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Arizona SciTech Blog

This blog is courtesy of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

January 9, 2017
PHOENIX — This afternoon, in his annual State of the State address, Governor Ducey told the story of the many Arizonans—Governors Castro and Mofford, Congresswoman McSally, and others—who embraced the boundless opportunity our state offers and used it to achieve their dreams.
Then, he announced exactly where Arizona stands:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m proud to stand here today and report, just like all these trailblazers, the state of our state in 2017, is resilient and strong. Our economy is growing, our schools are improving, and our citizens are succeeding.”
Arizona overcame one of the worst economic recessions in history and stands today as a beacon of freedom and innovation that the rest of the nation is looking to for guidance —
Arizona’s Economy: Resilient And Strong
Arizona’s Unemployment Rate Is Currently The Lowest It’s Been Since 2008. (“Local Area Unemployment Statistics,” United States Department Of Labor, Accessed 01/09/17)
Over The Last Two Years, We’ve Seen More Than 100,000 Private-Sector Jobs Land In Our State. (Arizona Office Of Economic Opportunity, Accessed 01/09/17)
In March 2016, It Was Announced That Arizona Had Recovered All Of The Jobs We Lost During The Great Recession—Ahead Of Eight Other States. “Arizona formally matched its pre-recession employment levels in December, closing a job hole that lasted eight years and lingered 19 months longer than the nation’s. . . . Only Nevada lost a greater share of its workers during the downturn than Arizona. Even so, Arizona has recovered faster than eight states.” (Ronald Hansen, “At Last, Arizona Recovers From Great Recession,” Arizona Republic, 03/25/16)
“A Reminder Of How Severely Arizona Was Hit By The Great Recession.” (Ronald Hansen, “At Last, Arizona Recovers From Great Recession,” Arizona Republic, 03/25/16)
The Office Of Employment And Population Statistics “Expects Arizona’s Recent Growth Spurt To Continue Through Mid-2017.” “The state’s Office of Employment and Population Statistics expects Arizona’s recent growth spurt to continue through mid-2017, helping bring a broader recovery to the state, especially in the Tucson area.” (Ronald Hansen, “At Last, Arizona Recovers From Great Recession,” Arizona Republic, 03/25/16)
Phoenix Business Journal: “Arizona Quarter GDP Hits Record High; Beats U.S. GDP Growth.” “Arizona’s gross domestic product hit an all-time high in the first quarter, growing 23.4 percent since the darkest days of the Great Recession. The $296.6 billion GDP for Q1 2016 was a 3.5 percent gain over Q1 2015. The U.S. economy grew 3.3 percent over that same period. The state’s GDP was up 0.8 percent from Q4 2015, double the U.S. quarterly growth of 0.4 percent from the fourth quarter.” (Eric Jay Toll, “Arizona Quarter GDP Hits Record High; Beats U.S. GDP Growth,” Phoenix Business Journal, 11/22/16)
Arizona’s GDP Growth In The First Quarter Of 2016 Outpaced 43 Other States. (“Gross Domestic Product By State: First Quarter 2016,” Bureau Of Economic Analysis, 07/27/16)
Our GDP Growth In The Second Quarter Of 2016 Was The Third-Best In The United States. “Arizona had the third highest increase in real gross domestic product in the U.S. in the second quarter. Arizona’s 3.3 percent increase over the same period in 2015 was also higher than the national average. The state’s GDP was just shy of $300 billion for the quarter, compared to $290 billion a year ago.” (Eric Jay Toll, “Arizona GDP Growth Third Best In US, Topping National GDP Again,” Phoenix Business Journal, 12/07/16)
Moody’s Investors Services Upgraded Arizona’s Credit Rating. “Moody’s Investors Service has raised the State of Arizona’s Issuer Rating to Aa2 from Aa3. . . . The upgrade of the state’s issuer rating to Aa2 reflects the state’s positive economic trends, significantly improved liquidity levels, budget actions expected to eliminate a structural imbalance resulting from the expiration of a temporary sales tax enacted during the recession, and below average debt and pension liabilities.” (“Moody’s Upgrades Arizona’s Issuer Rating To Aa2 From Aa3; Outlook Stable,” Moody’s Investors Service, 05/04/15)
MOODY’s: “The State’s Economy Will Continue To Expand.” “The outlook for the State of Arizona is stable reflecting the expectation that the state’s economy will continue to expand and that recent budget actions will stabilize reserves and rapidly restore structural balance.” (“Moody’s Upgrades Arizona’s Issuer Rating To Aa2 From Aa3; Outlook Stable,” Moody’s Investors Service, 05/04/15)
Standard & Poor’s Upgraded Arizona’s Credit Rating. “Arizona has received a second financial upgrade from Wall Street, with Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services raising its general evaluation of state-government debt to AA from AA-. Standard & Poor’s also raised its grade for bond investments known as certificates of participation issued by Arizona, to AA- from A+.” (Russ Wiles, “Arizona Receives Second Credit-Rating Upgrade,” Arizona Republic, 05/20/15)
S&P Analyst: “The Stable Outlook Reflects Recent Strong Revenue Growth And Spending Restraint.” HITCHCOCK: “The stable outlook reflects recent strong revenue growth and spending restraint that we expect to keep Arizona near structural balance in fiscal 2016 and for the foreseeable future, as well as limited future debt plans.” (Richard Williamson, “S&P Upgrades Arizona to AA On Stronger Budget,” Bond Buyer, 05/20/15)
Consumer Confidence Is Increasing. According to a recent poll conducted by the Behavior Research Center (BRC), Arizona consumer confidence climbed to 88.4 in June 2016. Confidence of Arizona consumers reached an historic low in January 2009 at 44.2, and has not been this close to 90.0 since July 2007. (“Good News: Arizona Consumer Confidence Reaches Highest Level Since July 2007,” Behavior Research Center, 07/06/16)
Arizona’s Economy Is Open For Business
In January 2016, Governor Ducey Announced Arizona’s “Renewed Focus” On Marketing And Promoting Our State To Businesses. GOVERNOR DUCEY: “It’s time for ACA 2.0, with a renewed focus on marketing and promotion. We have a great state with amazing assets. We know: Life’s better here. Now—let’s do a better job at getting the word out.” (“State Of The State,” Office Of The Arizona Governor, 01/11/16)
In February 2016, Carlisle Companies Announced That It Would Be Moving Its Headquarters To Arizona. (“Carlisle Companies Corporate Headquarters Moving To Phoenix,” Arizona Commerce Authority, 02/11/16)
In March 2016, Orbital ATK Announced That It Would Be Expanding Operations In Arizona. (Ryan Randazzo, “Aerospace Company Orbital Announces More Gilbert Jobs,” Arizona Republic, 03/20/16)
In April 2016, Google Announced That It Would Be Expanding Its Self-Driving Vehicle Program In Arizona. (David Shepardson, “Google Expanding Self-Driving Vehicle Testing To Phoenix, Arizona,” Reuters, 04/07/16)
In May 2016, Caterpillar Announced That It Would Be Expanding Its Presence In Arizona. (“Caterpillar Inc. Bringing Regional HQ To Downtown Tucson, 600 Jobs,” Arizona Daily Star, 05/03/16)
In June 2016, Dot Foods Announced That It Would Be Opening A New Distribution Center In Arizona. (“Dot Foods Chooses Mohave County,” Mohave Daily News, 06/07/16)
In July 2016, SK Food Group Announced That It Would Be Expanding Operations To Arizona. (“SK Food Group Inc. Plans Tolleson, Arizona, Manufacturing Complex,” Area Development, 07/14/16)
In August 2016, Rogers Corporation Announced That It Would Be Relocating Its Global Headquarters To Arizona. (“Rogers Corporation To Relocate Global Headquarters To Arizona,”Rogers Corporation, 08/08/16)
In September 2016, McKesson Corporation Announced That It Would Be Expanding In Arizona. (Eric Jay Toll, “Exclusive: California Health Care, Tech Firm Building $38M, 2,000 Worker Regional Operations Center On Tribal Land In Phoenix Area,” Phoenix Business Journal, 09/14/16)
In October 2016, Vector Space Systems Announced That It Would Be Locating Its Manufacturing Facility In Arizona. (“New Manufacturing Jobs Headed To Tucson,” Office Of The Arizona Governor, 10/13/16)
In November 2016, Lucid Motors Announced That It Would Be Building A $700 Million Manufacturing Plant In Arizona. (“Lucid Motors To Build $700M Manufacturing Plant In Casa Grande,” ABC 15, 11/29/16)
In December 2016, Uber Announced That It Would Be Moving Its Self-Driving Vehicle Program To Arizona. (Ryan Randazzo, “Uber Sends Self-Driving Cars From California To Looser-Regulated Arizona,” Arizona Republic, 12/22/16)
For more information or assistance, contact Governor Ducey’s press office: (602) 542-1342.
January 13, 2017
To: AZ Tech Council  Workforce Development & Education Committee colleagues
From: Jane Jackson, Co-Director, ASU Modeling Instruction
Subject: 2016 annual report on ASU Modeling Workshops

      The Modeling Instruction Program in the ASU Department of Physics has addressed a severe shortage of qualified physics teachers in Arizona since 1998, even while the number of local physics teachers doubled. Since 2005 we have addressed a shortage of local chemistry teachers as well. A surplus of biology teachers exists, and we have prepared many of them to teach chemistry and/or physics.
Physics is STEM! Physics is a true STEM course, when Modeling Instruction is used. It includes more math, technology, and engineering than any other  high school science course.
        High school physics is the chief pathway to STEM majors in college. A student who takes active learning (hands-on, minds-on) high school physics, such as Modeling Instruction, is three times more likely to earn a STEM degree than a student whose last high school science course was chemistry. (See modeling.asu.edu/modeling/STEMpathways-PhysicsAZ.htm for references). Physics is the foundation of all sciences, engineering and technology. Thus, Arizona’s economic health depends on a strong K-12 education that includes robust physics courses.
        Modeling Instruction began in the 1980’s, developed by ASU professor David Hestenes and Malcolm Wells, a veteran physics teacher at Marcos De Niza High School in Tempe. It corrects weaknesses of the traditional lecture-demonstration method, including fragmentation of knowledge, student passivity, and persistence of naive beliefs about the physical world. Courses are coherent, since they are organized around a small number of scientific models.
        Modeling Instruction is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as an Exemplary K-12 science program and a Promising K-12 Technology program. It was recognized with the 2014 Excellence in Physics Education Award of the American Physical Society (APS), the largest professional organization of physicists worldwide. Change the Equation designated the ASU Modeling Instruction Program and Master of Natural Science (MNS) degree program as ³Accomplished STEM Programs²: see changetheequation.org/stemworks. Change the Equation, a coalition of Fortune 500 companies, is a critical resource for funders.

Actions for sustainability in 2015-16:
* Special recognition for first-time supporters Air Products and ON Semiconductor.

* Special recognition to long-time supporter Salt River Project and first-time supporter Western Alliance Bank (to finance a fall 2016 chemistry Modeling Workshop in the West Valley).

* Increased participation on Sun Devil Giving Day by 100% and raised  more than $2000 for scholarships. Teachers and the community that benefit from this program also support it!

Recent news stories:
* ASU Impact Magazine, fall 2016:  (& 2-minute video interview of Jane Jackson at   vimeo.com/178494222):
* Arizona Education News, Oct. 29, 2015: ASU alleviates physics teacher shortage, strengthens STEM pathway. 

ASU graduate courses in summer 2016:
    Enrollment increased: 76 physics and chemistry teachers — 63 in Arizona and 13 from out-of-state — participated in four peer-led Modeling Workshops and three other graduate courses.  Included were four teachers sent by the Ministry of Education in Singapore. This brings their total to 47 teachers in ten years. Singapore students have highest math and science scores in international tests; this is strong evidence for the high quality of Modeling Instruction.
        Our courses are for lifelong learning for teachers of high school and community college physics, chemistry, physical science and math. They can lead to a Master of Natural Science (MNS) degree. Since inception in 2001, 70 teachers have earned this degree. Physics professor Robert Culbertson has directed the MNS degree program since 2005.
     Courses are content-intensive; and integration of physics, chemistry, and math is emphasized. The ultimate target is not the teachers themselves but their students. Therefore each course addresses the subject at a level that prepares them to entice and inform their students.

     We are thankful for our two major donors, The Boeing Company and Salt River Project. Their donations for program support and partial tuition scholarships made our summer 2016 program possible. ASU tuition is unaffordable for most teachers. For 6 years, we have not been eligible for state grants, so we serve
half as many Arizona teachers, with one-fifth the budget. We are thankful for partial tuition scholarships provided also from donations by Air Products, ON Semiconductor, & numerous individuals, and payout from our scholarship endowment fund.

About Modeling Instruction:
     Modeling Instruction is an innovative, effective hands-on pedagogy: it is guided inquiry structured by modeling principles. It develops in students the ability to analyze data, reach a conclusion and defend it; and it emphasizes experiment design.  Other 21st century skills developed include scientific use of computers and probeware, teamwork, and verbal and written communication skills. Students become self-directed, independent learners. It is aligned with the National Research Council (NRC)’s Framework for K-12 Science Education, the research-based document upon which the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have been developed.
     Student achievement on tests of concept understanding is typically
double that of traditional instruction.  A modeler wrote, “One can only imagine the future of science if only we all could understand the power of modeling.”

Effect of ASU Modeling Instruction in Arizona:
  Since 1998, 1000 unique Arizona teachers have taken 15-day Modeling Workshops. We estimate that 100,000 Arizona students benefit each year.
     Modeling Instruction is used in many schools in Greater Phoenix; for example, Hamilton High School in Chandler USD, Red Mountain High School in Mesa USD, Mountain Pointe High School in Tempe UHSD, Arizona School for the Arts, Tempe Preparatory Academy, some Great Hearts Academies, Estrella Mountain Community College, and Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Our main school partner is Phoenix Union High School District.

* Information about our summer courses: physics.asu.edu/content/modeling-instruction-program
* Modeling Instruction resources, research, annual reports:  modeling.asu.edu .
* Would you like to contribute to the success of ASU Modeling Instruction and MNS programs by donating a partial tuition scholarship or contributing to our $1M endowment fund for teacher scholarships?
As of Nov. 2016, donations to our endowment fund are matched 1-for-1, thus doubling your investment. For advice, call Linda Raish, Assoc. Dir. Of Development: 480-727-2767.
To:  Arizona Quality Commission Members and Career Ready Education Stakeholders
Please see below for a great opportunity to invest in Arizona students!
Judges Needed for the 2017 Regional Conferences!
Greetings from the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)!
FBLA Arizona will be hosting our 2017 Regional Conferences during January and February of 2017. At these conferences, our high school students will be competing in different performance events ranging from public speaking and job interview to marketing and entrepreneurship. In order for these events to happen, we need performance event judges at each of our conferences. That’s where you come in!
We would love to have you volunteer as a judge for one or more of the 2017 Regional Conferences. As a judge, you will use a rubric and instructions provided to either participate in a role play situation or judge a presentation. Lunch and orientation will be provided before the conference(s) begin.
The time of these events will be from 10:30 AM – 3:00 PM (we ask you attend the entire time for the day of the conference(s) that you register for). The dates, locations, and sign up links for our four FBLA Regional Conferences are listed below.
January 21 – Region 3 Conference – Mesa, AZ – https://fblaarizona.wufoo.com/forms/zfjq5ay1bfblu6/
January 28 – Region 4 Conference – Avondale, AZ – https://fblaarizona.wufoo.com/forms/zfjq5ay1bfblu6/
February 2 – Region 1 Conference – Thatcher, AZ – https://fblaarizona.wufoo.com/forms/zfjq5ay1bfblu6/
February 4 – Region 2 Conference – Mesa, AZ – https://fblaarizona.wufoo.com/forms/zfjq5ay1bfblu6/
If you need further information, please don’t hesitate to email or call me.
Julie Ellis
CTSO Team Leader
FBLA Arizona Director
ABEA President
Office: 602-542-5350
Cell: 520-465-3655
Mailing:  AZ Department of Education l FBLA Arizona l 1535 W. Jefferson St, Bin 42 l Phoenix AZ 85007
Physical Address:  3300 N. Central Ave. l Phoenix, AZ 85012


karla-sundance-esGuest Author: Karla, chief science officer, Sundance Elementary School, Oct 1, 2016

“I think that my role as CSO can impact science culture at my school by: spreading the word, bringing excitement into my school, and bring new science events to my school. At my school, not many people like science and I want to change that because I feel that science is an important skill that you will use in life whether you know it or not.

The main way I can Impact science culture at my school is by bringing new science events to my school. To do that I need to do the following:

Make the events exciting– I can venture out to all grade levels, ages, and genders so that there is something that interests everyone and not just a certain group of people.
Spread the word– by making different posters, advertisements, and even talking to my peers to try and get them interested. If I have my peers on board with me, then they could spread the word to where the whole school can hear what’s going on. I could also use the school “Mustang Media” news channel that is shown in the mornings to spread the word even further.
Bring excitement– I can take into people’s ideas and considerations so that they feel like they have a voice in out school’s science culture. Doing this, will make students want to come to these events because they know that it’s their idea and they want to see it come to life.

Doing these things as a CSO at my school, can bring an apprising into the school so that people start to love science and don’t just see it as a subject that they have to learn at school. I want them to see it as an opportunity for a science related career and an open window into their future. The students that attend my school feel like they won’t use anything they learn in science in their life so they don’t pay attention and end up flunking the classes. If they flunk these classes, then they won’t be able to have a future or a career and I believe that everyone should have both of those things.”


Join us at the beautiful Talking Stick Resort Nov. 14-16th in Scottsdale, Arizona for three days of captivating speakers, education, networking and activates at NextCon16.

Technology visionaries Steve Wozniak and Guy Kawasaki – as well as executives from Google, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and many more – will be sharing their insights and advice at the business conference of the year.

Use code “NEXTCONVIP” for a free ticket!


Free 10-day event features polar exploration, drones, live raptors, guided hikes
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Legendary polar explorer Will Steger kicks off the 27th annual Flagstaff Festival of Science tonight at 7 p.m., in Ardrey Auditorium at Northern Arizona University. He’ll share compelling stories and images of the changes he’s witnessed in more than 50 years of wilderness expeditions in his presentation, “My Life as an Explorer.”
The Flagstaff Festival of Science – The Science of Change, Sept. 23 – Oct. 2, is offering more than 100 free science education activities featuring space exploration, endangered plants and animals, live raptors including a golden eagle, drones and robots, a dissecting workshop and Arizona’s own prehistoric reptile Arizonasaurus babbitti. Events include the Flagstaff Star Party, Science in the Park, SCI Talks, guided hikes into the forest, and open houses at research stations and museums. The 10-day Festival also will offer field trips to archaeological sites during the National Park Service’s centennial year and celebrate 130 years of science on the Coconino Plateau with the Babbitt Ranches Landscape Discovery Expo at Arizona Nordic Village!
Free tickets to Steger’s presentation will be handed out at the door, on a first-come, first served basis. They can be picked up or printed out in advance through the NAU Central Ticket Office (nau.edu/cto; 928-523-5661).
The Festival is made possible through the generous support of businesses, organizations, foundations and individuals. Major sponsors include the City of Flagstaff/BBB Revenues, Flagstaff Arts Council, Northern Arizona University, W. L. Gore & Associates, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Peaks Audio, Babbitt Ranches and the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff.
For more information, visit www.scifest.org or follow the Festival on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/flgscifest/ 

Exploring by Dogsled, Kayak, Kite Skis

Legendary polar adventurer shares life-long journey, changing environment observations with

Flagstaff Festival of Science


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – They call it sustainability now, but that’s just the way he wanted to live. From his off-the-grid cabin in far Minnesota near the Canadian border to his more than 50 years of wilderness expeditions, polar explorer Will Steger’s life journey has followed three main paths: a deep concern for the environment, a tireless expedition spirit, and a passion for educating others about human impacts on the planet. This month, his journey takes him to Northern Arizona to kick off the Flagstaff Festival of Science – The Science of Change – as the Shoemaker Keynote Presenter, Friday, Sept. 23, at Northern Arizona University.

“I’ve been on the ice when it was breaking up in the Arctic Ocean. In Greenland in 2008, in the early summer ice was thawing at 7,000 feet, which is unbelievable. I’ve seen it (climate change) at the very beginning and all the runs in the polar areas you can’t do anymore, the ice isn’t there, which is pretty shocking. I feel I have a really intuitive perspective of what’s happening. I took my eyewitness account, shared the stories, and it captured people’s attention.”

Steger has traveled tens of thousands of miles on some of the most significant polar expeditions in history by dogsled, kayak and kite skis. Long-time Flagstaff residents may recall Steger’s visit as the Festival’s original keynote speaker in 1990, after leading the first dogsled journey to the North Pole without re-supply. During the trip, he and his human and canine team members were sponsored by W. L. Gore & Associates of Flagstaff, and outfitted in waterproof GORE-TEX® fabric.

The Flagstaff Festival of Science, Sept. 23 – Oct. 2, is offering more than 100 free science education activities featuring space exploration, endangered plants and animals, drones and robots, a dissecting workshop and Arizona’s own prehistoric reptile Arizonasaurus babbitti. Events include the Flagstaff Star Party, Science in the Park, SCI Talks, guided hikes into the forest, and open houses at research stations and museums. The 10-day Festival also will offer field trips to archaeological sites during the National Park Service’s centennial year and celebrate 130 years of science on the Coconino Plateau with the Babbitt Ranches Landscape Discovery Expo at Arizona Nordic Village!

Free tickets to Steger’s presentation, “My Life as an Explorer,” will be handed out at the door, on a first-come, first served basis. They can be picked up or printed out in advance through the NAU Central Ticket Office (nau.edu/cto; 928-523-5661).

The Festival is made possible through the generous support of businesses, organizations, foundations and individuals. Major sponsors include the City of Flagstaff/BBB Revenues, Flagstaff Arts Council, Northern Arizona University, W. L. Gore & Associates, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Peaks Audio, Babbitt Ranches and the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff.

For more information, visit www.scifest.org or follow the Festival on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/flagstaff.scifest

Track: STEM in Our Communities 

1stem-tourism-and-sneaky-scienceScience tourism is becoming a sought-after travel experience where the experiential becomes educational with a STEM focus. Some argue that tourism has always been a science. Discuss best practices and industry insights with local experts.


 Math at the Ballpark App 

Push your baseball experience to the next level with fun questions and activities that bring math alive through the game going on around you and your children. With fifty questions per grade level (K-6), Fun Math at the Ballpark engages children who love baseball as well as those who are bored at the ballpark.

Many questions encourage your child to input real numbers from the game going on in front of him, reinforcing observational skills and giving him fun reasons to pay attention to the game.

Other questions feed your child’s imagination by asking her to consider what might happen in certain imaginary situations. These questions are also perfect for the classroom since they don’t require attendance at a baseball game.

Fun Math at the Ballpark encourages you to participate in the fun along with your child, with grade-appropriate games, scavenger hunts, and hands-on activities.

-Three-hundred fifty questions/ activities (fifty questions per grade level).
-Answers and explanations.
-Activities you and your child can enjoy game after game.
-Seven grade levels in one app (kindergarten through sixth grade) keep the fun going for years.
-Categories of questions divided into math topics so you can help your child develop specific skills.
-Categories of questions divided into baseball topics so you can tailor the experience to your child’s preferences.
-Thirty-seven custom graphics to illustrate math concepts and visually stimulate learning.


Science Happens Here 

Science Happens Here is a game aimed at kids in grade 3-8 that includes collecting trading cards with science information on them.

The cards each have one kind science example in them, which directly related to a store. So the kids visit the locally owned businesses to collect the cards. The cards each have a unique ID on them, which kids will enter on the website to not only find science experiments but to get credit for trying them at home.

SO, for example, the bakery will have the science of yeast, the cafe will have the science of sugar, the clothing store will have the science of fabrics, etc. There are 12 cards to collect and we have a poster to show them all. We have a website (nearly done) and fun prizes for the kids.

The goal here is twofold- first, to help kids start to think about all the science that really happens in the world and to get excited about simple experiments. And second, to get the local business community more involved with STEM education.


Arizona Mining, Mineral and Natural Resources Education Museum – STEM-added value to tourist’s experience

Each year, Arizona’s landscapes and natural resources draw millions of tourists. STEM provides a vehicle to add value to their visits and to prompt their return. In 2017-2018, the Arizona Geological Survey, now at the University of Arizona, plans to build the Arizona Mining, Mineral and Natural Resources Education Museum on the Government Mall in Phoenix. Our chief objective is to showcase the role of Arizona landscapes and natural resources in shaping the peoples and cultures of the state.


Welcome to the Age of Discovery; Exploration, Navigation and Innovation! The Arizona Renaissance Festival STUDENT DAYS

Have you heard about the Arizona Renaissance Festival Student Days?

Student Days is a wonderful way to bring the Renaissance – ‘The Age of Discovery’ to life for students through interactive displays, study and entertainment. Student Days were created to highlight the educational aspects of the Renaissance time period. Learning opportunities include language, science (interactive displays in partnership with Arizona SciTech Festival), mannerisms, customs, artisans, music, trades, birds of prey, jousting and more! A study guide is available for teachers to help with the lesson plan to enhance the field trip. Student Days is an engaging and exciting way to get the students interested in the Renaissance time period! The Festival provides students with a chance to do more than just read about the RENAISSANCE…WE LET THEM EXPERIENCE IT.

Not even in her wildest dreams would Queen Elizabeth have imagined such an event taking place in the Foothills of the Superstition Mountains. A learning tool. A way to bring to life Science, Astronomy, Geography, English, Math as well as the Arts and Culture of the Renaissance period illustrating the technological advances of the Renaissance age and how it continues to impact our lives today.

Student Days are scheduled for Tuesday, February 28 for Elementary schools and Thursday, March 2 for Jr. & Sr. High Students. Student Days attracts educators and their student groups from around the state and out of state.

Visit us for more information: www.renfestinfo.com   To attend Student Days: Download the 2017 Student Day Order Form at www.renfestinfo.com/studentdays   
or like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/renfestinfo 


Digital Kids Club

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa’s Digital Kids Club program was developed specifically for one of the most difficult age groups to entertain, “tweens” – ages 8 through 13. The Digital Kids Club, as part of the Resort’s FUN Program, features individual sessions, as well as unique 5-day camps during the summer: Stop Motion Animation, Produce Your Own Morning Show, Make a Music Video and Media Madness! Budding movie directors capture footage and experiment with special effects, video game enthusiasts learn about design and creation, inspired news anchors experience the world of reporting, and creative juices flow from learning animation and comic book design! Kids will make their own creation with video and digital photographs, experimenting with special effects and music to create their very own video on a USB thumb drive to take home as a unique souvenir and memory of their family vacation.



  • Allison Boley, Math and the Ballpark 
  • Kimber Lanning, Science Happens Here 
  • Michael Conway, Arizona Geological Survey 
  • Sanja Malinovic, Renaissance Festival 
  • Meredith Jenkins, Westin Kierland Resort 

1allison-boley  1kimber-lanning  1mike-conway  1Sanja Malinovic  1meredith-jenkins 
(Pictured Above: Allison Boley, Kimber Lanning, Michael Conway, Sanja Malinovic, Meredith Jenkins) 


Kimber Lanning is Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona, a statewide organization implementing innovative strategies for new models of economic development that create vibrant local economies. Lanning is an entrepreneur, business leader and community development specialist who works to cultivate strong self-reliant communities and inspire a higher quality of life for people across Arizona. Lanning’s passions, which are seen throughout her work, include fostering cultural diversity and inclusion, economic resilience and responsible growth for Arizona’s urban areas.

Lanning has grown Local First Arizona into a widely respected organization that is leading the nation in implementing systems and policies to ensure a level playing field for entrepreneurial endeavors of all sizes. With nearly 3,000 business members and four statewide offices, Lanning leads a team of 17 who work on a diverse array of programs ranging from healthy local food access, entrepreneurial development in underserved communities, and rural community development, each of which plays a part in building sustainable and resilient local economies.

Lanning is consistently recognized and has received numerous awards for her diverse work and extensive leadership. In 2014, Lanning was recognized as the Citizen Leader of the Year by the International Economic Development Council, a pivotal moment in recognizing the use of Localist policies as a force for economic development. Her work in promoting adaptive reuse in Phoenix’s urban core was recognized by the American Planning Association, who presented Lanning with the Distinguished Citizen Planner Award in 2013. Lanning has also been named one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Arizona” (Arizona Business Magazine, 2011), was the recipient of the Athena Award by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce in 2013, and was the 2014 Leader of the Year in Public Policy (Arizona Capitol Times).


Michael Conway: Since 2007, Mike Conway, Ph.D., has been Chief of the Geologic Extension Service at the Arizona Geological Survey which transferred from the State of Arizona to the University of Arizona on 1 July 2017. Previously, Mike worked as a professor of geology at Arizona Western College, Yuma, Arizona, and as a volcanologist at the Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses at Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas.


Sanja Malinovic is the Marketing & Sales Director of the 29th annual Arizona Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace held annually in Gold Canyon, with responsibility for marketing programs, media buying, promotions and brand management, corporate sponsorships, public relations and partner initiatives.

Sanja developed and spearheaded the concept of introducing the Arizona Renaissance Festival to Arizona Educators and students as an innovative educational field trip designed to enhance the various aspects of the Renaissance time period with hands on demonstrations and interactive programs.

Sanja holds a Bachelor of Science degree from ASU in Journalism and Public Relations and a minor in Travel and Tourism


Meredith Jenkins is one of the few people in the world who can honestly claim to be in charge of “fun” for a living. As Director of Fun at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa she oversees the Fun Department and team of Fun Ambassadors who lead the family events and activities programing at the Resort, which ranges from its popular weekend All-You-Can-Eat S’mores and poolside games to Kids Club, PJ Parties, summer camps and even cocktail-making classes for adults. Prior to being promoted to her role in the Fun Department, Meredith served as Child Life Assistant a local hospital leading play therapy and special events and activities for hospitalized children and their families. She also owned and operated a My Gym children’s fitness center.  Meredith earned her Bachelors’ degree in Psychology at Arizona State University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two small children and, as a former US National Women’s Rugby Team scrum-half, also tries to catch a bit of rugby on TV. 


Register for the 6th Annual Kickoff Conference today!  

Track: Computer Science & Tech 

WorkTogether2Learn how the VEX IQ and VEX robotics system can help inspire the next generation of programmers K – University. 



  • Shawn Hardina, founder, East Valley Robotics Academy, LLC 
  • Cindy Nixon, Director of Engagement for Project Lead the Way in Arizona and New Mexico 



Shawn Hardina founded the East Valley Robotics Academy, LLC, a STEM education, consulting, and coaching organization in 2014 and merged with STAX3D in January 2016. His career spans more than 25 years in education involving curriculum design, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Pathway creation, co-operative learning, high school and college science and robotics, and instructional coaching. STAX Education specializes in “building collaborative communities dedicated to transforming STEM education by helping schools, districts, and youth organizations in creating customized and sustainable STEM experiences that will Engage, Educate, and Empower people of all ages.”

Prior to founding the East Valley Robotics Academy, LLC, and merging with STAX Education. Shawn oversaw the creation and implementation of the Campo Verde High School Biomedical Sciences Pathway in Gilbert, Arizona, the creation and sustainability of the FIRST Robotics Competition Program in Kingman, Arizona, the creation and implementation of a Math Science Partnership Grant in Kingman, Arizona. In addition to the creation of unique and impactful STEM Pathways Shawn has been a High School Science, Biomedical Sciences, and Robotics teacher, a Kagan Cooperative learning trainer, a Master Teacher for Project Lead The Way Biomedical Sciences, and a K-6 Science/Literacy Instructional Coach.

Shawn holds a BS in Physiology from the Universityof California at Davis, currently holds a teacher certificate in Chemistry, General Science, and Career and Technical Education and received National Board Certification for Chemistry in 2002.


Cindy NixonCindy Nixon is the Director of School Engagement for Project Lead The Way in Arizona and New Mexico. Project Lead The Way is a nonproifit organization that provides a transformative learning STEM experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. We create an engaging environment and empower students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in an evolving world. Through our pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, students learn problem-solving strategies, critical and creative thinking, and how to communicate and collaborate.

Cindy was a Career and Technical Education Director in Arizona for five years, which spiked her interest in Project Lead The Way. She had the Project Lead The Way Engineering Program. Through her experience, she saw the impact of the program on her students, teachers, and community. Cindy has also worked as a middle-school and high school counselor. She has a BA in Social Work/Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Education/Counseling.




Register for the 6th Annual Kickoff Conference today!  

Track: School STEM Best Practices 

Creating a STEM Culture in SchoolsHaving a STEM culture in schools isn’t just about the availability of the core STEM subjects for students. It’s about creating a mindset and providing an environment which will help students learn how to apply the skillsets they gained through STEM to their everyday lives and future education, and this workshop will teach you how to do just that! 


Register for the 6th Annual Kickoff Conference today!