Excellence in Technology

O-STEAM is the 2020 Excellence in Technology Community Impact Award Winner

With Deb Wilson at the reins, The Ozarks SySTEAMic Coalition (O-STEAM) has spent years promoting the importance of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics to area students, and has won them the Community Impact Award.

By Rae Snobl

May 2020

Biz 417's Excellence in Technology Community Impact Award winner Deb Wilson of O-STEAM in Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon AlmsDeb Wilson is chairman of O-STEAM, an all-volunteer group dedicated to promoting science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Purchase Photo

Prior to the launch of The Ozarks SySTEAMic Coalition (O-STEAM) in 2014, there were no combined community and technological platforms that brought together all STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) activities and events in one place. “We are the only group connecting the STEAM community with the four pipelines of business, industry [and] manufacturing; pre-K through 12th grade; higher education; and informal [and] afterschool sectors,” says Chairman Deb Wilson. O-STEAM is a visionary, all-volunteer group of local leaders who are seeking to develop and propel a stronger focus on STEAM throughout 417-land. Through the use of technology, community partnerships, events and speaking engagements, the organization is helping grow a STEAM presence locally and throughout the world. O-STEAM has organized a STEAM Summit with more than 500 in attendance and five Ozarks Mini Maker Faires that have impacted more than 10,000 people in 50 countries over the past five years, bringing more than $100,000 into the community. “This is the first time in our region that makers have a platform to share their creativity and innovation,” Wilson says. O-STEAM continues to innovate with an entrepreneurial focus that encourages young people and transitioning adults to study STEAM in order to meet the demands of global competition and hone the skills needed for 21st-century careers. The group’s leaders also believe that having a stronger STEAM community will move the needle on the poverty level and change the economic foundation within the community. “This validates to our community that to keep and bring a higher skilled workforce, these foundational higher-level opportunities need to be made available in one location,” Wilson says. “O-STEAM’s website and social media platforms provide this.”

FINALISTS  //  The Geek Foundation  •  Code Ninjas


“We have had overwhelming success with the events. A number of students have said the Ozarks Mini Maker Faire was better than their birthday.”—Deb Wilson, Chairman, O-STEAM


“We have not been able to calculate and quantify the positive financial impact to our community. Educators understand our importance, but businesses have yet to understand.”—Deb Wilson, Chairman, O-STEAM