SciTech Institute STEM and Innovation Summit with Grand Canyon University and Basha High School
Take part in the future and interact with some of Arizona’s most influential thinkers at the 2019 STEM and Innovation Summit held in Scottsdale, Arizona.
This year’s statewide conference brought together Arizona’s key stakeholders in business, industry, education, government, NGO, the community to:
- Share best practices, lessons and stories from the field
- Experience the latest in Arizona technology and innovation
- Build unique and diverse STEM networks
- Discuss how we can work as connected ecosystem to improve public STEM awareness and improve workforce readiness
Grand Canyon University prepares learners to become global citizens, critical thinkers, effective communicators, and responsible leaders by providing an academically challenging, values-based curriculum from the context of our Christian heritage.
Cori Araza has over 17 years in the high school classroom, focusing on technology and STEM integration, and the implementation of engaging teaching strategies. She serves as the STEM Outreach Director at GCU where her mission is to serve, support, and inspire K12 educators, students, and community as they encourage students to pursue STEM education.
Chandler Unified School District is a premier district of choice. Academic achievement is a high priority in the district as evidenced by test scores which exceed state and national averages. We pride ourselves on providing outstanding educational programs at all grade levels. From an accelerated middle school to a cutting edge cybersecurity program, Basha High School is a great example of diverse learning options available to students within our district.
Janet Hartkopf has been an educator with CUSD for over 12 years. She has taught 7 – 12 computer science for the district. As a result of her background and involvement in the cybersecurity community, Janet has recently accepted the position of Cyber Program Director for Basha High School. She is responsible for reaching out to the community, companies and public to promote cybersecurity and the program offered at Basha High School.
In your professional opinion, how can we better work as a connected ecosystem to improve public STEM awareness and improve workforce readiness?
Cori: We need to communicate often, emphasizing a consistent message of the importance of STEM education, where students are encouraged and supported so that they maintain their courses of study and become a part of the STEM workforce solution. All too often, our conversations stall because the problems we face are challenging. I think this is where we must act with conviction, across institutional boundaries for the sake of the students, the future employees in STEM.
Janet: We can work better as a connected ecosystem to improve public STEM awareness by participating in forums and having dialogs so that we understand what is needed in the community and industry realizes what is needed in education from the community. You cannot have one without the other. We can improve workforce readiness by training students in the skills necessary for work through project-based learning and other classroom strategies, embedding the soft skills that employers are looking for, but also by employers opening their doors and allowing students to see their environment and coming into classrooms; talking about opportunities in those fields. When we are working together to understand and meet the STEM needs in our community the public will respond in kind.
In what ways are you and your organization involved in STEM education and/or the SciTech Institute?
Cori: Grand Canyon University offers a unique STEM curriculum in the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology. The small class sizes and business-focused intent of the programs prepare students to become a part of today’s STEM solution by providing hands-on, industry-focused activities and opportunities for students to enter and thrive in this workforce.
Janet: CUSD’s Journey 2025 mission is to empower all students with the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary to excel in college, career and life. They are not just visionary in their STEM perspective but also action takers, doing what is best not only for students but reaching out to the surrounding community and state to proactively meet the employment needs. BHS is a great example of how CUSD has emphasized STEM education on a campus. Students have the opportunity to experience a comprehensive curriculum including Engineering, Bio Technology, Nursing, Mathematics and Multimedia and enriches the curriculum through clubs such as, Science is Fun where we train HS “ambassadors” to energize elementary students with the love of science. Our Science if Fun club has presented at AZ SciTech Festivals and has hosted AZ SciTech events in the past. Recently Basha has developed the Institute of Cyber Operations and Networking (ICON) a partnership with Chandler-Gilbert Community College and the University of Arizona – Chandler that is developing the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.