Every child. Thinking critically. Solving problems.


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Published Monday May 6, 2019

SARSEF CEO Announces Retirement

May 4, 2019


Some things never change. But mostly, things do.

It’s a scientific fact.

The followers and fans of SARSEF’s 65-year history know the truth of this statement, for themselves.

As scientists and engineers, it is in their nature to perform tests to measure changes in speed, strength, efficiency, and effectiveness – in every field of science and engineering.

From seemingly imperceptible pulsar changes in galaxies light years away, to the measurements of genetic mutations in rapidly reproducing generations of fruit flies, they observe change.

And from measuring the impurity of third-world water sources to maximizing the efficiency of solar engines, it’s all about the change.


As one of the fortunate adults involved in the lives of future scientists and engineers, I watched changes not only to any given subject matter that SARSEF students studied, but also to the students themselves as they gained confidence from doing their own research and learned to stand up for their convictions based on their own data.


Those changes were not imperceptible.

They took place every time, in every child.


One of the most important lessons SARSEF students, and any scientist, learns quickly, is not to fight change.

It is a scientific principle – and it is going to happen.

So the best they can do is control it in a way that is the most useful, recording changes that will contribute to the research in their field.

There is always something to be learned.


Another lesson is deciding how and when it is time to call a halt to a project so results can be shared and taken to the next level by others.


As the first CEO of SARSEF, I consider myself a Master Scientist.

Watching SARSEF grow, and leading the changes that made it even better, I performed my very best experiment.

As a model for SARSEF students, I encouraged them to:

Be proud of work done well,

Learn and reflect on limitations,

and record implications so results can be taken to the next level.


It is what good scientists do.


And now my time in the lab is drawing to a close. A variable I never considered and cannot control –my health – has hastened the change process for me.

At the end of June, I will hang up the lab coat I never wore, put down the screwdriver I never used, and hand over the mantle of leadership I am so proud to own – to someone who I know will love and care for this precious organization just as much as I did.

Someone who will take this 65-year-old research project to the next level.

Applications are now open- below.


Change is inevitable.  It’s a proven fact.

Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to embrace it and move forward.


It has been my greatest honor to be just one in the long line of SARSEF leaders of this organization that can and will change the world, one child at a time.

Kathleen A Bethel, EdD




SARSEF is now seeking a new CEO

 SARSEF’s mission is creating Arizona’s future critical thinkers and problem solvers through science and engineering. 

The Board of Directors seeks a candidate with a master’s degree or higher with education or science research experience, minimum 5-year history of transparent and high integrity leadership in STEM education or related field, strong oral and written communication skills, demonstrated ability to adapt to change, flexible and open to new possibilities, previous nonprofit board of director experience, demonstrated collaborative and motivational skills, and a proven ability to articulate a vision and persuade others of its feasibility. Application materials here.