Every child. Thinking critically. Solving problems.


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Arizona STEM Adventure 2023 Invites Students and Teachers into a World of Wonder

By Katerina Guerrero, Marketing, SARSEF; Public Ally, AmeriCorps 

This year’s AZ STEM Adventure was an amazing time for 4th-8th grade students and educators who participated virtually and in-person depending on which track the school selected. STEM Adventure is a partnership between SARSEF, Pima Community College, Raytheon Technologies, The University of Arizona Office of Early Academic Outreach, Waters Center for Systems Thinking, and Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA). 

We had a great virtual attendance from our students with 1,350 joining from five counties across Arizona. Supplies were delivered to each participating classroom so that students could follow along with hands-on activities like a DIY harmonica, polarizing filter exploration, and building the world’s best glider. 

The kids and I really liked being able to follow along on Zoom,” a teacher shared. “They were able to experience a variety of science activities from experts and they were engaged and eager to learn.” 

They really enjoyed this! They were so excited to create gliders and harmonicas and enjoyed the guest speakers and tour through the college. They LOVED knowing that there were 1300 other students going through the journey with us!” 

A highlight from our virtual track was our speaker Samatha Brewer from the USA National Phenology Network. She discussed season changes, introduced a citizen science project, and highlighted her plants and some animal friends. 

The in-person event at Pima Community College Northwest included 695 students from three Arizona counties. Thirty-nine exhibitors represented a wide variety of science, engineering, technology, and math fields and gave students the chance to try new activities. 

My students LOVED it. One of the best parts for me was hearing students discuss how the exhibits related to lessons they have learned at school. It’s great to hear students make connections to learning and be actively engaged.” 

In both the virtual and in-person tracks, teachers received 2-3 hours of professional development and went home with $120 in supplies for several science lessons. In total, 56 teachers received professional development. 

The presentation was engaging and informative. Being able to do the experiments while learning about them really helps me feel confident in bringing science into my classroom,” a teacher shared. “Additionally, the supplies and resources that are provided are amazing. I can’t wait to help my students explore and wonder!” 

Thank you to all the partners, volunteers, exhibitors, and presenters who made this a great year for Arizona STEM Adventure! We look forward to seeing everyone next year. 

Arizona STEM Adventure Gives Students Opportunity for Hands-On Science

STEM Adventure is a collaboration between SARSEF, Pima Community College – Northwest Campus, The STEMAZing Project, Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, the University of Arizona Office of Societal Impacts, Raytheon, IBM, and Thomas R. Brown Foundations.

Press Release – PDF

November 9, 2020

(Tucson, AZ) Every November, 1,000 fourth through eighth-grade students participate in Arizona STEM Adventure at the Pima Community Campus Northwest Campus. This year, the event will be a week-long virtual adventure that will include hands-on opportunities for students and professional development for their teachers.

Due to the move to a virtual platform, Arizona STEM Adventure will be even bigger than before, with over 1,800 students selected to participate. Fifty teachers will attend professional development focused on integrating engineering concepts in their classrooms and will walk away with a bag of classroom supplies worth $200.

Every student selected to participate will also receive the supplies needed to complete 12 hands-on activities that teach concepts in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Students participate in the 2019 Arizona STEM Adventure at Pima Community College Northwest Campus.

“We want to ensure every STEM Adventure student has access to the materials and guidance they need to make science not only exciting, but hands-on,” Liz Bowman, CEO of SARSEF, shared. “This has taken tremendous volunteer efforts to prepare, but will be worth it when students can participate, no matter where they’re learning or what resources they have on hand.”

Teachers will be able to incorporate STEM activity videos and associated supplies throughout the week of November 16 – 20 culminating in an interactive event on Friday, November 20 held live on YouTube. The schedule is intentionally more flexible in recognition of the higher variability in classroom set-up this fall.

Friday’s event will include virtual tours of Pima Community College campuses and Biosphere 2 as well as question and answer sessions with STEM professionals and college students.

STEM Adventure is a collaboration between SARSEF, Pima Community College – Northwest Campus, The STEMAZing Project, Office of the Pima County School Superintendent, the University of Arizona Office of Societal Impacts, Raytheon, IBM, and Thomas R. Brown Foundations.

“In order to create a virtual event that was true to the spirit of past STEM Adventures, we knew it needed to include exposure to STEM fields, connections with STEM role models, and exposure to a college campus. I’m proud to say that through collaboration, we will still be able to provide all three to STEM Adventure participants this year while expanding the event’s reach,” said Emily Halvorson-Otts, Dean of Sciences at Pima Community College’s Northwest Campus and SARSEF Board Member.

While 1,800 students were selected to receive supplies, anyone can take part by watching and participating with the videos. The Arizona STEM Adventure website will be updated once the videos are live at starting November 16.

1,000 Students Explore Endless Possibilities in Science and Engineering at Arizona STEM Adventure

Students explore science at a STEM Adventure Booth.
Students explore science at a STEM Adventure Booth.

1,000 Gr. 4-8 students to learn critical thinking and problem solving through hands-on experiences taught by real-world professionals

(Tucson AZ) On November 22, 2019, 1,000 students (Grades 4-8) will explore areas of science that ignite their passion at the annual Arizona STEM Adventure held by SARSEF.

The event is a part of SARSEF’s year-round educational outreach and will take place at Pima Community College – Northwest Campus (7600 North Shannon Road, Tucson, AZ 85709) on November 22, 2019, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Students will use critical thinking skills to explore a variety of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields and spark interest in related career paths. Meanwhile, their teachers will attend a professional development workshop that will train them to integrate state standards and bring the excitement of research back to their own classroom along with ~$150 worth of supplies.

McFee will travel to her alma mater, Pima Community College, from Phoenix for the day to volunteer for Arizona STEM Adventure. She recognizes the important role the opportunity can play in a student’s life.

The event will include 300 volunteers who are mostly students, faculty, and staff of Pima Community College as well as over 30 exhibitors from organizations throughout the state providing hands-on activities to the students. For one volunteer in particular, even a move up to the Phoenix area will not deter her from getting involved.

“It’s such a great opportunity for students. We’re exposing them to things they may not have found on their own like anatomy and robotics. Sometimes they consider these subjects boring at school, but Arizona STEM Adventure turns it into something fun and hands on,” Jennifer McFee shared. This year will be her third time volunteering for the event.

McFee is a Pima Community College alumna and a current student in the first cohort to begin a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Arizona College of Nursing’s new campus in Gilbert, Arizona. While she has found her way to a career in science, she did not always have the same access to engage with science in a meaningful way.

“It’s so rewarding to be able to spend time with these kids and to be a part of their learning process,” McFee shared. “I didn’t really have these kinds of experiences when I was an elementary or middle school student. I wish I had been able to go to something like this too.”

This year, over 30 elementary and middle schools from 17 districts around the state will participate.

SARSEF partners with Pima Community College NW Campus, Raytheon, IBM, STEMAZing, and UA STEM Learning Center to make the event possible.

“Arizona STEM Adventure is about students and teachers building confidence in STEM fields,” Julie Euber, COO of SARSEF, shared. “We want them to take what they learn, and what they’re excited about, back into the classroom so that more students are able to identify their own potential in STEM.”

If you are interested in volunteering for Arizona STEM Adventure, contact Euber at or visit the event’s website,



SARSEF was formed in 1955 in an effort to increase student interest in the field of science. The mission of SARSEF is to teach Arizona’s K-12 critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they participate in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) through inquiry-based learning and research. 

SARSEF accomplishes this mission through a variety of programming including SARSEF Research Fair Week, educational outreach programs with an emphasis on underrepresented populations in the sciences, teacher professional development, ACES Camp for Middle School girls, Racing the Sun, and Arizona STEM Adventure.

Over 795 professionals in the community volunteer for SARSEF each year, and 145 organizations support its programs financially.


Media Contact:  

Julie Euber, COO



1,000 Future Scientists to Invade Pima Community College – Northwest Campus for Arizona STEM Adventure~

1,000 Future Scientists to Invade Pima Community College – Northwest CampusIMG_3891 2


Gr. 4-8 Students to attend the Arizona STEM Adventure: A Day of Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

(November 13, 2015, Tucson) More than 1,000 students from 58 classes (Grades 4-8), 31 schools from a wide range of districts  (Amphi, Flowing Wells, TUSD, Tanque Verde, Continental, Baboquivari, Oracle, Whiteriver, Catalina Foothills, Marana, Pima, Indian Oasis, AZ Deaf and Blind, Private Schools, Home Schools, and Charter Schools), and 9 cities/towns (Oro Valley, Continental, Baboquivari, the Tohono O’dham Nation, Sells, Oracle, Marana, Tucson, and Pima) were invited to explore what area of science ignites their passion at the Arizona STEM Adventure Friday, November 13, at the Pima Community College – Northwest Campus.

Students explored chemistry through Silly Putty, learned physics by riding a hovercraft, built rockets that the design principles of engineering, appreciated the delicate balance the natural world, experienced wildlife, and gazed at the stars. Each of these experiences introduced students to an area of science that might spark their interest for the future.IMG_3910

Teachers: The Arizona STEM Adventure included a learning component for teachers. Professional Development was provided for two-hours during this day, focusing on the importance of inquiry based learning, how to integrate science standards into their busy day, and demonstrating how to use the $100 of equipment they were provided for their classrooms.

Exhibitors:  The Arizona STEM Adventure had more than 60 scientists, engineers, professionals and experts in their fields, sharing their time, knowledge and personal passion for their chosen career with the students for this event.  Workshops and activities spanned across the Northwest Campus, both indoors and outdoors.

Volunteers:  More than 176 Pima Community College students, staff, faculty, and administrators, as well as community representatives from the sponsoring organizations assisted with the event.

The Arizona STEM Adventure is one of SARSEF’s (Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation) primary programs. Sponsoring organizations include IBM, Raytheon, Pima Community College –IMG_3872 Northwest Campus, Office of Pima County School Superintendent’s StemAZing Project, UA Stem Learning Center, and Agents of Stem.

Dr. Kathleen Bethel, CEO for SARSEF, stated there is a critical need to find and develop and area of interest for students through programs like the Arizona STEM Adventure, “The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts STEM related jobs in the US to increase by more than 500,000 by 2016. The future of the United States as a major innovator is dependent upon the skills of STEM educated citizens. This is no less true in Southern Arizona.”

“Unfortunately, due to the emphasis on testing, too many students are no longer receiving problem-solving experience in the areas required by future employers. The Arizona Department of Education’s latest reports show that more than 30% of its elementary students have not yet mastered the most basic standards for Math and less than 54% for Science. Short-term, programs like the Arizona STEM Adventure gives students a reason to think how their learning extends beyond the basic standards. Long-term, we help to ensure a workforce and a citizenry capable of making decisions in a dynamic environment.”


History: The Arizona STEM Adventure was previously known as the Math, Science and Technology “FunFest”, and was held at the Tucson Convention Center each November until 2014, when it was renamed as it moved to a new location and included Professional Development for teachers.)


Kathleen A Bethel,

CEO SARSEF (Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation)

SARSEF was formed in 1955, in an effort to increase student interest in the field of science. The mission of SARSEF, the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation, is to teach Southern Arizona’s K-12 critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they participate in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) through inquiry-based learning and research. 

SARSEF accomplishes this mission through five programs: SARSEF Research Fair Week; Educational Outreach Program to underrepresented populations (females and minorities) in areas of poverty, Imagine STEM Mentoring for High School girls, ACES Camp for Middle School girls, Mad Science after-school programs, and Arizona STEM Adventure for 1,000 Gr. 4- 8 students with Professional Development provided for their teachers.

Over 795 professionals in the community volunteer for SARSEF each year, and 145 organizations support its programs, financially.