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SciTech Festival comes to ASU's West campus April 5

two students pose with a police officer at Open Door 2013
March 25, 2014

Arizona State University’s West campus opens its doors to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 5  for the annual Open Door @ ASU West, a signature event for the Arizona SciTech Festival. The Open Door celebration will be held in various locations on campus at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix.

“Our Open Door event is an exciting opportunity for the community to learn about and experience all of the new and exciting things going on at ASU’s West campus,” said Todd Sandrin, associate vice provost for the campus. Open Door will features hands-on activities, demonstrations, lab tours and more that represent degree programs offered on campus.

The West campus was established in 1984 by the Arizona legislature. Today, the campus is home to three colleges offering arts and sciences, business and teacher preparation degree programs. Barrett, the Honors College provides honors programming. The West campus recently grew by 30 percent with the addition of a new residence hall, dining hall and fitness center. Campus tours will enable visitors to see all that the campus has to offer.

Some of the day’s many activities include:

Crime scene science, black widow demos: Faculty from ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences will host “Find Your Future in Forensics.” The college will offer hands-on demonstrations in the science behind crime scenes, including blood splatter patterns, blood analysis and levels of decay. New College also will offer tours of its Black Widow Spider Lab, where student researchers are working with professor Chad Johnson looking at black widows in the urban desert.

Gaming and other kids’ activities: Students and faculty members from ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College will have free activities for kids presented by the Teachers of the Future student organization. Many of the interactive science experiments support STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). Teachers College will also feature demonstrations by the interactive Center for Games and Impact, featuring the game Taiga, a video game-based environmental science curriculum.

Descriptive words contest: New College’s Communication Assessment Learning Lab (CALL) will ask you to describe an item you can feel but not see. CALL would like to hear your most “descriptive words.” Bonnie Wentzel, faculty member and CALL director, was “impressed with the words that the younger people came up with last year; they were much more creative and descriptive.” To add a twist to the activity, participants will use Skype to communicate between two campus locations.

Families and science: This hands-on exhibit from New College will showcase fun science activities that parents and children can engage in together, and that help kids understand important scientific concepts. Handouts will offer tips for parents on how to encourage their young scientists.

Cybersecurity challenge: If applied computing and cybersecurity is a hobby or possibly a future career, a new challenge during this year’s Open Door @ ASU West will give participants an opportunity to put their hacking skills to the ultimate test. In association with Terra Verde Services, ASU will present several levels of security for teams of students, from junior high through university-level, to crack. Teams may register at

Road to the University: This event for students in grades six through 10 and their families is designed to help with planning for college. Students and families will receive information about college preparation and financial aid, and participate in parent and student workshops, a resource fair and campus tours. Presentations will be made in English and Spanish. Road to the University takes place from 9 a.m. to noon in the CLCC Building.

Sonia Kovalevsky High School Mathematics Day: This program honors Sonia Kovalevsky, a pioneer for women in mathematics. Kovalevsky was regarded as one of the world’s best mathematicians in her time. Sonia Kovalevsky Day is an opportunity to engage female students in a day of networking, mentoring and fun. The day begins at 8:30 a.m. with registration and a keynote lecture, followed by a hands-on mathematical activity and competition. After lunch, participants will hear from a panel of advanced college and graduate students, as well as professionals in the mathematical sciences. For more information and to register to take part in SK Day, email

Rubik’s Cube competition: Hundreds of students from across Arizona will compete in the annual “You Can Do the Rubik’s Cube” contest, beginning at 8 a.m. in the ballrooms in the University Center Building. Teams of K-12 students in three divisions will compete to solve 25 Rubik’s Cubes in the shortest amount of time. The public is welcome to cheer on the teams and take a turn at solving their own Rubik’s Cube.

W. P. Carey School games & activities: ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business will highlight its West campus degree offerings through games using Lego toys and activities from its Camp Carey program for incoming students. The Carey School is adding two internationally oriented business degree programs this fall at West, both a bachelor's and a master's in Global Logistics. Both degrees are targeted to meet business demand in an exceptionally fast growing area of economic activity: globalized markets and international trade of both goods and services.

GPS treasure hunt: Open Door @ ASU West is a site for the Inaugural West Valley STEAMpunk Adventure. Geocaching is a worldwide GPS treasure hunt. Items are hidden, from small magnetic containers to pill bottles and ammo cans, all over the world. The coordinates of where the geocaches can be found are posted on, and anyone is able to get the coordinates from the website and use a handheld GPS unit to find the cache. Each container holds at least a logbook, in which the geocacher can write his or her name, and a few tradeable items.

The Open Door @ ASU West event is free and open to the public. To register for any of the competitions that will be a part of Open Door @ ASU West, email For more information, contact Heidi Maxwell, events manager for New College, at or 602-543-4521.