SARSEF

Every child. Thinking critically. Solving problems.

Donate

SARSEF Fair award winners have been announced!

See the winner list

Arizona Students Awarded $141,500 in Scholarships and Prizes at SARSEF Events in February and March 2024

Students from across the state competed at SARSEF events last month to be encouraged, recognized, and awarded for their work.

Press Release – PDF

April 10, 2024

(Tucson, AZ) In March, SARSEF events provided students the opportunity to be recognized and rewarded for their work in science and engineering. Many received cash prizes for their achievements.

The 69th SARSEF Regional Science and Engineering Fair showcased the work of 5,264 students, pre-kindergarten through high school, from across Southern Arizona. $124,000 in awards and scholarships were given out to students as well as teachers who went above and beyond to support their students’ work.

Grand awards were determined by over 200 volunteer judges who reviewed projects and interviewed students in order to determine the winners.

“The most exciting part of my project was molding the bioplastic into the plastic cutlery, especially the spoons!” says Julianna Serna, Yuma, AZ, who won top awards in both of SARSEF’s major STEM competitions this year. “We utilized a silicone mold used to make chocolate spoons, and while I was pouring the bioplastic formula into the molds I felt like a cook who was doing some sort of dessert; the entire process was very fun.”

Serna made a bioplastic from the waste of corn and algae. By using these natural ingredients, Serna’s bioplastic will help decrease plastic pollution. Her motivation was to help the environment and create a bioplastic that is stronger than normal plastic, degrades and melts faster and fights bacteria.

Nine high school students will continue on to compete at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May:

  • Auhona Shil (University High School, Tucson, AZ) – Unraveling the Achilles’ Heel of Human Tumors: Moving Towards Inducing Mutational Meltdown by Deciphering the Most Deleterious Mutational Processes
  • Finnegan McGill (Tanque Verde High School, Tucson, AZ) – A-BiRD: Automated Bird Recognition Device — Revolutionizing Ornithological Research for Global Bird Conservation
  • Humberto Gil Villalobos and Michael Castro (Harvest Preparatory Academy, Yuma, AZ) – Pest Buster!: Biodegradable Weed Barrier Infused with Grape Skin and Turmeric Extracts: Year 2 Study
  • Jimmy Kwon (BASIS Tucson North, Tucson, AZ) – Cardboard Packaging Reduction by RGB-D Vision System and Deep Learning
  • Julianna Serna (Harvest Preparatory Academy, Yuma, AZ) – Applications of Engineered Novel Solid and Liquid Bioplastic From Waste Corn Cobs and Invasive Algae- Year 3 Study
  • Katherine Lam (University High School, Tucson, AZ) – Novel TMOS-Based Synthesis and Purification of Perovskite Nanoparticles For Biosensing Applications
  • Maritza Roberts (BASIS Tucson North, Tucson, AZ) – Germination Characteristics and Metal Tolerance of Atriplex lentiformis and Atriplex canescens Seeds Under Zinc Stress
  • Sohini Mallick (University High School, Tucson, AZ) – The Function of p53 in Intestinal Epithelial Wound Healing

For the first time in five years, SARSEF is also sending two top 8th graders to ISEF as student observers. Noemi Celani (Emily Gray Middle School, Tucson, AZ) and Alexis Batres (R Pete Woodard Jr High School, Yuma, AZ) won the top middle school project awards at the SARSEF Fair, winning the SARSEF Excellence in Research and SARSEF Board of Directors Community Impact Award, respectively, which includes an all-expenses paid trip to ISEF.

Earlier this year, SARSEF hosted another STEM research competition – the Arizona Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (AZ JSHS). The program is a high school oral presentation competition promoting original research and experimentation in science, technology, engineering, and math and publicly recognizes students for outstanding achievement. This year, the event was held in Yuma for the first time in its history and included 34 oral presenters as well as 11 poster presenters from across Arizona. $17,500 in awards and scholarships were given out to students who won top prizes at the virtual event as determined by 15 volunteer judges.

Sohini Mallick, who attends University High School was an ISEF Finalist at the SARSEF Fair, also received third place at the AZ Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

“Science is mostly problem-solving. During whatever project you are doing, you will face many challenges, and you might even have to start over again. But instead of feeling frustrated, think about it as a way to look at the problem from a new perspective you may not have considered, and stay consistent until you can solve the problem,” Mallick advises. “Science is also a collaboration of multiple ideas. Discuss your project with other people to gain their insights on it, because they may look at your project from a different aspect and provide you with solutions you may never have thought of, or give you new ideas to expand your project even more.” 

Mallick studied the germination of a bean seed over time in different light and temperature conditions, looking at how our bodies create a barrier to protect us from harmful bacteria.

Five students will attend the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in May in Albuquerque, New Mexico: Finnegan McGill (Tanque Verde High School), Julianna Serna (Harvest Preperatory Academy), Sohini Mallick (University High School), Brad Wu (Arizona College Prep High School, Chandler, AZ), and Caleb Liu (Hamilton high School, Chandler, AZ).

At the end of this month, thirteen teams of Arizona students will compete in Racing the Sun, an engineering program for high school students that design, build and race solar-powered go-karts with the help of volunteer mentors. It is another opportunity for Arizona students to be honored and recognized for their hard work, innovative minds, and commitment to science and engineering!

To learn more about SARSEF programs and how students, teachers, and families can get involved, visit sarsef.org or email director@sarsef.org.

Why I give to SARSEF, and you should, too!

By Emily Halvorson-Otts, Board Chair, SARSEF; Dean of Sciences, Pima Community College

SARSEF provides Southern Arizona’s pre-K-12th grade students an avenue to explore their world through Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math (STEM). STEM is a continually growing field, and we need our future scientists and engineers to solve the world’s wicked problems, including ending poverty and hunger, providing access to clean water, creating sustainable solutions, and tackling climate action. We need diverse perspectives, backgrounds, experiences, and ideas to solve these wicked problems.

That is where SARSEF comes in!

Through SARSEF’s numerous programs, children can unleash their creativity, ask questions, and engage their brilliant young minds. More importantly, SARSEF programming helps students recognize their superpower – their minds! SARSEF is a fantastic platform to celebrate kids’ passion, creativity, and curiosity for their world. Further, SARSEF encourages young minds from Title I schools, women, and minorities to participate in STEM – and we need everyone to help solve our wicked problems.

SARSEF has a wealth of programming for pre-K-12 grade students, ranging from Racing the Sun, where students build solar-powered go-carts, to in-school programming called What Do We Wonder, where young kids are encouraged to ask questions and engage in critical thinking and problem-solving. Two of my favorites are the AZ STEM Adventure at the Northwest Campus of Pima Community College (PCC) and the annual SARSEF Science Fair. The AZ STEM Adventure brings approximately 1000 4th-8th grade students to PCC to explore numerous STEM activities, while well over 1000 students participate virtually.

During the most recent SARSEF Science Fair, I had the honor and privilege of handing out the fair awards on stage. We celebrated 1443 projects by 5,264 different students, and over half of those projects were from Title I schools. I am continually amazed by the student projects. Further, their ideas and research remind me that our future is in good hands. It was so much fun to congratulate the students as they walked across the stage. Every student was excited – some visibly so, while others tried to act cool and contain their enthusiasm for the award they had just won. So, why do I give to SARSEF? SARSEF affirms students’ worth by celebrating their minds. And that is why you should give, too!

This Arizona Gives Day, Life Finds a Way

by Julie Euber, CEO, SARSEF

For many, movies are a gateway into the creativity and wonder of science. They teach us the value of exploring and understanding the world around us, but also what can happen when we don’t consider the ethics of how we use it.

The cinematic science that had the most influence on me as a kid was Jurassic Park. Initially, I turned my nose up at the movie which focused more on the people than the dinosaurs I was eager to know. I would later recognize that science is done by real people, and their stories can be just as fascinating. But at the time, I distinctly remember the excited impatience I felt listening in class, knowing that my favorite book was in the basket under my chair. Diving deep into the chapters was just a bell ring away.

Later in life, when rewatching the original film, I was grateful for Jurassic Park’s amazing female scientists. From Lex Murphy, a young girl whose coding skills saved the day, to Ellie Sattler, a woman not interested in sexist directives during survival situations – the women of the original Jurassic Park were true science heroes.

At SARSEF, I see volunteers, teachers and staff being the role models that Lex and Ellie were on screen. They provide encouragement, mentorship, and moments of celebration to students throughout their research journeys. I’m grateful to everyone who shows students that people like them are truly scientists and engineers, and that they have what it takes to pursue a STEM career path if they choose it. I know many students who credit their success in research to an amazing mentor or role model, and there are many ways to volunteer through SARSEF and win best supporting actor in a student’s heart.

This Arizona Gives Day, I invite you to take in the cinematic wonder of science with us.

Are there boring, repetitive, frustrating aspects of the research process? Absolutely. But there are also moments that would shine on the big screen. There’s the moment an idea first sparks. There’s the triumph when something finally works after days of tinkering and failure. There’s the moment when judging begins, and a student eagerly waits to share their work. There’s the hush over the crowd when awards ceremonies begin.

Get your ticket, pick out your snacks, and grab a seat. Arizona Gives Day is about to begin!

Your gift can now have a greater impact. The Connie Hillman Family Foundation has committed to granting SARSEF $1 (up to $200,000) for every $2 (up to $400,000) raised through new donors or increased investments from existing contributors. 

Consider the impact that you can make as with new or increased contributions: 

  • A $10 donation has a $15 impact 
  • A $50 donation has a $75 impact  
  • A $100 donation has a $150 impact  
  • A $500 donation has a $750 impact 
  • A $1,000 donation has $1,500 impact  

SARSEF is a Qualified Charitable Organization (QCO), meaning the money you might pay in state taxes can be put into supporting students in our community!  

The maximum QCO credit donation amount for 2023 is $421 single, married filing separate or head of household; $841 married filing jointly. This means you can also make a meaningful investment as a new donor or through increased investments from existing contributors that can also be qualified for The Connie Hillman Family Foundation match while utilizing the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit. A win-win! 

  • If you contribute $421 as donor filing individually, the impact is $631.50  
  • If you contribute $841 married filing jointly, the impact is $1,261.50 

Ways to support:  

STEM Family Engagement: Growing and Learning Together

By Amber Folkman and Julie Euber

For over five years, SARSEF has hosted Parent Nights at schools called Roadmap to a Rockin’ Project, an evening of exploring what interests students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and how parents can support them in their pursuits. The evening events culminate in both the students and the parents feeling ready for the science fair. As SARSEF expands and broadens its reach, family engagement has remained a key aspect of our work.

This year, SARSEF was one of 10 out-of-school-time organizations selected nationwide to partner on the Institute for the Study of Resilience in Youth (ISRY) Family Engagement and Empowerment Project. The common goal between partners, who are from 9 states and all four U.S. regions, is to learn and grow their family engagement strategies in STEM.

Science education doesn’t end at the school doors. Curiosity is a mindset children naturally possess that can be encouraged across all environments. Parents and other caregivers play an integral role in shaping children’s STEM journeys, and their expertise in what fascinates their children and how they learn is invaluable. Research has shown that how a child perceives their own math abilities is more related to their parents’ perception of the child’s math abilities than the child’s actual achievements in math. Family Engagement Nights give parents the opportunity to encourage and recognize their children’s abilities and to help build their positive associations to STEM fields.

As SARSEF creates more opportunities for STEM family engagement, we will be using ISRY’s CARE framework (Figure 1). This framework encourages programs to connect, act, reflect, and empower for a holistic, thoughtful approach to supporting families from all backgrounds.

Figure 1: The CARE Framework: Caring about Family Engagement in STEM This family engagement planning tool promotes effective and equitable family engagement in STEM (Read more in ISRY’s guide to the tool here).

At the end of the study, SARSEF will have a STEM family engagement plan informed by national research and feedback from local families. Additional insights and opportunities to get involved will be shared here on our blog.

If you are interested in learning more or helping us shape our STEM family engagement plan, reach out to SARSEF’s Director of School Engagement, Amber Folkman at amber@sarsef.org.

2024 SARSEF Fair Winners List

Congratulations to all of our SARSEF Winners!

Please join us Saturday, March 9, outdoors at Reid Park for the Community STEM Expo and Awards Ceremonies

  • 10:00a Elementary (Grades PreK-5) Awards Ceremony
  • 11:00am-2:00p STEM exhibitor booths and Food Trucks open!
  • 1:30p Middle and High School (Grades 6-12) Awards Ceremony

Winning Projects

(listed by school)

This list is best viewed on a desktop computer.

Award names will not be published until Tuesday, March 12.

Educator and School Awards

Education Advocate of Science and Engineering  

  • Abraham Delos Reyes, Sonoran Science Academy – East, Teacher
  • Jennifer Stretton, Robert Richardson Elementary School, Teacher
  • Jessica Dietrich, Flowing Wells High School, Teacher
  • Jessica Howe, My Future AZ, Community Advocate
  • José Daniel Castro Cisneros, Community Advocate
  • Lara Huetter, Emily Gray Junior High, Teacher
  • Lindsay Wong, Winifred Harelson Elementary School, Teacher
  • Lucio Sanchez, San Luis High School, Teacher
  • Melinda Bejarano, Billy Lane Lauffer Middle School, Teacher
  • Michaela Rodrigues, Innovation Academy, Teacher
  • Norma Loreto, PPEP Raul Castro Learning Center Douglas, Teacher
  • Nova Kline, Rosemarie Rivera Elementary School, Drexel Elementary, Teacher
  • Renee El Onache, Billy Lane Lauffer Middle School, Teacher
  • Robin Kropp, Sonoran Desert Museum, Community Advocate
  • Sarah Hitchings, J. Robert Hendricks Elementary School, Teacher
  • Sharon Christie, Center for Academic Success – Douglas, Teacher

SARSEF Champion Educator of Science and Engineering  

  • Elyse Wexler, University High School, Teacher
  • Jason Flora, Kofa High School, Teacher
  • Kimberly Smith, Holaway Elementary School, Teacher
  • Pam Vandivort, Keeling Elementary School, Teacher
  • Rebecca Bhasme, Willcox Middle School, Teacher
  • Ty White, Willcox High School, Teacher

SARSEF Teacher Award 

  • Kathleen Barrett, Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, Teacher
  • Hennessy Miller, Sunnyside High School, Teacher

Hogan Energy Hero Award

  • Brooke Earl, Leman Academy of Excellence K-8 – East Tucson
  • Betsey Deevers, Vail Academy and High School
  • Kelly Smith, Esperero Canyon Middle School
  • Mari Echols, Cibola High School
  • Jacko Mabeza, Harvest Preparatory Academy

Alex and Laura Schauss Teacher Award 

Rachelle Ferris, Innovation Academy

Top Schools

  • Emily Meschter Early Learning Center
  • Helen Keeling Elementary School
  • Emily Gray Junior High
  • University High School

Meet our High School Interview Day Keynote Speakers

This year, SARSEF Regional Science and Engineering Fair will be hosting a college and career fair during high school interview day. There be exhibits from local companies and colleges, networking sessions with peers, and keynote speakers. We are excited to announce the following keynote speakers:

Track A Speakers

William Hendricks, Ph.D.

From his vantage point as a translational cancer scientist, Dr. Will Hendricks has observed the tremendous positive impact of the human cancer precision medicine revolution of the past 20 years. Motivated by his personal experiences with cancer in pets and the distress that comes with having very little information to help guide decisions on how best to help them, Will has been driven to bring precision medicine innovation to veterinary oncology. Dr. Hendricks is the Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Vidium Animal Health and an Assistant Professor of Integrated Cancer Genomics at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, Arizona. He completed doctoral and postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Cellular and Molecular Medicine under the mentorship of leaders who have been shifting human cancer treatment paradigms. In 2013, Dr. Hendricks established a laboratory at TGen focused on canine and human cancer precision medicine. He has worked with a broad collaborative network to perform seminal genome landscaping studies in dog cancers and drive the development of new treatments and diagnostics for dogs with cancer. He founded Vidium Animal Health in 2020 to accelerate the translation of genomic discoveries into the veterinary clinic.

Meagan Bethel

Meagan is a Wildlife Specialist at Sky Island Alliance and manages the wildlife camera data and teaches the public about wildlife and their identification through communications and graphic design. Meagan was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and competed at SARSEF through her school days, which fostered her interest in wildlife conservation. Meagan has volunteered with Sky Island Alliance since 2011 and now works with us as a full-time employee. In 2019, she graduated with a B.S. from the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources with an emphasis on wildlife conservation and management.

Track B Speakers

Jeannette Maré, Ph.D.

Jeannette Maré, PhD, is the Director of the Science of Kindness Community Collective at the University of Arizona. Her path to becoming a community-engaged kindness scholar was a long and winding one. Jeannette’s world changed drastically after the sudden death of her son in 2002. In the incredible grief of losing Ben, learning and sharing about the lifesaving, world-changing power of kindness became her sole focus. With her heart broken open, she founded Ben’s Bells, a nonprofit that inspires and teaches the intentional practice of kindness. Now, as a research professor, Jeannette is working with university faculty, staff, and students, and with community members and organizations, to develop a theoretically based and empirically informed model that will guide a community-wide effort to create a culture of kindness learning and practice.

Dante Lauretta, Ph.D.

Dr. Dante S. Lauretta, a Regents Professor at the University of Arizona, is a pioneering scientist renowned for his groundbreaking contributions to planetary science and astrobiology. Leading the NASA OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, he successfully collected samples from the asteroid Bennu, offering profound insights into solar system formation. Dr. Lauretta’s research spans solar system origins, Earth’s habitability, life’s origins, and the connection between life and consciousness. His commitment to mentoring the next generation of scientists and establishing the Arizona Astrobiology Center reflects his dedication to scientific excellence. As a passionate science communicator, he engages with the public and collaborates globally, working with a diverse group of researchers to tackle science’s biggest questions.

Join SARSEF at the Tucson Festival of Books

It’s a busy week for SARSEF as we run the Regional Science and Engineering Fair showcasing the work of over 5,000 Arizona students! We will be seeing many of you at the Fair, including the SARSEF Awards and Expo on Saturday, March 9, 10:00 am-3:30 pm at Reid Park, but did you know you can also find us at the Tucson Festival of Books?

Science and reading have always gone hand and hand at SARSEF. We love reading, and we share that love with the students in our programs. Not only that, but we can tell that the student scientists and engineers who participate in the SARSEF Fair are curious about books too. Many SARSEF participants use books for research, and some even ask questions about books or reading for their project!

One project by a preschool class was about whether an A.I. program could successfully create a story that a preschool audience enjoyed. A project by a third grader compared playing video games to reading a book and found that reading a book lowers your blood pressure while playing video games raises it. A fifth grader wanted to read a book without an external light source, so they set out to create a book that would glow.

We look forward to sharing our love of science and books with you this coming weekend, March 9 – 10, at the Festival of Books. SARSEF will be hosting a Science Cafe on the Science Cafe on Sunday, March 10 at 12:15pm. Join us for conversations hosted by SARSEF’s CEO, Julie Euber with former and current International Science and Engineering Fair finalists. Past finalists will talk about their experiences growing up as scientists and engineers and offer their encouragement and advice to current finalists who will have found out that they were selected the day before at SARSEF’s Awards Ceremony and Expo!

SARSEF Fair Shirt Designs from Local Artists

Every year, SARSEF celebrates the SARSEF Regional Science and Engineering Fair by releasing a new t-shirt design. For the last three years, local artists have been commissioned to create a design that captures the spirit of the event from their perspective. Many SARSEF Fair projects center around exploring solutions to local issues or being curious about natural environments or dark skies across Arizona. We wanted our shirt designs to mirror this connection that many students make between science, engineering, and their own lives and community.

In 2022, Julie Bonner took Southern Arizona to space, reminding students to reach for the stars. Her design was the first in our local artist series. Last year, Isaac Caruso featured a robot searching the skies for science-themed constellations. Isaac’s shirt design will still be available in the SARSEF store this year if you missed out last year.

This year, Derrick “Deersinger” Gonzales has created the newest SARSEF shirt that showcases how science can foster community and a connection to nature. Don’t miss the SARSEF Awards and Expo on Saturday, March 9, 10:00 am-3:30 pm at Reid Park, where you can view and purchase this year’s shirt!

More about this Year’s Artist, Derrick “Deersinger” Gonzales in his own words:

Deersinger is the traditional name I was given, but you can also call me Derrick. I’m from the Tohono O’odham Nation. It’s located in Sells, Arizona. To me it’s the motherland, I’m part Pascua Yaqui and Pima Maricopa as well. As a child, I’ve always been fascinated with the world and every living thing within it. Seeing the beautiful landscapes when it’s green to when it’s brown, the wonderful smells of food and rain, hearing traditional songs to modern music, feeling the wind breeze the hot the cold, my family says pencils, crayons or markers seemed to always be in my hand when I was younger.

During seven years of messing around with colors, drawing figures, creating characters and pulling from different elements at the traditional ceremonies helped my foundation. Growing up in the urban culture as I went to high school sparked my attitude. Freethinking had an influence on my art style getting messy with spray paint, paint markers and social adventures. It helped me a lot by understanding who I am and what kind of impact I can make and the voice I have.

Attending an art university just boosted my passion for the important things in life which I always had around me like community, history, culture, and native ecological science. Gathering these main life markers as well as gaining knowledge helped my growth as these factors entered my path. It’s a blessing and brings me joy sharing with others expressing what I’m capable of showcasing skills I learned within art. Because that’s how it was a long time ago. Helping, encouraging, standing with one another comes from the heart.

Being older, having these experiences and the new things I will learn goes to show that nothing’s impossible, displaying myself through images, explaining what I know, what I found out and learned, teaching in a new way, showing examples of what the people did and the skills they had/have. Exercise the mind to push one another for the future of our little ones, on how to take care of mother earth, and show honor and pay respect to the ones that were here before us. Live in the present, learn, have fun, understand, use good communication skills and help one another. Look towards the future and figure out how to sustain what we have.

That is why I’m so excited to be able to express myself in this creative way to be that tool to showcase all the beautiful minds and talents we have living in this world with us. To the people, animals, family, food, plants, ceremonies, tools, traditional homes, games, weapons, songs. Every living thing on this earth. Helping in this good way to be who I’m becoming as a Native human being: an artist, rebel, student, brother, son, cousin, father, friend, classmate, teacher, an individual that helps others, using my skills to showcase my creative spirit. Wanting you to do the same – tap in. Thank you, Deersinger.

Arizona Junior Science and Humanities Symposium 2024 – Results

Congratulations to the Arizona Junior Science and Humanities Symposium 2024 winners!

1st Place: Finnegan McGill, Tanque Verde High School, Tucson, AZ

A-BiRD: Automated Bird Recognition Device — Revolutionizing Ornithological Research for Global Bird Conservation

2nd Place: Julianna Serna, Harvest Preparatory Academy, Yuma, AZ

Year 3 Study: Applications of Antimicrobial Bioplastics Engineered From Invasive Algae and Waste Corn Cobs

3rd Place: Sohini Mallick, University High School, Tucson, AZ

The Function of p53 in Intestinal Epithelial Wound Healing and Monolayer Development

4th Place: Brad Wu, Arizona College Prep High School, Chandler, AZ

A Hybrid Finger Exoskeleton Rehabilitation System (FERS) for Stroke Patients with Motor Impairment

5th Place: Caleb Liu, Hamilton High School, Chandler, AZ

Fairness in Autonomous Driving: Towards Understanding Confounding Factors in Object Detection Under Challenging Weather

1st and 2nd place winners will compete on equal footing at oral presenters at the 2024 National JSHS competition May 1-4, 2024, in Albuquerque, NM. 3rd-5th place winners will also attend the national event and share their research as poster presenters.

Poster Session Winners:

1st Place: Shubham Kale, Paradise Valley High School, Phoenix, AZ

2nd Place: Luna Ambriz, Harvest Preparatory Academy, Yuma, AZ

3rd Place: Sajani Patel and Maya Mengesha, Paradise Valley High School, Phoenix, AZ

Thank you to our AZ JSHS sponsors Yuma International Airport, Arizona Western College, Elevate Southwest!

Nominate an Education Advocate for an Award at the 2024 SARSEF Regional Science and Engineering Fair

The nomination period is now open for our 2024 Education Advocate Award! We know that so much goes into the education of our young scientists and engineers. SARSEF awards educators and schools that support STEM learning in their classrooms, however, we know that we only see a small portion of the work that goes on behind the scenes to create high quality critical-thinking and problem-solving opportunities for PreK-12 students in Arizona. We wanted to give the community a chance to nominate those unsung heroes – those educators, administrators, paraprofessionals, parents, and caregivers – that make it possible for our young learners to thrive and grow into the thinkers and solvers of tomorrow.

Last year in 2023, we premiered our Education Advocate Award, an award presented to members of your learning communities that YOU nominate. Share with us your stories of commitment and engagement that you see throughout your classrooms and schools. Winners will receive recognition and a cash award at the 2024 SARSEF Regional Fair Awards Ceremony on March 9th, 2024. Nomination deadline is Sunday, March 3rd.