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Posted By Linda Coyle, Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Memorable Day in Flagstaff STEM City

Submitted by Dr. Len Fine, October 21 2016


Taking note of the historic "Shining City Upon a Hill” farewell address Ronald Reagan delivered at the end of his presidency, Flagstaff, Arizona STEM City leader David Engelthaler provided the basis for a wide-ranging "Mentor and Mentoring: Giving Voice to STEM” event that spanned the afternoon of Friday, September 30th.

The afternoon followed on the heels of a morning "Back-to-School Breakfast” sponsored by 100Kin10 that captured the essence of this national industry network initiative, engaging 200 business/industry partners – 24 in Arizona – engaged actively in adding 100K excellent new teachers to the K-12 STEM workforce. Challenging the Arizona partners were seven grand challenges and their root causes, including the undervaluing of STEM in the general education of students and the professional development of their teachers.

 Joining with the Arizona STEM Network led by Dr. Mary O’Reilly, both events were hosted by Professor Max Dass and the Northern Arizona University (NAU) Center for Science Teaching and Learning (CSTL) that he leads, in their shiny new digs in the Science and Health Building. Thanks, Mary, and Max!  

As Arizona lead partner Freeport McMoRan pointed out, meeting the 100Kin10 goal is a social responsibility and a moral test requiring significant community investment. And that is just what the afternoon program was all about: COMMUNITIES significantly INVESTING IN STEM.

 What Engelthaler took note of in his "view from a STEM City on a Hill” was the community commitment to STEM in Flagstaff – his Shining City - connecting the S (Science) and M (Math) in STEM through the T (Technology) and E (Engineering)… STEM … and the collective impact STEM makes connecting Arizona communities.

Participants in the afternoon were challenged by three community panels, each responsible for framing strategic aspects of STEM – by a government panel, by a STEM education panel, and by a business and industry panel.

The government panel led off with Flagstaff Mayor Jerry Nabours and included Art Babbott, Chair of the Coconino County Board of Supervisors; media representation by Bonnie Stevens, KNAU and Flagstaff Festival of Science; and Rob Thames, CEO, Northern Arizona Healthcare; giving voice to successful community investment strategies from their diverse perspectives.

Linda Coyle, Science Foundation Arizona Director of Education, led the discussion describing the creation of three effective STEM Mentoring communities, in Northern (Flagstaff – Mindy Bell), Central (Phoenix – Jessica Hauer) and Southern (Sierra Vista – Sandee Trevino) Arizona.

Jerry Proctor, Deputy Commandant, US Army Intelligence Corp (ret’d) led a comprehensive discussion between business executives – Ali Applin, SenesTech; Julie Pastrick, Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce; Steve Pedigo, Northrop Grumman Corporation; and Anne Newland, CEO North Country Healthcare – of STEM and the changing face of the workforce: or, how to train for jobs that didn’t exist a decade ago, and others that don’t yet exist, but soon will.

The challenge is being met. Here is the evidence in stronger, more successful STEM-literate communities being built by refocusing the dialogue between government, education and business and industry partners… in Flagstaff, the shining STEM City… on the mountain.

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