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Arizona SciTech Blog

This blog is courtesy of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

The Maricopa Unified School District is excited to partner with Amplified IT to offer a one day boot-camp for all Google Administrators who are looking to achieve Certified Admin status
~If you are interested in attending, please fill out this interest Form
~We need 22 or more participants to book one of the following dates: December 1st, 2017January 19th, 2018, or February 9th, 2018.
~Once we have confirmed 22 or more participants, MUSD or Amplified IT will contact you with more information. 
~Cost for individuals is $399, or the discounted rate of $399 can be offered to groups of three or more. 

Track: School STEM Best Practices 

We all know that scientific research is done in sterile labs by nerds in white lab coats, the results of which eventually makes its way to the public through government agencies or megacorporations who own the ‘science’.  If you’ve not paid your dues in academia to get the appropriate science degrees, your capacity to participate in science is limited to the baking soda and vinegar volcano that you show off to your kids when it’s their Science Fair.

Wrong; and wrong.

Citizen Science may be the most widespread and important outsourcing enterprise ever attempted, and chances are you haven’t heard of it. Or if you have, you don’t know what’s out there or how you can get involved.  We’d like to change that by introducing you to two prominent Citizen Science programs that encourage and facilitate participation in real scientific research projects.

SciStarter aims to facilitate citizen participation in formal and informal research projects and events around the world (and beyond!), allowing regular people to contribute needed and meaningful data towards scientific progress, and to see the results of their efforts.  Science Cheerleader is a program made up of professional cheerleaders pursuing science careers who inspire young women to challenge stereotypes and consider Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) careers.  Both programs were founded by Darlene Cavalier, Professor of Practice at Arizona State University’s Center for Engagement and Training, part of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. 

Please consider attending this Panel Discussion as Ms. Cavalier is joined by Kaitlin Vortherms, a PhD student in Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University and Miss Phoenix 2015, and worked with Science Cheerleaders on NASA’s Soil Moisture and Active Passive (SMAP) global warming Citizen Science Project.  Rounding out the panel are René Tanner, Life Sciences Librarian at Arizona State University (and former Environmental Planner), and Dan Stanton, Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian at Arizona State University (and Past-President of the Arizona Library Association).  Find out how we can move Citizen Science forward together.



  • Darlene Cavalier, Professor of Practice, Arizona State University’s Center for Engagement and Training, Founder of SciStarter, Founder of Science Cheerleader, CoFounder of ECAST: Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology 

  • Rene Tanner, Librarian, Life Sciences, Arizona State University  

  • Dan Stanton, Librarian, Humanities and Social Sciences, Arizona State University 

  • Kaitlin Vortherms, PhD student, Sustainable Engineering, Arizona State University 


Darlene Cavalier headshotDarlene Cavalier is a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University’s Center for Engagement and Training, part of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Cavalier is the founder of SciStarter, founder of Science Cheerleader, and cofounder of ECAST: Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology. She is a founding Board Member of the Citizen Science Association, a senior advisor at Discover Magazine, a member of the EPA’s National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology, and co-editor/author of the book, The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science, published by ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (June 2016) and The Science of Cheerleading ebook, supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. 

ReneTannerRene Tanner is a Life Sciences Librarian at Arizona State University. She has contributed articles to American Libraries and College and Research Libraries News as well as authored book chapters in “Focus on Educating for Sustainability: Toolkit for Academic Libraries” and “Computer-Mediated Communication: Issues and Approaches in Education.” She is a frequent presenter in the classroom and at conferences and has earned certificates in public involvement from the International Association for Public Participation. 

StantonDan Stanton is a Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian at ASU, responsible for the School of Film, Dance, and Theatre, and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Dan was previously a Government Information Librarian for sixteen years, and is still recognized in certain circles as Dan – The Gov Docs Man. 


Kaitlin Vortherms2Kaitlin Vortherms is passionate about building a sustainable and responsible world. She is a PhD student in Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU). Kaitlin’s Master’s research explored the role of empathy in engineering, an interested inspired by a trip to Uganda where she realized the disconnect that can happen when products are designed in a locale vastly different from where they will be used. She now incorporates her understanding of empathy in engineering design to her PhD research on the development of a building integrated solar thermal energy technology which she is also transforming into a business venture. Kaitlin understands the importance of empowering and breaking stereotypes for women and girls in science and engineering. She was crowned Miss Phoenix 2015 where she integrated STEM into her pageant experience and adopted STEM education reform as her pageant platform. She has also worked with the Science Cheerleaders to support an empowered image of women in STEM, and with SciStarter and on NASA’s Soil Moisture and Active Passive (SMAP) to help encourage greater engagement between science and our society!


Register for the 6th Annual Kickoff Conference today!  

Track: Future STEM Pathways 

Distance Learning TechnologyThe Arizona Telemedicine Program has been a leader in distance learning for twenty years.  We use distance learning technology to expand the broadcast area of the Arizona Health Sciences Center to the entire state including medical students, residents, patients and teachers.  We produce interactive emergency preparedness exercises as well as interactive simulations to reach students no matter who or where they may be.  Please join us for an interactive videoconference to see our eLearning Classroom of the Future and hear our Director share our experiences and how we are using our resources to produce some very impressive educational events and opportunities.  

Attendees will take a tour by videoconference to the U of A College of Medicine Downtown Phoenix  Campus and take a virtual tour of the T-Health eLearning Ckassroom of the Future!


  • Janet Major, Associate Director, Facilities, Distance Learning Outreach, AHSC 
  • Chris Martin, Assistant Director, T-Health Institute 
  • Ronald S. Weinstein, M.D., Director, Arizona Telemedicine Program 

picture-39-1463166795 jm  picture-25-1463166929 cm  Ronald Weinstein 

(Pictured Above left to right: Janet Major, Chris Martin, Ronald S. Weinstein) 

Register for the 6th Annual Kickoff Conference today!  

1STEM is Hot

Track: Technology in our Communities 

1STEAM is HotPresented by the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts, this fun and fast-paced TED Talk-style panel highlights some of the hottest examples of the integration of science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM) happening in the Valley. Each of the 5 speakers from the arts, education and technology sectors will be given 7 minutes to excite and inspire you to never say “STEM” again. Our team of STEAM leaders will heat up your grey matter noodles and engage your inner creative with subjects like medical microscopy,3D spatial modeling, forensic facial reconstruction and biomimicry. Participants will also not want to miss STEAM inspired programs at the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts including current exhibition STEAM (thru Sept. 17) and the summer 2017 exhibition Biomimicry


  • Monica Aissa Martinez, artist and art instructor at Phoenix College

  • Dan Collins, Ph.D., ASU, Co-Director of PRISM (Partnership for Research in Spatial Modeling) and Professor of Art/School of Art

  • Anthony Falsetti, Ph.D., ASU Forensic Anthropologist and Professor of Practice, Math and Natural Sciences Division

  • Catyana Falsetti, Forensic Artist, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and graduate student/instructor at ASU’s Criminology and Criminal Justice Program

  • Prasad Boradkar, ASU Co-Director of the Biomimicry Center and Professor/Director of Innovation Space at the Design School

  • Moderator: Michelle Nichols Dock, Tempe Center for the Arts, Gallery Coordinator 


Register for the 6th Annual Kickoff Conference today!  

1Women Networking

Track: Computer Science & Tech

1Women NetworkingThe AZ SciTech Festival Kickoff is a great place to meet new people with similar interests in STEM and complimentary skills, but have you ever been to a networking event where you wanted to make the transition from meeting one person into meeting the next person? Awkward, right? Not so in the Women in Technology Speed Networking session. Talk to a new person every five minutes (bring business cards), then change networking partners to meet the next person. We provide the timing (and the sense of direction). 

Co-host organizations for Women in Technology Speed Networking include:


  • huge Women in Technology International, Phoenix, provides a local forum for women to network with each other, forge connections, share resources and discover opportunities in the technology industry.



  • WWC logoWomen Who Code, Phoenix, is the local chapter of Women Who Code, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers by creating a global, connected community of women in technology. The organization tripled in 2013 and has grown to be one of the largest communities of women engineers in the world.




  • GDI PHX logoGirls Develop IT Phoenix is the local chapter of Girl Develop IT, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable programs for adult women interested in learning web and software development in a judgment-free environment. GDI-PHX provides a place where all questions are OK and everyone can learn in a supportive environment. Their courses focus on coding, leveraging existing technology, and having something to show for it (aka building sweet websites).




  • AWIS_AZ_Central_2013The Association of Women in Science, Central Arizona Chapter/Society for Women in STEM, Arizona State University, provides career mentoring and support to promote the success of women in STEM. We are also known at the Society for Women in STEM or SWIS-CAZ. AWIS-CAZ hosts monthly career building seminar luncheons, the Jumpstarting STEM Careers Symposium and annual outreach events such as Hands on Science. Membership & activities are open to Men and Women.



  • WIGI AZWomen in Gaming International Phoenix Chapter is a group of female and male professionals that aims to promote the inclusion and career advancement of women in the games industry. Our goal is to promote equal representation of women and men in the gaming industry; to give them an equal voice on issues of or related to the games industry worldwide and to provide a friendly, safe, and collaborative environment to discuss these issues without fear of retaliation or harassment.





ipad taking pic of money zoomed in

Track: School STEM Best Practices

image002The STEMAZing Project is constantly seeking out #STEMontheCheap hacks and activities. Come learn about a few of these which include hacking $30 board games for simply the cost of copies, turning a cell phone or tablet into a low powered microscope for $1, hacking a solar garden light to use the solar panel for experiments, and so much more. Learn about The STEMAZing Project’s favorite #STEMontheCheap websites – these goldmines use readily available  materials from dollar stores or reused materials. Not spending a fortune on materials does not make the learning opportunity any less valuable. In fact, one might argue that using hacks and #STEMontheCheap alternatives require more imagination and creativity while at the same time opening up the door to invention and innovation. 

PresenterDaNel Hogan, Director of The STEMAZing Project 

Pictured below: Photos for the “Macro Lens Hack” – A close-up of Lincoln’s eyeball on the $5 bill using a cell phone 

Cell Phone taking pic of money 20140808_213756 

Register for the 6th Annual Kickoff Conference today!  

By: Michele Peters, writer, Arizona SciTech Festival

The Arizona SciTech Festival now enters its sixth season with over 400,000 people participating last year throughout Arizona including students, teachers, parents, colleges/universities and corporations. This unprecedented growth and success would not possible without the support of elected community leaders who used their positions to further engage and impact the communities they represent. Through their commitment and leadership, they help to embody the grassroots nature of the entire Arizona SciTech ecosystem in its mission to further STEM education and innovation in Arizona. We wanted to acknowledge a few of these leaders who have gone above and beyond, rolled up their sleeves and directly and regularly engaged in the Arizona SciTech Festival’s program development: 

1Don CoveyDon Covey – Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools, instrumental in helping launch the Festival its first year; was, and still is, a critical partner in the development of AZ SciTech and STEM education for all students. Covey worked to link STEM professionals with schools in the community.  He was responsible for key introductions with educational leaders throughout the community along with County Superintendents around the state. Covey championed the Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA) team to join the development of the AZ STEM Community of Practice which now has over 60 school teams bringing hundreds of school leaders together to improve STEM instruction state-wide. He was one of the first local leaders who invested in communication and collaboration efforts that made the Festival such a success. Covey knows, and continues to model, how local elected leaders can leverage government, education, and business to increase and improve STEM instruction for Arizona. 

1Michelle HessMichelle Hess – Vice Mayor, City of Buckeye, championed the development of the Buckeye SciTech Festival which brings together a unique, interdisciplinary collaboration of business, government, community and education in Buckeye. A vital participant in several events, Hess helped to integrate a SciTech Festival as part of the popular Buckeye Air Fair with over 50 STEM-related activities. The Buckeye Air Fair is one of the top ten events in the Arizona SciTech Festival with an attendance of over 10,000.

Diane Joens – Mayor of Cottonwood, led the efforts to form the Verde Valley Regional SciTech Festival that now includes the four towns of Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Camp Verde and Sedona and has grown into one of the strongest regional SciTech collaboratives in Arizona. This festival is a role model since it has united a diverse collaborative in the Verde Valley region and continues to meet monthly to keep collaborators connected. Joens has inspired other elected leaders to engage in the Arizona SciTech Festival and directly impacts STEM education in all four towns. 

1Rick HeumannRick Heumann – Councilmember of the City of Chandler, enthusiastically led the development of the Chandler Science Spectacular, one of the longest and most robust AZSciTech collaboratives in the state. Now entering their fifth season, the Spectacular continues to feature a night of art and science along with a Science Saturday that draws over 100 content providers and 5,000 attendees. Heumann’s work and results in Chandler have inspired other communities to actively and successfully participate in Arizona SciTech Festival events in addition to several other collaborations.  Heumann has helped to mobilize leaders within the Chandler Economic Development Department and the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership to jointly plan and develop Chandler’s continued initiatives.  But it does not stop there.  His commitment to education and students led to his creation of the Chandler Education Coalition that continues to meet monthly and has expanded to additional projects related to early education and literacy. 

1Robin Arredondo-SavageRobin Arredondo-Savage – Vice Mayor, City of Tempe has created and championed the development of Tempe’s  Geek’s Night Out, one of the most memorable events of the SciTech Festival. Her work directly mobilizes the City of Tempe’s support to plan and promote Geek’s Night Out, a grand idea that blends fun and science and brings together all “Geeks” at all levels.  Arredondo-Savage has worked diligently to maintain a thriving grassroots collaboration of business, education, community and government. 

1Linda O'DellLinda O’Dell – Gila County Superintendent, was instrumental in the creation and growth of the first regional SciTech Festival in Gila Valley, the Gila Valley STEM Fest. O’Dell brought together a distinct and diverse collaborative of business, education and community members to extend STEM to Globe/Miami. Now in their 6th season, the Gila Valley STEM Fest is an outstanding role model for successfully bringing STEM education into a community. Based on the success in Globe, O’Dell helped to develop a sister festival in Payson, once again following a similar model that is now in its 4th season with ever-growing attendance and interest in STEM education. O’Dell has lent her talents and commitment to the Arizona SciTech team and has, for multiple seasons, worked on a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to expand the reach of SciTech opportunities year round. 

THANK YOU to each and every one

1Arizona's Got STEM Talent

1Arizona's Got STEM TalentTrack: Student Voice

Its back by popular demand! This amazing group of students and STEM enthusiasts showcase their favorite SciTech experience in our 2nd annual Arizona’s Got STEM talent show!


Do you have a STEM talent that you can showcase in 3 minutes or less? If so, let us know. We are looking for 10 of Arizona’s top STEM Talent to showcase as part of our 2nd Annual Arizona’s Got STEM Talent session. Please emailjeremyb@azcommerce.com ASAP if you are interested.

1Modeling Instruction2

1Modeling Instruction2Track: School STEM Best Practices

How do scientists solve everyday problems? This is an activity to engage students in the discovery of how science works in the real world.  Students work through common misconceptions that science is done by a “cookbook” set of instructions provided by the teacher.

Students work collaboratively to come up with a consensus on how to play some games: Learning the “Game” of Science. This activity uses simple abstract games to introduce students to critical processes of science such as observations, hypothesis testing, analysis of data, collaboration, communication, and supporting conclusions with evidence. 


  • Chantel Dooley, President, STEMteachersPHX, Educator, Hamilton High School 

  • Wendy Hehemann, Modeling Workshop and Outreach Coordinator, American Modeling Teachers Association

  • Mina Bhagdev, Vice President, STEMteachersPHX 

  • Amanda Whitehurst, Media Specialist, STEMteachersPHX, Middle School Science Teacher


Pictured Above: Chantel Dooley, Amanda Whitehurst 

Register for the 6th Annual Kickoff Conference today!  

1Modeling Instruction

1Modeling InstructionTrack: School STEM Best Practices
Presenters: Chantel Dooley, Wendy Heheman, Mina Bhagdev
How do scientists solve everyday problems? This is an activity to engage students in the discovery of how science works in the real world.  Students work through common misconceptions that science is done by a “cookbook” set of instructions provided by the teacher.
Students work collaboratively to come up with a consensus on how to play some games: Learning the “Game” of Science. This activity uses simple abstract games to introduce students to critical processes of science such as observations, hypothesis testing, analysis of data, collaboration, communication, and supporting conclusions with evidence.