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ASU participates in festival to celebrate Ariz. science, technology wonders


Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan
February 17, 2012

Arizona State University joins the Arizona Science Center and Arizona Technology Council Foundation as founding partners of the inaugural Arizona SciTech Festival under way across the state.

“This festival is going to change the way we all look at science, technology, engineering and math in Arizona in the future,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development at Arizona State University.

“The Arizona SciTech Festival is where kids will find that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is fun, exciting, inspiring and something to pursue for a career,” said Panchanathan at the opening ceremony this month at the Arizona Science Center. “There are going to be a lot of fun activities, like understanding the science of baseball, of chocolate-making, what chocolate is, digging for dinosaurs. That is the kind of thing we need to put together in order to excite our kids,” he said.

“It is exceedingly important for us to train the next generation of people who are going to engage in STEM careers. The jobs are out there and we have tons of talent in Arizona,” Panchanathan said. “What we need to do is work hard at nurturing the talent and making this talent available for all the employers who want to locate here and make this state a great state for jobs and economic development in Arizona.”

Arizona SciTech Festival is a collaborative of more than 350 entities and 250 events across the state of Arizona, said Jeremy Babendure, director of the festival.

“The most rewarding part is seeing how our collaborators have come together to not just create a party for science but to use the festival as an opportunity to create synergy and awareness of science, technology, arts, culture, engineering and mathematics that drive our community,” Babendure said.

The festival runs through March 14, with a complete schedule of events online at http://azscitechfest.org.

ASU campuses are host to a number of featured events, including:

• The College of Technology and Innovation-Maker Faire will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Feb. 18, at the ASU Polytechnic campus in Mesa.

• The Wrigley Lecture Series presents William McDonough, renowned designer of “The Next Industrial Revolution.” He will discuss steps for innovating within today’s environment at a free public lecture at 7 p.m., Feb. 21, on the  Tempe campus.

Ex-Static – “Excellence in Science, Technology, and Team-Based interdisciplinary Creativity,” will showcase innovative research and practice in science, technology and art through engaging presentations at ASU’s West campus in Phoenix on Feb. 25.

• Visit the ASU Tempe campus and discover the excitement of a modern, world-class university during the Night of the Open Door on March 3. This evening open house will feature tours and close-up looks at our labs, living collection, research, brain power, museums and mediated classrooms. Night of the Open Door is a signature event of the 2012 Arizona SciTech Festival that is designed to celebrate Arizona’s centennial and showcase the state as a national leader in science, technology and innovation. It is free and open to teachers, teenagers, children, parents and neighbors.

• “Choosing the Good” a virtual exhibit at the ASU Museum of Anthropology in Tempe that presents dilemmas facing our world and offers the opportunity for visitors to share their ideas. The free exhibit continues through May 18.