You are invited! The students in the high school iCREATE Bioscience Class will be presenting their creative team solutions to the problem of tracking of Influenza-Like-Illnesses (ILIs) in Coconino County on Wednesday, March 7th from 3:30-5:00 pm in Room 512 of NAU's Science and Health Building #36.
The Innovative Collaborative Research Experience and Technical Education (iCREATE) class is a CAVIAT course with students from Flagstaff High School and Coconino High School, though it is open to all 10-12th graders in Flagstaff. The class meets Monday-Thursday at NAU for a 6-credit, year-long class in conjunction with Coconino Community College.
The iCREATE course is a key component of a three-year National Science Foundation funded project that tests a model of community engagement in STEM learning. The course engages students in an authentic problem, the spread of infectious disease (specifically influenza). The course integrates the study of relevant bioscience topics and epidemiological principles with the technological project of designing and implementing a data collection system using computer and geospatial technologies software in order to monitor the transmission of influenza.
Course instructors Dr. Aaron Tabor and Robert (Bobby) Woodruff invite you to learn from the creative problem-solving of the motivated students in the iCREATE class. We hope you join us!
Project partners include: The Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Northern Arizona University, Translational Genomics Research Institute North (TGen North), Flagstaff STEM City, and the Coconino Association for Vocations, Industry and Technology (CAVIAT), a local provider of career and technical education courses. The project also includes multiple regional health care providers including North County HealthCare and the Coconino County Health Department. Together, we aim to increase local students’ motivation and interest in STEM learning and careers in order to positively affect the region’s future STEM workforce.
You can link here for the Arizona CTE Bioscience course standards to learn what the students in this intensive course will have covered during this comprehensive high school program. Note that the epidemiological problem-based learning to engage students, enhancing this course, is in addition to the course requirements.
The Navajo Nation, Marshall Elementary and STAR School are all in need of Science Fair Judges!
From the Navajo Nation: Red Rock State Park, Gallup, NM
The Navajo Nation Science Fair is at Red Rock State Park in Gallup, NM on February 27, 28 and March 1st. Judging is from 9 am to 12 pm each day. They are also looking for presentations or demonstrations for the same time period so that the teachers, parents, and bus drivers are engaged with something STEM-related out of the judging area while the students are getting their posters critiqued.
Please contact Allan Blacksheep at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and/or to volunteer!
From Marshall: 850 N Bonito St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Dear STEM Volunteers,
Would you like to be a part of history? This is your opportunity to be a judge at Flagstaff’s longest running science fair! Please consider being a judge for Marshall Magnet Elementary School's 31st Annual Science Fair on Monday, February 26th.
There are two ways to be involved:
1. You can judge projects in the Marshall gym, using a provided rubric, for
the length of time YOU have available, anytime between 9:30am and 5:00pm on Monday,
2. You can interview 5th grade students about their science projects in the
Marshall Science Lab from 9:00 - 11:00am on Monday, February 26th.
Your time is valuable and we greatly appreciate your consideration in
judging. Please forward this message to anyone you feel would make an
excellent judge. We cannot do this without you!
Thank you, Janelle Reasor, Art & Science Integration Specialist
From STAR School: 145 Leupp Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86004; (928) 415-4157
Contact: STEM VISTA Member email@example.com
Blog Post by Chelsea Silva, Executive Director, Friends of the Rio de Flag; STEM VISTA Member for Friends of the Rio and City of Flagstaff Sustainability
A Ribbon of Life for Flagstaff Students, Residents, and Visitors
Walking from City Hall north you will find yourself on the Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS), seemingly headed towards the San Francisco Peaks. As you pass the Public Library, you’ll notice Wheeler Park to your right and a grassy, depression with a footbridge crossing to your right, the Rio de Flag.
An ephemeral stream, you will not see water in this grassy channel unless a monsoon hits in the summer or snow melts and flows downstream in the winter.
Keep wandering half a mile up the FUTS along the Rio de Flag and you will quickly arrive at Frances Short Pond. Filled naturally and sometimes supported with additional reclaimed water, the “duck pond” is one of the most visited sites along the Rio due to the recreation and wildlife viewing opportunities it provides.
The pond and the Rio flowing downstream from it provide a unique setting for Flagstaff students to learn about their environment. The Rio also gives students a chance to give back to their river through restoration and citizen science.
It is my goal as an AmeriCorps STEM VISTA member to connect Flagstaff students with the Rio de Flag. That is why I started the Adopt-the-Rio de Flag Stewardship program in my first VISTA term in 2016-2017. This program allowed me to connect with local teachers to share resources and provide introductory lessons on the Rio de Flag.
In fall 2017, freshman and sophomore biology students at Flagstaff High School began participation in the program. First, the students engaged in a classroom Introduction to the Rio, exploring different aspects of the Rio in small groups.
The following month, students collected data on the Rio de Flag, which was done in partnership with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s citizen science program called Arizona Water Watch. All of the photos in this blog post are courteous of these students who worked hard to document their surroundings as part of the data collection protocol.
During the remainder of my position, I hope to expand these place-based learning opportunities to other Flagstaff students. To achieve this goal, I will host a teacher workshop in the spring that focuses on stewardship, citizen science, and the Rio de Flag. This will give teachers the tools they need to connect their students to the Rio de Flag as stewards of their local river.
In order for the Adopt-the-Rio program to continue into the future, I also conduct grant writing and partnership building as part of my AmeriCorps STEM VISTA position. These tasks require a watershed-wide focus and long-term visioning with guidance and support from local government, residents, businesses and nonprofits.
The Rio de Flag is Flagstaff’s river, and it is our collective duty to protect it for future generations. My AmeriCorps STEM VISTA position gives students the chance to take the lead in protecting and restoring the Rio through citizen science and stewardship.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Rio de Flag, we welcome you to watch our new short film, “Ribbon of Life.” Produced by one of our volunteers, Brittain Davis, this film is about those who visit and love the Rio de Flag.
TGen Press Release, Phoenix, January 3, 2017
Applications open today for first class of TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy - New high school program joins successful Helios Scholars at TGen in preparing Arizona students for high-tech biomedical careers
Today marks the start of applications for two summer educational programs at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), both sponsored by Helios Education Foundation.
The summer of 2018 will mark the first class of a new program — TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy — designed exclusively for high school students who are looking to elevate their understanding of bioscience and precision medicine. Up to 20 high school students from across Arizona will spend two weeks with TGen’s world-class scientists, learning advanced scientific and professional skills.
This new Helios program builds on the success of the ongoing Helios Scholars at TGen, which for 11 years has provided up to 45 students each summer with an eight-week paid internship, preparing the next generation of Arizona bioscience researchers and physicians. Helios Scholars at TGen is now designed exclusively for undergraduate and graduate college students, including those in medical school. Since 2007, 464 students have participated in this program, which previously was open to a few exceptional high school students.
One of those high school students was Rachel Zoneraich, now 17, who is a senior this year at Scottsdale Preparatory Academy. As a Helios Scholar this past summer, she experienced an enriching cultural and scientific atmosphere while studying a blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma.
“As a 16-year-old high school student, I had found it difficult to find a place where I felt that I was making a difference,” Rachel said. “I found that place at TGen. I was immersed in a collaborative scientific environment with my own bioinformatics project. I made friends for life, while also making a positive impact on cancer patients through my research.”
By initiating a separate program for high school students, TGen and Helios will enable more of those students to participate.
“TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy creates greater opportunity for younger students to build on their interests and strengths,” said Julie Euber, TGen Manager of Education and Outreach. “Thanks to the generosity of Helios Education Foundation, high school students interested in the biosciences now have a program specifically tailored to provide them with a full array of biomedical career possibilities.”
Helios Scholars at TGen generates nearly 500 applicants annually, and Euber expects that TGen Biosciences Leadership Academy will be as competitive.
“TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy will be a creative and challenging way for these younger students to advance to a higher academic level, preparing them — as with Helios Scholars at TGen — for success in college and career,” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO, Helios Education Foundation.
TGen scientists will share research expertise and technical skills, lab shadowing, bioethics, experimental design, and the translational process of quickly moving laboratory discoveries into new therapeutics to benefit patients with neurological disorders, infectious diseases and many types of cancer.
“In addition to the hands-on research experience, I think the best part of the Helios program were the people,” said Rachel, who currently is working as an academic year intern at TGen. “I was surrounded by a motivated and intelligent group of peers that I had not found elsewhere. I loved participating in the various seminars for professional development, as well as bonding with other interns.”
Students selected for both TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy and Helios Scholars at TGen also will receive guidance in science communication skills, public speaking, interdisciplinary and collaborative workplace skills, and networking.
Both programs are designed to: increase access to academic experiences for underrepresented populations; demonstrate TGen’s and Helios’ leadership in innovative bioscience education; and enable graduates to become peer models who can inspire other students to achieve.
Applications for both programs open Jan. 3, and close Feb. 9.
The inaugural class of TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy runs June 18-29. Applicants must be 16 by the time the program starts, and in the fall entering their junior or senior year of high school. Only one student will be selected from any one Arizona high school each year, ensuring participation from as many as 20 schools. Each student receives a $1,000 scholarship.
Helios Scholars at TGen will commence June 4, and end July 27 with a daylong scientific symposium, showcasing the students’ accomplishments. Helios Scholars earn an hourly wage that varies with experience.
For more information, please contact Julie Euber, TGen Manager of Education and Outreach, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-343-8459, or go to www.tgen.org/education.
Guest Blog Post by Larrea Cottingham, AmeriCorps VISTA, City Sustainabilty Section
To prepare Flagstaff for the changing climate, the City of Flagstaff is in the process of developing a community-wide Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (Climate Plan). City staff and the Climate Plan Steering Committee are prioritizing community engagement and input throughout the planning process to create a plan that fits Flagstaff and meets community needs. To support this process and increase climate action and preparedness in Flagstaff, AmeriCorps VISTA Larrea Cottingham has been developing youth and community engagement opportunities for climate action since she began her service with City’s Sustainability Program in August.
Larrea has created a new opportunity for students to get involved in climate action through the Student Climate Action Challenge. To participate, during the spring semester student groups of two or more must plan and begin implementing a project related to climate change in Flagstaff, northern Arizona, or the Colorado Plateau that serves their school, community, or the environment.
All student groups will present their work at the first ever Flagstaff Youth Climate Summit. Larrea is inviting City Staff, City Leadership, and the press to the Summit to see the important climate action work accomplished by Flagstaff students. Additionally, the City will award the top three student groups up to $1,000 to continue climate action next year.
To aid students in their climate action work, Larrea has also written the Student Climate Action Toolkit: a planning guide for taking climate action. This guide is designed to help students develop leadership and project management skills as they plan and implement climate action projects. In addition, Larrea has also made herself available to mentor student groups interested in participating in the Challenge. If you, or students you know are interested in forming an Action Team or environmental club, let Larrea know how she can help.
Visit the website to learn more and sign-up for the Student Climate Action Challenge, the Flagstaff Youth Climate Summit, and download the Toolkit. Please contact Larrea Cottingham at email@example.com or 928-213-2156 if you have any questions.
Students are not the only ones who get to participate in climate action this year! Larrea and City staff have organized several opportunities for all community members to get involed Flagstaff’s first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan:
Join your friends and neighbors at the first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan Community Open House:
Guest Blog Post by Nick Siskonen, STEM VISTA serving at CAVIAT
For high school students who are curious about the Coconino Association for Vocations Industry and Technology (CAVIAT) programs, we’ll be hosting Open Houses for a few of our programs to allow them to experience a class period before deciding to enroll.
On January 29th, Dr. Aaron Tabor and Bobby Woodruff will welcome students to the CAVIAT iCREATE Bioscience program at NAU. The focus of the Bioscience program is on human health concerns, such as infectious diseases and degradation of the environment. In the past, the class has developed models for tracking the spread of communicable diseases within Flagstaff and proposed solutions for their epidemiology projects.
On January 30th, join us at the CAVIAT campus at CCC's Innovation Campus on 4th Street to experience the Engineering program. The focus of the engineering course is on robotics and programming. Rich Krueger guides students through the application of fundamental scientific principles to create a functional robot while exploring different career paths in the engineering field.
Finally on January 31st, the Veterinary Assistant program, lead by Sharon Hebestreit, will be open to the public. The Veterinary Assistant program provides fundamental knowledge and basic skills needed to work in a veterinary setting. Students have been learning how to diagnose and treat issues in a variety of animals common to northern Arizona.
Students from across Flagstaff are welcome to join in as many of the Open Houses as they wish. Afterwards CAVIAT is hosting Priority Registration Nights at local high schools for those who want to enroll in CAVIAT and guarantee themselves a place in the program. For more information visit CAVIAT.org or call 928-613-2169.
Bioscience: Monday, January 29th on NAU Campus, Building 26 (Science and Health), Room 514/512, 2:45pm
Engineering: Tuesday, January 30th on CCC Campus, 4th St, Building B, Room B1, 2:45pm
Vet Assistant: Wednesday, January 31st on CCC Campus, 4th St, Building B, Room B3, 2:45pm
Priority Registration Nights:
Flagstaff High School, Wednesday February 7th, 5:30pm.
FALA, Tuesday February 13th, 5:30pm.
Coconino High School, Wednesday February 21st, 5:30pm.
Summit High School, Wednesday February 28th, 5:30pm.
CCC at 4th St, Wednesday March 7th, 5:30pm.
Val Callaway is the STEM Education VISTA Leader, for the Flagstaff STEM Education Project. She completed a 2-year service-term in the National Civilian Community Corps in 2001 igniting her passion for working in the nonprofit and public service sector. Then, after nearly 10 years in Santa Fe, New Mexico doing everything from Wildland Firefighting to serving six years in the New Mexico Army National Guard, Val moved back home to Phoenix, Arizona to be close to family.
Val attended Grand Canyon University earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Educational Studies and a Master’s of Science in Leadership while working at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix.
Val has a background in program and curriculum development with youth of varying ages. She successfully designed and implemented several after school programs including an; Urban Arts Program, STEAM Education Program, and a BMX STEM program where teens learned the science of bikes while serving their local community by offering free bike maintenance to youth in the community.
When Val isn’t helping her partner with their three kids and five dogs, you can almost always find them camping, fishing or biking local trails. With her partner being an international level roller derby skater and their children attending a performing arts school, this active family is constantly finding new adventures.
STEM City and the NAU Civic Service Center are thrilled to have Val serving as our STEM VISTA Leader, and Val is looking forward to serving this upcoming year and being given the opportunity to support an amazing and talented group of VISTAS.
Guest Blog Post by Ben Koch, Senior Research Associate, NAU
Researchers at NAU’s Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (ECOSS) have partnered for the second year with one of Kathryn Wertz's 6th grade science classes at Sinagua Middle School in Flagstaff as part of the ‘Scientists in the Classroom’ program founded by Jillian Worssam, and assisted by STEM City. In November, ECOSS scientists worked with students to begin a 5-month-long decomposition experiment in the forest near the school. The students learned that decomposition is the process by which living things are broken down into simpler and simpler pieces, and that decomposers like invertebrates, bacteria, and fungi accomplish this feat by consuming dead organisms in order to get the energy they need to survive, grow, and reproduce. The students considered which kinds of dead organisms decompose quickly, and which kinds decompose more slowly, depending on their chemical composition (i.e., a deer skeleton will take longer to decompose than an earthworm because it is made of bone, not soft tissue).
The students are investigating these ideas with a field experiment in which they are comparing the decomposition rates of leaves from two different species of trees: Oak and Ponderosa Pine. The students deployed set amounts of each of these leaf species in mesh bags on the forest floor near their school, and they used bags with two different sizes of mesh: coarse (the black bags in the photos) and fine (the white bags in the photos). When placing the leaf-bags in the forest, the students made observations and predictions about which leaf type and which bag type will yield the fastest decomposition. In April, ECOSS scientists and the students will retrieve their leaf-litter experiment to measure the mass loss of the leaves in each bag. The students will then take a field trip to the ECOSS laboratories on the NAU campus, where, among other activities, they will be able to weigh their leaf-bags and create a graph of their experimental results.
I’m Mallory Schaefer and I will be working at STAR School as a part of the AmeriCorps VISTA Flagstaff STEM Education Project team. I moved to Flagstaff in 2013 to attend NAU where I received a Bachelors degree in Environmental and Sustainability Studies and a minor in Sustainable Community Development. For the past four years I have been working at Willow Spring Program Center, a Girl Scout camp located in Prescott, AZ. Working there is what really made me passionate about working with children in an outdoor setting and allowing them to interact with nature in fun and developmental ways! I would love to pursue a career in Outdoor Education in the future where I can continue to inspire a love for nature in today's youth. I am excited to be back in Flagstaff and to have the opportunity to work with and learn from Native youth and Native communities.
At my site I will be working on developing the schools existing STEM program to meet the needs and wants of the teachers. I hope to develop after school activities with a STEM focus that are both fun and engaging for the students. I will also be working on a special water project that includes setting up an aquaponics system to get the students involved in the importance of water as well as assisting with the implementation of a water testing and filtration project for the near by community. I am looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish in our year of service!
Hey there! My name is Charlie Humphrey and for the next year I will work in Flagstaff with Grand Canyon Youth as their Office Manager through the Flagstaff STEM Education AmeriCorps VISTA Project. I will devote my efforts towards smoothing office processes, coordinating volunteers, and engaging in community events.
I grew up among the copper sunsets, vast deserts, and jagged mountains of Phoenix and Sierra Vista. I inherited my love for nature from my father, who taught me early on that we can recognize that we are part of something more when we spend time outdoors. I traded Saguaros for Ponderosas when I moved to Flagstaff in 2013 so that I could study at Northern Arizona University. In May of 2017, I graduated with a BS in Parks and Recreation with an emphasis in Outdoor Education.
GCY works hard to ensure that diverse populations of youth have an opportunity to participate in outdoor immersion programs. That is what I am so proud to member of the Grand Canyon Youth team. I am very excited about this chance to help connect the youth of America to the best that the southwest has to offer.
Flagstaff STEM Coordinator