Building rockets. Exploring tech-based careers. Making a connection between dance and STEM. DIY science opportunities. While these activities might seem unrelated, they are all connected through the Arizona SciTech Festival, an annual celebration of all things science and technology in the Grand Canyon state. With the 8th season of the Festival just around the corner, Universities, cities and towns, and other community organizations are prepping for the 2,000 events that will be held in 2019.
What started with 200 events in a handful of communities has grown as more and more Arizona families take an active interest in both scitech career paths, and the myriad STEM-based companies operating locally. In fact, during last year’s event, close to half a million individuals attended events in cities large and small all over the state.
In 2019, the activities happening from February to March are as widely varied as the communities that host them. For instance:
- Four Arizona State University campuses hold Open Door activities that allow participants to experience ASU firsthand by exploring STEM facilities, including the Biodesign Institute, planetarium and engineering facilities.
- The City of Tempe hosts Geeks Night Out, a collaboration between local technology companies, including Google and Go Daddy, along with local school districts. It’s an interactive, educational event with more than 75 businesses and educational groups participating and offering hands-on learning experiences.
- In rural Arizona, Graham and Greenlee counties host a health and science fair. That, paired with tours of Eastern Arizona College and its planetarium are a popular draw.
- On the White Mountain River Apache Nation, Innovation Nation is making STEM fun for families through engineering and bioscience related activities.
Festival events are giving kids and families the opportunity to explore science and technology together, while also exposing them to potential career and educational paths. The community dynamic is bringing people together and helping to boost knowledge and enthusiasm all at the same time.
And the impact is growing. Arizona has one of the largest scitech festivals in the nation, with highly engaged sponsors and high levels of visitor satisfaction. To learn more and find events in your area, visit azscitech.com.
Dr. Jeremy Babendure is the Executive Director of the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, the Annual Arizona SciTech Initiative, Associate Professor of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University and a research fellow at the Institute for Learning Innovation. The annual AZ SciTech festival includes over 800 collaborators, 2,000 events and draws over 400,000 participants.