STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Taken separately, each educational focus has value in learning. As an integrated, blended learning style, STEAM allows for learning and application of content knowledge as they are found in the real world. Maker education complements STEAM, as it incorporates much of the knowledge in STEAM, but also places an importance on the skills of STEAM and a mindset of design thinking or innovation. I believe true STEAM and maker education connects learning with the real world, and develops both the skills and content knowledge needed to succeed in society. 


Considering everything through the lens of sustainability allows for a lasting impact and deeper meaning.  Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, as defined by the UN World Commission on Environment and Development. Sustainable practices support environmentaleconomic, and societal well-being. Ensuring well-being in three areas, rather than focusing on one, is much like the strength and balance of a tripod compared to a single balance point. The ESSTEAM Lab encourages consideration of all three sustainability areas in everything we do, from materials in making to running as a primarily debt-free business. Learn more about our sustainability practices and values here (link coming soon).

The ESSTEAM Lab also encourages developing the skills and knowledge for wise financial management. Many of our programs incorporate financial or entrepreneur education, such as considering the cost of materials or how to budget for an activity or program.  

About me

Hi, my name is Katie Monsma! I’m so excited to bring these ideas into the world, to integrate STEAM/Making and sustainability. My relevant background includes a BS in Environmental Science, MS in Environmental Education, and a Maker Educator certificate. I’ve worked in state parks, a National Park, outdoor education programs, after school programs, and more. You can read more about me below or find me on LinkedIn. You can also reach me by email: essteamlab@gmail.com

Katie and Kaliber, #NapMaster, #DestroyerSpecialist, and #ESSTEAMmascot
  • I’m a military spouse 
  • I grew up on a farm
  • I enjoy being in nature
  • Blue Belt in Jiu Jitsu
  • As of 2018, I’ve lived in 6 states in 8 years
  • My favorite color is blue
  • I’m hard of hearing (since childhood)
  • I nerd out about STEM and environmental science (clearly)
  • I’ve been on a journey to reduce my waste and live plastic free
  • I can’t survive without dark chocolate
  • My spouse and I are debt free
  • I love to read
  • I have an adorable son