Barb Miltner has taught a variety of courses, including all levels of mathematics, since joining the faculty at Cedar Rapids Xavier in 2005. One in particular — a health care innovator course — is why she will be recognized as the 2022 Jacobson Institute K-12 Innovator Award in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Honors.
“I am proud of my students at Xavier and the effort they have put into it,” Miltner said. “Because of what they have done is the real reason I am getting an award. They have been creative and love the process.”
Miltner was in the inaugural 2013 class of STEM Innovator teachers with a goal to infuse innovation and entrepreneurial thinking into STEM classrooms. She took the training to the classroom and engaged in customer discovery. Miltner also worked with the Jacobson Institute to secure a partnership with UnityPoint Health System in Cedar Rapids. The UnityPoint Foundation funded teacher training and created a MakerHealth Incubator space at the hospital.
Miltner created the Health Innovator classroom where student teams work on solving health care problems at UnityPoint Health and in the community. Dr. Brian Lindsay and Dr. Rose Hedges meet with students to advance solutions to the health problems. Students have an opportunity to fabricate their prototype in the MakerHealth lab.
A graduate of Cedar Rapids Regis High School, Miltner earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Iowa State. She worked at Iowa Electric (now Alliant Energy), becoming a project manager before returning to school. Miltner earned a master’s of education degree from the University of Phoenix.
“Even in high school I knew I wanted to teach, but I didn’t think I would be a good teacher right out of college,” Miltner said. “I wanted to get experience first. Having started a family and having kids of my own made me a better, more mature teacher.”
Miltner and her husband, Mark, have two grown children: Max and Alicia.
Miltner received the 2022 Jacobson Institute K-12 Innovator Award in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Honors. The University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center recognized her Sept. 9 at Old Capitol Museum.