More than 7,500 children and parents recently enjoyed a day of science, technology, engineering, math and medical activities at the fourth annual Connect2STEM event at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in downtown Phoenix. The event was organized by the medical school and Cox Communications.
The Cox Gig Zone gave attendees the opportunity to take an interactive photo, bring a coloring sheet to life via IPAD, practice being a STEM reporter or learn about robotics from Westwood HS robotics team.
As the kickoff for this year’s Arizona SciTech Festival— a month-long campaign promoting science events across the state — the event was meant to inspire kids about STEM careers. “The UA College of Medicine – Phoenix is committed to inspiring the next generation of physicians, researchers and STEM professionals,” said Allison Otu, senior director of Marketing and Communications for the college.
“The event was incredible,” said Matt Rawley, regional director for the STEM Revolution Bus, a traveling exhibit meant to excite students and teachers about science. “Just watching the kids walk through the bus, you could tell they loved being here. What an incredible opportunity for them and for our community.”
Sheldon Caldwell-Meeks, senior community relations specialist at Cox, shared how we are happy to partner with the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix again. “At Cox, we strive to empower and educate the next generation of leaders in STEM. Today we succeeded in doing just that.”
Kids clustered around 200+ fun science activities, including foaming toothpaste experiments led by students from the UA College of Pharmacy; cow eye and pig heart dissections led by medical students from the College of Medicine – Phoenix; and exploding ping pong balls demonstrations by the STEM Revolution Bus. Participants played on a mini-computer keyboard powered by a half-dozen bananas at Intel Corp.’s exhibit. The youngest attendees took stuffed animals for checkups at the Wildcat Play Hospital, staffed by UA College of Nursing students.
The daylong event at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus showcased exhibitors from all three of the state’s universities, along with local businesses and local community organizations including the Challenger Space Center of Arizona; Children’s Museum of Phoenix; the Musical Instrument Museum; and the Phoenix Zoo Arizona Center for Nature Conservation. Several local high schools were represented with their robotics displays and Luke Air Force Base brought a flight simulator and a fighter pilot.
Kristi Boles from Phoenix brought her 10- and 11-year-old daughters to the event, where their favorite activity was learning about virtual reality. “They definitely have an interest in science,” Boles said. “They found out about Connect2STEM at school and said they wanted to go. It’s important that they have a broad exposure to science and medicine. They loved exploring all the interactive exhibits.”