Exploring Keeping Cool with STEM E12
SciTech Institute encourages you to get involved in the STEM community. Maybe you are an industry professional seeking ways to make an impact, a student searching for a mentor or a community collaborator hoping to meet the right people to help make it happen! Listen in to learn about engaging opportunities at Biosphere2, Tucson Children’s Museum and Kartchner Caverns.
In this episode of STEM Unplugged, we will be sharing ways to Keep Cool with STEM over the summer. Our guests are John Adams, Deputy Director of Biosphere2, Sinda Sutton and Stefany Boleyn, Park Rangers at Kartchner Caverns State Park and Vanessa King, Director of Education at Tucson Children’s Museum. Each unique location and facility allows for hands on learning and immersive experiences with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
Owned by The University of Arizona, Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona, is a major regional attraction and also serves as a laboratory for controlled scientific studies, an arena for scientific discovery and discussion, and a far-reaching public education center. Research at Biosphere 2 focuses on the issues of global environmental change using a multidisciplinary approach. Biosphere 2’s research tackles scientific “Grand Challenges” facing science and society—including issues of global climate change, the fate of water and how energy travels through Earth’s ecosystems.
The University of Arizona takes advantage of the facility’s unique spatial scale providing a bridge between small-scale, controlled, laboratory-based understandings of earth processes and experiments in field settings where it is difficult to control all environmental conditions. Biosphere 2’s size allows researchers to do controlled experimentation at an unprecedented scale, providing the missing link between the laboratory and the real world.
For two decades, John Adams has helped drive the evolution of Biosphere 2 through positions of progressive responsibility and oversight. Starting in 1995, Adams became Senior Research Specialist at Biosphere 2, leading all terrestrial experiments inside Biosphere 2.
Building on his deep knowledge of the facility and its science, Adams became Biosphere 2’s Media Coordinator and Public Spokesperson at Columbia University in 1999, fielding B2 inquiries from around the world, building public understanding of the University’s groundbreaking earth systems science research and developing its K-12 education programs (Passport to Learning™).
At the same time, Adams assumed leadership for B2’s exhibits and public outreach staff. After a year in the private industry biotech sector overseeing R&D as well as aspects of sales, marketing, engineering and design for an innovative water treatment technology, Adams’ returned to B2 in 2004, bringing his unique institutional knowledge of the facility to bear as a critical member of the B2 transition team.
Adams’ experience and vision filled critical roles throughout that period in the positions of Facilities Manager, Health & Safety Supervisor, Public Outreach Coordinator and Biological systems manager, culminating in his being named Assistant Director of Planning and Facilities, a mantle he held for seven years.
In 2014, Adams advanced to his current leadership role of Biosphere 2 Deputy Director. In part, the promotion marked a return to his roots, engaging as a key member of the team that plans and directs all research and related activities inside Biosphere 2 and the surrounding campus.
Kartchner Caverns is the 25th state park in Arizona which was opened to the public in 1999. It is a world-famous cave for families to come and explore. Visitors have an opportunity to take a guided tour in the Rotunda-Throne room (year-round) and the Big room (October to May).
Each room is littered with brilliant colors and pristine calcite formations from ceiling to floor that visitors come and discover and enjoy. During the tours guest get to learn all about the development of the cavern system and the important part water has played through the history of the cave.
While at the park visitors get to learn about the discovery of the caves in 1974, and the dedication by Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts to protect the pristine, untouched cavern they found. Visitors will gain an understanding of the hard work and planning that went into the development the park, and the future discoveries still to come.
There is plenty to see and do while at the park. To learn more or make a reservation for a cave tour, or learn more about other state parks please visit their website https://azstateparks.com/kartchner/ or https://azstateparks.com/.
Sinda Sutton is a born and raised Arizonian and has a deep-rooted love for this state. She grew up in a small town in the White Mountains and moved to Southern Arizona this year. She has a deep passion for all of Arizona’s vast natural resources.
That passion started at a young age, but grew when she started with Arizona State Parks and Trails as a Seasonal Ranger June of 2013 at Kartchner Caverns State Park outside of Benson. There she fell in love with the world of Interpretation and using the skills she learned to protect and present the importance of all-natural resources.
After her seasonal career, she moved to Show Low Arizona where she worked as Park Ranger II at Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area. There her interpretation passion grew deeper and she received a certification from National Association for Interpretation as a Certified Interpreter Trainer.
The certification has allowed her to pass on her passion for interpretation. And with the help of the other certified trainer at Arizona State Parks and Trails they work hard to certify other interpreters throughout her agency.
After many years at Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area she recently returned to Kartchner Caverns where she continues to fuel her love for Interpretation and the natural resource where she works.
Originally from the Midwest, Stefany Boleyn is a Park Ranger at Kartchner Caverns State Park, where she combines her background of children’s librarianship with her passion for all things nature to educate the public about the unique world of caves.
Personally, she’s a bird enthusiast who spends her free time exploring and looking for the many bird species of the world.
Children’s Museum Tucson is a non-profit educational organization in Tucson, AZ that provides fun, play-based, interactive, hands-on learning experiences for children and their families through in person exhibits and programs as well as virtual programs and outreach.
Vanessa King began her career as a teacher–first in Tanzania and then later in Oregon and the Kingdom of Tonga. She later transitioned to administrative roles and managed educational programs in the Marshall Islands and Arizona.
She currently is the director of education at Children’s Museum Tucson and oversees their education and volunteer programs.
About Our Sponsor
SciTech Institute™ was established as the Arizona Technology Council Foundation as the conduit for collaboration among STEM industry, academia, civic, and non-profit organizations in Arizona. Now, rebranded and named the SciTech Institute™ the goal centers around aligning assets and resources to motivate individuals to pursue STEM-related educational and career paths or find a passion while engaged in community events during the SciTech Festival.
The Chief Science Officer program highlights the 6th-12th graders that have been selected as leaders in their schools and communities to receive training to build a world-class community of diverse STEM-literate workers and knowledgeable, engaged citizens. Science For All allows for tax credit donations to provide engaging experiences for students while RAIN (Rural Activation Innovation Network) focuses on resources for the rural areas of Arizona.
As a STEM Learning Ecosystem, SciTech Institute™ focuses on collaboration and connecting individuals with opportunities! STEM Professionals are encouraged to engage with the future workforce by serving as a mentor, leadership coach, panelist, keynote and session trainer during a variety of conferences hosted or sponsored by SciTech Institute™ and The Arizona Technology Council.
Teachers and Administrators are invited to connect with the resources available while activating a large network of STEM champions for student projects, judges at events, volunteers, exhibitors and more. SciTech Festival Event Coordinators are supported during the planning and execution of community STEM events around the state by the SciTech STREET Team Members and the growing network of volunteers. The possibilities are endless! SciTech Institute™ looks forward to connecting with you today. Visit SciTechInstitute.org today for more information.
About Your STEM Unplugged Host
After grow up in rural New York and joining the United States Army, Kelly Greene learned quickly to adapt to her surroundings to be successful. She attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education.
She also enlisted in the United States Army and after graduating from training, Kelly traveled the world with the military. While stationed in Misawa, Japan, she fell in love with learning about cultures around the world. Even as a deployed Soldier during Operation Iraqi Freedom for two tours, she found opportunities to connect with the local children to form the Victory Base Council Girl Scouts with her fellow servicemen.
In 2013, she was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and traveled the country by air. During this deployment, she had the opportunity to utilize the most advanced technologies available to the tactical HUMINT operations in theater. Upon return from combat, she retired with 21 years of service and began teaching. From 6th grade Math to 7th grade STEM, Kelly used her enthusiastic nature combined with her strong classroom management to design curriculum based on the Engineering Design Process!
Now, as the Chief Operating Officer at SciTech Institute, Kelly is excited to serve the communities in Arizona and beyond to share their interest in STEM!
About Your Co-Host
Nikhil Johnson is a 4th year Chief Science Officer at North High School in the Phoenix Union High School District. When he was first elected to serve as a CSO at Vista Del Sur Elementary in Laveen, Nikhil knew the opportunity to connect with the community through STEM experiences would be exciting.
As a Laveen Elementary School District CSO, Nikhil was integral in the planning process for the district wide STEM Pathways event which celebrated a $10,000 donation from Viasat! This year, in spite of the pandemic, he was able to support an additional district wide online coding event with Skill Struck.
As a sophomore at North, Nikhil started an environmental club on campus and his Action Plan included a day at Cesar Chavez park focusing on clean up and planting 15 trees! In 2021-22, Nikhil will serve on the CSO International Leadership Council and was selected as the Arizona CSO of the Year of 2021.
Now, Nikhil confirms that his participation in the CSO Program has been life changing and he is motivated to continue to #MakeItHappen.