The Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce sponsored two Coding Camps this summer. Scott Hathcock, Business Development Director, and Nick Allen, Media and Communications Director, led the camps. Heather Berginc, the 7th and 8th grade math and Art of Argumentation teacher at Flagstaff Junior Academy also helped instruct the students.
The first camp in June had 17 students, from 10-15 years old, recruited from local schools. The second camp had 26 students. Each day of the one-week afternoon camp had different programming challenges for the students to stay engaged.
Scott explained: "Computer programming jobs are growing at 2X the national average according to Code.org. We want to give our youth every possible advantage in meeting the demands and succeeding in the future workforce. The camper and parent feedback from the two pilot camps was amazing. We are now in the planning stages of building this is into an ongoing program that reaches even more kids. With that being said, I would suggest that summer camps will most certainly be returning. Our overall objective to introduce as many Flagstaff kids to programming as possible. We will be seeking additional funding partners to help us fuel these efforts."
Coding Camp #2 - Adults without sunglasses, from left to right: Dr. Kathy Turner (President/CEO of College America in Flagstaff), Jerry Nabours (Flagstaff Mayor), Scott Hathcock (Business Development Director, Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce ), and Julie Pastrick (President/CEO of the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce).
The camp was free to the participating students. The Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce provided the instruction, College America donated the computer room, Barnes and Noble Book Store provided snacks as well as some coding books for the students, and Dairy Queen also provided snacks. Thank you all for contributing to Flagstaff's first Coding Camp experiences!
Flagstaff High School is now enrolling students for its first class in aerospace engineering. Instructor Bruce Sidlinger has a strong background in both computer science and physics, and he is FAA certified as an advanced ground instructor, a flight instructor, an airline transport pilot and a commercial helicopter, seaplane, glider and balloon pilot. Bruce also holds a skydiving license and is a voting member of the committee that develops federal standards for drones. He founded a company that contracted with both NASA and the Air Force. As Tony Cullen, Principal at FHS, stated: "Bruce is modest. He is an all around genius."
Bruce is excited to pass on some of what he has learned by teaching this new course to upperclassmen at FHS. Students will learn to program computers using Linux. They will use microcontrollers, and learn physical computing as they write code to make decisions based on sensors for light, temperature, altitude, etc. For example, students can program the microcomputer to open a valve, or open a parachute, after a specific sensor reaches a specific temperature or altitude. Using this knowledge, the students will enter a prestigious competition, the Global Space Balloon Challenge, and design a near space balloon that can ascend to over 100,000 feet. This is 3 times the height a commercial airliner can fly! There are presently 304 entries from 48 countries entered in the competition.
The inspiration for this culminating event comes from Jack Crabtree and other members of the Arizona Near Space Research team. Jack mentored Kaci Heins, the 6th grade science teacher at Northland Preparatory Academy, whom Bruce has assisted mightily with three of her classes high-altitude balloon launches from his hangar at the Flagstaff's Pulliam Airport
Two other enticements for the class are that each student will obtain a lifetime Federal Communications Commission radio operators license, and will be able to begin a log book and record ground training hours toward a pilots license if desired.
Congratulations to Flagstaff High School and thank you to Bruce Sidlinger for teaching this exciting and high-powered new STEM class!
Lindsie McCabe and Ella Stephens are the experienced leaders of the summer bug camp offered by the Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research at NAU. This year they offered camps in June and in July and both filled with eager young entomologists.
The camp is for ages 6 to 12, and the students bond immediately over their love of nature and their fascination with insects! On the first day, the campers interact with live bugs from the insect zoo, learn how to care for insect pets, and begin collecting their own insects. The second day they learn more about insects by constructing their own bug using real insect parts. The third day focuses on insect behavior and photography, and students make an insect maze. The campers learn more about insect diversity and conservation on an insect scavenger hunt the fourth day. And the fifth day culminates in learning about the importance of insects as a source of food for other species, including humans. Parents are invited to an insect banquet and open house.
Lindsie hopes to convey that bugs are not icky. She was always into bugs as a kid, attending bug camps herself, and she enjoys giving back by leading the camps at NAU. Lindsie said she relates to E.O.Wilson's quote: "Every kid has a bug period. I never grew out of mine." Lindsie received her Master's at NAU and is now beginning a PhD program studying insect ecology.
For teachers or group leaders: If you are interested in having Lindsie share her expertise with your class, you can schedule a visit from the Traveling Arthropod Show. The one-hour program features a wide range of live and preserved specimens. Presentations focus on the biology, ecology, and natural history of various native and nonnative arthropod species. Your class or group may also want to enjoy the show at the Colorado Plateau Museum of Arthropod Biodiversity on NAU’s campus. The museum houses a wider variety of arthropods than can be easily transported.
If the show is conducted in Flagstaff, a fee of $60 is requested to cover expenses. More information is available at the website including how to schedule a show!
If you want to build a dynasty, go learn from Dave Thompson and Christine Sapio. These two indefatigable coaches of the CocoNuts Robotics Team at Coconino High School have the secret. Start with the youth and don't quit.
The CocoNuts robotics team began in 2007, and Camp COCONUTS (Challenging Outrageous Camp of Nutty Unique Technology and Science) began in 2011. Some of the students that participated in those camps are now on the CocoNuts team and are teaching the camps this summer.
The success of the CocoNuts is evident in the data. 100% of the CocoNuts graduate from high school with scholarships and continue on to college. Over 90% go into STEM fields. The 26 'Nuts that have graduated from CHS have brought in over $4 million in scholarships. The CocoNuts aren't just about robots. They have been the recipients of FIRST's prestigious Inspire Award, Engineering Inspiration Award and five-time winners of the Regional Chairman’s Award. The CocoNuts spend countless hours working in Flagstaff and beyond to mentor new students, coaches and teams, and to host robotics tournaments. They have a new coaches camp next week - two days (July 22nd-23rd), all you need to know to coach a team, and only $20. Contact Christine to register! Now that's how you build a dynasty!
Building on Corina Vanek's article on Women in STEM in the Arizona Daily Sun, it is encouraging to note that almost 40% of the CocoNuts are young women, more than the 26% average with 9-12th grade FRC teams in FIRST. The CocoNuts are also mentoring a new Girl Scouts team this year. Please visit the team website for more information and to get involved in this critical STEM program.
Critter Kids Unleashed is the Second Chance Center for Animals (SCCA) summer day camp. The camp, taking place this week, immerses students in animal-related learning activities, animal interactions, and engaging visits with special guest speakers. Campers also help with projects benefitting both local wildlife and the animals at the Second Chance Center. The camp is instructed by humane education coordinator Sherie Jones with assistance from high school camp counselor Layni Wells.
Ten animal-lovers, ranging in age from seven to ten, discussed the importance of prairie dogs in our grassland communities. The campers then pulled up the tall weeds in the SCCA's Gunnison Prairie Dog Habitat to improve the landscape so prairie dogs could more easily scout predators. Sherie ensures that the students in the camp learn about our native wildlife as well as domestic animals in the summer camp. A speaker from the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery team visited with the students earlier in the week.
Layni, a Flagstaff High School junior, has been volunteering at SCCA for the past seven years. She recently attended the summer Veterinarian Program for Future Veterinarians at Colorado State University. Sherie is a Certified Vet Tech, has been at SCCA since it opened in 2004, and has been working in animal welfare for 20 years. Sherie believes "Educating the public is so important in our mission to enhance the human-animal bond. Helping children learn to respect and care for all living things and the environments they live in is why I am here."
SCCA has educational components as part of their volunteer program. A new program, Animal Science Kids (ASK), will have monthly animal and veterinary education for high school students. Sherie also gives tours to STEM clubs and classes visiting the SCCA. She also presents information at school sites. There is almost no limit to what Sherie can discuss when it comes to animals! She has presented on veterinary medical procedures, pharmacology with science and math connections, animal nutrition, animal diseases and much more. Contact Sherie or Mindy if you are interested in learning more about SCCA outreach.
A big thank you to Sherie, Layni, and the Second Chance Center for Animals!
Flagstaff Medical Center’s Future Health Leaders Summer Camp
Flagstaff Medical Center, a member of Northern Arizona Healthcare, held its first Future Medical Leaders summer camp for high school students from Monday, July 6, through Thursday, July 9. The event, sponsored by Patient and Family Experience Services, was designed for incoming high school freshmen through senior students interested in becoming healthcare professionals.
More than 40 students applied to attend the camp, but only 24 were selected to participate. There were nineteen young women and five young men representing five high schools in Flagstaff (Coconino High School, Flagstaff High School, BASIS Flagstaff, Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy and Northland Preparatory Academy) as well as one home-schooled student.
The students spent the week attending lectures about contemporary healthcare topics; visiting different departments and discussing ethical issues. They met with Rob Thames, NAH’s president and CEO, and spent time with physicians, nurses and other colleagues who care for patients. They also participated in hands-on activities, such as a trauma lab, where they practiced patient-care scenarios and learned CPR and first-aid. On the last day of camp, they worked on their public speaking skills and developed basic resumes.
Flagstaff Medical Center is a member of Northern Arizona Healthcare, which also provides healthcare services through Verde Valley Medical Center, Team Health, Verde Valley Medical Clinic, Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare, EntireCare Rehab & Sports Medicine, Fit Kids of Arizona, Guardian Air, Guardian Medical Transport, Heart & Vascular Center of Northern Arizona, Northern Arizona Homecare, Northern Arizona Hospice and Valley View Care.
For more information on Flagstaff Medical Center programs and services, visit FlagstaffMedicalCenter.com. “Like” FMC at Facebook.com/FlagstaffMedicalCenter.
Thank you to Patient and Family Experience Services at NAH who hope to host this event again next year. And a special thank you to Sophia Papa, Public Relations with Northern Arizona Healthcare, for the primary writing of this post.
Please help celebrate the release of a new book by Kevin Schindler and Bonnie Stevens at Riordan Mansion State Historic Park on Saturday, July 18 at 7 pm.
Flagstaff Festival of Science: The First 25 Years, captures the essence of the nation’s longest running, free science festival, traces the scientific roots of the “Skylight City” and shares stories and quotes from its famous participating scientists. Whether they are walking on the moon, chasing lava, racing toward tornadoes, tracking comets, battling superbugs, landing robots or discovering dinosaurs, world-class scientists have participated in the Flagstaff Festival of Science since it began a quarter of a century ago. Please join us to hear Kevin and Bonnie speak and to celebrate Flagstaff's Science Legacy!
The newly released 2015 STEM Index and the recent STEM Solutions Conference resulted in numerous articles and analyses that can be accessed at the above links. The STEM Index measures science, technology, engineering and mathematics activity in the U.S. each year. The data show that while the number of jobs, types of degrees granted and level of student interest in the STEM fields continues to increase since 2000, the multimillion dollar efforts by both the public and the private sectors have failed to close gender and racial gaps in STEM.
The 2015 Index, created with support from Raytheon, shows a slight uptick in STEM-related education and employment activity in the United States compared to last year. But the raw data show gaps between the men and women and between whites and minorities remain deeply entrenched -- and, in some cases, have even widened. With few exceptions, women lag behind men in the number of STEM degrees granted, exam scores and general interest in the STEM fields. White and Asian students and college graduates overwhelmingly outperformed black, Hispanic and American Indian students in all three metrics.
The results match a February report by the STEM advocacy group Change the Equation, which found that the STEM workforce is no more diverse now than it was 14 years ago. Another report last year by the National Science Board also found women and minorities remain underrepresented in the STEM fields.
Local summer STEM camps, including the Arboretum's Eco Explorers Summer Camps, are one way the Flagstaff community supports STEM literacy. Thank you to W.L. Gore Foundation for providing funding for 30 partial and full scholarships for local Flagstaff children to attend this camp. Please join the conversation on what WE can do to continue making progress in both STEM literacy and support for STEM careers in our own community.
Eco Explorers Summer Camp
The Arboretum's Eco Explorers Summer Camp is a series of camps that began on June 15th and continues until July 31st. There are weekly programs at three age levels: 4-5, 6-8, and 9-13. While camps cost between $160 (half day) to $250 (full day), the Arboretum was able to offer 30 full and/or partial scholarships through a generous contribution from the W.L. Gore Foundation. "We couldn't bring as many students here without their generous support!", says Lisa Doskocil, the Arboretum's Public Programs Manager.
Lisa also shares, "Our summer is hopping here at the Arb and we're having a blast!" It is clear that all the campers and their instructors agreed. While one group was out collecting leaf and flower samples for a cyanotype (a photographic print made when the sun's UV light is exposed to a photo-sensitive paper), another group learned about Andrew Goldsworthy, a British nature artist, and then created their own inspiring natural designs. All the campers met together to observe and hold Tom Shellberg's golden bearded dragon from Australia, and compare it to the horned lizard they saw on the Arboretum's grounds that morning.
Do YOU know a child that wants to show their "wild side"? There are still openings for the following camps: July 6-8 for both Earth Day Rangers and Master Naturalist Jr.'s, July 13-17 for Camp Eww! and Grossology, July 20-25 for Raptor Wranglers II, and July 27-31 for Art in the Garden. Register at www.thearb.org
You can find more information on Flagstaff's other STEM-related Summer Camps at http://www.flagstaffstemcity.com/summer-stem-programs.html
Flagstaff STEM Coordinator