The Girl Scouts held a two-day Video Game Weekend Workshop at Northern Arizona University on July 1st and 2nd hosting 50 6th – 10th grade girls, over half from the Navajo Nation, on campus. The girls gained the full college experience with meals in the dining hall, an overnight in the dorms, instruction from a college professor.
For the past year the Girl Scouts have partnered with ASU Assistant Professor Ashish Amresh to host multiple “Girls Design Video Games” workshops at the ASU Polytechnic campus. Dr. Amresh directs the ASU Interactive Lab and is an Assistant Professor in Software Engineering and is leading the Computer Gaming curriculum initiatives at Arizona State University, where he founded the Computer Gaming Certificate, Camp Game and UTBC summer programs. This was their first overnight camp, and first camp at NAU.
In this two day program Girl Scouts explored what technology has to offer and met professionals in technology fields. The girls learned what it takes to be a video game developer and created their own video game! They also learned the basics of Java Script, how to create an app, and participated in a competition to identify the characteristics of an innovative video game.
Thank you to Professor Amresh, Corey Heath, Crystal Dingott and the rest of the team from the Girl Scouts Cactus-Pine Council that helped make this weekend workshop a success! The program was supported by a grant from Freeport McMoRan.
Superbowl of STEM
The 3rd Annual Flagstaff Community STEM Celebration kicked off the week on Monday, March 7th at the NAU Skydome with almost every school, STEM business, government agency, and non-profit in Flagstaff! You can relive the excitement with Flg4TV's 2 minute video here!
High-Altitude Balloon Launch
On Wednesday, March 9th, Teacher Kaci Heins and 100 NPA 6th graders sent their payload to over 106,000 feet on a high-altitude balloon from the Flagstaff Airport. Community Leader Bruce Sidlinger and his Aeronautics Engineering class from Flag High, Airport Director Barney Helmick, the Coconino Amateur Radio Club, the Civil Air Patrol, and many other community partners were there to assist. You can see images and hear the story from KNAU's science and technology field reporter Melissa Sevigny here.
Women Executives in STEM Panel
NAU hosted the panel on Thursday, March 10th. All of the women had connections to NAU and facilitator Elizabeth Glass recommended that the many students in attendance use their alumni network as they search career opportunities.
AZ North Regional
The Skydome was brimming again on Friday and Saturday with the CocoNuts and 52 other teams, for NAU's inaugural FIRST Robotics Arizona North Regional contest, which pitted robots against each other to try to take down a castle. You can read Corina Vanek's article on the event here. Microchip sponsored pit tours by volunteers from many of the teams, as well as a VIP luncheon that was well-attended by Flagstaff's government, business, and education leaders. FIRST, which stands for --- , is a non-profit founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway. It encourages students to pursue STEM and also develops skills in teamwork, problem-solving, creativity, and gracious professionalism.
Congratulations to everyone on helping make STEM Week 2016 the best ever in Flagstaff STEM City!
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.
On March 5th, there was a free showing of Underwater Dreams at Coconino High School. The screening was a collaboration between the CocoNuts Robotics Team, The Girl Scouts Cactus-Pine Council, STEM City, and Coconino County. County Supervisor Liz Archuleta declared she was "pleased to be a partner and host the movie showing. Underwater Dreams is inspirational and reinforces how education can change lives and community conditions."
This truly was an inspirational movie. Dave Thompson, Viola Science Educator of the Year, who coaches the CocoNuts with Christine Sapio said: "We need to continue building these types of partnerships to help all kids succeed and share the amazing things happening in Flagstaff."
Dave and Christine invited their long-time friends and colleagues, Fredi Lajvardi and Allan Cameron, who just happened to be the "star coaches" of the show, for an engaging question and answer session following the movie.
You can learn more about the movie and the amazing true story it represents here.