AZ Tech Council sponsors three key STEM initiatives

December 11, 2009

By hammersmith

The Arizona Technology Council today announced that its Foundation has become the home of three important STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiatives designed to help Arizona compete in the 21st century. Effective immediately, the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF), Project Lead the Way, and GetSTEM-Az will all be made possible in Arizona with the support of the Council.


“Arizona needs to not only develop and implement policies that retain, attract, and deepen our technology base, but must also invest strategically in programs that enhance student math and science learning statewide,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “To that end, our involvement in STEM is helping improve the pipeline of science and engineering talent that is so critical to our member companies.”


Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF)


Now in its third year, the Council is hosting the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF) being held at the Phoenix Convention Center March 22-25, 2010. AzSEF is actually a year round effort that promotes student knowledge and understanding of the scientific process while developing relevant research that can have a positive impact on communities, the state, and even provide global applications.  Each year schools throughout the state select their most notable scholars to present their research and be recognized for their efforts. Students in grades 5-12 are eligible to participate in one of the 17 scientific categories. Phoenix has also been selected as the site of the 2013, 2016, and 2019 Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world’s largest international pre-college science competition.


“Through the AzSEF, students gain hands-on practical learning in math, science, reading, writing, and language,” said Phil Huebner, director, AzSEF. “These essential skills not only allow them to apply their knowledge in these areas and increase their comprehension, but more importantly it provides them with life-long skills that will benefit them and our communities, while insuring their success when they enter college and the work force.  These students are not just learning science, they are doing science.”


Project Lead the Way


The Council is also now home of Arizona’s participation in Project Lead the Way, a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping high schools offer pre-engineering curriculum. Project Lead the Way was introduced in 1997 in New York high schools and now has over 3,400 middle and high schools offering its Engineering and Bio-Medical Sciences curriculum in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.  Arizona began student enrollment in Project Lead the Way courses in 2004 and has grown participation to approximately over 1,200 students that will have had courses in engineering in their high schools in the current 2009-2010 school year.


“Project Lead the Way is a great program to create partnerships with primary and secondary schools, universities, business and industry to prepare more students to be successful in science, technology, engineering, and math at the university and career level,” said Joseph Tidwell, state director for Project Lead the Way – Arizona, and the project manager of GetSTEM-Az. “The curriculum makes math and science relevant for students by engaging in hands-on, real-world projects; students gain an understanding of how the skills they are learning in the classroom can be applied in everyday life.”




Along with sponsors that include the Arizona Department of Commerce, Innovation Frontier Arizona, IBM, and Raytheon, the Council is spearheading the launch of GetSTEM-Az. This online portal is being designed to match STEM education needs with STEM business resources.  Whether a business or individual has used equipment to donate or is looking to volunteer in a classroom, GetSTEM-Az, will be the place to begin the offer with a simple online form.  Similarly, Arizona educators looking for help finding a microscope or trying to coordinate a field trip at a local company will enter an online request. All offers and requests entered in the database will be automatically linked with any potential matches. In addition, Arizona businesses, educators, students, teachers and parents involved in STEM initiatives will now have a one-stop-shop of STEM resources including links to STEM forums, current news and events related to STEM education. This important online resource will be made available in the coming months.


About the Arizona Technology Council

The Arizona Technology Council is a private, not-for-profit trade association founded to connect, represent and support the state’s expanding technology industry. To promote economic growth and professional development in Arizona’s technology sector, the Council provides members networking opportunities, business support and access to educational forums. The Council strives to distinguish Arizona as a leader in the technology community and offer resources that are exclusive to its members. To become a member or to learn more about the Arizona Technology Council, please visit You are also invited to e-mail the president and his staff, Twitter @aztechcouncil, or view the Council’s Facebook, LinkedIn, or Plaxo page.