Facebook icon YouTube icon Pinterest icon RSS icon Flickr icon

Arizona SciTech Blog

This blog is courtesy of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

1Girls Have IT Day

Are you with a Title 1 school?

Apply for bus/sub funding and bring your middle school girls to Girls Have IT Day! Every middle school girl receives a free goody bag and priceless engagement with high school mentors.

To apply for bus/sub funding, follow these three easy steps:

1. Register your girls here: http://www.ghitday.org/

2. Send an email to us with a paragraph on why you want to bring your students to Girls Have IT Day.

3. Send us a recent W9 for your school or district. If selected, you will be required to submit an invoice.

Email items #2 and 3 to cwyman@xcp.org with Girls Have IT Day in the subject line.

We look forward to partnering with you to inspire your students!

Register today! Girls Have IT Day is made possible by Xavier College Preparatory with generous support from the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation and Grand Canyon University. Special thanks to Avnet, Infusionsoft and TB Consulting for additional donations. Girls Have IT Day is a signature event of the Arizona SciTech Festival.


4710 N. Fifth St. Phoenix, Arizona 85012 602-277-3772




MESA, Arizona – December 10, 2015 — A full-time student scholarship will be at stake when high school students from across Arizona test their automotive testing and diagnostic skills during the inaugural Maricopa Community Colleges’ Arizona High School Auto Challenge.

Automotive instructors from three of the Maricopa Community Colleges that offer post-secondary degree and certificate automotive programs banded together to present the challenge, which replaces a similar competition co-hosted for 22 years by Ford Motor Company and AAA. The Auto Challenge will rotate among Mesa Community College (Southern and Dobson Friday, April 22, 2016), GateWay Community College (2017) and Glendale Community College (2018).

“In the past, automotive high school instructors relied on the Ford/AAA competition to showcase their top students in a hands-on experience,” said Mesa Community College Automotive Faculty Bryce Bond. “As of Sept. 1, 2015, the Ford/AAA competition was sadly ended, leaving a huge void.

“Historically Ford/AAA would offer employment,” he added. “We will offer education through scholarships.”

The high school and postsecondary Automotive Technology instructors see this as an opportunity to get students excited about the latest advances in the automotive technology field.

“Automotive technology changes rapidly and the Auto Challenge will give students a real-life experience diagnosing and repairing vehicles using the most current technology,” said Steve Folks, GateWay Community College Automotive Program Director. “It also highlights the importance of encouraging talented young people to pursue Automotive Technology associate degrees and certificates, and careers as automotive service technicians.”

The Challenge qualifying exam will be administered online Jan. 27, 2016. It is formatted specifically to provide students the experience of sitting for the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification tests, the industry standard. The top ten qualifying schools will send a team of two seniors and one alternate to Mesa Community College to participate in the on-site portion of the competition in April. During this portion of the Challenge students will demonstrate their automotive diagnosis and repair skills by fixing a “bugged” vehicle.

“With three well-respected automotive programs that focus on domestic and imported automotive technologies, manufacturer’s certifications and high levels of job placement, hosting the Auto Challenge aligns with our goal of encouraging students to pursue college degrees and certificates in this field,” said Glendale Community College Ford Asset Instructor Don Davis. “It’s a three-way win scenario:  scholarships for students mean more trained, workforce-ready graduates who become contributing employees to the local economy.”

Additional information and the link to register for the exam may be found online at mesacc.edu/autochallenge.

Awards, tools and scholarships will be presented to students during the event.

# # #


GateWay Community College is a fully accredited public institution of higher education located in Phoenix. Offering more than 125 certificate and associate degree programs in the areas of Business and Information Technology, Health Sciences, Industrial Technology, Nursing and University Transfer, GateWay has emerged as a leading institution to meet the needs of business and industry. Visit www.gatewaycc.edu or call 602-286-8000 for more information. The campus is located at 108 North 40th Street, Phoenix AZ 85034.

Glendale Community College offers innovative higher education curriculum in 111 associate degree, certificate, transfer, workforce development and career re-training programs. Glendale Community College is one of ten colleges in the Maricopa Community College District.

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized for its service-learning, civic engagement and innovative educational programs, which include university transfer, career and technical, workforce development, and life-long learning.  Host to 40,000 students annually, MCC offers more than 195 degrees and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations.  MCC’s student body hails predominantly from the East Valley of Phoenix and includes Veteran, American Indian and International students who enrich the learning experience. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to compete locally and globally. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, MCC is one of 10 colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District. The District also includes the Maricopa Corporate College and two skill centers. For additional information, visit mesacc.edu.

Glendale Community College, Gateway Community College and Mesa Community College are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) http://www.ncahlc.org, 800-621-7440.

The Maricopa County Community College District is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

By Paige on September 26, 2015 in CSO http://chiefscienceofficers.com/cso-cabinet/paigehamiltonhs/

Most schools tend to categorize science “nerds” as outcasts. If you’re not the star player on a sports team or into all the current fads, you’re cast out into a separate category. This, I know, holds true at my school, however, I am determined to change this. As an active student who partakes in Varsity cheer, Best Buddies, and AP classes, I have a broad social spectrum. Not being confined to one certain group of people is extremely beneficial, especially upon being elected senior CSO. As senior CSO, I will speak for those who are too shy too. Passing out information on CSO and providing contact information to all students will ensure that students’ interests are being fulfilled. To people who push science under the rug, we as CSO’s will pull that science back out and through school demonstrations, we will aim to spark interest and capture the excitement of science for all students.

Society today tends to forget or overlook the importance of our young children as well. Another goal I want to reach is to expose more elementary kids to science, so it prevents that “science under the rug” thinking a lot of high schoolers possess today. As senior CSO officer i will provide science opportunities that let not only the “nerds” feel included, but everyone feel included.

The annual Arizona Renaissance Festival, with its 30-acre theatrical European market village offers a unique opportunity to bring the Renaissance period, the Age of Discovery to life! Student Days were created to highlight the educational aspects of the Renaissance; language, science, exploration, mannerisms, customs, commedia theatre, jousting tournaments, artisan demonstrations and music are just some of the learning opportunities that await your students. Student Days provides an excellent educational tool for educators that incorporates hands-on learning, interactive activities and engaging presentations. Take a glimpse of the Arizona Renaissance Festival Student Days.

Through its partnership with Arizona SciTech Festival and the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, the Arizona Renaissance Festival conducts an Essay Contest for both Elementary and Jr./Sr. High School Students. The 1st place winners of this contest receive FREE admission for their entire classroom to Student Days.

A study guide is available for teachers to help with the lesson plan to enhance the Student Days field trip. Student Days is an engaging and exciting way to get the students interested in history! The Festival provides students with a chance to do more than just read about the Renaissance….WE LET THEM EXPERIENCE IT!

Society for Science & the Public, Intel, and the Phoenix Local Arrangements Committee invite your school to apply to experience the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2016 as part of the Education Outreach Program on May 12th, 2016, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Phoenix.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, (Intel ISEF) a program of the Society for Science & the Public (SSP) is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. As part of our Public Day, we will hold a program specifically designed for middle and high school students from across Arizona to participate in a hands-on, interactive day celebrating science. The convention center will be open to school groups from 8:00am to 3:30 pm and open to the general public from 9:00am to 9:00pm. Limited space is available for interested school groups to participate. Apply now to be a part of this extraordinary education experience. Activities include:

The Intel ISEF 2016 Finalist Hall: The premier global science competition for students in grades 9–12, Intel ISEF provides an annual forum for more than 1,700 high school students from over 75 countries, regions, and territories to display their independent research. School groups are invited to visit the Intel ISEF Finalist Hall, where they will meet the finalists and learn more about the groundbreaking research performed by their peers from around the world.

The Intel ISEF “When Invasives Attack!” Program: Participating school groups will get to identify freshly caught live plankton under a microscope, conduct biodiversity data collection, and participate in water chemistry testing in this one hour environmental science experience. In this hands-on lab, students will take the role of environmental scientists by collecting data using similar equipment and methodologies used in the field to determine if a lake has been contaminated by an aquatic invasive species. Students will also analyze their data and make decisions on how to balance the resulting environmental and economic impacts.

The Intel ISEF STEM Education and Career Expo: Students and the public are also invited to view exhibits of national and local science and technology companies and education institutions attending the Intel ISEF.

Reserve space for your classes today by going to the online sign-up form at https://member.societyforscience.org/2016-intel-isef-education-outreach-program-application

Interested schools must apply by December 18th, 2015. Accepted applicants will be notified by January 15th, 2016 Limited financial support is available for transportation assistance and substitute costs. For questions about participating in this event, please contact us at outreach@societyforscience.org

To learn more about the Intel ISEF, please visit us at https://student.societyforscience.org/intel-isef

1Intel ISEF

By: Hal, chief science officer, July 11, 2015

Role models can be one of the largest impacts of a student’s future. One study identified role models as the key reason for the discrepancy in the number of women in STEM careers in different areas. Places with more women already in STEM careers to act as role models for young children cause more women to pursue their careers in their futures; As a result, areas without women passionate about STEM topics seldom see a change. For this reason, inspiring children of all backgrounds is important in building a diverse scientific community.

The program that has witnessed great success is the Science is fun presentation at Basha High School. The Science is Fun program trains high school students of many backgrounds to give a science presentation including types of energy *SONG* a *RADIOMETER*, heat flow, *ESMG* dry *RA CRD* liquid nitrogen, and many other exciting topics. This presentation was created by Dr. McKelvy, a major role model of mine, in order to show fourth grade students an exciting and fun aspect of their curriculum help solve the aforementioned problem and many alike.

Dear Friends,
Do you have kids, grandkids, or friends with children from Kindergarten through 8th grade who are talented artists?
This Spring, my wife Sasha and I will be distributing more than 50,000 free books to kindergarteners across the state, illustrated entirely by Arizona K-8 graders, with the launch of our newest children’s book, “Jeremy Jackrabbit Builds a House.”
In collaboration with the City of Phoenix Public Works’ Reimagine Phoenix, Kitchell, City of Tempe, John O. Whiteman, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 99, ASU Walton Sustainability Solutions, Freeport McMoRan and Ryley Carlock & Applewhite, every kindergartner in Maricopa County as well as students in some of Southern Arizona’s largest school districts will be receiving a free book to take home and enjoy.
Our Jeremy Jackrabbit book series has been lauded by the entire Phoenix City Council and featured in publications ranging from Raising Arizona Kids to the Citizen Airman, the Global magazine for the United States Air Force Reserves.
With a Forward by Governor Doug Ducey (who is following in the footsteps of Arizona State University President Dr. Michael Crow who has written our past three Forwards), this community project brings together the City of Phoenix, City of Tempe, Arizona State University, and more than 40 elementary school districts across Arizona.
Please share our illustration contest link with your friends, family, and co-workers who have K-8 graders. All 17 Phoenix Public Library branches are drop-off locations and there’s even a way to mail in your artwork by October 31st. It’s easy to participate!
Additionally, if you or your company are interested in supporting the book project financially please feel free to email me directly at rglassman@rcalaw.com.
Thanks again for supporting our Jeremy Jackrabbit book series. Arizona’s largest literacy collaboration! 

Your friend,

   Rodney B. Glassman

Registration has opened for the ideal program for high school CTE students and teachers looking for excellent real-world projects: the SMART Competition (www.smartcompetition.org).

Registering now will provide the students with extra time to watch the informational videos, read through the learning modules and familiarize themselves with the Bentley Systems (www.bentley.com) software used for the competition. Bentley has donated the CAD, GIS and AECOsim series energy analysis software tools to conduct the competition design and analysis requirements.

The SMART Competition engages students in a real-world technology education challenge designed to combine academic relevance, education achievement and applications of technology. The Competition facilitates the development of workforce and life skills including computer analysis and software design, verbal and written communication, research, teamwork and problem solving. Students will achieve an increased awareness of the smart grid, green building design, the environment, community, livability and sustainability related issues.

The student teams:

  1. Redesign the gymnasium on a virtual high school campus.
  2. Use software provided by Bentley Systems (bentley.com) to implement engineering and design changes.
  3. Add at least one renewable form of energy generation to the campus
  4. Provide the resultant surplus power to the community’s smart grid.

The students create energy benchmarks, resolve green building design issues and develop sustainable energy sources for the campus. Students will achieve an increased awareness of the smart grid, green building design, the environment, community, livability and sustainability related issues. The Competition also helps students develop workforce and life skills including computer analysis and software design, verbal and written communication, research, teamwork and problem solving.

As a CTE companion program, the competition provides an opportunity that can not only become a job but also lead to a successful career. Students engaged in the SMART Competition will learn skills essential for in-demand occupations within high-growth industry sectors.

Registration is open now. The registration fee is $100.00 per team. The Competition is designed to attract all students without regard or bias of gender, race, socio-economic or academic performance level.

For additional information, please contact me.


Michael Andrews

(602) 682 – 5440


2Ted Kraver

Guest Author: Theodore “Ted” Kraver, Ph.D 

The Arizona Capital Times assembled an impressive set of panelists for their Higher Education “Morning Scoop” on August 18th, 2015. Tim Slottow, President of University of Phoenix(UOP), addressed the audience first. At the University of Michigan as CFO he had managed $6 Billion a year into 100 top rated programs while reducing tuition. At the unique UOP half of the students are first generation and 70% are working. He is concerned about the polarized political system that is not rationally addressing social change. He is focused on improving the trajectory of the middle class over the next five years.

Ilya Iussa is Chief Strategy Officer of Maricopa County Community College District. She noted that MCCCD is into its 100th year of providing education for Arizona. Their unique mission has an open door policy for any student resulting in largest supporter of workforce development. As the largest community college district in the USA, it has three financial sources: one third tuition ($84 per credit hour), one third land taxes and one third from state of Arizona.  Oops, the state recently cut funding!  Their uniqueness attribute has been shifted into high gear to acquire new sources of funding. They are trying to remove a historical law that says for each $1 contributed by a company, they have to forego $1 in land taxes.

Glenn Hamer is CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. By 2020 it is vital to Arizona economy that 65% of our working population has higher education in either a college or trade school. With unskilled jobs continuing to decline businesses are working with our universities on programs that range from “boot camp” skills to computer programmers.  Potential employees flock to Arizona for higher education. We must improve the graduate pipeline to business and industry by assuring they remain in our state. K-12 education has pockets of excellence but overall it is the major reason why our college graduates move out of state.

Ilene Kline is President of the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona must commit to providing affordable college education to all individuals. Twenty-five percent of their funds have been cut by the State, and this funding must be restored. Loans to students load them with too much debt.  Federal Pell grants are much more effective. The Arizona Constitution is not being followed when the State fails to adequately fund education. Well-funded research is also vital to business and economic development. More juniors are entering universities than freshmen. What we need is an effective alignment of the goals of all post-secondary institutions.

Michael Romano, Campus President of Universal Technical Institute (UTI), asked the audience, “How many of you want your kids to be auto mechanics?”  When he mentioned auto and diesel and moved on to NASCAR, he got a better response. UTI works at a high level with Ford and General Motors to develop highly educated technicians. STEM is a major part of the curriculum and prepares graduates for higher degrees.

Senator Carlyle Begay, Member Senate Education Committee, discussed the working-jobs program Joint Technical Education District (JTED). This program is highly effective in rural and tribal regions. He emphasized the years of cuts and the need for you raise your voice at election time to change education policies.

Paul Thorpe is Chair of House Government and Higher Education committee. To entice graduates to stay, Arizona needs an innovation like the European Veterinarian Model being prototyped by UofA. The 6-7 year Vet program produces huge student debts. These debts that cannot be paid if the vet practices in a rural area.  So debts are lowered by UofA if graduates serve these areas. Arizona has a tax source disadvantage with 80% of land held by the federal government. Our state funds only $9,000 per student while New York funds $22,000 per student.  The federal payment to Arizona in lieu of taxes is very small, far short of the $50 per acre paid by private landholders. A forlorn hope is that the U.S. BLM will provide $50 per acre on their 32 million acres of non-Native American land and deliver $1.5 billion for Arizona education.

Jim Small of the Capital Times asked the question, “When the requirement that 65% of the Arizona’s job holders have higher education will the college and university student slots be available. The panel members described their offerings, focusing on flexibility for the student, placements and how the schools feed into each other to create an effective pipeline for students. The higher education schools directly engage employers to determine their current and future needs for college education students.

Jim then asked about affordability and the mountain of student debt.  The response was now that the recession was retreating, the State of Arizona needs to reverse its funding cuts for higher education by 2016. We do not have families with generational wealth so we all have to pitch in. The funding should be student centric with focus on STEM education to serve high paying jobs. The huge teacher and medical student retention problem must be addressed with paying down their loans if they stay in Arizona. Colleges must take steps to modernize higher education to deliver faster, cheaper and better learning with emerging technology and its unique pedagogies.

I left Alexi’s with the feeling that the panel covered the issues well, and had some creative ideas. Most important they were working together to address Arizona’s massive higher education problems. The two huge challenges that must be solved:

1. Student funding/student debt;

2. Integrate the goals of the disparate Arizona higher education entities into to one efficient and effective strategic plan, as articulated by Ilya Iussa. Time line must be much less than five years.

2Ted Kraver

Guest Author: Theodore “Ted” Kraver, Ph.D

Summer ends and schools are back in business. THE question sitting out there is, “What facts did you learn over the summer?”   Your free range explorations may have gone as far as changed your life’s calling. My middle school son was convinced during the summer 1985 that he wanted to create video games.  I got him an AMIGA PC. Today he is the creative director for one of the world’s largest video game companies. His goal remained fixed. When I was his age I wanted to be a helicopter engineer and create the next ram- jet powered Hiller Hornet. That fact changed a dozens of  times as I meandered through many industries and public sector ventures, changing paths ever few years.  We both continue to have very rewarding lives.

The neat thing about a scientific, technical and engineering (STE) education is that you learn how to do things and see the physical world in all its reality.  Your mathematics (M) education is a vital support tool for STE that provide a rigorous foundation for facts. Once you have mastered STEM and sharpened your intuitive mind, you are set, right?  Well, not as much as you might think.

While you are learning STEM you are also delving into history, art, biographies of inventors, scientists and a host of interesting folks. Hobbies and sports enrich your life. My mother was the county librarian in the 1940s and 1950s. Because of my sister’s interests her library had a bigger collection of science fiction books than the large Cleveland library. Facts of physical reality become intertwined speculation, intuition, and emotions. Digging deeper into science you discover the theory of chaos applied to complex systems. The simplistic and comfortable “cause and effect” of Newtonian physics is replaced by less than adequate complexity theory. The weather, turbulent flow of fluids, mobs and military battles cannot be predicted by simple cause and effect rules based on facts.

A recent book (2012) titled “The Half-Life of Facts,” “Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date” by Samuel Arbesman of Harvard and the Kauffman Institute and Harvard. The theme is plasticity of facts.  The concept of half-life came on the scene with atomic theory. The radio activity of chunk of Uranium 235 will decay to half its current level in 704 million years. After another 704 million years and the chunk will produce a quarter of the clicks per second on a Geiger counter. A solid fact like the number of chromosomes in human cells was discovered to be 48 in 1912.  But a half century later new a technique showed only 46.  Doctors used to recommend smoking tobacco. Portrayed as grey-green, leathery, and slow moving, dinosaurs are actually speedy critters covered with multicolored feathers and skin.

Time also wreaks havoc with facts. A hundred years ago a British neurologist said, “It takes 50 years to get a wrong idea out of medicine and 100 years a right one into medicine.”  The Apatosaurus was mislabeled Brontosaurus 150 years and the error was known by 1910. Today “Brono” still gets used twice as often and the US Post Office came out with a Brontosaurus stamp in 1989, featuring an Apatosaurus.

Fortunately we humans are highly adaptive. It is important to learn facts, but we must also recognize and adapt to changing facts. Make sure that your instructors know their lecture facts are a changing. Think about a fact’s half-life. Some may be 704 million years, but some may be only to the next news cycle.