Gillian King-Cargile

Gillian King-Cargile

Gillian King-Cargile is the creator and director of one of the most innovative literacy programs in the country, attracting support from literacy experts, state education agencies, foundations, publishers, libraries, museums, national laboratories and dozens of school districts. NIU STEM Read is King-Cargile’s brainchild. With her energy, passion and innovative ideas, the program has had an impact across the region, the state, and the nation.

Never afraid to go outside of the box, King-Cargile is continuously working to provide educational ways for educators and parents to connect with students. Whether it’s collaborating with WNIJ to create and produce a series of STEM Read podcasts, writing children’s literature aimed at introducing STEM-related concepts to young children, or establishing STEM Read field trips to bring students to NIU for advanced activities in conjunction with meeting high-profile authors, King-Cargile engages youth and elevates NIU as a true leader in preparing students for STEM-related careers.

“The STEM Read program helps build the pipeline into STEM majors at NIU and into the STEM professions,” says Anne Kaplan, vice president of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development. “King-Cargile is an outstanding example of SPS creativity, innovation and ability to connect NIU’s expertise with community needs.”

Last year STEM Read engaged over 6,000 children, parents, educators and community members at live events and over 100,000 through, which provides free educator resources, online games, expert videos and author interviews.

Colleagues call King-Cargile an “expert at developing relationships.” It’s her confidence and enthusiasm that bring nationally-recognized and best-selling authors to NIU—at little or no cost to the university. She also stays in contact with educators throughout the year, often providing professional development on using fiction to teach STEM principles in an interdisciplinary framework.

In short, King-Cargile’s innovative work brings high-profile publicity to NIU while inspiring thousands of students to consider STEM careers.

King-Cargile was honored with the 2018 Supportive Professional Staff Presidential Award for Excellence.

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