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21st Century STEM: Integrate2Innovate Comes to Phoenix



                      CONTACT:  David Sax, DRA Communications
(602) 424-8640


Science Foundation Arizona and AZ STEM Collaborative bring national STEM conference designed by teachers, for teachers.

PHOENIX (November 24, 2015) – 21st Century STEM: Integrate2Innovate, a first-of-its-kind national STEM conference designed “by teachers, for teachers,” will provide educators and legislators access to an unparalleled network of information, experts and industry insight. The conference will take place January 21-23, 2016 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The conference is the result of a trailblazing collaboration between Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) and the Arizona STEM Collaborative, an interdisciplinary partnership representing the collective interests of the Arizona Technology in Education Association (AzTEA), the Arizona Science Teachers Association (ASTA), and the Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics (AATM). The Helios Education Foundation is providing major funding for the conference. Other strategic partners providing support include the Arizona Department of Education and the Tucson Unified School District.

“Integrate2Innovate will do something no other STEM conference has done,” says Bill Harris, President of Science Foundation Arizona. “It will work to address big picture ideas, and deal with big picture issues. The mission of Science Foundation Arizona is to help diversify Arizona’s economy, linking industry needs with university research and a K-12 education system that creates a sustainable 21st century workforce. Our state is poised to put our stamp on the 21st century by building a STEM based education system that supports a workforce capable of thriving in the new economy and Integrate2Innovate is a big step in the right direction.”

Two days of programming will include panel discussions and forums, populated by leading specialists in the STEM fields who will venture beyond their individual research areas to tackle big picture issues confronting STEM educators today. 75 STEM related vendors, including Texas Instruments, Arizona Science Center and SAE International, will be stationed at tables throughout the exhibition hall, enhancing visitors’ experience with interactive and informational displays.

The Thursday prior to the event, K thru post-secondary educators attending the conference will have the opportunity to take part in several field trips throughout the Valley where they will witness STEM in action. Highlights include Axosoft, where participants will learn about the inner workings of one of the “Best Companies to Work for in Arizona,” and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) where visitors will learn about TGen’s approach to educating the next generation of researchers and physicians.

“One goal of the conference,” says Sara Torres, Executive Director of the Arizona Science Teachers Association(ASTA) and the head of Arizona STEM Collaborative, “is to bring STEM educators together with STEM industries, as well as legislators, in collaborative dialogue and to showcase what’s happening on the leading edge of these areas, building connections between classrooms and business to prepare students for STEM college degrees and careers. Ultimately, Integrate2Innovate is a conference truly designed by teachers, for teachers.” A unique, interactive piece of this, she assures, “are the field trips where participants will get to witness first hand how important STEM education is to keeping Arizona competitive in the global economy.”

For more information about 21st Century STEM: Integrate2Innovate, visit

Scheduled key note speakers include:

Hadi Partovi is an entrepreneur and investor, co-founder of education non-profit As an entrepreneur, he was on the founding teams of Tellme and iLike. As an angel investor and startup advisor, Hadi’s portfolio includes Facebook, Dropbox, airbnb, Zappos, OPOWER, IndieGogo, Bluekai and many others. A graduate of Harvard University, Hadi began his career during the browser wars in the 1990s, when he was Microsoft’s Group Program Manager for Internet Explorer. After the release of IE 5.0, Hadi co-founded Tellme Networks. Tellme was acquired by Microsoft for a reported $800 million. Hadi ran the MSN portal for its only year of profit, where he delivered 30% annual growth and incubated After leaving Microsoft a second time, Hadi co-founded iLike with twin brother Ali Partovi, and together they built the leading music application on the Facebook platform. In 2009, iLike was acquired by MySpace where both Partovis worked as Senior Vice Presidents. Hadi is a strategic advisor to numerous startups including Facebook, Dropbox, OPOWER, and Bluekai, and serves on the board of TASER International. He is also an active angel investor with a wide range of investments.

Elizabeth Holmes, Elizabeth A. Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 with the mission of making actionable health information accessible to people everywhere at the time it matters, enabling early detection and intervention of disease, and empowering individuals with information to live the lives they want to live. With Theranos, Elizabeth is revolutionizing the traditional diagnostic industry with and innovative new way of testing, which has historically been a source of pain and great expense for individuals in the healthcare process. With approximately 70% of clinical decisions based off of laboratory information, Elizabeth focused her vision on empowering individuals and physicians to engage with this information early and often, with the dream that one day, fewer people will have to say goodbye too soon. Theranos’ breakthrough advancements have made it possible to quickly process a full range of laboratory tests from only a few drops of blood—instead of using numerous tubes—at unprecedented low costs. Theranos testing is now directly accessible to people and their physicians through Theranos Wellness Centers opening nationwide. Elizabeth led the passing of the first law in our nation’s history to give individuals the explicit right to direct access laboratory testing. The law was based on a draft she wrote, empowering 7 million Arizonans, facilitating engagement with and protection of physicians, and creating a model for other states across the country to shift toward preventative care, individual empowerment and price transparency. Ms. Holmes was just awarded the 2015 Horatio Alger award and spoke recently at the 2015 Global Leadership Conference. In October 2015, Elizabeth Holmes launched the Twitter campaign #IronSisters, a call to action encouraging women entrepreneurs around the world to commit to helping other women in their home countries.

Jaime Casap, Chief Education Evangelist at Google, Inc. Jaime evangelizes the power and potential of the web, technology, and Google tools as enabling and supporting capabilities in pursuit of creating powerful learning models. Jaime works with educational organizations around the world, helping them find ways to continuously improve the quality of education by utilizing and enabling technological capabilities. Jaime is a member of the Google for Education Team and works across other Google teams, including, Google Fiber, the Google Policy Team, the YouTube Team, and the Google Capital Team. In addition to his role at Google, Jaime serves on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Science Foundation, New Global Citizens, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and serves as an advisor to dozens of organizations focused on education and access, including South by Southwest EDU (SXSWedu), the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and is on the GSV Advisors Advisory Board. Jaime is also an adjunct professor at Arizona State University, where he teaches classes and guest lectures. You can reach and follow Jaime on Google+ at +Jaime Casap and Twitter @jcasap.

Jo Anne Vasquez, Ph.D., brings many years of experience in K-12 education. She has been a classroom teacher and district science specialist for Mesa Public Schools, an adjunct professor of science education at Arizona State University and most recently was the Director of Professional Development and Outreach for ASU’s Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (CRESMET). A recognized leader in science education, Dr. Vasquez is a Past President of the National Science Teachers Association and now has become known for her outstanding leadership in STEM teaching and learning. She is the co-author of the international best seller, STEM Lesson Essentials and provides STEM education professional development throughout the US and internationally. She was the 2014 recipient of the National Science Education Leadership Award for Outstanding Leadership in Science Education, as well as the 2013 recipient of National Science Board Public Service Award for her substantial body of work in STEM and Science education. In 2006 she received the “Robert H. Carlton Award” for Leadership in Science Education, NSTA’s most prestigious award. She is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, a Master’s in Early Childhood Education and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Vasquez has been the only K-12 educator appointed to the National Science Board, the governing board of the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy is assistant director for the Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR) at the National Science Foundation (NSF), a position she has held since February 2011. She serves as a member of the NSF senior management team and is involved in strategic planning and leadership for the scientific and education mission of NSF. Prior to her appointment as assistant director, she served the foundation in a number of management capacities since 2007. In connection with her agency-wide responsibilities, Ferrini-Mundy serves as NSF’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce development goal leader for the Office of Management and Budget’s Priority Goal Initiative. From 2007 through January 2010, she was a member of the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) Subcommittee on Education and currently serves on two task forces of the NSTC Committee on STEM Education. She is currently a member of the Mathematics Expert Group of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), commissioned by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and from 2007 to 2008, representing NSF, she served as an ex officio member of the president’s National Mathematics Advisory Panel, and co-chaired its Instructional Practices Task Group. Ferrini-Mundy holds an appointment at Michigan State University as a university distinguished professor of mathematics education in the departments of mathematics and teacher education. Her research interests include calculus teaching and learning, mathematics teacher learning and mathematics and science education policy at the K-12 level. Ferrini-Mundy holds a Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of New Hampshire.


Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization initiated in 2006 by the Greater Phoenix Leadership Inc., Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the Flagstaff Forty in conjunction with the executive and legislative branches of state government. SFAz serves as a catalyst for high-wage, knowledge-based jobs and economic diversity through administration and strict oversight of research, development and education grants to public education and other non-profit research performing institutions. For more information, visit and like us


AZ STEM Collaborative’s mission is to empower learners to flourish in a connected world, cultivating a passionate professional learning community linking educators and partners, leveraging knowledge and expertise, advocating for strategic policies and continually improving teaching. AZ STEM Collaborative is a strategic initiative made up of representatives from the Arizona Science Teachers Association (ASTA), the Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics (AATM) and the Arizona Technology in Education Association (AzTEA). AZ STEM Collaborative represents the interests of Arizona’s science, math and technology educators, promoting increased student achievement through education and community support.



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