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Arizona SciTech Blog

This blog is courtesy of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

Students Can Own Their Future

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


1 From the Bureau of Labor Statistics March 2014 report

2 From the U.S. Department of Commerce


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

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

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

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

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

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

1Girls Have IT Day

Are you with a Title 1 school?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

# # #


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1Intel ISEF

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

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

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

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

Your friend,

   Rodney B. Glassman

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

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

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

The student teams:

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

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

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

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

For additional information, please contact me.


Michael Andrews

(602) 682 – 5440