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Meeting Challenges at Arizona’s Universities

Our state universities take advantage of Arizona’s warm climate, mineral resources, and industry clusters. A variety of specialized programs give Arizona’s future leaders the skills they need to help solve today’s challenges and ensure a secure future. Students are gaining the knowledge to fight disease, solve the energy crisis, and explore the world around us. A few exceptional programs are listed below. Follow the links to understand how they help build the Arizona experience.

Challenge: Energy

Answer: Cutting edge facilities and research on alternative energy with an emphasis on solar and biofuel development.

 The laser lab is one of the many facets of the comprehensive LightWorks program.Arizona State University’s LightWorks program specializes in alternative energy, including solar research and biofuel development, and includes the Photovoltaic testing lab, the most comprehensive, sophisticated, state-of-the-art facility for testing and certification of solar energy equipment in the world.

ASU’s Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AZCATI) boasts the world’s largest algae test bed to develop breakthroughs in algae energy, biofuels, and other algae based products.

University of Arizona’s Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy and the Solar Zone help solar technology become a widespread, viable energy source.

UA’s Red Rock Agricultural Center from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is experimenting with algae and sorghum production to synthesize biofuels.

Challenge: Sustainability

This segment from the NAU Experience shows how sustainability is a goal for many NAU students and for the campus itself. Joaquin Ruiz, Dean of the College of Science, discusses climate change and how experiments at the Biosphere 2 may help predict climate models to cope with any future changes.

Northern Arizona University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy Solutions investigates alternative energy possibilities, including solar energy, energy utilization, biofuels, and geothermal energy. Notably, it houses Arizona’s only research facility for wind power.

UA’s Biosphere 2 facility is an eminent lab to conduct practical research on permaculture, solar innovations, and climate science.

Water Day at the White Mountain Nature Center

UA sponsored Arizona Project WET (APW) offers teacher-tested, water-related curriculum at no cost to teachers via hands-on, motivating workshops. Since 1984, the Project WET Foundation has dedicated itself to the mission of reaching children, parents, teachers and community members of the world with water education.

UA’s interdisciplinary Institute for Mineral Resources is one of only fourteen accredited colleges of mining engineering in the U.S. and one of only a few with a test mine. This program emphasizes minimizing environmental impact wherever possible.

Challenge: Disease

BioAccel created the Coalition for Bioscience Commercialization (CBC) to foster new biomedical businesses.ASU’s Biodesign Institute enjoys nearly 200 partnerships to further biomedical research.

The NAU Strategic Alliance for Bioscience Research and Education is one of the largest pathogen related genomics research centers in the world.  

The NAU chapter of the Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention works with the Hopi tribe to research and lower cancer rates and chronic diseases.

UA’s BIO5 Institute stays on the cutting edge of biomedical research and heads the BIOTECH project in middle and high school classrooms.

All three universities work with the nonprofit business incubator BioAccel to move research into the marketplace. With careful fostering and a network of industry contributors, great ideas move quickly from concepts to testing to companies.

Challenge: Aerospace and Exploration

ASU’s Mars Education Program coordinates workshops to give students and teachers around the world a chance to explore images from the Red Planet.

In a January 2010 statistical study of bachelor’s degrees in physics, the American Institute of Physics ranked the NAU Department of Physics and Astronomy fifth of all master’s-granting programs nationwide in the number of physics bachelor’s degrees awarded.

The groundbreaking programs in astronomy at the Lunar Sciences and Planetary Laboratory include space missions, research telescopes on Mount Graham and Kitt Peak, and the largest mirror lab in the world.

Challenge: Global Citizenship

NAU was one of five universities to receive the 2012 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization, recognizing efforts to incorporate global and cross-cultural learning into higher education.

Practical Training

College level training courses help students develop specialized careers in key Arizona industries.

Maricopa Advanced Technology Education Center (MATEC) is pioneering collaborations between education and industry. Specializing in training for semiconductors, the institution uses a competency-based curriculum and diverse program models to train workers for Arizona’s semiconductor industry and other highly skilled technology opportunities.

Maricopa Community College has partnered with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to train workers for the bioscience industry.

Yavapai Community College Verde Valley campus has developed a viticultural curriculum to foster growth of Arizona’s burgeoning wine industry.

Access to Education

The University of Phoenix was founded to help busy adults acquire a degree.

Headquartered in Phoenix, the University of Phoenix has 112 campuses worldwide and offers 100 degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Nine physical campuses serve Arizona’s population, and online programs are accessible anywhere.