UA students work on cool projects, show them to high school students at STEAMworks.

Inspirational and aspirational.

Helping high school students say, “That was really exciting! How would I go about doing some of that myself? How can I get there? What do I need to do?”

Lisa Stage and Kelly South talking about the University of Arizona’s new event, STEAMworks

STEAMworks is an ambitious new event that directly connects high school students to the work that UA undergraduates are doing in STEAM fields—science technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. The STEAMworks planning team, led by University of Arizona’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, Communications and Marketing staff members Lisa Stage and Kelly South, includes representatives from the UA STEM Learning Center, UA University Libraries, UA’s Eller College of Management, Tech Launch Arizona, UA Student Affairs & Enrollment Management/Academic Initiatives & Student Success, Early Academic Outreach, UA’s IEEE Student Branch, Cisco, and cStor. STEAMworks launches on Thursday, April 14, in the University of Arizona’s Student Union Grand Ballroom.

Stage described STEAMworks: “We will have forty to forty-five UA student groups, departments, and labs showing off what they do, and it will have interactive components for the attendees to really get some hands-on experience. It will be full of high school students, and it is also open to UA undergrads, PCC students, technical college students, anybody who’s interested in STEAM studies or STEAM careers or who asks ‘What can you do in science, technology, engineering, arts, math?’”

“It’s in the research that people learn through a combination of so many things—seeing, touching, hearing, smelling—so being able to have exhibits that hit on some or all of those components just helps to bring science to life,” elaborated South.

An important goal of the event is to have high school students work directly with college students. Stage stated, “That is why we had wanted to get the [UA] students, because they are so much closer in age, and a [high school] student really could say, ‘That could be me in three years.’”  She added that when UA students tell a high school student that they just started here [at the UA] two years ago, and now they’re doing this, the younger students will think, “Okay, that’s foreseeable!”

Another goal was to make sure that a broad mix of high schools participated, from schools that send 100% of their kids to college, to majority Title 1 schools that don’t send many students to college. “We really wanted to make these workshop opportunities available to students that might not have resources in their schools to try something out. They can hands-on try something out on this day and say, ‘Okay, I just spent 20 minutes with a Raspberry Pi and I get coding—it is a totally doable thing. If I could learn it in 20 minutes, it’s doable,’” explained Stage.

Here is a sampling of what STEAMworks will showcase:

  • X-Terminator Drone, utilizes UV light to sterilize virus-contaminated areas remotely and safely. The UA students who developed this award-winning drone will demonstrate the technology behind it.
  • Walking Free, sensors placed on the foot soles of people having problems with balance or foot sensation. In combination with apps, the system helps people learn to recognize when they are off-balance, helping them to walk better and avoid falls
  • Ferrock, an eco-friendly substitute for Portland cement. This material was invented by David Stone, a UA graduate student, and is now being tested by a UA undergraduate class.
  • Coding with Raspberry Pi, twenty-minute workshops for learning programming.

UA student clubs also jumped at the chance to be part of the event.  “We’ve got a whole bunch of engineering students, engineering clubs, the UA game developers, IEEE students club, the  Hardware and Computer Knowledge Society, , the autonomous flight and the autonomous underwater clubs,” said Stage.

In addition to working with high schoolers at the event, IEEE is STEAMwork’s student sponsoring group. “IEEE is our student-club partner on this because they went gangbusters. They went around to a whole bunch of different clubs, recruited, nudging people, ” noted Stage.

handBut exhibitors won’t all be UA students. The STEAMworks planning team heard about a boy scout who is 3D-printing prosthetic hands. “This boy scout and couple of the troop members send the hands to people across the world who need them. We found him, invited him, and he is going to be part of STEAMworks. It is mainly UA students, but if there were great opportunities to showcase STEAM in action like that, we wanted to do that,” explained Stage.

A wide range of event sponsors and supporters will be in the ballroom to talk about both the work their companies do and what students can do to move themselves into those careers. For instance, Adobe will present hands-on workshops, and University Libraries will show off 3D scanning and printing and virtual reality technology.

“The university sponsors … are very much a part of it. I think what they tuned into the most was the interactive component, that this wasn’t a traditional career fair or science fair, what we’re doing is an interactive exhibition of STEAM in action,” said South.

That fresh approach to science and career fairs will continue after the high school students leave for the day. “That evening,” Stage explained, “there’s going to be a reception with the sponsors and with the university leadership, where they [the UA student exhibitors] can actually make connections. They are not going to just be stuck in booths all day, because there is somebody from Adobe they can talk with then, somebody from Lenovo they can make connections with.”

The entire STEAMworks planning team is excited about the event and thrilled with the enthusiastic response from UA students. “We’re enormously grateful to all these students for taking the time to do this, and we are really excited about all the work they are doing, and I think the high school kids are going to be…  I mean, I’m 52 and my mind is blown!

“’Two years from now, I could be doing that?! I could be doing that?’

“ Yes, you could” said Stage.

She added, “These technologies can change the world.”


Check out the exhibitors coming to STEAMworks!

Poetry, dendrology, and astronomy unite for Moon Tree Celebration

Moon tree roots dig branches reach towards home, haiku by Maria SchuchardtFour University of Arizona organizations will come together on Friday, October 30, to commemorate the planting of the UA’s moon tree. Truly a STEAM event, the Poetry Center, the Lunar and Planetary Lab, the Tree Ring Research Laboratory, and the Campus Arboretum will celebrate the sycamore that graces the UA campus between Flandrau Science Center and the Kuiper Space Sciences Building, grown from a seed that traveled to our moon.

Please click here for an event schedule.

Focus on Pluto

photo of PlutoJuly was all about Pluto and other small bodies in our solar system.

Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, debuted a brand-new FullDome planetarium show, Exploring New Horizons, as part of its Pluto Week celebration. The show focuses on Pluto and NASA’s New Horizons mission that is at this moment sending us the most detailed images of Pluto’s surface yet seen.

The UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory also celebrating Pluto Week by opening its doors on July 14 for Pluto Phone Home, displaying live video feed direct from Johns Hopkin’s Applied Physics Laboratory, mission control for New Horizons.

Then on July 19, the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory hosted its annual Summer Science Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with this year’s theme, Small Bodies of the Solar System. The community open house featureed lectures, tours, exhibits, and interactive activities for kids.

Want more information about Pluto and New Horizons? Visit NASA’s New Horizons page or check out the Applied Physics Lab page: both have comprehensive resources for learning more about the mission and about Pluto.


TechDivas and DigiDudes Technology Summer Camps

Flyer for UA Eller College of Management 2015 Tech Summer Camps, TechDivas  DigiDudesFour weeks of summer camps, with a different tech focus each week!

  • Camp 1   June 1–June 5  DigiTech Marketing Agency (digital marketing)
  • Camp 2  June 8–June 12  HelloWorld! Software Co. (software development)
  • Camp 3  June 15–June 19  Cyber Art Co. (2D and 3D graphics)
  • Camp 4  June 22–June 26  Not A Robot Inc. (21st Century Retail and Service)

Camps will also include topics like Internet safety, cryptography, and network security.

Camps are for 5–8 graders.

Information and registration at

Dante Lauretta on Planet Formation and the Origin of Life

Number two in the seven-part 2015 UA Science Lecture Series gets underway Monday, February 2, at 7:00 p.m. at UA’s Centennial Hall. Be sure to arrive before 6:30 p.m Seats fill quickly in the auditorium — Tucsonans love science!

This year’s theme is Life in the Universe, and tonight, Dante Lauretta will discuss Planet Formation and the Origin of Life.

Lauretta is a Professor of Planetary Science and Cosmochemistry at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, and is principle investigator of the OSIRIS-REx asteroid mission.

Here is Lauretta speaking about the likelihood of an asteroid ending life on our planet, at a 2013 TEDx Tucson Salon.