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Arizona State University: Home of Future Innovators and Entrepreneurs
Guest Author: Uly Siregar (Ester Skiera), writer, AZ SciTech Festival
As the largest public university by enrollment in the country, Arizona State University has a very significant role in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. ASU, in fact, is a major research university that has a mission to create a model of the “New American University”—which means ASU is committed to excellence, access, and impact, and is measured by, “not who we exclude, but rather by who we include and how they succeed.”
But why is ASU best in Arizona for STEM education? The answer is, “Breadth of majors and out of classroom experiences available to students, not to mention partnership with cutting-edge research institutions allow for students to gain real-world experiences,” says Amelia Huggins, director, strategic marketing and communications, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, Advancing Research, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development, Arizona State University.
ASU can help the State of Arizona in advancing STEM and innovation. According to OKED’s 2014 Annual Research Report, ASU takes a highly entrepreneurial approach to university research; focusing on solving society’s biggest challenges. The power of ASU’s innovation ecosystem is its strategically built pipeline—in which use-inspired research base on fundamental discovery is steered to produce solutions that benefit society as well as produce a positive economic impact in Arizona and beyond.
Every element within ASU works hard to meet the institution’s mission and to pursue its defined goals. At ASU, there are always STEM-related achievements every day. The most recent one: educators and engineers team up to graduate more STEM-trained teachers. The collaboration was triggered by a request from Teachers College’s 23 school district partners statewide. It is important, of course, to provide more teachers who are trained in STEM subjects, especially for grades 7-12.
ASU supports clean technology. The university has just begun on the development of a hybrid concentrated solar system, following a contract signing with ASU and AORA. The collaboration is committed to provide research expertise to enhance the efficiency of green technology. In bringing new findings in energy, ASU Engineering Professor, Nate Newman, also aims to help create a more energy-efficient supercomputer.
Each of ASU’s personnel is remarkable in his field. ASU professor Ying-Cheng Lai and research partners are combining expertise in computer science, engineering, mathematics, statistics and physics in analyzing big data to explore human interest. As ASU news states, the brilliant researcher wants to see if it’s possible to identify patterns in what motivates people to become interested in particular things, what makes them maintain certain interests and what causes them to lose interest.
Creating innovators and entrepreneurs is one of ASU’s highest priorities. And this has to be built when the future innovators and entrepreneurs are still at school. For those, ASU has the MAKE Initiative. The MAKE Initiative transforms education to create a pipeline of makers and innovators from middle school years through students of diverse interests and career aspirations through MAKE Clubs—piloted in high school classrooms.
When it comes to STEM and the way to advance it, ASU will go further. ASU is also committed to other parties who share similar interests. For the Arizona SciTech Festival, that means partnership. “ASU is a Foundational Partner, involved since the beginning with the AZ SciTech Festival,” says Huggins. The decision about the partnership comes from the obvious reason. “To help advance the SciTech Festival’s mission to advance and promote STEM research and fields across Arizona for students and the public,” she adds. In return, the Festival helps to promote and share the wealth of research happening across the university. As you might say, the partnership is the perfect formula for a winning collaboration in advancing STEM!