine their participation in subsequent Science Pioneers' programming.
Examples of Program Success For the last six years, between 400 and 440 girls have attended annually. Of the 375 survey respondents at the 2013 conference, girls listed 45 different science careers they would be interested in pursuing. Parents and students often comment on the value of hands-on activities and real world applications of EYH. One parent offered "Normally the kids learn from the teacher's experiments about how to do it and how to write it up. With this program, you have people who do a certain thing for a living and they can actually show them how science is done." As one workshop presenter wrote, "Our belief is that if we are able to spark even one girl’s interest in science . . ., then it is worth the time and effort.” 
Description Our newest program, Exploring Your Potential, gives urban core boys in grades 6- 8 an opportunity to experience STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in the workplace with STEM professionals. Each group of boys visits a different KC area business or institution on three Saturdays by taking field trips to STEM workplaces – one each in life sciences, engineering and technology. Each corporation provides a minimum of four mentors who provide hands-on activities for the boys that help demonstrate the work they do in their businesses. Since its inception in the past year, over 120 boys have a new awareness of future possibilities and have been inspired to pursue a variety of STEM careers.
Category Education, General/Other Elementary & Secondary Education
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years), ,
Short-Term Success Short-term success is keeping these middle school boys interested in science and math and considering careers they may not have without this program. As a result of EYP, we hope these boys will enroll in science and math classes at higher levels and higher rates as they progress in school. The program seeks to inspire the students to know they can pursue roles like the mentors working with them in the program. On the average in the first year, 86% report interest in a STEM career as a result of EYP and 77% said they were interested in a career they encountered on the field trips. In addition, 88% make the connection between the math and science courses required to pursue a STEM career which helps demonstrate its effectiveness in helping participants understand they need to focus on this course work to attain one of these professions.
Long-Term Success The purpose of this program is to encourage urban minority males to enter science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. The program's long-term success lies in producing more minority male STEM professionals. The only group with less representation than females in STEM careers is minority males. EYP becomes the spark behind the dream to achieve a bachelor's and even consider advanced degrees in STEM-related fields.
Program Success Monitored By EYP students are given a pre-survey before the first field trip and then a post-survey after each experience to measure the value of each experience as well as the overall value and effectiveness of the program. Teachers are also surveyed and their most common response to EYP is that their students enjoyed the opportunity and that they've witnessed more engagement in school on behalf of the participants. In addition, the participating company mentors are surveyed and all volunteers state that they very much enjoyed participating in the program and that they would do it again. A quote by an executive from one of the engineering firms stated, “we enjoy providing this service because in many ways it is providing all STEM employer’s with a larger pool of potential candidates that provides a win-win situation for all of us.” It should also be noted that 100% of our corporate partner volunteers would want to be a part of EYP at the next opportunity.The majority of the corporate partners have agreed to hold multiple sessions in the future, which further validates the need and desire for this program moving forward.
Examples of Program Success The only measure of program success currently available is the survey data and information from the teachers and ongoing participation of the corporate partners. At present, no funding is available to track these boys as they continue into high school and beyond to see whether they actually pursue a STEM career.
CEO Comments

Science Pioneers programs utilize the scientific expertise of the corporate and academic communities for the benefit of area students. More than 850 volunteers served as mentors, judges and presenters last year. As our flagship program, The Greater KC Science & Engineering Fair is entering its 64th year and annually draws over 1,300 students. Science Pioneers has increased its emphasis on teacher professional development, because good science teachers provide the keys to both science literacy and development of our future scientists, technologists and engineers. ScienceWise Professional Development for Teachers includes a kickoff with a hands-on workshop, a program of 24 courses for teachers and a Teacher Resource Day. Science Pioneers also employs a School Services Coordinator to aid districts in analyzing their professional development needs and developing programs to meet those needs. This staff member works to meet the challenge of keeping personnel in school districts aware of the many opportunities for teachers and students that Science Pioneers offers. For students in grades 8-12, parents and teachers, Saturday STEM Seminars showcases hot topics in Kansas City STEM professions. Expanding Your Horizons for girls in grades 6-8 offers a one evening program of workshops, a keynote speech by nationally known female scientist, a planetarium show and an opportunity to experience Science City.  On two Saturdays following the EYH evening in January, attendees and their friends can enroll in the EYH Expansion program. Working in small groups of 8 to 10, the girls learn first-hand what their female mentors do in their careers. New in 2013-14, Exploring Your Potential exposes urban core boys in grades 6-8 to the work of STEM professionals as they visit three companies--one in life science, one in engineering and one in technology. These programs will provide evidence of the effectiveness of our exemplary hands-on, inquiry-based approach. Tracking long-term results remains elusive, although hundreds of anecdotal stories prove the positive impact of Science Pioneers’ programming. There remains little doubt that with an estimated 50% of scientists and engineers nearing retirement, Science Pioneers’ mission is more important than ever before.

Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director 141Ms. LeAnn Smith
Term Start Jan 2014

LeAnn Smith is Executive Director of Science Pioneers in Kansas City, an organization that works to inspire scientific curiosity and critical thinking in young people. LeAnn brings nearly 25 years’ experience in a variety of roles with nonprofit organizations. She has led organizations as Executive Director and Board Chair, was a Principal with CommonWealth Consulting and has volunteered with dozens of organizations over the years. Most recently, Ms. Smith was Executive Director for Medical Missions Foundation and prior to that COO for Smiles Change Lives. LeAnn is a highly experienced collaborator with proven success in aligning strategic community and business initiatives to drive change and strengthen the organization and its brand. A business/finance graduate from Kansas State University, LeAnn resides with her husband in Parkville, MO.

Former CEOs
Ms. Mary Brock Nov 2004 - Apr 2014
Ms. Laura K. Dickinson Jan 2002 - Nov 2004
Senior Staff
Title Operations Manager
Experience/Biography Shea O'Riley is a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University with a degree in business. She maintains the Science Pioneers website; handles registration, correspondence, and promotional e-mails; maintains donor records, and assists with all phases of operations. She also serves as coordinator for the EYH Expansion Program
Title School Services Coordinator
Experience/Biography Pam Stepp is a retired elementary principal from the Lee's Summit School District. She served in that position for 10 years. She also served as the facilitator of the elementary gifted department for 12 years. In that capacity, she developed and facilitated science units. She holds a degree as an Education Specialist in Administration and holds Missouri certification in Administration K-8, Gifted Education K-12, Special Education K-9 and Elementary Education K-8.
Title Program Director
After serving two years as Assistant Program Director, Patty Dailey assume the position on July 1.  Prior to July 2010, Patty was the 7th Grade Science Teacher at Antioch Middle School, North Kansas City School District.  For two years 2008-10, she served as a STARR teacher for the Kansas City Regional Professional Development Center.  She taught 5th for 9 years and 4th grade for 18 years at Clardy Elementary, North Kansas City Dsitrict. Her total science teaching careers spans more than 30 years.  She holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching.  Patty has extensive experience as a presenter of professional development workshops for teachers.
Paid Full-Time Staff 4
Paid Part-Time Staff 2
Volunteers 850
Paid Contractors 0
Retention Rate 75%
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
  • Science City at Union Station
  • KC STEM Alliance, currently developing a free-standing website for matching STEM professionals with needs of the KC region's teachers and students
  • Member of KCEEN (Kansas City Environmental Education Network)
  • Missouri After School Network
  • Kansas Enrichment Network
  • sSTEAM Village
  • KC digiStory
Association of Fundraising Professionals - Member2013
Nonprofit Connect of Greater Kansas City2013
Mid-America Educational Hall of FameEndowment Association of Kansas City Kansas Community College2007
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
CEO Comments


STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education is at the forefront of national and regional agendas—anyone and everyone wants more STEM programs and opportunities to explore. One new opportunity for area students is our Youth Advisory Board. We now have 16 students from age 12-22 working with us to help determine program and communications options and priorities—what do students want and how can we utilize today’s technology to get it into their hands efficiently and effectively?

If America is to regain its global competitive edge, if Kansas City is to attract the thousands of new STEM professionals that it needs, then we need to attract many more young people into those professions. The programs offered by Science Pioneers must continue to demonstrate their ability to inspire and engage students and empower teachers to provide an environment that helps steer young people into STEM professions. Science Pioneers board and staff look forward to working with community stakeholders during our strategic planning process and identifying the strengths, gaps and opportunities for local STEM programming.


Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Dorene Shipley
Company Affiliation Carondelet Health Foundation
Term July 2014 to June 2015
Board Members
Ms. Lydia Alvarez Alvarez Communications
Mrs. Ollie Bogdon Ph.D.University of St. Mary
Ms. Lisa Browar Linda Hall Library
Ms. Sara Coash Hallmark Cards
Mr. Mark English J.D.Retired, Kansas City Power & Light
Mr. Tom O'Grady HNTB
Mr. Ken Peterson Ph.DUniversity of KS Medical Center
Mr. Todd Pitman CPATMPitman & Associates, LLC
Mr. John K. Prutsman LEAP
Mr. Tom Sack Ph.D.MRIGlobal
Ms. Dorene Shipley Carondelet Health Foundations
Mr. Michael Tritt Union Station
Mr. Marcus Walker J.E. Dunn
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 8
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 72%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Board Development / Board Orientation
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Program / Program Planning
CEO Comments We have no additional comments at this time.
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2014
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2015
Projected Revenue $430,500
Projected Expenses $420,416
Endowment Value $0
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage 0%
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2014, 2013, 2012:  Financial data reported using the organization's audited financial statements.
  • Foundations/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$249,494$221,523$221,136
Administration Expense$118,599$99,661$105,221
Fundraising Expense$48,252$40,675$26,681
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.001.030.96
Program Expense/Total Expenses60%61%62%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue15%14%9%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$587,802$584,963$586,246
Current Assets$555,783$168,859$560,086
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$4,997$2,185$15,173
Total Net Assets$582,805$582,778$571,073
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities111.2277.2836.91
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountMRI Global $45,000MRI Global $45,000MRI Global $45,000
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountHall Family Foundation $25,000CPS Foundation $20,000Shumaker Family Foundation $23,385
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountIndividual Donor $15,000Shumaker Family Foundation $20,000Individual donor $16,000
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Goal $0.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Comments

The most recent fiscal year ended on June 30, 2014. Audited figures for the year reflect income of $416,372. The revenue growth over FY 2012 is largely attributable to the growth of investment return in the Science Pioneers Fund at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.  Total expenses for 2013/14 were $416,345.  Together with the staff, board members are aggressively marketing the Science Pioneers' brand and programs as relevant, innovative and rigorous. Science Pioneers is focused on growing its resources to advance STEM education for youth from across our community.


Organization Name Science Pioneers, Inc.
Address 30 W. Pershing, Suite 410
Kansas City, MO 64108
Primary Phone (816) 460-2261
CEO/Executive Director 141Ms. LeAnn Smith
Board Chair Ms. Dorene Shipley
Board Chair Company Affiliation Carondelet Health Foundation
Year of Incorporation 1956