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Charity Spotlight: Arizona Science Center

Every year, Fiesta Bowl Charities selects nonprofits across the state of Arizona who contribute to the success of their communities through youth, sports and education to receive a Fiesta Bowl Charities grant. Arizona Science Center is one of those for the 2023-24 cycle, marking the fifth time the organization has received a Fiesta Bowl Charities grant.

Continuously working to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians and educators by making STEM education accessible to every student through its programs, Arizona Science Center achieves this through support from partners like Fiesta Bowl Charities.

This year’s grant will help Arizona Science Center fully fund the cost of materials and planning for its Hands-On Discovery programs, including Focused Field Trips and Science on Wheels, as well as visitor engagement activities.

“Because of the impact of Fiesta Bowl Charities, we have been able to ensure that our local Title I schools, no matter their situation, are able to incorporate STEM education into their classroom and their curriculum,” said Tammy Stewart, Chief Development Officer of Arizona Science Center.

Focused Field Trips started at Arizona Science Center and is part of the organization’s DNA. It brings students to Arizona Science Center and allows them to explore its 300 exhibits, completely free of charge. Teachers receive guides for each gallery, allowing them to direct their students to exhibits that correlate to what they are learning in the classroom.

About 45,000 students will go through the Focused Field Trips program this academic year, according to Stewart. The visitor engagement activities, which also receive funding from the Fiesta Bowl Charities grant, are incorporated into the field trip experience. The activities include “AHA Moments” where the Arizona Science Center’s Blue Crew, science facilitators dressed in blue lab coats, do a variety of science-related demonstrations featuring fire, liquid nitrogen and more.

“Our Blue Crew creates moments that are going to stick with these kids forever,” Stewart said.

Kristina Celik, Senior Vice President of Marketing at the Arizona Science Center, emphasized the impact the field trips have on students and their overall understanding of science.

“Putting that spark that everyone can do science really helps, whether they come to the Science Center and then become a scientist, or they just have more confidence in themselves as everyday scientists,” said Celik. “That’s the ultimate goal of our field trips.”

Science on Wheels started in 2000 when the Arizona Science Center recognized that not every school had the opportunities or resources to visit the Center in person. The program allows Arizona Science Center to bring science education to students in their own classrooms. A Science Center facilitator visits the school and leads a lesson, providing all of the necessary equipment and learning materials.

Teachers utilize this program in two ways: Some teachers use Science on Wheels for an area they are not completely comfortable with, for example, animal dissection, and have the facilitator visit to lead the lesson, and others use the program to provide a unique experience for their students to dive deeper into material already a part of their curriculum.

Last academic year, Science on Wheels engaged more than 90,000 students, teachers and adults in every county throughout the state. Arizona Science Center’s goal is to make science more approachable and fun for students while providing engaging opportunities and support for educators. The Center’s Hands-On Discovery Programs are a big part of that goal and impact the organization has on youth in the community.

“While I don’t expect every single student that we interact with to want to be a scientist, I believe every student we engage with has had their eyes opened to new possibilities,” Stewart said. “The Arizona Science Center is inspiring the future generations of engineers, scientists, innovators, bridge makers, street designers, you name it, they’re inspired here.”

Arizona Science Center continues to express its gratitude to Fiesta Bowl Charities for the possibility to have a positive impact on the community.

“We couldn’t do these programs and provide this kind of support for our schools without Fiesta Bowl Charities. I can’t say that enough. They make it possible for us to do what we do,” Stewart said.

Source: Fiesta Bowl