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Jan 16, 2013

Grant to boost STEM genomic project

From: Arizona Daily Sun

Science Foundation Arizona has awarded a $25,000 grant to Flagstaff STEM Connections for a pilot program that will team up 15 Flagstaff Unified School District teachers with 15 faculty members from the Northern Arizona University Center for Science Teaching and Learning.

Read more: Science grant to boost STEM project

Tags: flagstaff stem connections, nau center for science teaching and learning
Aug 01, 2012

45 Helios Scholars complete summer internship at TGen

From TGen:

The sixth class of Helios Scholars marked the completion of their eight-week TGen internship by presenting their scientific investigations at a daylong symposium in downtown Phoenix.

Tags: helios scholars, internship, translational genomics research institute
Jul 27, 2012

New Tucson-area high school includes bioscience focus

From Arizona Daily Star:

Andrada Polytechnic High School, the newest campus in Vail School District, opened in late July with a collage and career focus, offering courses in bioscience, health care, and transportation technologies.

Tags: andrada polytechnic high school, bioscience, education, healthcare
Feb 07, 2012

Regents name candidate for UA presidency

Members of the University of Arizona community will have the chance to meet the candidate for UA's presidency in less than a week. Ann Weaver Hart, currently president of Temple University, will visit UA's Tucson campus on February 13.

As Temple's president, Dr. Hart oversees a academic medical center, Temple University Health System, and during a six-year tenure has achieved several milestones for Temple:

She has significantly increased undergraduate and graduate applications while raising the academic qualifications of incoming students; produced an institutional record number of Fulbright scholars; improved the freshman retention rate and time to degree; grown research expenditures by nearly $30 million; fostered technology transfer and economic development efforts; and advanced Temple's ranking with the National Science Foundation seven spots. The Chronicle of Higher Education cites Temple's graduation rate as increasing at the second fastest rate among public research universities nationwide, a feat accomplished under Hart's leadership.

Previously, Dr. Hart served as president of the University of New Hampshire, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Claremont Graduate University, and dean of the Graduate School and special assistant to the president at the University of Utah, where she earned her doctorate in educational administration. 

Read more at the source: "ABOR Names Ann Weaver Hart as UA Presidential Candidate"

Tags: anne weaver hart, arizona board of regents, university of arizona
Jan 31, 2012

Bio event kicks off SciTech Festival

Arizona Science and Technology Festival

The official kick-off of the Arizona SciTech Festival will take place at the Arizona Science Center on Saturday, February 4. 

The day-long celebration will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a full slate of activities focusing on innovations in bioscience, including bioscience activities, presentations, and a showcase of innovations from Arizona's leading companies.

The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is free and open to the public. The Arizona Science Center is located in downtown Phoenix at 600 E. Washington St.

Tags: arizona science center, arizona scitech festival
Sep 02, 2011

ABOR okays new UA research facilities

[From the Arizona Daily Star]

The University of Arizona has crossed an important approval threshold for two new research facilities, including one for the BIO5 Institute.

Capital improvement plans were approved by an Arizona Board of Regents committee on Thursday.

Having the projects in the plan allows the university to spend some money to hash out project details, including how to repay bonds to finance the projects, ahead of more stages of approval.


A proposed $85 million bioscience lab facility would be built near the Bio5 building for disease research.

Read more at the source: "Regents panel OKs UA plans for 2 new research buildings"

Tags: arizona board of regents, bio5 institute, infrastructure, university of arizona
Sep 01, 2011

Science Festival developing events, seeking sponsors

Arizona Science and Technology Festival

The inaugural Arizona Science and Technology Festival will occur during February 2012 with events at sites across the state. Individuals and organizations wishing to participate in and support this unique opportunity to showcase Arizona's scientific strength and potential should contact Jeremy Babendure, director of the Festival.

What are the aims of the Festival, and how big an undertaking will it be? Here's what Dr. Babendure has to say:

Spearheaded by the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, Arizona State University, and the Arizona Science Center, the Arizona Science and Technology Festival will be 6-week statewide celebration involving 200+ orgs in industry, education and community to inspire Arizonans about how STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) will drive the future of Arizona.

Through a series of hands-on activities and workshops, discussions, exhibitions, concerts, and tours centered during the month of February 2012, the First Annual Arizona SciTech Festival’s goals are to (1) brand Arizona as a leader in science and technology; (2) inform/inspire our future workforce about opportunities in AZ; and (3) serve as a focal point to bring diverse stakeholders in workforce, education and community together.

We anticipate the festival will reach 100,000+ Arizonans through 300+ activities that take place in diverse neighborhoods throughout the state with: signature events highlighting the innovative character of each region (aerospace, technology, bioscience) with high energy exhibitions and shows; 20+ neighborhood hubs providing workshop and discussion opportunities at accessible locations such as libraries and community centers; tours of science/technology facilities statewide; and activities, talks and challenges in-schools to get kids engaged before, during and post festival.

Tags: arizona science and technology festival, arizona technology council, asu, jeremy babendure
Aug 09, 2011

UA undergrad researchers share findings

This afternoon in Tucson, top undergraduate researchers from around the country--and beyond--will show off the results of 10 weeks of work at the University of Arizona:

One-hundred-fifteen graduate school-bound juniors and seniors from schools across the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Latin America will exhibit their summer research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation and the University of Arizona.

These outstanding students have participated in a 10-week intensive summer research program under the supervision of UA faculty mentors, conducting research in the sciences, social sciences, education and humanities. This is an excellent opportunity to recruit top students for master’s and PhD programs at UA.

[More about the conference]

Tags: stem education, university of arizona
Jul 22, 2011

Students share research to conclude KEYS internships

[From Inside Tucson Business]

Five weeks of reserach at the University of Arizona has concluded for the latest cohort of participants in the KEYS internship program, one of Arizona's great summer research opportunities for young people. The program is sponsored by the UA College of Pharmacy and the BIO5 Institute.

"This is what the University of Arizona is all about," said Jennifer Barton, a UA biomedical engineering professor and assistant director of the Bio5 Institute. "It's important that we serve the state of Arizona."


Their research covered a diverse spectrum of topics, including the effects of habitat fragmentation among mountain lion populations, genetic characteristics of rice that could help maximize harvest yields and the foraging behavior of honeybees.

Businessman Thomas Keating, who is also a Bio5 Institute benefactor, said the students work and that of the scientists they've teamed with was an inspiration.

"It's so easy to admire these people," Keating said.

Read more at the source: "High school students get hands-on with scientific research"

Tags: bio5 institute, jennifer barton, keys internship, university of arizona
Jul 21, 2011

UA COM adds integrative-medicine specialization

[From the Arizona Daily Star]

Students at the UA College of Medicine now have a new option for specialization in their medical education: studying with one of the most well-known alternative-medicine proponents in the world, Dr. Andrew Weil:

The University of Arizona's College of Medicine announced Wednesday that it is starting a new track for medical students who want to focus on integrative medicine - healing that takes into account the mind, body and spirit.

The special area of focus, which will be taught in partnership with Dr. Andrew Weil's Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, is one of just three distinction tracks at the UA College of Medicine. The other two are global health and medical student research.

Tags: andrew weil, arizona center for integrative medicine, university of arizona, university of arizona college of medicine
Apr 07, 2011

Career pipeline forum to feature Teach for America founder

Education forumAn upcoming forum on education and workforce development sponsored by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce will feature Wendy Kopp, founder and CEO of Teach For America, and Jonah Edelman, co-founder and CEO of Stand for Children.

"Education for All Arizona Students: What It Will Take" will be held at the Arizona Biltmore on April 13. The forum will concentrate on how to create broader opportunities for students' academic success and how to improve career options for all Arizona students.

Joining Kopp and Edelman will be a panel of business leaders including Cathleen Aubin Barton, southwest education manager for Intel Corp., MaryAnn Guerra, CEO & chairman of the board for BioAccel, and J. Robert Landolt, director of finance for attack helicopter programs at the Boeing Company.

Tags: bioaccel, maryann guerra, stem education, teach for america, wendy kopp
Mar 28, 2011

Tolleson superintendent pledges STEM focus

[From the Arizona Republic]

In the West Valley, STEM education has a new champion in charge:

Tolleson Elementary School District governing board members promoted Lupita Hightower to superintendent.

Hightower, who is in her third year with the district, was promoted three times this year - once after the assistant superintendent left in June, and twice after the superintendent left late last semester.

In a brief Q&A, Dr. Hightower stated that she wanted to focus more on STEM education in lower grades:

Q: What are your top goals as the district's new leader?

A: Definitely to be able to offer more opportunities for students in STEM . . . science, technology, engineering and math. Right now we have tried to bring a lot of opportunities after school and during summer school. Our sixth through eighth grade is definitely set with those classes, but our younger grades don't get them as much. So really, (I want to) provide these opportunities for the students so they are able to collaborate with each other and (so) they are able to gain those 21st-century skills. So they're problem solving and using their critical thinking skills more than your typical reading and math programs.

Read more at the Source: "Hightower promoted to Tolleson Elementary district chief"

Tags: lupita hightower, stem education, tolleson
Feb 19, 2011

STEM Network meeting draws national education leaders

[From the Arizona Republic]

A group backing science and math education took another step in its attempt to make the state more competitive and to diversify Arizona's economy.

The STEM Network met Monday and Tuesday to develop strategies for boosting student interest and expertise in science, technology, engineering and math.


This week was the second meeting of the fledgling STEM Network. It met in September to kick off the statewide effort, which was immediately backed by a $100,000 federal stimulus grant and a $500,000 private grant. Its next step comes in March when STEM leaders travel around the state.

This week's meeting drew business and education leaders from New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

Read more at the source: "Group aims to hike science, math skills"

Tags: science foundation arizona, stem network
Feb 07, 2011

Are science fairs in trouble?

[From the New York Times]

Amy Harmon of the Times provides a national roundup:

Rarely have school science fairs, a source of pride and panic for generations of American students, achieved such prominence on the national stage. President Obama held one at the White House last fall. And last week he said that America should celebrate its science fair winners like Sunday’s Super Bowl champions, or risk losing the nation’s competitive edge.

Yet as science fair season kicks into high gear, participation among high school students appears to be declining. And many science teachers say the problem is not a lack of celebration, but the Obama administration’s own education policy, which holds schools accountable for math and reading scores at the expense of the kind of creative, independent exploration that science fair projects require.

Read more at the source: "It May Be a Sputnik Moment, but Science Fairs Are Lagging"

Tags: science fairs, stem education
Jan 31, 2011

Bad news on STEM education. But good news, too.

The headline in the Jan. 28 Arizona Republic is not the kind anyone interested in STEM education would like to see: "Arizona students fare poorly in science."

The Republic notes a new report issued by the National Assessment of Educational Progress and finds that:

Students in fourth and eighth grades scored 11 and 8 points, respectively, below the national average. Arizona's fourth-graders earned 138 on a scale of 300, which was below the national average of 149. Eighth-graders in Arizona scored 141, below the 149 national average.

Arizona-specific results did not include the 12th grade, but overall, the state ranked among the 10 lowest in the 2009 assessment of student knowledge of physical, life, Earth and space sciences.

Darcy Renfro, vice president of Science Foundation Arizona's STEM Initiatives, cuts to the chase:

"What I am seeing in these numbers is that we're not moving the ball in science, and we have to start approaching this in a fundamentally different way." She adds, ""How do you engage students by making (STEM) more interesting and relevant? You have to start with the colleges of education."

The news in Arizona is not uniformly bad, though, as many of those involved in strengthening STEM education would attest.

Also released this week was the Milken Institute's annual state technology and science index, which ranked Arizona 15th, up from 17th last year. That's good, by itself. But look closer, and there are particular niches to be excited about.

One of Milken's sub-assessments is the Human Capital Investment Composite Index. It contains some sobering statistics--especially related to education funding--and some exciting ones. It sure looks like the work done at the community colleges and universities in recent years to encourage students toward degrees in STEM subjects is paying off--In some areas, Arizona is among the nation's best:

  • All Recent Degrees in Science and Engineering per 1,000 Civilian Workers (2007): Rank: 4
  • Recent Bachelor's Degrees in Science and Engineering per 1,000 Civilian Workers (2007): Rank: 6
  • Recent Master's Degrees in Science and Engineering per 1,000 Civilian Workers (2007): Rank: 2

Renfro and her colleagues have something to build on.

Tags: darcy renfro, milken institute, science foundation arizona, stem education
Jan 25, 2011

The State of the Union--and Arizona STEM education

President Obama meets Cesar Chavez High School students Diego Vazquez and Antonio Hernandez

When President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address this evening, several Arizonans with ties to the state's biosciences sector will be in attendance. Most prominent among them will be the medical team that cared for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot Jan. 8 in Tucson, including University Medical Center physicians Randall Friese, Michael Limole and Peter Rhee, and intensive-care nurse Tracy Culbert.

Also on hand for the address will be someone who has spent less time in the spotlight: South Mountain Community College freshman Diego Vasquez, who will join Dr. Rhee and other honored guests in the First Lady's box.

Vasquez, the White House announced Jan. 24, will be recognized for his participation as a member of Laveen Cesar Chavez High School's 12-person team that participated in the 2009-2010 Lemelson-MIT Program’s InvenTeams celebration of innovation.

According to the White House, the Cesar Chavez team designed a "fully adjustable motorized chair for medically fragile individuals." Vasquez and fellow Cesar Chavez student Antonio Hernandez represented the team at the White House Science Fair in October 2010, where he met President Obama and demonstrated how the prototype chair works.

At the October event, the president singled out the Arizona students for commendation:

We can think of Diego Vazquez and Antonio Hernandez, representing Cesar Chavez High School in Phoenix. Where are those guys? I met them earlier. There they are, right there. (Applause.) They developed a new motorized chair to help a classmate with disabilities—and won a grant competition as a result. They did not have a lot of money to do this. They didn’t have a lot of advantages in life. In fact, the first time they were ever on an airplane was when they flew to present their invention. But they did have a desire to work together to help a friend and to build something that never existed before.

And by the way, the way they funded their project—they had—they and their folks made tamales. They had a huge tamale-making session and were selling them. And they were showing me the video of how they raised the funds to be able to enter in this competition. Unbelievable.

That’s not just the power of science. That’s the promise of America. Anybody with a good idea can prosper. Anybody with talent can succeed. That’s why we’re here today. That’s what we’re all celebrating. And that’s why it’s so important that we promote math education and science education, on behalf of not just this generation but all the generations to follow.

Tags: nsf, sotu, south mountain community college, stem education
Jan 18, 2011

Science-and-tech club for teachers debuts

[From Making a Difference Every Day]

A new science club is available for Phoenix-area science educators as a new resource to aid them in their teaching.

STELLAR, which stands for Science and Technology Exploration Leveraging Learning, Attitudes and Relevance, is an educator’s science club created by Molina Walters, a clinical associate professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.

Members meet monthly at ASU’s Polytechnic campus in Mesa to share science lesson ideas and receive lesson resources, in addition to hands-on experience.

Club dues are $15 a semester, $25 for the full year. The next club meeting will be held in late January at ASU’s Polytechnic campus. Interested individuals can contact Walters by emailing

Tags: arizona state university, stem
Dec 14, 2010

ASU high-school STEM program shows strong results

[From ASU News]

After nearly three years, a grant-funded after-school program is reaping recognition from the state, success with high-school students from districts across Arizona, and funds to expand the program to younger students.

In fall 2007, Arizona State University’s Carole Greenes and colleagues received a $1.35 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund a three-year project to increase the number of students who enroll in and complete college majors in preparation for careers in the STEM sectors – science, technology, engineering and math.  

“The intent of the ‘Prime the Pipeline Project (P3): Putting Knowledge to Work,’ is to increase high school students’ interest and achievement in STEM fields, as well as to update mathematics and science high school teachers’ knowledge of those subjects,” said Greenes, associate vice provost of STEM education and professor.


Another stunning finding is that at the start of the Pipeline Project, only 23  percent of students in both the project and control groups said they planned to attend college after high school. After more than a year , 100 percent of Pipeline students said they plan to attend college as compared to 43 percent of the control group. And when asked about an intended college major, 58 percent of Pipeline students identified a STEM field.


And, in November, an expansion of the Pipeline Project to middle school students and their teachers, was funded by the Helios Education Foundation. “STEM in the Middle” (SIM) will focus on grades 5-8 students and their teachers. Several Pipeline Project students will serve as mentors to students in those scientific villages. Several Pipeline Project teachers also will participate as scientific village leaders in SIM.

Read more at the source: "High school students primed for success in STEM"

Tags: asu, helios education foundation, nsf, stem
Dec 06, 2010

Teaching biomedical engineering--with Legos

[From Arizona Daily Star]

Most kids play with Legos for fun, but some Tucson-area students used them Saturday to build robots that solve biomedical engineering problems.

The 29 teams in the regional FIRST Lego League contest at Wakefield Middle School built robots that completed mock tasks such as opening a clogged artery using a stent, setting a broken bone and delivering a precise dose of medicine. All of the students are ages 9 to 14.

Read more at the source: "With Legos, kids build on medical know-how"

Tags: biomedical engineering, robotics, stem
Nov 29, 2010

UA major producer of U.S. Fulbright recipients

The University of Arizona continues to be one of the nation's top producers of Fulbright Scholars, individuals funded to conduct research and teach to promote cross-cultural understanding and collaboration around the world. 

With 14 students having earned awards through the Fulbright U.S. Student and Scholar Program for the 2010-11 year, the UA is among the top 19 research institutions listed. 

The UA also is in the top 10 category for public institutions, tied at seventh with the University of Illinois-Champaign, the University of Louisville and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tags: university of arizona
Nov 23, 2010

Professor named top in Ariz., recognized nationally

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education have named ASU scientist Jane Maienschein the 2010 Arizona Professor of the Year. Maienschein, a Regents’ Professor and President's Professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences, was selected from more than 300 top professors in the United States.

Tags: arizona state university
Nov 05, 2010

Deconstructing the FAFSA, scholarship application processes

The launch of a new resource for students seeking scholarships has coincided with the start of a financial aid informational series to be held at the University of Arizona.

Scholarship Universe is a new initiative launched by the UA's Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, or OSFA,  utilizing the Student Services Fee, which was approved by University students. 

Tags: university of arizona
Nov 01, 2010

New online resource for women in STEM fields

[From ASU News]

Arizona State University researchers are rolling out a pioneering resource that offers online personal resilience training for women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

The CareerWISE resource provides a fresh approach to retaining women in STEM. The focus is to strengthen women’s skills to manage whatever personal and interpersonal challenges arise along the way to completing STEM graduate degrees and entering careers. The new site will be launched at a Nov. 4, 2010, press conference at the National Science Foundation in Washington D.C.

Read more at the source: "Online resource offers training for women in STEM fields"

Tags: asu, nsf, stem
Oct 18, 2010

White House Science Fair showcases Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams

Today, two Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams were among more than a dozen teams from around the country that presented their winning work at a White House Science Fair. The fair celebrates the winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competitions, including students from the Cesar Chavez High School InvenTeam in Laveen, Arizona and the Oak Ridge High School InvenTeam in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to showcase their inventions to President Obama. The timing of this prestigious honor coincides with the Lemelson-MIT Program's announcement of the 2010 2011 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams.