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.