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ASU showcases STEM innovation at Luke Days 2024

Over 300 Sun Devils brought maroon and gold spirit to return of key West Valley event

An inflatable Sparky the Sun Devil corners the ASU exhibits at the Luke Days 2024 STEM City.

Sparky the Sun Devil visits the Arizona State University exhibit area as part of the Luke Days 2024 STEM City. Photo by Jerry Gonzalez/ASU

March 25, 2024

Arizona State University presented an array of STEM displays and activities to enlighten the public as the Luke Days Airshow returned to Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona, March 22–24, after a six-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

As part of the Luke Days STEM City, ASU showcased 18 exhibits featuring a range of interactive activities and displays, including demonstrations of technology in sports, aviation, virtual molecular simulations, robotics showcases, forensics activities and a STEM trivia wheel, providing engaging experiences for visitors of all ages.

“We are proud to have participated in Luke Days and demonstrated ASU’s contributions to education, research and our communities,” said Chris Howard, ASU executive vice president, chief operating officer and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. “Our involvement underscores our commitment to advancing innovation, supporting our military community and inspiring the next generation to achieve their dreams through educational opportunities.”

More than 500,000 visitors were expected Saturday and Sunday to get a close look at dozens of military, civilian static displays and witness the aerial acrobatics headlined by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The airshow, usually held every other year, opened Friday for the first time since 2018 to selected audiences, including Luke Air Force Base families, special guests and some 2,500 K–12 students from various local school districts.

Every major ASU college, school and campus, as well as Sun Devil Athletics, was represented either through an exhibit or informational material that filled 170,000 square feet of space provided to the university within the STEM City area, said Breanna Carpenter, assistant director of the ASU Office of the Chief Operating Officer.

In total, 250 ASU students, staff and faculty worked in the exhibit area, while an additional 100 students volunteered to assist air show organizers with other duties.

ASU’s aviation program provided various drones and a J-85 turbojet engine, offering attendees an up-close look at cutting-edge aviation technology and highlighting advancements in aerial systems.

The Luke Days engagement is part of the university’s West Valley Forward initiative to contribute to the educational and flourishing economic growth of the West Valley, while expanding programs and facilities at ASU’s West Valley campus. In addition to adding three new schools recently, the West Valley campus is set to open a new residence hall in the fall of 2024 and a new academic building in 2025.

ASU is an ardent supporter of the military and the Department of Defense. With nearly $800 million in annual research expenditures, the university is a leader in defense-related research, contributing to advancements in areas critical to national security. The university’s dedication to innovation and discovery extends to its support for the military community, with over 15,000 military-affiliated students, including veterans, active-duty members, Guard, Reserve and military family members.

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