Arizona SciTech Ecosystem

Arizona (Statewide)


Since 2012, the Arizona SciTech Ecosystem has developed one of the nation’s largest STEM networks of over 800+ organizations. Programs include the Arizona SciTech Festival, National Chief Science Officer (CSO) Initiative, and AZSTEM School Community of Practice (AZSTEM COP). Overarching goals are to promote science and STEM education, and increase the pipeline of qualified, skilled Arizonans entering higher education institutions and the workforce. The Festival offers informal STEM awareness and engagement opportunities that are sustainable and culturally responsive; supports economic development of key STEM sectors for long-term growth; and enhances partnerships between business, industry, schools, municipalities, and community leaders. The CSO’s formal and informal educational and leadership activities place youth squarely in the center of STEM promotion, experience, and community action, ultimately strengthening the 21st century STEM workforce. The AZSTEM COP strengthens Arizona’s formal STEM education by engaging students, educators, and community stakeholders in curriculum development and professional development.

Key Programs

The Arizona SciTech Festival comprises 20 regional rural and urban ecosystems that promote STEM awareness, interest, and engagement for all Arizonans. Rural communities are supported by the Rural Activation and Innovation Network (RAIN; to enhance informal STEM programming and support.

The National Chief Science Officer (CSO) Initiative positions 6-12th grade students as STEM and innovation leaders in their schools and communities. Its seeks to create a pipeline of diverse STEM leaders; enrich STEM culture and career awareness; and increase student voice in STEM.

AZSTEM School Community of Practice (AZSTEM COP) connects school teams consisting of students, parents, teachers, administrators; education agencies; STEM experts, businesses, and industries; professional associations; and community members with other school teams to share STEM education best practices and lessons learned.


Arizona SciTech Festival Foundational partners include the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Science Center, Arizona Technology Council, Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona State University, and University of Arizona. In addition to these partners are myriad K-12 and higher education institutions, businesses and industry, Foundations, and community and civic organizations and leaders. See a list of our Festival partners.

The COP program is a collaboration between Arizona Technology Council and Arizona Commerce Authority. It is funded in part by the National Science Foundation. National partners include the Southern Oregon STEM Hub; Saginaw Valley State University and Great Lakes Bay Regional STEM Initiative (MI); SCOPE – Science & Citizens Organized for Purpose and Exploration (MO, IN, TN and OK); Georgia BioEd Institute and the Atlanta Science Festival; and KC STEM Alliance (MO) along with these organizations local partners and funders. Initiatives are also being launched in California by the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering and Biocom Institute, and Florida by the Tampa Bay STEM Ecosystem. AZSTEM COP partners include Arizona SciTech Festival, Arizona Science Center, Intel, STEM Ecosystems, and Maricopa County Education Service Agency as well as the 48+ schools and their community partners.

Key Articles

Brodie, Mark. (2017). Arizona SciTech Festival Kicks Off Its 7th Season. KJZZ Interview.

Iyer, Dhruv. (2017). Young science officers lead by example. Science 355 (6322), 256.

Ringle, Hayley. (2016). New AZ STEM program seeking to get schools collaborating with each other. Phoenix Business Journal. Online January 26, 2016. .

Additional Information

Arizona SciTech Festival

Chief Science Officers: Video and channel