Arizona SciTech Blog
This blog is courtesy of the Arizona SciTech Festival.
Exploring by Dogsled, Kayak, Kite Skis
Legendary polar adventurer shares life-long journey, changing environment observations with
Flagstaff Festival of Science
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – They call it sustainability now, but that’s just the way he wanted to live. From his off-the-grid cabin in far Minnesota near the Canadian border to his more than 50 years of wilderness expeditions, polar explorer Will Steger’s life journey has followed three main paths: a deep concern for the environment, a tireless expedition spirit, and a passion for educating others about human impacts on the planet. This month, his journey takes him to Northern Arizona to kick off the Flagstaff Festival of Science – The Science of Change – as the Shoemaker Keynote Presenter, Friday, Sept. 23, at Northern Arizona University.
“I’ve been on the ice when it was breaking up in the Arctic Ocean. In Greenland in 2008, in the early summer ice was thawing at 7,000 feet, which is unbelievable. I’ve seen it (climate change) at the very beginning and all the runs in the polar areas you can’t do anymore, the ice isn’t there, which is pretty shocking. I feel I have a really intuitive perspective of what’s happening. I took my eyewitness account, shared the stories, and it captured people’s attention.”
Steger has traveled tens of thousands of miles on some of the most significant polar expeditions in history by dogsled, kayak and kite skis. Long-time Flagstaff residents may recall Steger’s visit as the Festival’s original keynote speaker in 1990, after leading the first dogsled journey to the North Pole without re-supply. During the trip, he and his human and canine team members were sponsored by W. L. Gore & Associates of Flagstaff, and outfitted in waterproof GORE-TEX® fabric.
The Flagstaff Festival of Science, Sept. 23 – Oct. 2, is offering more than 100 free science education activities featuring space exploration, endangered plants and animals, drones and robots, a dissecting workshop and Arizona’s own prehistoric reptile Arizonasaurus babbitti. Events include the Flagstaff Star Party, Science in the Park, SCI Talks, guided hikes into the forest, and open houses at research stations and museums. The 10-day Festival also will offer field trips to archaeological sites during the National Park Service’s centennial year and celebrate 130 years of science on the Coconino Plateau with the Babbitt Ranches Landscape Discovery Expo at Arizona Nordic Village!
Free tickets to Steger’s presentation, “My Life as an Explorer,” will be handed out at the door, on a first-come, first served basis. They can be picked up or printed out in advance through the NAU Central Ticket Office (nau.edu/cto; 928-523-5661).
The Festival is made possible through the generous support of businesses, organizations, foundations and individuals. Major sponsors include the City of Flagstaff/BBB Revenues, Flagstaff Arts Council, Northern Arizona University, W. L. Gore & Associates, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Peaks Audio, Babbitt Ranches and the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff.
Science tourism is becoming a sought-after travel experience where the experiential becomes educational with a STEM focus. Some argue that tourism has always been a science. Discuss best practices and industry insights with local experts.
Math at the Ballpark App
Push your baseball experience to the next level with fun questions and activities that bring math alive through the game going on around you and your children. With fifty questions per grade level (K-6), Fun Math at the Ballpark engages children who love baseball as well as those who are bored at the ballpark.
Many questions encourage your child to input real numbers from the game going on in front of him, reinforcing observational skills and giving him fun reasons to pay attention to the game.
Other questions feed your child’s imagination by asking her to consider what might happen in certain imaginary situations. These questions are also perfect for the classroom since they don’t require attendance at a baseball game.
Fun Math at the Ballpark encourages you to participate in the fun along with your child, with grade-appropriate games, scavenger hunts, and hands-on activities.
-Three-hundred fifty questions/ activities (fifty questions per grade level).
-Answers and explanations.
-Activities you and your child can enjoy game after game.
-Seven grade levels in one app (kindergarten through sixth grade) keep the fun going for years.
-Categories of questions divided into math topics so you can help your child develop specific skills.
-Categories of questions divided into baseball topics so you can tailor the experience to your child’s preferences.
-Thirty-seven custom graphics to illustrate math concepts and visually stimulate learning.
Science Happens Here
Science Happens Here is a game aimed at kids in grade 3-8 that includes collecting trading cards with science information on them.
The cards each have one kind science example in them, which directly related to a store. So the kids visit the locally owned businesses to collect the cards. The cards each have a unique ID on them, which kids will enter on the website to not only find science experiments but to get credit for trying them at home.
SO, for example, the bakery will have the science of yeast, the cafe will have the science of sugar, the clothing store will have the science of fabrics, etc. There are 12 cards to collect and we have a poster to show them all. We have a website (nearly done) and fun prizes for the kids.
The goal here is twofold- first, to help kids start to think about all the science that really happens in the world and to get excited about simple experiments. And second, to get the local business community more involved with STEM education.
Arizona Mining, Mineral and Natural Resources Education Museum – STEM-added value to tourist’s experience
Each year, Arizona’s landscapes and natural resources draw millions of tourists. STEM provides a vehicle to add value to their visits and to prompt their return. In 2017-2018, the Arizona Geological Survey, now at the University of Arizona, plans to build the Arizona Mining, Mineral and Natural Resources Education Museum on the Government Mall in Phoenix. Our chief objective is to showcase the role of Arizona landscapes and natural resources in shaping the peoples and cultures of the state.
Welcome to the Age of Discovery; Exploration, Navigation and Innovation! The Arizona Renaissance Festival STUDENT DAYS
Have you heard about the Arizona Renaissance Festival Student Days?
Student Days is a wonderful way to bring the Renaissance – ‘The Age of Discovery’ to life for students through interactive displays, study and entertainment. Student Days were created to highlight the educational aspects of the Renaissance time period. Learning opportunities include language, science (interactive displays in partnership with Arizona SciTech Festival), mannerisms, customs, artisans, music, trades, birds of prey, jousting and more! A study guide is available for teachers to help with the lesson plan to enhance the field trip. Student Days is an engaging and exciting way to get the students interested in the Renaissance time period! The Festival provides students with a chance to do more than just read about the RENAISSANCE…WE LET THEM EXPERIENCE IT.
Not even in her wildest dreams would Queen Elizabeth have imagined such an event taking place in the Foothills of the Superstition Mountains. A learning tool. A way to bring to life Science, Astronomy, Geography, English, Math as well as the Arts and Culture of the Renaissance period illustrating the technological advances of the Renaissance age and how it continues to impact our lives today.
Student Days are scheduled for Tuesday, February 28 for Elementary schools and Thursday, March 2 for Jr. & Sr. High Students. Student Days attracts educators and their student groups from around the state and out of state.
Visit us for more information: www.renfestinfo.com To attend Student Days: Download the 2017 Student Day Order Form at www.renfestinfo.com/studentdays
or like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/renfestinfo
Digital Kids Club
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa’s Digital Kids Club program was developed specifically for one of the most difficult age groups to entertain, “tweens” – ages 8 through 13. The Digital Kids Club, as part of the Resort’s FUN Program, features individual sessions, as well as unique 5-day camps during the summer: Stop Motion Animation, Produce Your Own Morning Show, Make a Music Video and Media Madness! Budding movie directors capture footage and experiment with special effects, video game enthusiasts learn about design and creation, inspired news anchors experience the world of reporting, and creative juices flow from learning animation and comic book design! Kids will make their own creation with video and digital photographs, experimenting with special effects and music to create their very own video on a USB thumb drive to take home as a unique souvenir and memory of their family vacation.
- Allison Boley, Math and the Ballpark
- Kimber Lanning, Science Happens Here
- Michael Conway, Arizona Geological Survey
- Sanja Malinovic, Renaissance Festival
- Meredith Jenkins, Westin Kierland Resort
(Pictured Above: Allison Boley, Kimber Lanning, Michael Conway, Sanja Malinovic, Meredith Jenkins)
Kimber Lanning is Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona, a statewide organization implementing innovative strategies for new models of economic development that create vibrant local economies. Lanning is an entrepreneur, business leader and community development specialist who works to cultivate strong self-reliant communities and inspire a higher quality of life for people across Arizona. Lanning’s passions, which are seen throughout her work, include fostering cultural diversity and inclusion, economic resilience and responsible growth for Arizona’s urban areas.
Lanning has grown Local First Arizona into a widely respected organization that is leading the nation in implementing systems and policies to ensure a level playing field for entrepreneurial endeavors of all sizes. With nearly 3,000 business members and four statewide offices, Lanning leads a team of 17 who work on a diverse array of programs ranging from healthy local food access, entrepreneurial development in underserved communities, and rural community development, each of which plays a part in building sustainable and resilient local economies.
Lanning is consistently recognized and has received numerous awards for her diverse work and extensive leadership. In 2014, Lanning was recognized as the Citizen Leader of the Year by the International Economic Development Council, a pivotal moment in recognizing the use of Localist policies as a force for economic development. Her work in promoting adaptive reuse in Phoenix’s urban core was recognized by the American Planning Association, who presented Lanning with the Distinguished Citizen Planner Award in 2013. Lanning has also been named one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Arizona” (Arizona Business Magazine, 2011), was the recipient of the Athena Award by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce in 2013, and was the 2014 Leader of the Year in Public Policy (Arizona Capitol Times).
Michael Conway: Since 2007, Mike Conway, Ph.D., has been Chief of the Geologic Extension Service at the Arizona Geological Survey which transferred from the State of Arizona to the University of Arizona on 1 July 2017. Previously, Mike worked as a professor of geology at Arizona Western College, Yuma, Arizona, and as a volcanologist at the Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses at Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas.
Sanja Malinovic is the Marketing & Sales Director of the 29th annual Arizona Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace held annually in Gold Canyon, with responsibility for marketing programs, media buying, promotions and brand management, corporate sponsorships, public relations and partner initiatives.
Sanja developed and spearheaded the concept of introducing the Arizona Renaissance Festival to Arizona Educators and students as an innovative educational field trip designed to enhance the various aspects of the Renaissance time period with hands on demonstrations and interactive programs.
Sanja holds a Bachelor of Science degree from ASU in Journalism and Public Relations and a minor in Travel and Tourism
Meredith Jenkins is one of the few people in the world who can honestly claim to be in charge of “fun” for a living. As Director of Fun at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa she oversees the Fun Department and team of Fun Ambassadors who lead the family events and activities programing at the Resort, which ranges from its popular weekend All-You-Can-Eat S’mores and poolside games to Kids Club, PJ Parties, summer camps and even cocktail-making classes for adults. Prior to being promoted to her role in the Fun Department, Meredith served as Child Life Assistant a local hospital leading play therapy and special events and activities for hospitalized children and their families. She also owned and operated a My Gym children’s fitness center. Meredith earned her Bachelors’ degree in Psychology at Arizona State University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two small children and, as a former US National Women’s Rugby Team scrum-half, also tries to catch a bit of rugby on TV.
Learn how the VEX IQ and VEX robotics system can help inspire the next generation of programmers K – University.
- Shawn Hardina, founder, East Valley Robotics Academy, LLC
- Cindy Nixon, Director of Engagement for Project Lead the Way in Arizona and New Mexico
Shawn Hardina founded the East Valley Robotics Academy, LLC, a STEM education, consulting, and coaching organization in 2014 and merged with STAX3D in January 2016. His career spans more than 25 years in education involving curriculum design, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Pathway creation, co-operative learning, high school and college science and robotics, and instructional coaching. STAX Education specializes in “building collaborative communities dedicated to transforming STEM education by helping schools, districts, and youth organizations in creating customized and sustainable STEM experiences that will Engage, Educate, and Empower people of all ages.”
Prior to founding the East Valley Robotics Academy, LLC, and merging with STAX Education. Shawn oversaw the creation and implementation of the Campo Verde High School Biomedical Sciences Pathway in Gilbert, Arizona, the creation and sustainability of the FIRST Robotics Competition Program in Kingman, Arizona, the creation and implementation of a Math Science Partnership Grant in Kingman, Arizona. In addition to the creation of unique and impactful STEM Pathways Shawn has been a High School Science, Biomedical Sciences, and Robotics teacher, a Kagan Cooperative learning trainer, a Master Teacher for Project Lead The Way Biomedical Sciences, and a K-6 Science/Literacy Instructional Coach.
Shawn holds a BS in Physiology from the Universityof California at Davis, currently holds a teacher certificate in Chemistry, General Science, and Career and Technical Education and received National Board Certification for Chemistry in 2002.
Cindy Nixon is the Director of School Engagement for Project Lead The Way in Arizona and New Mexico. Project Lead The Way is a nonproifit organization that provides a transformative learning STEM experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. We create an engaging environment and empower students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in an evolving world. Through our pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, students learn problem-solving strategies, critical and creative thinking, and how to communicate and collaborate.
Cindy was a Career and Technical Education Director in Arizona for five years, which spiked her interest in Project Lead The Way. She had the Project Lead The Way Engineering Program. Through her experience, she saw the impact of the program on her students, teachers, and community. Cindy has also worked as a middle-school and high school counselor. She has a BA in Social Work/Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Education/Counseling.
Having a STEM culture in schools isn’t just about the availability of the core STEM subjects for students. It’s about creating a mindset and providing an environment which will help students learn how to apply the skillsets they gained through STEM to their everyday lives and future education, and this workshop will teach you how to do just that!
Join our Chief Science Officers (student STEM advocates) in a community-style environment as they discuss the means through which they have already become involved and will continue to work with civic action. Topics will include their role in Washington DC this past summer, the development of the CSO program into a nationwide initiative, strategies for political engagement, and more!
This session brings you the opportunity to learn all about hackathons and the myriads of people from different backgrounds (children to adults) who come together to collaborate and solve problems through computer programming.
JANE POYNTER is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Arizona-based World View Enterprises, a company pioneering discovery at the edge of space through the use of high-altitude balloons. Poynter will expound on World View’s goal to provide the “orbital perspective,” and will explain how viewing Earth from space changes people’s lives for the better back on the ground.
GEOFF NOTKIN is President of Arizona-based Aerolite Meteorites, Inc. and a world-renowned meteorite hunter and expert. Notkin will discuss his lifelong fascination with meteorites and how the discovery and study of space rocks contributes to our constantly evolving perspective of life on Earth and the origins of our solar system.
More about Jane Poynter: Ms. Poynter is a member of the Biosphere 2 design team and a member of the original crew who lived inside the sealed, self-sustaining habitat for two years. She was co-founder, President and Chairwoman of Paragon Space Development Corporation, which develops technologies for extreme environments. Experiments in her patented, self-sustaining habitats have flown on the International Space Station (ISS), Mir and the Space Shuttle.
More about Geoff Notkin: The media has described Geoff as one of the “rock stars of science.” He hosts Science Channel’s award-winning adventure series, “Meteorite Men” and the two-time Emmy Award-winning educational TV series, “STEM Journals.” Notkin is an internationally recognized authority on meteorites, an award-winning author and photographer, a television and film producer, world traveler, and adventurer. His commercial meteorite company, Aerolite Meteorites, Inc., is a global leader in space rock recovery and research. Notkin serves on the Board of Governors of the National Space Society.
The Hispanic community is underrepresented in most STEM fields, but Hispanic stories of success in Arizona are movie material. Who would have thought that high school students will design, built robots, participate in sophisticated competitions and win against top Universities?
This panel will share some good stories of STEM success in the Hispanic community, the fastest growing demographic group in Arizona and the country.
Among the panelist are up and coming young leaders and STEM professionals deeply committed to advocate for STEM for all.
Find out how the community is actively pushing for representation, inclusion, and success.
This panel is presented by CPLC, Chicanos por la Causa, one of the largest non-for-profit organization and the only community development corporation in Arizona that offers extensive services in both urban and rural areas. Its service delivery system is expansive enough to effectively reach more than one hundred thousand low-income individuals.
- America, Chief Science Officer Alhambra High School, Phoenix, Arizona, 11th Grade
- Mabel Munoz, International Regulatory Affairs Associate at C R Bard, CEO & Founder at Building Dreams Robotics / Construyendo Sueños
- Ingrid Tay, Microchip Technologies, Tournament Director for the FIRST Lego League Arizona
- Alexandra Figueroa, General Motors Lead Sr. Software Developer, Hispanic Initiative Team Arizona Lead
- Marcos Garciaacosta Jr., Mechanical Engineer Student, Metron Scientific Solutions, State Technology and Manufacturing, NASA/JPL
America, Chief Science Officer Alhambra High School Phoenix, Arizona 11th Grade
America’s objective is to Influence her peers to get involved in STEM.
America as Chief Science Officer has promoted STEM initiatives in her school like the Freshman Carnival, helped plan and organize STEM events for next year, and spread the word about MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement).
Additionally she is Planning Hermanas STEM field trip.
In February 2016, she attended the Honeywell State Cabinet Meeting and participated in the Town Hall with AZ Governor’s Office of Education. America advocated for the CSO Program in Washington D.C last May and met Arizona’s Legislators and representatives from the White House Office of Science/Technology Policy.
Her Passion is to share STEM programs at her school.
America is planning to study Aerospace Engineering.
Mabel Munoz, International Regulatory Affairs Associate at C R Bard, CEO & Founder at Building Dreams Robotics / Construyendo Sueños
Mabel Munoz is an Arizona State University alumnus. In May 2012, she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering in Biomedical Engineering. Currently she is working as an International Regulatory Affairs Associate at C R Bard, an international medical device company.
Throughout high school, Mabel was involved in many academic and sports organizations including: The National Honor Society, Math Club, Falcon Marching Band, Cross Country, Tennis, Hispanic Mother Daughter Program, Phoenix Youth Council, and Aguila Leadership Institute. In the year 2008, Mabel was part of an international robotics winning team, Falcon Robotics. For her leadership and involvement, Mabel was awarded the Paul Allaire Medallion; award given to only one student from the world champion team. Do to the various achievements and awards; Mabel was able to get a full ride to Arizona State University.
At ASU, Mabel got the opportunity to become politically active in the DREAM Act movement. She was one of the first members of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition. There she participated in marches, fundraisers, vigils, and other political movements. During that time, Mabel also volunteered her time as a Spanish Medical Interpreter for the Wesley Clinic; a clinic ran by medical students to help low income families.
After college, Mabel started tutoring all subjects for K – College students. It was then when she decided to partner with Melchor and Ingrid to start Building Dreams. Building Dreams is an organization that exposes children to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). For the past three years, Mabel has been involved with teaching robotics and has taken teams to participate in FIRST Robotics Competition. The organization has been very successful and has managed to take teams 2 out of the 3 years teams have competed to state.
Mabel hopes to continue working in the development of nonprofit STEM organizations. Outside of work and robotics, Mabel enjoys traveling, hiking, and taking pictures. She is a dreamer in every aspect and has a passion for education and technology.
Ingrid Tay, Microchip Technologies, Tournament Director for the FIRST Lego League Arizona
Ingrid Tay attended Carl Hayden High School where she was involved in numerous clubs/programs including the Aguila Leadership Institute, National Honors Society and the Falcon Robotics Team.
She was part of the team that presented in front of a panel of judges and helped win the most prestigious award in the Worldwide FIRST Robotics Competition, the Chairman’s Award.
Ingrid graduated salutatorian of her class and received enough funding through private academic scholarships to attend Arizona State University. While at ASU she continued being involved in student organizations including Tau Beta Pi, The Engineering Honor Society, STEP Multicultural Honor Society, Society of Women Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Engineers among others.
She received her Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) with Magna Cum Laude honors. In 2013 she co-founded Building Dreams, an organization that introduces children to robotics and engineering. Ingrid along with the children of the Building Dreams program were featured in the Underwater Dreams documentary that received national attention.
Currently Ingrid, continues to be involved in her community and frequently volunteers at various robotics competitions throughout the state. She is the South Mountain Tournament Director for the FIRST Lego League here in Arizona where she is in charge of putting together a one day robotics event for about 32 robotics teams for children in grades 4 through 8th. Ingrid works at Microchip Technology and is currently working with the Wireless Team developing Bluetooth Low Energy content for their customers.
Alexandra Figueroa, General Motors Lead Sr. Software Developer, Hispanic Initiative Team Arizona Lead
Alexandra Figueroa is currently a Lead Senior Software Developer for the Manufacturing Engineering IT team at General Motors Corporation. Alexandra’s responsibilities include design, developing, testing and implementing new software engineer solutions to the different applications that support manufacturing facilities through the world.
Alexandra is also responsible in helping leading junior developers technically as well as performing any coding reviews for the quality of the applications being build. Alexa She is the founder of the Hispanic Initiative Team Arizona, an employee resource group within General Motors. Her leadership has contributed in establishing a good connection with the community in the Tempe and Phoenix area in Arizona. As part of this role, Alexandra has led program opportunities to the Tempe High School that focuses on helping create awareness to the students about Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM).
Alexandra’s goal is to continue to give back to the community, to help the next generation as much as possible, being an example to our Hispanic/Latino community and to continue to create great relationships with the community. Alexandra currently lives in Tempe, Arizona with her amazing husband of 15 years.
Marcos Garciaacosta Jr., Mechanical Engineer Student, Metron Scientific Solutions, State Technology and Manufacturing, NASA/JPL
Marcos Garciaacosta Jr. is a soon-to-be graduated mechanical engineer with a passion for making and STEM. Marcos was exposed at a young age to many different engineering events and activities, the most impactful activity being the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Marcos competed in FRC for his 4 years of high school with the Seton Catholic Sentinels. Up until his senior year of high school, Marcos still thought that a career in STEM was out of reach. Surrounded by mentors from Boeing, Microsoft, and other local tech companies, he discovered a passion for designing, prototyping, and building robots.
Throughout his college career, Marcos has worked on implementing what he has learned in his engineering classes to solve real world design problems, like designing autonomous underwater robots. Marcos has also gone back and mentored FRC teams. He currently mentors Team 5465 The BinaryBots working out of Techshop in Chandler. Marcos has had several internships; NASA/JPL research internship on ASU’s Tempe campus assembling and creating parts for sensor arrays commissioned by NASA scientists, as a CAD designer for State Technology and Manufacturing designing parts for customers while also supervising fabrication of large assemblies, and most recently, working as a mechanical engineering intern at Metron Scientific Solutions, a defense contractor with a division that engineers unique solutions to challenging military problems. Marcos graduates in December and hopes to find work building robots for defense purposes.
Robotics can be a useful forum for engaging students in engineering and teamwork through the fun and competitive nature of sport. Learn from high school robotics club presidents on how to start and maintain a robotics club in your school or community.
- Chief Science Officer Dhruv, Hamilton High School
- Chief Science Officer Dominique, Casa Verde High School
- Chief Science Officer Sage, Centerra Mirage STEM Academy