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Arizona SciTech Blog

This blog is courtesy of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

WASHINGTON, DC – On April 13th, President Obama hosted the sixth and final White House Science Fair of his Administration and celebrate the student competitors and winners from a broad range of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competitions. The event was the largest White House Science Fair to date, with more than 130 students from more than 30 states, as well as student alumni from each of the prior five White House Science Fairs.
Highlighting the powerful stories of ingenuity, social activism, teamwork, and civic engagement evident in the projects, President Obama called on this generation of students—those in elementary, middle, and high schools today—to actively participate in solving the toughest challenges facing our world, from combating climate change to setting foot on Mars.
President Obama established the tradition of the White House Science Fair at the start of his Administration to personally celebrate our Nation’s top young scientists and innovators. The President created the Science Fair with a simple credo: “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”
The President also highlighted the growing community of education, business, and nonprofit leaders who have responded to his State of the Union call to give every child the opportunity to learn computer science (CS), as well as his overall “Educate to Innovate” campaign to ensure all students have the tools to be innovators and problem-solvers. Today’s announcements include:
·         New Department of Education guidance to states, school districts, and other education organizations on the many ways they can use existing Federal funds to advance Pre-K–12 STEM and CS learning.
·         A $200 million investment by Oracle to support CS education for an additional 125,000 students in the United States.
·         More than 500 K-12 schools committing to expand access to CS, with support from Code.org.
·         Commitments to expand STEM learning for more of our youngest learners, from family engagement to innovative use of media.
·         A new online matching platform, supported by US2020, to help more STEM professionals who want to volunteer and mentor.
April 13th’s STEM announcements also marked progress on the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative and the efforts of the Council on Women and Girls to build ladders of opportunity for all young people, including populations underrepresented in STEM; incorporate STEM into the Administration’s push to expand high-quality early-childhood education; and advance the Climate Education and Literacy Initiative to help connect all American students and citizens with the best-available, science-based information about climate change. Full details on all of the announcements can be found here.
The White House Science Fair is part of a week of Administration activities celebrating science and technology, featuring the President’s participation as a guest presenter throughout the week on the Science Channel’s nightly science news segment. In addition, the White House Science Fair was immediately followed by the USA Science & Engineering Festival, the nation’s largest celebration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with more than 350,000 students and adults expected to engage in more than 3,000 hands-on activities over 3 days. More than 70 Federal agencies participated in the Festival.
A Generational Call to Action
Students today have the potential to be one of America’s greatest generations. Though each generation of Americans brings with them new ideas and energy, today, because of unprecedented access to cutting-edge physical and digital tools, online and in-person communities, and information about the grand challenges we face, American students are even better equipped to harness their passions towards developing solutions that confront our toughest challenges.
They can be the Mars generation, the explorers who first step foot on another planet. Their skills, perseverance, and collaboration can help seed new technologies and solutions to tackle the climate crisis. They can collaborate to harness rapid advances in information technology and nanotechnology to understand the human brain, forge new solutions to cancer, and embrace the American spirit of discovery, invention, and entrepreneurship.
As the President highlighted in this year’s State of the Union Address, everyone in the United States can harness technology to help solve our toughest challenges. The 2016 White House Science Fair shines a spotlight on the contributions that the Nation’s students are making now, and the potential they have to help make our country and our world a better place.
The more than 130 students at the 2016 White House Science Fair represented more than 40 different STEM competitions and organizations. Approximately 40 student teams had the opportunity to exhibit their projects at the White House, and the President will personally view some of these projects. Additional information on the projects, students, and competitions being recognized at the Fair can be found here.
A Sustained Record of Accomplishment
This White House Science Fair is only the most recent example of President Obama’s sustained and historic focus on giving every child the opportunity to excel at STEM education. In the past 7 years:
·         The Administration has secured more than $1 billion in private investment for improving STEM education as part of the President’s Educate to Innovate campaign.
·         Our Nation is more than halfway towards achieving the goal the President set in 2011 of preparing 100,000 new math and science teachers by 2021.
·         Compared to when President Obama took office, 25,000 more engineers are graduating each year from American universities.
·         STEM education has been incorporated into the priorities of the Department of Education (ED)—as illustrated by the Administration’s signature Race to the Top competition—and into the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act that the President signed last year.
·         This White House has announced more than 350 commitments from college and university leadership and others to provide pathways for students underrepresented in STEM to attain degrees.
·         President Obama has started traditions such as the White House Science Fair to honor young people using STEM to improve their communities and the world.
And in his final budget announced in February, the President sustains this impressive track record with an investment of $3 billion for STEM-education programs, as well as a historic $4 billion proposal in support of CS education for all students.
New Steps Being Announced by the Administration Today
Federal agencies are announcing new steps to empower local communities with the tools, people, and support they need to expand their STEM efforts. These include:
·         Federal guidance on advancing STEM education. Today, the Department of Education (ED) Office of STEM is releasing a Dear Colleague Letter providing guidance for states, school districts, and other education organizations on how they can use Federal funds to support innovative STEM-education strategies and ensure equitable STEM-education opportunities and outcomes for all students in the 2016-17 school year. In particular, this guidance outlines how Federal money can be used to support high-quality, hands-on active STEM learning.
·         The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), along with the STEM Funders Networkand the Afterschool Alliance, are collaborating to support vibrant STEM ecosystems in as many as 14 communities, where local schools, out-of-school programs, business, higher education, museums and local institutions will work together to expand STEM learning opportunities for local students. To support the effort, CNCS will place up to 28 AmeriCorps VISTA members, who will be full-time staff on the ground. In addition, CNCS is expanding STEM AmeriCorps VISTA through a new partnership with the New York Academy of Sciences that will place more than 10 AmeriCorps VISTA members over the next 2 years in afterschool STEM-mentoring programs, which will serve students who reside in 60 of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City, NY, and Newark, NJ.
·         The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in collaboration with the YMCA of the USA, will help 10 new host cities around the country expand Thingamajig, a program developed by the YMCA of Metropolitan DC. These cities will create programs, seminars, and tools that assist students in connecting STEM education with real-world problem solving skills. This partnership builds on the last 2 years of expansion across YMCA of the USA, which reaches over 100,000 youth—with a focus on low-income and underrepresented youth—in 48 states and Washington, D.C. Additionally, this year, USPTO will expand its collaboration with the JAMTECH program to more sites across the country. JAMTECH is a hands-on educational experience that gives students with little or no exposure to computer programming the opportunity to build and program their own video games over the course of a day—teaching the principles of game design, coding, and programming in a way that allows students to expand their competencies in areas such as math, physics, analysis, logic, and strategy.
·         Over 200 Federally supported citizen-science projects for students and adults are now accessible from a single place—CitizenScience.gov. The General Services Administration (GSA) is collaborating with theWoodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (WWICS), a Trust Instrumentality of the U.S. Government, to launch CitizenScience.gov, a new central hub for citizen science and crowdsourcing initiatives in the public sector. CitizenScience.gov will provide information, resources, and tools for government personnel, students, and adults who are actively engaged in or looking to participate in citizen science and crowdsourcing projects. The development of this catalogue follows the September 2015 memorandum to Federal departments and agencies issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
·         ED, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Too Small to Fail (TSTF) are releasing a series of tip sheets entitled “Let’s Talk, Read and Sing about STEM!” These tip sheets provide concrete resources and recommendations for families, caregivers, and educators of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers on easy ways to incorporate STEM concepts and vocabulary into everyday routines, and suggestions for activities to engage young children in STEM learning. These new resources build on an existing suite of materials co-created by ED, HHS, and TSTF focused on early brain and language development.
·         The National Science Foundation (NSF) will celebrate a Day of Active Learning. A robust foundation of evidence shows that while active engagement enhances learning for students of all demographics, it has an especially beneficial effect on women and underrepresented students, likely due to a greater sense of belonging that can be achieved in active classrooms. Today, NSF is announcing that it will hold an Active Learning Day later this year, with the goal of empowering and encouraging educators nationwide to use active learning in their classrooms.
Private-Sector Commitments in Response to the President’s Call to Action
Today, more than 100 different organizations are announcing new commitments, showcasing the strong response to the President’s State of the Union call to give every child the opportunity to learn CS, as well as his overall “Educate to Innovate” campaign to ensure all students have the tools to be innovators and problem-solvers. These announcements include:
·         New partnerships to train teachers and help more than 500 K-12 schools expand access to CS. Code.org has established partnerships with seven local organizations to deliver professional-learning programs aimed at preparing up to 550 new high-school and middle-school CS teachers over the next 2 years. In addition, Code.org will help support more than 500 K-12 schools expand their CS offerings. This includes:
o   Nine school districts surrounding Chicago have grouped together to begin offering AP CS Principles in 21 high schools.
o   Dallas Independent School District will be offering beginning CS courses districtwide for the first time in the majority of their high schools and all of their middle schools in the 2016-17 school year.
o   Georgia’s Department of Education and Governor’s Office of Student Achievement committed to expand AP CS Principles to 60 high schools and integrate CS into preexisting courses at 60 middle schools across the state.
o   Mississippi’s Department of Education will host 6 summer workshops this year to prepare approximately 170 new CS teachers in grades K-5.
o   Northeast Florida School Districts, representing Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns Counties, have combined efforts to spread opportunities for CS instruction to over 200,000 students served collectively by their 330 schools.
o   In Washington State, Educational Service Districts 123, 171, and 112 (serving 82 school districts) have partnered with Code.org to bring CS professional-learning opportunities for elementary- and middle-school teachers as well as for middle-and high-school counselors and administrators.
·         A $200 million investment from Oracle over the next 18 months in direct and in-kind funds to support CS education in the United States. The investment will allow an additional 125,000 K-12 students to learn CS through the free Oracle Academy program. Oracle is also expanding access to emerging CS fields for interested teachers and students, through opportunities such as their free Big Data Science Boot Camps. To complement its direct CS offerings, Oracle will invest more than $3 million in nonprofit organizations focused on inspiring young girls and engaging other underrepresented students in pursuing STEM and CS degrees.
·         A new online matching platform, created by US2020, to connect more STEM professionals to volunteer opportunities, setting an initial goal to serve 20,000 students this year. The new platform will enable any nonprofit organization or classroom teacher to connect easily with a STEM professional. In 2016, US2020 will use the platform as a central hub to engage more than 1,000 corporations and civic organizations and serve more than 20,000 students with a focus on girls, traditionally underrepresented minority students, and children from low-income families.
·         Commitments to expand STEM learning for young learners nationwide. In response to the Administration’s broader push to expand early-childhood education, private-sector organizations are stepping up and making new commitments to build statewide early STEM programs, equip every Head Start center across the country with STEM tools, and engage families with new media and cultural options. A full list of new commitments will be released as a part of a White House event on early learning and STEM later this month. These include:
o   100Kin10 is awarding $1.7 million to partners in New York State and has leveraged additional support from Motorola Solutions to develop ways to increase the reach and quality of engineering and CS teaching in Pre-K–12 schools.
o   Common Sense Education will produce a set of early STEM-education resources and tools, covering themes like Coding for Early Readers. These resources have the potential to reach more than 300,000 teachers in 100,000 schools, and 65 million households across the country.
o   The Heising-Simons Foundation will partner with The Fred Rogers Company to support the production of 25 episodes of “Odd Squad,” a math-focused television show airing on PBS Kids, create games and an app, and hold free week-long summer math camps in 14 U.S. cities serving more than 400 children.
o   The Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN) will donate 10,000 STEM-focused Spanish/English Family Kits to informal learning settings (libraries and museums), community-based organizations, and national organizations—including home visitation programs—that serve low-income families in order to help expand young children’s access to STEM at home.
o   Learning Point Alaska, Inc. is partnering with multiple Alaska Native organizations to deliver informal, technology-based STEM programming to elementary-school students and build capacity for local teachers in Native Villages throughout Alaska.
o   The Museum of Science, Boston is launching a 3-year initiative to create a research-based Pre-K-Kindergarten engineering curriculum, which will build on the museum’s Engineering is Elementary curriculum, for schools to use to teach children ages 3-5.
o   The National Head Start Association and Lakeshore Learning will set a goal to reach the one million children who are enrolled in Head Start programs with their “Recycle Your Way to STEAM” program.
o   Sesame Workshop, the creators of Sesame Street, will develop “Make Believe with Math,” a research-based Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for educators, which, along with other training resources, will be made freely available online.
Full details on all of today’s announcements can be found here.

Inspire Kids Montessori to host fun, hands-on, classes each Tuesday from 10:30 – 11 am


Phoenix, AZ. (April 7, 2016).  Inspire Kids Montessori is hosting a free “Toddler Explorer” program for ages 12 – 36 months on Tuesdays in May, from 10:30 to 11:00 am, at Ironwood Public Library located at 4333 E. Chandler Blvd. in Phoenix. Tickets are required and will be available at the library starting at 10 am on the day of each class.  Space is limited.


The Explorer program is designed to help toddlers develop language and small and gross motor skills through fun, hands-on, activities.  The weekly class themes are “Rain through the Clouds” on May 3rd, “Erupting Bubbles” on May 10th, the “Colorful Milky Way” on May 17th, “Rainbow Fizzy Cloud” on May 24th and “Tornado in a Jar” on May 31st.


According to Diana Darmawaskita, Founder and Director of Inspire Kids Montessori, “We are very excited to collaborate with Ironwood Library to bring this educational program to the community. This is a wonderful opportunity for parents to observe Montessori activities and for children to explore science.”


For more information, parents can contact Ironwood Library at (602) 262-4636, Inspire Kids Montessori at (480) 549-9402 or email info@inspirekidsmontessori.com.


About Inspire Kids Montessori

Inspire Kids Montessori offers high-quality early education programs for ages 6 weeks through 6 years at their campus located at 4025 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 11, in Phoenix, 85048.  For more information, parents can call 480-659-9402 or visit the new Inspire Kids mobile and tablet accessible website at www.inspirekidsmontessori.com.

1Inspire Kids Montessori

Inspire Kids Montessori Teacher, Carrie Ramirez, with students 


Media Contact: Suzanne Jameson, Jameson & Associates

Cell: (480) 721-3629

Email: Suzanne@JamesonAssociates.net


Guest Author: Lisa Herrmann, Co-Chair Million Women Mentors-Arizona

Think of Earth Day as a time to get up close and personal with earth – as in soil and dirt! A report from the National Wildlife Federation, “The Dirt on Dirt: How Getting Dirty Outdoors Benefits Kids” provides some compelling data on how playing in the dirt actually makes kids more healthy. Studies show children’s stress levels are significantly reduced when in natural spaces, and playing in dirt can help develop healthy immune functions. And certainly investigations with dirt and the natural environment stimulate scientific thinking!

Unfortunately, we often discourage youth, especially girls, from the joys of this naturally dirty world. But here are some fun ideas for enjoying the earth this Earth Day and any day:

  • Sprinkle some water on the ground and watch how it moves. Does it soak in? Run along pathways? Try changing where water flows along the ground by blocking it with sticks or stones. Try carving new pathways in the ground for water to flow.
  • Find or introduce earthworms in a garden area and watch how they move through the soil. You can gently handle the worms to see how they feel as they move.
  • Explore the ground under plants and trees to see what might be living in the leaves and plant ‘litter’.

And there’s always the making of good old mud ‘pies’ and shapes from wet dirt. Here in the Phoenix Metro area, we’re fortunate that much of our soils contain clay that can be molded in creative ways!

Mesa Public Library

**64 E. First St., PO Box 1466, Mesa AZ 85211-1466 | mesalibrary.org


Position Title: Mesa Public Library VISTA Summer Associate


About Host Site: By providing access and guidance to information, services, and resources, the Mesa Public Library expands minds, empowers individuals, and enriches our diverse community.


About HandsOn Greater Phoenix: HandsOn Greater Phoenix manages a team of VISTA members who dedicate their time to building a better future for the people in the communities they serve. HandsOn Greater Phoenix is offering a unique opportunity to engage K-12 youth in summer learning activities through a Summer Associates service term.


Position Overview: 40 hours/week [5/31/16-7/25/16]


Position Description

Programming VISTA Summer Associate – The programming VISTA Summer Associate works with librarians to engage K-12 youth in summer learning activities. The Associate would help to create, organize, and implement workshops and programs for K-12 youth. The Associate would also work with teen volunteers to perform other library duties as assigned.


Primary Duties/Responsibilities

·     Follow VISTA program goals

·     Participate in HandsOn training

·     Work with librarians to create, organize, and implement workshops and programs for K-12 youth

·     Assist librarians with K-12 summer reading projects

·     Provide additional library support


Desired Skills

·     Experience leading youth in educational activities

·     Ability to work well in diverse teams

·     Self-motivated with the ability to take initiative

·     Strong desire to dedicate 8 weeks full-time to working with youth

·     List any desired skills for position here


Minimum Qualifications

·     U.S. Citizens, nationals or lawful permanent residents and between 18 – 24 years of age

·     Must have a minimum of a High School Diploma

In addition to the minimum requirements for the program, this position requires the following:

·     Fingerprint clearance and background check, and obtain a Volunteer badge with the City. 



Summer Associates receive benefits and support during and after successful completion of summer service. Associates are eligible to receive:

·     A Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $1,222.22 or a $230 summer end-of service stipend

·     On-site orientation and training

·     A living allowance of approximately $1,790 (for 56 days) to cover necessities during service

·     Involvement in the AmeriCorps VISTA Alumni Network and eCommunity

·     Orientation and on-the-job mentoring and training by library staff

What if you had the chance to learn magic from Harry Houdini, baseball from Babe Ruth, or acting from Harrison Ford?

While those adventures may be out of reach, you do have the opportunity to learn meteorite hunting from one of the world’s most famous and successful meteorite experts, who lives and works right here in Arizona.

After 21 years in the meteorite business, three years hosting the award-winning TV series “Meteorite Men,” and a million dollars in meteorite finds, Geoff Notkin is ready to share his knowledge and expertise with the public at “Meteorite Hunting Boot Camp,” May 1-3 in Tucson.

Participants will learn the art and science of meteorite hunting from Geoff himself and will be expertly trained in how to hunt for space rocks. You are guaranteed to find one or more meteorites of your own, and whatever you find, you keep! Geoff has personally found thousands of meteorites on four continents and is ready to share his secret storehouse of knowledge with you!

For complete details, visit www.meteoritebootcamp.com. Take advantage of special pricing for participants who live in the Tucson area and/or wish to arrange for their own accommodations and meals. Time is running out and space is extremely limited, so register today!

Intel Has Been A Leader with Interest and Involvement in STEM Education For Decades
By: Michele Peters, AZ SciTech Writer

Intel, the world’s recognized leader in technology is deeply involved and concerned with tech education known as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). But instead of only voicing their concern, they have built a culture to help ensure the next generation is totally tech savvy and a program built around transforming education to meet 21st century challenges, where students will need 21st century skills, including how to communicate and collaborate.
One entire section of their website is devoted to and outlines concrete strategies and actions to initiate that transformation – Intel® Education. “Intel® Education delivers a comprehensive approach to creating successful learning environments. By developing a strategic plan that supports your education vision, you can build a robust infrastructure, choose the right devices, and source the best software for your needs—all keys to driving a holistic solution for student success.” http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/education/video/way-learning-shou...
Renee Levin, Intel Public Affairs Community Engagement Manager, remarked, “…Kids are interested in science if given the opportunity to play and try to solve simple problems get involved…we must give them the opportunity to play in engineering and science.”
A recent opportunity for kids to “play in science” was the Chandler Science Spectacular, held in February. Here students were able to engage in actual hands-on demonstrations provided by companies and schools. There were only demonstrations and activities and where students talk about STEM with STEM professionals those actually involved – literally it was a day of hands on science.
And speaking of hands-on science, nothing is more hands on than students creating their own research and science fair projects, where Intel again leads the way. The Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF) is the largest science fair in Arizona being held on April 6 at the Phoenix Convention Center http://azsef.org/ . But that is just the beginning. AzSEF brings
together first-place winners from school, homeschool, district, county and regional science fairs across Arizona to compete for thousands of dollars in prizes and scholarships. The Grand Award winners in the Senior Division from the state-level fair will be selected to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) taking place May 8–13, 2016 in Phoenix, AZ. http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/education/competitions/internatio...
This is not your ordinary science fair! Each year, approximately 7 million high school students from around the globe present their original research at local science competitions. All hope to qualify for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair but only 1,700 winners of local, regional, state, and national competitions are invited to participate. Participate and compete they do. The best and brightest from 70+ countries share ideas, showcase cutting-edge research, and compete for more than $4 million in awards and scholarships.
Intel’s support of STEM education goes beyond community activities and here again, they not only give voice to their commitment but take action; their commitment is thoroughly embedded within the corporate culture and extends to their employees. Intel strongly encourages and supports their employees’ involvement in the STEM education initiative; involvement in the classroom is of particular focus. Levin commented, “…when Intel employees get involved in the classroom, it is a way that kids can get acquainted with someone who is actually works in a STEM field, most kids don’t know anyone in these fields.”
With so much going on in the community and their intense involvement with students, Levin was asked about any particular incidents or stories about kids or their interaction at one of the many events sponsored by Intel. With that, Levin chuckled and said “ping pong ball launcher”. A young boy became totally enthralled with the ping pong ball launcher he was making. He spent quite a bit of time constructing the launcher then reworking it to see if he could make it launch further and further with each adjustment. The boy did not want to leave even when Dad was ready to go. Dad commented “ I just spent over $100 on a gaming system that doesn’t even begin to capture his attention like this, I would have done just as well with cardboard, tape,
tongue depressor, Dixie cup and duct tape.”
Before ending the interview, Levin commented on the partnership between AZ SciTech and Intel; an important partnership that has been ongoing since the initial start of AZSciTech. “…The partnership is very exciting and tremendously collaborative with a common goal of making Arizona a destination for seeking STEM education AND employment.”
SNEAK PEEK! This dynamic duo are embarking on another collaboration – Communities of Practice where different combinations of the like-minded in STEM education, from different areas, schools, organizations, businesses and employees from all sectors come together to solve STEM education challenges. Each member in the community brings their unique perspective and experience into the collaboration to solve the most pressing education issues of the present and the future. This collaboration has national roots and extremely far-reaching results for many!
As Levin stated, “Intel is not only perceived as the leader in STEM education, Intel strives to BE the leader in STEM education and there’s a lot of action between those words!”

UAT, Small Private Tech College Prepares the Programmers, Engineers and Tech Innovators of the Future.

By: Michele Peters, AZ SciTech Writer​

If the thought of becoming a robotic engineer, game innovator, cyber warrior or forensic sleuth sounds right up your alley, then the University of Advancing Technology (UAT) needs to be on your “aware of” list.

This small, private college tucked quietly away in the Tempe area is a bastion of education for those who are into the world of latest technology and STEAM. In short, UAT is a committed catalyst to making the region a hi-tech hot spot and create opportunities for the future STEAM professionals in our area.

But in these times of sprawling universities, thousands upon thousands of students on multiple campuses…what does a small, private university solely dedicated to technology look like? An interview with Dr. David Bolman, UAT Provost and Dean clarified everything “…if I could build a college based on STEAM, what would it look like? Unique, interesting and high energy…a college that I would have gone to, if it had existed when I was choosing a school…stimulating, engaging and creative. It would be an example of the best thinking – practice creativity – practice STEAM. More than take classes, pass tests and get a degree. It would include creativity into the curriculum, within the scope of the class. For instance, learn how to build a robot – then actually build that robot. We build a culture at UAT, the students actually try out what they want to do…”

According to Bolman, technology and helping create the professionals of tomorrow also includes learning about history, art, and culture, it includes learning to work in teams. Build and design something together, as a team; teams that are comprised of diverse people, different ages. Technology needs to be adaptable and be part of our lives, conscious of who we are as a people, it’s aesthetics, it’s design; it is who we are as a culture. This is the future of STEAM.

In Bolman’s opinion, the future of jobs in Arizona will be science and STEAM-based which was a major reason he gave for UAT sponsorship of the AZ SciTech Festival. He stated, “taking part in the Festival plants the idea of a future career in STEAM in the minds of Jr. high and high school students. It will be much easier to fill the pipeline with STEAM-educated professionals if we get these students thinking about STEAM careers now, thinking they can create a life, a career, doing this.”

And Bolman’s opinions are supported by facts. The Department of Labor refers to the ‘sciences’ as the ‘Creative Class’ job classification, STEAM jobs will represent 35-45% of those ‘creative class jobs. Bolman continued, “…in Arizona it will easily be one in three jobs – these will be STEAM jobs. “…we want to be the model of what STEAM education will look like ten years from now, to help students become immersed in STEAM.”

UAT and its stated mission “to educate students in advancing technology who innovate for our future…” is perhaps one of the main reasons UAT has been a participant in the AZ SciTech Festival since the Festival’s beginning five years ago and is now a much appreciated sponsor of the annual event. “The AZ SciTech Festival, all of its activities, hands-on demonstrations, wide breadth of STEAM, fits exactly with our philosophy of creativity and STEAM education. A great example is the AZ SciTech Chief Science Officer (CSO) initiative and the CSO Camp. This extends STEAM education far beyond the realm of ‘support’.

So for all those technogeeks, soon to be technogeeks and wannabe technogeeks, there really is a dream college experience for you – where your technogeekiness, your uniqueness combined with the power of a well-rounded education in technology is your future in STEAM. And it’s right here in Arizona!

1National Park Service

National Park Service News Release

For Immediate Release – MARCH 22, 2016

Caleb Kesler, Chief Ranger, MOCA/TUZI, 928-567-5276 x222

Camp Verde, AZ-Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments

SciTech Events at Verde Valley National Monuments


The National Park Service, in association with the Verde Valley Science and Technology committee is pleased to offer three different events on Saturday April 2nd, 2016. Please use these opportunities to come learn more about the cultural and natural resources of our three sites.


The first event titled “Turtles and Birds and Bats, Oh My!”, will be held at the picnic area of Montezuma Well from 10 am to 11 am.  The event offers insight to some on-going research and monitoring of native Sonoran Mud Turtles, various hummingbirds and local bats.  The second event titled “What the Silent Stones Tell Us”, explores some of the dating techniques archaeologists use. This event will be held at the interpretive circle at Montezuma Castle National Monument from noon until 1pm. The third event is a presentation at Tuzigoot National Monument about Verde Valley Archaeology from 2 pm to 3 pm. 


The NPS staff is also participating at the Camp Verde High School SciTech event on April 7, 2016 from 10 am to 3 pm.  Park staff will display a model of Montezuma Well and show several videos about Montezuma Well and the surrounding area. All of these events are free of charge and part of the week-long Verde Valley SciTech Festival, April 2 – 8, 2016. 


The National Park Service celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2016. Over 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and monuments and create close-to-home recreational and cultural opportunities.  


Montezuma Well is located at 5525 Beaver Creek Road, Rimrock, AZ.  Montezuma Castle National Monument is located at 2800 Montezuma Castle Road, Camp Verde, AZ.


Tuzigoot National Monument is located at 25 Tuzigoot Road, Clarkdale, AZ. For additional information, call 928-567-3322 extension 228, or visit www.nps.gov/moca , www.nps.gov/tuzi orwww.vvscitech.org.


For the latest updates on events and programs, find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Surprise’s Super Science Saturday Has Lots of Surprises in Store

BY:  Michele Peters, AZ SciTech Writer


On Saturday, March 26 from 9:00 am – Noon at the Surprise Fire Station located at 15517 N. Parkview Place, the residents of Surprise, and anyone lucky enough to attend will have the unprecedented opportunity to meet, talk to and get to know the super unsung heroes, the true heroes of Surprise.

But in addition to meeting and talking to these fabulous heroes, attendees will get to see and learn first-hand how science is used in their everyday efforts to save, assist, rescue and keep everyone safe in their community.   

Science is actually used by police, firefighters and the water department?  While that seems a bit unusual, when you get to learn about this, it really is quite fascinating.  There is true science involved in fighting fires; what is the chemical reaction to cause a fire, how does combustion happen, are chemicals used to stop a fire and can you really fight fire with fire? 

What about sciences used by the police department?  Sherlock Holmes didn’t have all that the police departments now have to help solve crimes.  Just think how much faster he could apprehend those slippery criminals.  Now, there are so many popular TV shows, films and best-selling novels that all involve forensics.  Just what are the sciences used in forensics to solve crimes?  Here is your chance to see first-hand what those shows and books are revealing to help police solve crimes.  But forensics has come a long way since Paris 1879 when records were kept about criminals, height, weight, physical characteristics to fingerprints to today’s DNA technology.  Get out your sleuthing hat and your best questions to ask Surprise’s finest force. 

Okay.  Now down to the nitty gritty – really!  The nitty gritty of water treatment.  Talk about full on science!  Where would we all be without the science behind keeping our water safe?  But what all is involved in this necessity to our survival?  Bring a healthy dose of curiosity and a strong stomach and you too will be fascinated with all that goes into keeping our water safe and usable. 

Kendra Pettis, Economic Development, City of Surprise, was asked about this unusual theme for a science based event.  “…our fire and police are the most in touch with the members of our community.  They are the ones that build trust and respect in Surprise.  What better group of people to help us get the word out about science, the importance of science in our everyday lives.  It’s kind of a sneaky way to show our students how science is so important to all of us…how it is used all the time in our daily lives, and how science is used to keep us safe…from fighting fires, to fighting crime.  Science is used to ensure we have clean water.  That’s the one demonstration I think the kids will be most interested in – even though it has a higher yuck factor” she chuckled. 

Surprise is a growing, dynamic and highly inventive community with a growing, thriving tech community which makes it a perfect fit to be part of the ever-growing, dynamic AZ SciTech Festival. 

And in keeping with the science momentum of the city; during the interview, Pettis mentioned an upcoming event in April, sort of a science festival for adults that will feature beer-making and the science of ghost hunting. 

The City of Surprise is certainly living up to its name – SURPRISE – in all ways, but especially science.  Don’t miss exciting Science Saturday – get to know those people in the community who are the unsung heroes and the science behind what they do to help you!

Jazz, Classical Music…Science and Technology.  What?

BY:  Michele Peters, AZSciTech Writer 


KBAQ and KJZZ have been the go to stations for classical music and jazz in the Valley for years.  So in these days of STEM where do these two stalwart institutions of music fit?  They fit perfectly.  Both stations have managed an innovative miracle, mixing some of the best music in the Valley with some of the best science and technology in the Valley. 

KJZZ is long known as the station and voice of public radio, a voice for the community and now… a voice for the sciences and technology.  While the dulcet tones of jazz greats Duke Ellington, Harry Connick, Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck or Wynton Marsalis sail on the airwaves of KJZZ, so do Spot 127 and on broadband, the Arizona Science & Innovation Desk.

SPOT 127 was created through the collaboration of Friends of Public Radio Arizona, Rio Salado College and KJZZ 91.5 FM and is currently in its third year.  The Center, an innovative, educational outreach youth media center (and successful dropout prevention initiative), is aimed at low-income and at-risk teenagers in the Phoenix area; it empowers Valley youth with digital media skills that are vital to today’s information, technology-driven economy.

The project-based curriculum is actual hands-on training in digital photography, video and audio production and social media that result in students who possess media literacy competencies while honing their media creation and critical-thinking skills.  During the fully immersive two weeks, SPOT 127 staff, KJZZ journalists and media professionals mentor students as they learn to report, write, shoot and edit audio and video stories for authentic, first-hand experience and overview of digital journalism.  And what they learn has long-range impact.  SPOT 127 students develop multimedia pieces that can be used in portfolios, scholarship applications and college applications. 

All student-produced stories are distributed on the website, social media, and some are featured on KJZZ 91.5 FM’s local news programming. However, nothing says something is working like success.  An outstanding example is…Served.    Over the summer, seven participants ages 14 to 16 from SPOT 127, created a food show called Served that takes viewers on a behind the scenes tour of the Valley’s best food spots. Designed for the web, Served will be a monthly show that highlights the diversity and creativity of Arizona’s food scene, while providing at-home tips for viewers.  The students created the scripts, shot, edited and developed the two pilot episodes.

From digital production of Served to a healthy portion of science, and that is the KJZZ Arizona Science & Innovation Desk.  The Science & Innovation Desk is a comprehensive online source for everything science and innovation in the Valley…with a different twist.  Its team of professional reporters take the intimidation factor out of science, replacing it with fun, excitement, entertainment and understanding of what’s happening; from Comet Catalina making an appearance to a cross-country electric car driver making an appearance in Tucson, the KJZZ Science Desk has it covered.  How about an example of the breadth of topics covered?

How Washing Your Hands Every Time You Blow Your Nose Can Present A Health Problem

Turning Trash Into Revenue: How Phoenix Plans To Create New Jobs And Build A No-Waste Economy

Third Desert Tortoise Species Identified By Arizona …

Flagstaff Astronomers Study Unusual Fast-Spinning Asteroid

What Is The Average Monthly High Temperature In Phoenix?

Did You Know: Arizona Is Among Top States In US For Bat Species


With the additions of Spot 127 and the Arizona Science & Innovation Desk, KJZZ and KBAQ are well ensconced in the Valley, musically, educationally and now scientifically too. And with strong connections to the community and to science, KJZZ and KBAQ have an equally strong connection…and sponsorship…of the AZ SciTech Festival.  A partner since the inception of AZ SciTech Festival, five years ago, KJZZ and KBAQ have demonstrated their commitment to the community and through these science-based programs, consistently highlight all that is going on in STEM while introducing the fun, excitement and importance of science to new audiences.  Linda Pastori, Associate General Manager, Development for KJZZ and KBAQ sums up the Festival and the stations’ involvement with STEM, “…science can be intimidating, our partnership provides connectivity and awareness, it allows people to touch, feel and experience important topics in science.”   And that is music to everyone’s ears!