The Flagstaff community recently held a STEM City Celebration (STEM stands for Science Technology, Engineering, and Math), sponsored by Flagstaff 40. The event took place at Coconino Community College as part of the Festival of Science; approximately 150 students, teachers, family members and community leaders attended.
The event agenda included the mayor reading a proclamation stating that Flagstaff is a STEM City (given the great Science and Technology businesses and institutions and the excellent STEM activities in Flagstaff's schools). A large highway sign stating "America's First STEM Community" was unveiled. The sign will be one of three that greet visitors coming into Flagstaff. There were also science talks by Dr. Paul Keim of TGen and NAU, and Dr. Jeffrey Hall of Lowell Observatory. Awards were given for STEM Student, Teacher and Leader of the Year; awards included a $500 check for each of the winners.
The STEM Student of the Year Award went to both Morgan Riggs (Northland Preparatory Academy) and Zach Fisher (Coconino High School). The STEM Teacher of the Year Award went to Jillian Worssam (Sinagua Middle School). The STEM Leader of the Year Award went to David Thompson (NAU).
"This is the third in a series of important steps in realizing the greatness of our STEM City," said Dave Engelthaler of the Flag STEM Consortium.
The first, he said, was a summit at Camp Colton. The summit ended in all the attendees signing a STEM Commitment Statement committing their time and resources to supporting Flagstaff as a STEM City.
The second occurred last month, when Flag 40 presented the STEM City concept to City Council, after which most of the councilmembers sign the commitment, the "America's First STEM Community" sign was commissioned, and the mayor agreed to sign the proclamation that he read at the STEM Celebration event.
Besides Keim and Hall, other speakers at the event included Engelthaler as the emcee, Bryan Bates (CCC and Science Festival president), Bret Carpenter (Willow Bend), and Russ Yelton (NACET). Nine local STEM clubs and groups presented info, including Sinagua and Mount Elden Middle Schools, Coconino High, Coconuts Robotics, Willow Bend, NAU Center for Science Teaching and Learning, Camp Colton, Northland Preparatory Academy, and Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy.
The next step will be the initiation of the Flagstaff STEM Consortium meetings that will focus on STEM business-school connections and curriculum development.