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Arizona SciTech Blog

This blog is courtesy of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

More Than Just Words, AZ SciTech Festival  
Presenting Sponsor is Giant Presence In Community

Guest Author: Michele Peters, writer, Cox Communications 


COX, the premier communications company in Arizona, connects and communicates with the community; but COX brings these concepts to new heights.  Starting as a Platinum sponsor of the AZ SciTech Festival at its inception five years ago, COX is now the Festival’s Presenting Sponsor.  Why?  In these days of corporate economic cutbacks, COX is bucking the trend and instead is forward-thinking with its support of STEM in Arizona.  In fact, COX is again setting the gold standard for community involvement.  R.J. Muller, Manager of Community Relations at COX Communications readily commented, “…COX is strongly committed to STEM and what it brings to our community.  STEM is relevant within our state and especially our youth. We are trying to help prepare our youth for the future, they will be the ones to lead our community into the future and STEM is an important part of that future.” 


Connection to community is undeniable on so many levels.  COX’s STEM JOURNALS on COX Channel 7 is a veritable science smorgasbord of all phases of STEM.  Check it out and get excited about all the possibilities STEM has to offer – right here in Arizona; possibilities are endless and many you probably didn’t know about.  Not certain if science, or what in the sciences may interest you – check out any one of the 1,000 + events at the AZ SciTech Festival – you will be surprised… and will probably get that answer.


COX not only talks the talk but walks the walk.  Realizing not all children or families in our community have access to the digital world; their solution – Technology Centers.  COX has opened 33 Technology Centers that give internet access to students who would not otherwise have the Internet available to them.  COX works to bridge, as Muller puts it, “…the digital divide” and provides low cost broad band to low income families in our area.



Through the AZ SciTech Festival, new, unexpected partnerships have also emerged.  COX and its Connect2Stem now partners with the University of Arizona Medical School for the signature event that celebrates science, technology, engineering, math… and medicine.  Over 2,000 people attended its inaugural year in 2015, attendance at the January 9th event was 4,800 – more than doubled!  The partnership continues to grow and benefits everyone, but most of all, benefits our community.  And where else but at a Connect2Stem event with a medical school would there be a life-sized synthetic cadaver that talks, breathes, bleeds and sweats! 


COX has garnered several awards over the years as a corporation that cares about its customers, outstanding customer service and its community; so what better way to put this experience to good use than to create its own award focused on STEM, COX Connect2Stem Awards.  For the second year, COX in partnership with the AZ SciTech Festival, honors STEM Connectors in five areas:  business, non-profit, education, conservation and after school programs.  This prestigious award highlights and recognizes the STEM leaders in our community – and those who impact our future.


Throughout the years of the partnership between COX and AZ SciTech, as in any strong partnership, both reap benefits; but in this case, there is a silent partner, our community.  And because of COX and AZ SciTech joining forces, spectacular ideas, like the Chief Science Officers are created and developed; “…because of all that AZSciTech brings to our company and community, we are inspired to do more” said Muller.  It may surprise you just how much there is out there. 


And may the force, the STEM force, be with us!

1Doug Ducey

1Doug Ducey

PHOENIX – “In January, I stood in front of a joint legislature to deliver my priorities for this session – and key among them was a strong focus on career and technical education.

“Now, following a bipartisan – unanimous – vote in both chambers, we are one step closer to providing vital support for thousands of Arizona students while keeping a structurally-balanced budget.

“This victory is a high testament to what I’ve said since the beginning – we can be responsible with our budget while adding significant, real dollars to K-12 education.

“Over the past month, I’ve traveled the state corner to corner. I’ve met with education leaders, teachers, principals, parents and students. They share this commitment to ensuring that all Arizona students are prepared for life after high school graduation – whether college or career.

“To them, and to all Arizonans, I’m proud to say that the plan I signed today delivers. I thank our legislators – especially Speaker David Gowan and President Andy Biggs – for working swiftly and in good faith to put our kids first.”



For more information or assistance, contact Governor Ducey’s press office: 602-542-1342




What’s the connection? AZ SciTech Festival’s Partner Strong Ties, TURN UP FOR STEAM event – has it all and more!

A weekend filled with and fueled by STEAM. The 3-day event, with its overarching theme, the Science of Sound, is filled to the brim with ingenious innovations, new technology and hands on exhibits including games, coding and even a Coding Hackathon.

So much going on it’s almost impossible to choose – reserve the weekend, February 19, 20 and 21st and plan to attend the annual event at Phoenix College in the West valley area. And by the way, we hate to name drop, but the AZ SciTech Festival and its partners are known for their “pizzazz” and the guest list of those interacting with the students at Turn Up for STEAM is quite impressive; DISNEY STUDIOS, LaMar Queen of MusicNotes in LA and Black Poet Ventures from Phoenix (putting the “A- arts” in STEAM); GOOGLE AND GO DADDY!

Here’s an overview of the STEAMED UP weekend:

FRIDAY: The science of sound, how specific principles of science are actually integrated into music…Hip Hop! It’s the world of rhythm and rhyme and hip-hop…where science meets art. Filled with a high pumping, energetic, and fun exploration of science using hip-hop as the tool. Students will learn: the biology and physics of sound; the use of technology for audio recording sound using software and the microphone; how engineers apply vibration, wavelengths, frequency, and amplification when producing sound; mathematics found in sound, such as fractions, and delve head first into the arts and musical expressions that include learning technology for making music.

SATURDAY: It’s more than just a game! The Coding Hackathon is an incubator of ideas that involves idea creation, design process, development, test, and presentation where students are quickly transformed from player to creator by learning to program while they create their own game through coding and the use of Beta: The Game, a special software platform that produces instant gaming effects and collaborations. Hidden Level Games, a New York based software company, will teach students how to use their game development software (Beta The Game) which features #CodePop, a “tweet‐sized” programming language.

SUNDAY: A day of celebration and culmination of the entire weekend that features the Pathway to STEM Parent Panel. An exciting and thoroughly unique finale of the event is when the kids get to “strut their stuff”. The students demonstrate and present what they learned, experienced and created during the event. And as for the celebration – it is a big one because Sunday is the day to celebrate and honor Black History month.

Loretta Cheeks, co-chair of the event and Strong TIES Founder stresses, “…this is a community-building partnership initiative, connecting youth to resources, mentors, organizations, tools and techniques grounded in STEAM. The event celebrates the genius and possibilities of our metro-Phoenix youth and ignites STEAM innovations.”

In the words of one of the parents attending last year, Rose Robinson from the Prairie View A&M University (Northwest campus); tweeted that she was “apprehensive because it’s a gaming workshop, but now I know it’s computer science, so glad I brought my son!”

Perhaps the underlying philosophy of the event can best be described by educator Marcus Roberts “take what a young person knows, and give them the tools to use what they know, to unlock what they don’t know.” Cheeks recently had a group of youths at an event. She asked them to take out their cell phones (which took about one second!). She then asked if they knew how the texts they send from their phone gets to their friend’s phone. For this and other steaming questions, plan to spend time at the Turn Up For STEAM event. You’ll be glad you attended.

Experience STEAM Happenings –A Night That Opens Minds and Possibilities

Arizona State University (ASU) once again hosts its signature community event, ASU NIGHT OF THE OPEN DOOR, a night when the entire community is invited to see and experience the creative energy that powers a world-class university, with hundreds of interactive activities and student, faculty and staff volunteers.  Visitors can explore laboratories, living collections and museums on all five of ASU’s campuses, as well as experience artistic performances, hands-on activities and spaces normally closed to public view. Learn just what is going on behind all those walls, buildings and ASU campuses throughout the Valley.

Attend this event on any of the campuses and it is no mystery as to why ASU was recently recognized as the #1 most innovative school in the country (US News and World Report 2016). At the core of its #1 rating are the fundamentals of ASU and driving forces behind this world-wide recognition:

  • ASU’s innovative faculty and staff provide students a quality education and the tools to succeed
  • ASU’s quality programs prepare students for an ever-changing globally-connected world
  • Through research, ASU’s goal is to develop solutions to real-life challenges for communities, local to global

ASU, a foundational partner of the AZ SciTech Festival, is a natural connection since ASU Night of the Open Door brings together ASU with the entire community, while showcasing serious STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) research in a fun, unintimidating and exciting atmosphere.

Who should attend ASU Night of the Open Door? Families; AZ Schools K-12; local communities, girl scouts, boy scouts; faculty and staff; all ages, all generations. Why? Margaret Coulombe, Director, ASU Executive Communications readily answered, “…attendees at Night of the Open Door often discover they do have an interest in STEAM; often times in areas they never imagined would inspire and excite them and all because they had the opportunity to experience such a wide variety of areas, easily accessible and available to them https://opendoor.asu.edu/ in one night…” This one night might inspire a new direction in a person’s life, can make a change in that one life or possibly many lives, especially when children, who are the future, are excited about science and the arts.

It is  impossible to list all that you can do here; however, we can give you a sampling of the exhibits and activities you could participate in. To help plan your visit, you can download the new Night of the Open Door app: https://opendoor.asu.edu/get-night-open-door-event-app or go to https://opendoor.asu.edu. But be forewarned, it’s not easy to decide! So, make an evening of it and enjoy all the sights, sounds and delights that await you at ASU’s Night of the Open Door.

To register, please click: https://opendoor.asu.edu/registration-form … AND … if you pre-register, you get a chance to win a free prize, in addition to your free glow wand at the welcome boothss (limited quantities, first come, first serve).


  • High Performance Hybrid Camaro
  • Solar and Aquatic Robots • Human Sized Bubbles and Slinkys
  • Noodle Soccer and Beep Ball
  • 20+ Foreign Language Lessons
  • Moon, Mars, Exoplanets and More
  • Arizona Rubik’s Cube Competition
  • Create Your Own Game or Comic Book
  • Design a Website or App
  • Football Trivia and toss game
  • Salt Water Fish and Zoo Animals
  • Nursing as a Career
  • Engineering and Nanotech Lab Tour
  • Sustainability Solutions Festival Downtown
  • Student Film Festival
  • Rugby Clinic
  • World Art Scavenger Hunt
  • Make International Puppets & Flags
  • Scale the Climbing Wall
  • 3D Printers and Puzzles
  • World-wide Karaoke, Art & Dance
  • Biodesign Institute Demos and Fun Zone


Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, 4-8 p.m. https://opendoor.asu.edu/west


Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, 4-8 p.m. https://opendoor.asu.edu/downtown-phoenix


Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, 5-9 p.m. https://opendoor.asu.edu/polytechnic 


Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, 4-8 p.m. https://opendoor.asu.edu/thunderbird


Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, 4-9 p.m. https://opendoor.asu.edu/tempe

Is SPACE your thing? Plan time for the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE)

  • Robotics, meteorite displays, lab tours and talks
  • Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Science Operations Center
  •  Mars Space Flight Facility (Moeur Building)
  • Ronald Greeley Center for Planetary Studies (NASA Regional Planetary Information Facility) and 3D Marston Exploration Theater shows.

STEAM is extremely important for our children, our state and our country; students currently in our schools, as well as future generations of students, must be provided opportunities and encouraged to understand and embrace the technology that affects them every day of their lives. ASU, along with AZ SciTech Festival, supports this investment on every front.

As Coulombe so aptly remarked, “You don’t know you can become something, if you don’t know it exists. Children, students of all ages, parents and grandparents have the chance to reach out and grab the future they want.”

Students Can Own Their Future

So much to consider! Employment in occupations related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) is projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022, an increase of about 1 million jobs over 2012 employment levels.1 Did that catch your attention?   Here’s more. U.S. businesses voice concerns over availability of STEM workers. More? Over the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs was three times as fast as growth in non-STEM jobs. STEM workers are less likely to experience joblessness; STEM workers play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy, and are a critical component to helping the U.S. win the future. 2


Question is how to BE one of those STEM employees. The Metropolitan Education Commission (MEC), a partner of The AZ SciTech Festival for three years now, has real-world answers in one fun, unintimidating, information-filled get up close and personal jam-packed symposium on February 3rd   at the University of Arizona (UA) Student Union Ballroom from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm aptly named the KEY TO EMPLOYMENT SYMPOSIUM. And they know how to do this right – this is the 19th year the MEC has put together this Symposium that continues to grow in students attending and potential employers.


The Symposium, the first of its nature in the state, focuses totally on high school students from all over Pima County; public high schools, magnet, charter schools, parochial schools and home-schooled, students from so many educational backgrounds come together with one thing in common – a curiosity about employment in STEM. Here they talk with one another and talk with representatives from a wide spectrum of high tech corporations, academia and the military – basically anyone using high technology as the ‘tools of their trade”.  


— more —

Dr. June Webb-Vignery, MEC Executive Director, the driving force and organizer of the Symposium explained, “…students must know what is needed for a career in a particular field involving STEM. They come to the Symposium to find out what courses they need to take in high school and college to get into that particular career. The Symposium offers a unique, well-rounded experience so the students themselves can ‘connect all the dots’ to a pathway in a career that is important and interesting to them.”


Corporations like IBM (a stalwart supporter of the Symposium), Bombardier Aerospace, Tucson Electric Power, the Arizona TeleMedicine Program, UA College of Engineering Workshop, are examples of the diverse nature of those students can talk with and obtain those important ‘dots’ to connect.


And what are those ‘dots’ that need connecting? STEM fields are closely related and build on each other. For example, math provides the foundation for physics—and physics, in turn, for engineering. Engineers apply their knowledge of physics to make high-tech devices that test theories in physics. Advances in physics lead to advances in engineering and technology.


Too often the only time a student spends on a college campus is to attend a football game. With the Symposium, students are given tours of the UA campus, and that alone gets kids thinking about what their future can be – that they too can attend a university, start down a path to a good education, a good job and a good future; and be part of the STEM future… it can impact lives.


STEM workers drive our nation’s innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries. The jobs of tomorrow will be in STEM… the future of the economy will be in STEM. WHERE WILL YOUR FUTURE BE?


1 From the Bureau of Labor Statistics March 2014 report

2 From the U.S. Department of Commerce


The MEC Keys To Employment Symposium, a leader to get our kids thinking about where the future jobs will be has also been instrumental in showing unprecedented success when the forces of the community are brought together. It has brought together the three usual entities, high-tech businesses, educational organizations and high school students; but one more entity that is truly critical has been forward-thinking and supportive and not always a part of the mix – politicians. To be specific, the Pima County Attorney, Barbara LaWall is leading by example and showing what can be achieved when everyone comes together for the good of the students and the community. LaWall, completely supportive of MEC and the Symposium, has commented that their support is common sense prevention – putting efforts into youths from the beginning is drop-out rate prevention and ultimately is crime prevention.  

To AZ SciTech newsletter followers, welcome back. To those of you who are new to what we are and what we do…welcome to a new era of technology and community involvement.

AZ SciTech is a grass-roots initiative that has taken hold, in a big way. This is now the fifth year for the AZ SciTech Festival and even though we are the new kid on the block, we are considered the third largest science and technology festival in the nation; we are in good company, Washington D.C and New York City are the only ones ahead of us.

The official start of the Festival begins today and runs through March, with well over 50 communities and 800 organizations throughout Arizona participating, in over 1,000+ events across the entire spectrum of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Participants include community organizations, universities, schools and corporations like our Presenting Sponsor, COX Communications, State Farm, Honeywell and innovations from Intel, Orbital ATK and Google.

So whether you are three or 103, the range of events at the Festival is second to none in our area covering all disciplines related to STEM. What does this mean? Whatever your interest, there is something at the Festival to delight, educate and engage you – and what may be a great surprise as several attendees have mentioned, things you never thought would interest you (or even gave a passing thought to), grab you and could quite possibly open up a world of new possibilities with an impact that may just change your life. Festival activities include everything from archeology, paleontology and geology to medicine, biology, chemistry, the computer sciences, robotics, aviation, aerospace and astronomy. With all of these opportunities we can confidently say, the AZ SciTech Festival literally has something for everyone.

STEM is the future of education, the future of our community, the future of our workforce…it is the future. Please join us at the AZ SciTech Festival and see for yourself what the future holds.

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!