Video to Link STEM Role Models with Students

Two Arizona STEM education programs that are part of Science Foundation Arizona’s new AZ STEMworks Database pilot have been ranked among the best programs of their type in the nation.

Ever wish you could encourage young people to pursue careers as STEM professionals like yours if you just had the time to get away from your desk? Now’s your chance as the Maricopa Education Service Agency is looking for 400 professionals to volunteer their time to serve as role models through video conferencing.

With the help of a $3 million grant over three years, the goal is for 2,300 middle school students in 16 rural and urban schools in Maricopa County to connect by video with STEM role models who will explain with they do in their careers and the paths they took to get there.

If you’re interested in helping provide or recruit professionals, contact Gale Beauchamp at or 602.697.2060.

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Two Arizona STEM Programs Among Nation’s Best

Two Arizona STEM education programs that are part of Science Foundation Arizona’s new AZ STEMworks Database pilot have been ranked among the best programs of their type in the nation.

To make the grade, the two programs met the Design Principles for effectiveness in STEM education established by Washington, D.C.-based Change the Equation, an organization whose corporate members are committed to ensuring more rigorous STEM learning for all pre-K-12 students. The Arizona programs are:

  • The Power of Data Project – In the Northern Arizona University program, high school math, science and career/technical teachers analyze spatial data using geospatial technologies to propose solutions to authentic local problems then teach the same lessons in their schools.
  • The Champions for Change – The Tucson-based Blue Marble Institute uses the appeal of world-renowned champions and explorers to engage youth in science, language, arts, innovative technology, engineering and design and math through compelling hands-on projects.
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IT Innovation is Goal of New GM Center

With the opening of General Motors’ new Information Technology Innovation Center in Chandler — joining only three others in the United States — the automaker has created about 500 jobs with plans to have 1,000 people working on-site within five years.

With about 25 percent of the starting staff being recent college graduates, workers at the 170,000 square-foot facility are part of GM’s plan to in-source its innovation. The automaker also wants to improve company performance and cut costs for ongoing operations.

The new facility is in Chandler’s Price Corridor, further establishing it as a technology hub. GM’s other IT Innovation Centers are in Warren, Mich.; Austin, Texas; and Roswell, Ga.

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Award Cites Bio Efforts of Scottsdale’s Mayor

In recognition of his work to promote biotechnology in his city, Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane has been named winner of the 2014 AZBio Public Service award by the Arizona BioIndustry Association.

While the top leader of the city, the Scottsdale Cure Corridor from Shea Boulevard to the Scottsdale Airpark was launched. It is designed to promote the innovative practices of biotech and life sciences, and includes TD2, Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute and Mayo Clinic.

Lane will be honored Sept. 17 at the annual AZBio Awards at the Phoenix Convention Center.

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Engineering Professor Heads Air Force Advisory Board

Werner Dahm, an Arizona State University engineering professor, has been named by the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force to begin a three-year term as the chair of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.

Dahm will head the 52-member group of preeminent scientists and engineers from industry, academia, federally funded research and development centers, and national laboratories who provide independent technical advice to U.S Air Force leadership. All are appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Dahm is an ASU Foundation Professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy. It is one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

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Dreams Come True at Tucson’s Startup Weekend

Registration is open for Tucson’s Startup Weekend 2014, offering entrepreneurs the chance to meet other like-minded people on Sept. 12, build the framework of an innovative business, and create a business model or prototype by Sept. 14.

The annual event is not just for the tech crowd. Organizers say half of Startup Weekend’s attendees typically have technical or design backgrounds while the others have business backgrounds.

The action this year will be capped with a Startup Shark Tank in partnership with Connect Coworking! To get other details and register, go to

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Wells Fargo’s Accelerator for Financial Innovations

Applications will be accepted until Oct. 1 for companies interested in becoming part of the fall program of the new Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, a semiannual boot camp for innovators whose technology ideas will help the financial services industry.

The accelerator will give 10 to 20 young companies annually the opportunity to develop and refine products in a collaborative environment that features Wells Fargo subject matter experts and purchasing managers offering workshops and individual coaching. Besides gaining a direct equity investment of $50,000 to $500,000, each firm selected could become a vendor to the bank.

Companies chosen for the accelerators will offer innovation in such sectors as payments, deposits, fraud and operations. More information about applying is available at

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Record Year for UA Tech Commercialization

Technology commercialization at The University of Arizona set a new best in the fiscal year ending June 30. The success marked the first full year of UA’s Tech Launch Arizona office, created to help faculty and researchers commercialize inventions resulting from their research.

During the year that began July 1, 2013:

  • 188 invention disclosures were reported from faculty inventors.
  • 72 total licenses were executed.
  • 167 patents were filed.
  • 24 patents were issued.
  • 19 proof-of-concept projects were funded, validating the correspondence of inventions to market features and drivers.
  • 11 startup companies were created

Tech Launch Arizona will release its annual report this month. Besides including a full report on accomplishments, the office will update its Roadmap with new objectives and programs expected to evolve during the year.

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