TechConnect Magazine Fall 2022 Edition: Talent

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2022FALL INSIDE STORY | PAGE 04 A workforce that works: Council helps make the connections for talent and business THE TALENT ISSUE

Something big, bold and exciting is happening in the Grand Canyon state. Cutting-edge companies are launching, testing and scaling new technologies in Arizona. Our culture of innovation, highly skilled talent pool, lean regulatory environment, and affordable operating costs provide the perfect platform for business growth and success. Beyond being a place where you can achieve your professional goals, Arizona also provides a lifestyle that allows you to achieve your personal goals. With year-round sunshine, endless outdoor activities, and a positive outlook, we play as hard as we work. It’s this perfect balance that makes life better here.

Arizona: forinnovatorsWhereturnwhat’snext.

THE TALENT ISSUE IN THISBestEffortsHomeTalentISSUEisatinArizonainDiversityinClass Broader,Bigger, Brighter A Workforce That Works 03 04 07 09 11 13 15 16 FALL 2022 service,Fortechconnect@aztechcouncil.orgEMAILMichaelCREATIVEAlyssaEDITORIALEXECUTIVEDonEDITORStevenSandraPUBLISHERSWatsonG.ZylstraRodriguezDIRECTORTuftsDIRECTORCarmigianoqueriesorcustomercall602-343-8324 View more of TechConnect: ArizonaTechConnectcompanies.trademarkspagesProductswithoutReproductionArizonaEntirePhoenix,,N.CentralAve.#1530,AZ85004contentscopyright2022,TechnologyCouncil.inwholeorinpartpermissionisprohibited.namedinthesepagearetradenamesoroftheirrespectivePublicationofissupportedbytheCommerceAuthority. Deep and Diverse Best in SummerShowofScience Publisher’s Letter How Arizona’s community colleges are cultivating talent Council helps make the connections for talent and business NAU developing a highly skilled workforce to meet Arizona’s needs Donation expands Luminosity Lab at ASU and students’ dreams Tucson’s talent pool thrives in variety of UArizona programs Showcase celebrateHeliosaward-winningrecognizesprojectsScholarsatTGenatannualevent

Steven G. Zylstra is president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council and SciTech Institute.

Publisher’s Letter 03|2022FALL|TechConnect

Those words spread in certain circles can be perceived as the truth if said again and again. They are the sorts of comments that could shatter corporate plans for Arizona if not put companies out of business altogether. Or they could make some just give up trying to change closed minds.

Admittedly, economic development organizations in our state have had their work cut out for them when trying to court new businesses or support existing ones. Like me, they have heard the “T” word raised again and again. And time had to be spent trying to open minds about the state of talent here.

commitments would happen if these manufacturing facilities are expected to sit idle when they come online.

Also in this issue we highlight the efforts that have been underway to get the workforce—of today and tomorrow—ready to take their place in these companies and others that are on their way. Admittedly, even I had to say, “I didn’t know that was happening” when I saw what is occurring in education and training.

I’m glad to report that our state’s workforce is up for the challenge. Need proof? An example is companies like Intel and TSMC putting Arizona in headlines around the world with their new semiconductor fabs on the way. No construction or

Fortunately, Arizona never gave up.

In my role at the Arizona Technology Council, I regularly meet with people in the science and technology communities to hear about the issues they face. Over the years, more than once the topic of talent has come up. And more than once I have heard these types of comments:

Come to think of it, some of you might say you’re not surprised. After all, TechConnect for years—this is issue No. 69—has been sharing stories from the different technology sectors at home in Arizona. After all, there would be nothing to report without the needed talent already being here.


Keep in mind that talent is only a piece of the puzzle. Reaching the success to which talent can lead is only possible with drive. I can attest we in Arizona are surrounded each day by people driven to be the best. And they have been here for years.

“We would move to Arizona but the state we picked has the talent to fill our jobs.”


“Where’s the talent?”

If you’re curious about other companies that view Arizona as the place to make their own news, just take a look at the new member listings in this issue of TechConnect. Advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, data, EdTech, optics, sustainability and telemedicine are just some of the sectors that are represented.

If you hear something again and again, does that make it true? And if it’s not something you want to hear, could it lead to becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy?

“We would expand in Arizona but we can’t find the talent needed to take on the extra work.”


One of the areas where the largest impact has been made starting at an early age is on the education front through the development of the Council’s SciTech Institute. The Institute’s main goal is to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders through its Arizona SciTech Festival and Chief Science Officers (CSO) program.

For example, ElevateEdAZ is working to get internships lined up for high school students this school year. Priority industries include engineering, finance, health sciences, information technology and manufacturing, as well as automotive, business management and administration, construction and marketing.

Council helps make the connections for talent and business

Some know when they are children which career path to follow. Some figure out as adults where they really want to go. No matter when it happens, more Arizonans are deciding that a career in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is best for them. That is a prime reason the Arizona Technology Council focuses on efforts and partnerships that can help people connect the dots for productive careers that ultimately fuel the Arizona economy.

The festival achieves its success through its engaging series of expos, workshops, conversations, exhibitions and tours hosted in diverse neighborhoods throughout the state.

While paid internships are preferred as incentives for the students, ElevateEdAZ also recognizes the value for businesses include developing their future workforce, increasing retention rates with workers who have completed internships, garnering meaningful contributions from students

Additionally, the CSO program works to inspire young community leaders through STEM education and innovation. CSOs are students in 6th through 12th grades who are elected by their peers to serve as liaisons between their school and the STEM community. These students are passionate individuals who strive to bring STEM opportunities to their peers and change to their communities.

Cybersecurity, a pressing area of demand among employers, provided an opportunity for synergy between the Council, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation in the Arizona Cybersecurity Workforce Collaborative and the IT Collaborative. The GPCF Collaborative continues to pursue innovative work-based and work-like models to help develop talent as early as high school through its ElevateEdAZ initiative, including career exploration, internships and externships for students and teachers.


The SciTech Festival is the organization’s annual celebration of STEM that succeeds in exciting and informing attendees about how STEM is propelling Arizona forward.

and completion in STEM at two- and four-year Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and emerging HSIs.

that positively impact business productivity, and gaining brand recognition and increase loyalty with future customers.


Besides helping shape career paths early, the Council wants to make a difference in Arizona’s social fabric.

Designed to train at least 2,000 participants, AZNext is led by ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, as well as community partners, including Pipeline AZ, Arizona Commerce Authority and ARIZONA@WORK. The goal is to achieve industry-recognized credentials and permanent job placement for participants.

In support of its focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, the Council was selected by Arizona State University (ASU) to receive a portion of a $10 million National Science Foundation Accelerate Latinx Representation in STEM Education (ALRISE) Alliance grant.

In addition to the Council, ASU selected other technology trade associations across the country as grant recipients to help mobilize their in-industry membership to offer experiential workbased opportunities in STEM to Latinx students. ASU’s vision for the Alliance is to drastically improve Latinx student retention

The Council has seen success at the high school level through its partnership with Center for the Future of Arizona’s Pathways to Prosperity Network. Council member company Kudelski Security offered a hybrid virtual and in-person four-year apprenticeship program with the Phoenix Coding Academy that began in the junior year of high school. In fact, the first two apprentices who graduated in 2021 started studies at Arizona-based universities while continuing their apprenticeships.

ASU’s recognition of the Council was cited as one of the reasons it also was named as the 2022 winner of the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) Innovation in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award. TECNA, which represents approximately 60 technology associations across the United States and Canada, issues awards annually to honor technology council staff and teams who play a pivotal role in developing and implementing impactful work on behalf of tech associations.

As part of an $8 million ASU-led U.S. Department of Labor grant, the Council joined a collaborative of community partners to establish the Arizona Workforce Training Accelerator Partnership for Next Generation Jobs (AZNext). The workforce development partnership was designed to enhance regional competitiveness, helping to address workforce shortages and train workers for high-paying, high-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and information technology.

Besides the Council, Pipeline AZ also has partnered with various community organizations that have a shared mission of workforce development and career matching, such as Local First Arizona, Valley of the Sun United Way, and Dress for Success.

No matter when that seed is planted for a career trajectory, a strong and growing talent pool is why businesses are calling Arizona home. That in itself motivates the Council and its members and partners to keep up their efforts.

That has led to creation of its Women in the Workforce committee, a women-focused event series in Southern Arizona that facilitates quarterly learning and mentoring opportunities, provides career and leadership development, and positions women to pursue careers more effectively in technology.

The Council also recognizes that women still are underrepresented in the technology ranks, especially in leadership.

In this new world of virtual meetings, it’s still those face-to-face encounters that can make all the difference in not only getting that next job but for businesses to recognize how far Arizona’s talent base has come. That was one of the reasons the Council partnered with Phoenix Public Library to host a technology job fair earlier in the year.

The IT/Cyber Career Network was designed to address Arizona’s technology talent needs and provide technology companies with an innovative solution to hire skilled workers who are qualified to fight cybercrime and protect data. Simultaneously, the network connects job seekers with a comprehensive resource to start or build their technology-focused careers.

To better connect Arizona employers with technology talent in the state’s information technology and cybersecurity sectors, the Council launched the IT/Cyber Career Network in collaboration with Pipeline AZ and the Partnership for Economic Innovation.

Pipeline AZ is an Arizona career development and job skills exploration platform whose users have been able to use the platform’s skills mapping technology to help job seekers begin a new path, level-up in their existing careers, explore work or work-based learning opportunities, and discover new passions that change their career trajectory. The platform has more than 50,000 registered users.

At its event in late June, the Council lined up mentors for speed mentoring sessions where attendees had the opportunity ask questions and get to know each mentor. Mentees were able to use their time to gain perspective and get advice from experienced professionals with various backgrounds.



With a workforce exceeding 3.6 million and a population of more than 7 million, Arizona promises to continue setting the national standard for workforce excellence.

One example is the Arizona Advanced Technology Network, a partnership among Maricopa County Community College District, Central Arizona College and Pima Community College, which has produced a unified, industry-recognized curriculum designed to teach the skills needed for high-tech advanced manufacturing jobs.

Key to developing Arizona’s deep talent pool are the state’s high-quality community colleges. Gov. Doug Ducey has called them the “secret sauce” that helps drive Arizona’s economic momentum.

In addition, Pima Community College is close to completing its Aviation Technology Center (ATC) expansion, doubling the amount of students who can train at the facility. Once complete,

The success of the Drive48 model has fueled future expansion plans. Arizona has allocated $30 million to build six additional

Drive48, an automotive assembly training facility in Coolidge, is one such example. A collaboration among the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), local government, Central Arizona College and industry, the facility has trained more than 2,000 automotive manufacturing technicians since its launch in early 2021, according to Jackie Elliot, the college’s president.

Sunshine isn’t all that’s plentiful in Arizona. The state’s unmatched and robust talent pool has attracted companies from around the world.


“Central Arizona College’s partnership with Lucid Motors has been successful in preparing a highly skilled workforce for the 21st century,” says Elliott. “This partnership has enabled the college to remain current on emerging trends in the industry. These types of partnerships are the key to growing Arizona’s talent pipeline.”

the center will train hundreds of new students for jobs in Southern Arizona’s aerospace industry.

A strong talent pipeline is a result of strategic collaboration between education and industry to create comprehensive training programs.

Powerful partnerships

How Arizona’s community colleges are cultivating talent

“Because of this appropriation, we are doubling the capacity of our Airframe & Powerplant enrollment, increasing high school CTE enrollment, and adding new programs. In partnership with our employers, government and economic development, we are positioning the ATC as a strategic asset for the community.”

“The $15 million appropriation from the state of Arizona for the expansion of our Aviation Technology Center allows Pima Community College to further meet workforce demands of the aerospace and defense sector,” says Ian Roark, the college’s vice chancellor of Workforce Development and Innovation.

For the school year ending in spring 2021, community colleges statewide served more than 245,000 students, according to a new report published by the Arizona Community College Coordinating Council.

Arizona’s innovative workforce development programs have gained national recognition.

The community college differentiator

“What the four-year degree means to Yavapai County and Yavapai College is the opportunity to provide equal access and opportunity to advanced education for a rural community,” says Lisa Rhine, the college’s president.

Arizona’s community colleges continue to shine as beacons of higher education and skills-training excellence. As the state continues to grow and see further industry expansions, expect Arizona’s colleges to continue to play a central role in meeting workforce demands.

Others include Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, which is partnering with Arizona State University and Chandler-Gilbert Community College to train and hire maintenance specialists for the company’s fleet of luxury jets.

“We have to think of everyday Arizonans and how we can serve everyone across the state,” says Ducey. “Far too many people outside of Arizona only think of the Valley of the Sun and the Grand Canyon, but I’d really like to expose the rest of our state because it provides so many options and a good quality of life.”

And Boeing has partnered with Mesa Community College to create a boot camp for electrical wiring technician roles. Since 2019, more than 350 students have graduated from the boot camp and more than 200 were hired at Boeing.

The semiconductor program is just one example of successful community college partnerships.

Increasing certifications


advanced manufacturing training centers around the state that will focus on industry partnerships in semiconductors, electric vehicles, batteries and more.

At the roundtable, potential four-year degree programs discussed included health care, nursing, aircraft testing, data science and hospitality.

“As semiconductor manufacturing continues to grow, it’s our responsibility as a system to help strengthen industry while providing clear pathways for our students,” says Darcy Renfro, vice chancellor of Community, Government Relations and Economic Development for the Maricopa County Community College District. “The program’s recent state and national attention is a clear indicator of the need for this program, as well as the desire of our students to enter this workforce.”

The governor held a roundtable earlier this year with community college leaders to discuss, among other topics, community colleges’ new ability to offer students four-year degrees.

In Prescott, CP Technologies has joined forces with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Yavapai College to train and hire upwards of 200 employees.

Industry-academia collaboration has fueled workforce programs for growing industries such as semiconductors. In July, the first all-female class of students graduated from the Semiconductor Technician Quick Start program at Mesa Community College. Funded by Intel and supported by Maricopa Community Colleges, the program teaches semiconductor basics and prepares students for Intel tech roles.

Battery manufacturer KORE Power is working with Rio Salado College and West-MEC to facilitate training to hire advanced manufacturing workers at the company’s Buckeye facility.

Expanding certification attainment is also a critical factor in workforce development. Recently, the ACA collaborated with MCCCD on the Advanced Manufacturing Bootcamp program, equipping 418 people with certified skills to succeed in manufacturing disciplines.

The workplace of the future will increasingly focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs in the life sciences, physical and Earth sciences, engineering and architecture, computer science and math as well as healthcare. But students from underrepresented minority (URM) populations in STEM disciplines often encounter systemic racism, discrimination and bias, which disrupts their pathways to earning higher degrees.

Professor David Trilling, chair of NAU’s Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science, has been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch a new partnership with Coconino Community College (CCC).

NAU developing a highly skilled workforce to meet Arizona’s needs

is a strategic priority for Northern Arizona University, especially in STEM fields, as Arizona’s need for highly skilled workers in these advanced disciplines rapidly expands. At the same time, NAU is committed to increasing the number and diversity of students engaged in STEM research and scholarship by broadening access to transformative learning opportunities and mentoring.


The university’s goals are to equip students with the knowledge and career-ready skills needed to meet Arizona’s workforce needs of the future, find innovative scientific and technical solutions to problems facing our community, and provide direct economic benefit to the state through scientific advances, workforce training and access to higher education.

“The key to this project,” Trilling says, “will be using research as the tool with which URM students are recruited and retained in astronomy, and, more broadly, in STEM fields.”

bachelor’s degrees for Native American students, and NAU’s student body includes representatives from 113 different Native American tribes. NAU is also federally designated as a HispanicServing Institution (HSI)—with Hispanics comprising 25% of its student population—and it has been ranked in the top 50 degree-producers for Hispanic students.


NAU has garnered national recognition for its commitment to diversity. The university is one of the top 10 producers of



Working with collaborators at both institutions, Trilling will bring URM students into the program through paid internships that enable them to carry out research on a range of topics in NAU labs. The project is designed to increase participation and retention of URM students in astronomy and other STEM fields, building on the CCC2NAU program. Founded in 2008, CCC2NAU provides an affordable way for students to complete a bachelor’s degree by attending CCC for their first two years at the lower community college tuition rate and enrolling in NAU for their last two years.

Many programs are offered by NAU across a wide range of disciplines dedicated to supporting URM students interested in STEM research. Faculty researchers have launched several new initiatives, including those highlighted here, focused on encouraging Indigenous students and other URM groups to enter STEM fields through intensive mentoring, enhanced internships and other opportunities.

URM participation in astronomy, other fields

Even as the demand for educated workers in STEM fields grows—and with it, earnings potential—experts believe there is little indication that diversity in STEM-related programs will shift any time soon unless major efforts are made to encourage URM students to enroll in these programs and earn degrees at all

NAU-Diné College partnership addresses inequities

NAU will partner with Diné College, a tribal college operated by the Navajo Nation, and other Arizona community colleges to help S-STEM transfer students navigate the transition to NAU programs and mentor the S-STEM scholars.

Kerry Bennett is a science writer for Northern Arizona University

computer science. Ultimately, the program seeks to increase graduation rates in these programs and contribute to the needs of Arizona’s economy.

Professor Constantin Ciocanel, chair of NAU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, along with faculty collaborators Pradeep “Max” Dass, J. Lawrence Walkup distinguished professor and chair of the Department of STEM Education; Carson Pete, assistant professor of teaching in the Department of Mechanical Engineering; and associate professor Kyle Winfree, associate director of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems, have been awarded $1.49 million through the NSF’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program.

To address inequities on an institutional level, a team of NAU researchers recently launched two projects supported through nearly $1.3 million in funding. The team includes professor Catherine Propper of the Department of Biological Sciences, assistant research professor Anita Antoninka of the School of Forestry, professor Monica Brown of the Department of English and professor Angelina Castagno of the Department of Educational Leadership.

“Sometimes students who are financially disadvantaged don’t feel that they belong,” Ciocanel says, “so we will create a network of peers who will help them integrate on campus and direct them to the resources needed to be successful. When they see their peers successfully integrated into college life, it will make them realize not only that they belong here too, but that they can thrive at NAU.”

“These grants support a series of initiatives to facilitate both the recruitment of Indigenous and Latinx students into STEM graduate education programs and transform graduate education at NAU into a more student-centered educational model that is oriented toward student success,” Propper says.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded Propper a $499,750 grant for a project designed to create long-term, equity-oriented systemic change aimed at reducing racial disparities in STEM graduate pathways. NAU is supporting the project through a matching grant of $590,450. Genentech has awarded funding for a related project designed to provide STEM faculty development training in anti-racist educational practices in doctoral-granting programs across the Southwest.

Professor David Trilling (top) with students in the observatory at NAU

Professor Cathy Propper (right) with a graduate student in her lab at NAU


The funding will support a new initiative designed to identify, recruit, mentor and reward academically promising, underrepresented and financially disadvantaged students seeking to study mechanical engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, electrical engineering and

The team will create a cohort-based bridge program between NAU-Flagstaff and partners Diné College and NAU-Yuma.

Boost grad rates in engineering, computer science

Donation expands Luminosity Lab at ASU and students’ dreams BRIGHTERBROADER,BIGGER,

They include Sam Bregman, who just graduated from Hamilton High School in Chandler and will be studying business data analytics at ASU.

The inaugural group of 20 Vanderploeg Luminosity Scholars will each receive $5,000 this fall. The sum is intended to address unmet financial need and free the time necessary for recipients to contribute to the lab’s work and benefit from the experience. Individual scholarships can also renew for a second year, which Naufel says will permit these students to participate throughout all their undergraduate studies at ASU.

“I feel like I’ve always taken the initiative to solve problems. Two years ago, for example, I founded a local chapter of the national nonprofit Shoes That Fit,” Bregman says. “Through

The new Vanderploeg Luminosity Scholars were selected for demonstrating leadership and advocacy for their communities despite significant personal challenges.

“This experience is a dream come true for many talented young people. They get to advance their education while building something of societal value alongside like-minded peers and professionals,” says Mark Naufel, executive director of Luminosity Lab, a student-driven, research and development program in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.

Such compelling results have also inspired the creation of a new scholarship fund that enables more students from a broader range of backgrounds to bring their unique abilities to Luminosity Lab. Marty Vanderploeg, CEO of the software technology company Workiva, has donated $15 million to endow the Vanderploeg Luminosity Scholars Program.

Established in 2016 with just 15 students, the group has quadrupled in size at ASU and launched partner programs with other colleges and universities both domestically and abroad. Teams of Luminosity students have demonstrated the brilliance of this model by winning global innovation competitions such as the Red Bull Basement program and the X-Prize Next-Gen Mask Challenge.

“The Luminosity Lab represents a remarkable opportunity for young adults to develop skills that are crucial to tackling this century’s major challenges,” Vanderploeg says. “So, I’m excited to support the participation of more gifted students from a wider set of life circumstances. Adding their perspectives and insights will foster even brighter outcomes.”

“The Luminosity Lab conducts a lot of corporate-sponsored research, and that funding enables us to pay our juniors and seniors as student workers,” Naufel says. “But with this scholarship program, incoming freshmen and rising sophomores can more easily explore what they believe are pressing societal issues in, for example, education, health care and sustainability.”

Naufel says these scholars will learn how to conceptualize viable solutions and design prototypes during their first two years with the lab. Then, as upperclassmen, they can join work with external partners who can leverage their new technologies for positive impact in the wider world.

WERNERGARYBY 11|2022FALL|TechConnect

Angel Alessandro Caoile also feels honored to be a Vanderploeg Scholar. Entering his sophomore year as a student of electrical engineering in the Fulton Schools, Caoile says he already values the campus culture of possibility and genuine encouragement for experimentation.

Julissa Brunk is another student excited about her selection as one of the new scholars. Brunk graduated from Gilbert High School this summer and will be studying biological sciences at ASU, with a concentration in biomedical sciences.

For example, the incoming cohort includes five engineering students, four business students and others with majors ranging from political science and psychology to nursing and English. Additionally, most of the new scholars are women.


Photographer: Deanna Dent/ASU

Hall says this rich heterogeneity is vital to the lab’s success in achieving breakthrough innovation. She knows this to be the case because she served as a student then team leader in Luminosity Lab during her junior and senior years at ASU, until graduating in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design.

“My experience included designing a data dashboard for computer visioning technology to help radiologists with bone fracture and cancer discovery. Then during my senior year, I led a team through work on things like a supply chain management application for the U.S. Agency for International Development,” she says. “These were all great examples of the creative power to be found in bringing together people with different backgrounds, interests and skills.”

“I think it’s great that ASU has a dedicated program for collaborative, student-led innovation directed toward meaningful impact,” he says. “I jumped into applying for this opportunity as soon as I heard about it, and I’m really excited to be accepted into the group. I love exploring different perspectives, trying new things and solving problems.”

Bregman also led that effort while managing a chronic health condition known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, including a near-death experience in 2020. Bregman says the perseverance required to navigate this arduous journey is something he is excited to bring to Luminosity Lab.

Hall anticipates even greater achievement with the Vanderploeg Scholars. She says the Luminosity experience is a unique opportunity for these students to collectively explore ideas, move past fixed mindsets they may harbor and embrace a more open view of the world and how they can make a difference within it.

“While figuring out my college plans, I hoped to participate in research. But I honestly had no idea how to get involved,” she says. “So, I was both surprised and honored when I found out that I was selected for this award. The money will really help me to focus on my studies as well as my research with the team at the Luminosity Lab. I can’t wait to get started!”

According to Clara Hall, who manages the Vanderploeg Luminosity Scholars Program, the current goal is to add 20 new scholars each year until there are 100 participants. She also says this growth will emphasize participant diversity.

The Luminosity Lab assembles student teams to apply novel perspectives that help solve pressing societal issues.

hundreds of hours of effort, we raised more than $28,000 to provide new shoes and socks for every student at two elementary schools here.”

Gary Werner is a science writer for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.

The University of Arizona is leading the way in building a diverse and talented workforce.

Through close partnerships with tribes, IPLP students can gain valuable knowledge serving tribal communities in a variety of tribal courtrooms and justice department settings. For example, students enrolled in IPLP’s Tribal Justice Clinic provide legal assistance to tribes throughout the Southwest, North America and the world. The clinic allows students to serve as tribal

High demand for talent has tech companies turning to smaller cities to fill their pipelines, according to the 2019 Scoring Tech Talent report.

In its effort, UArizona welcomed the largest and most diverse incoming class in its history, with approximately 8,900 first-year students starting classes this fall. This year’s class also sets a university record for diversity, with 47% of first-year students self-identifying with ethnicities other than white. That’s up from 45% last year.

The university also saw a 13.5% increase in enrollment for male students of color, helping to reverse a national trend of declining college enrollment among that student population. This year’s class is also the most academically prepared, with an average unweighted, core high school GPA of 3.67.

The UArizona is the first four-year public university in the state to be federally recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). As a research-intensive, land grant HSI, the university is committed to responsively meeting the educational needs of the vibrant and increasingly diverse communities in the state.

UArizona is among the nation’s top doctorate-granting institutions for Hispanic or Latino students, ranking No. 7 of the 384 institutions awarded doctoral degrees to students in those populations, according to the National Science Foundation.


In order to fast-track grads into rewarding careers, the university provides many engagement opportunities. Across the campus, UArizona is expanding formal academic training and capstones, internships, undergraduate research and co-curricular projects designed with direct community engagement as a signature element. Community engagement through experiential learning connects local, community organizations with the university to provide students with workplace-ready, transferable skills, and offers community organizations access to the diverse talent at UArizona through personalized project scoping and humancentered problem-solving.


The Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) program offers students a wide variety of hands-on learning opportunities, which help prepare students for the practice of law. Experiential learning opportunities offered to students include IPLP facultyled clinics and workshops, advocacy projects to advance Indigenous peoples’ rights both domestically and internationally, and externship opportunities with tribal courts and justice departments, nonprofit advocacy organizations, and government agencies.

Tucson was recognized as one of the top in “The Next 25 Markets” where tech companies are looking to find new opportunities.

Tucson’s talent pool thrives in variety of UArizona programs DEEP DIVERSEAND

The UArizona also has developed SkillBridge internships to provide unique, one-of-a-kind experience for transitioning service members. Skillbridge is a Department of Defense program that provides service members the opportunity to participate in industry training programs while transitioning out of their military careers and back into civilian life.


judicial clerks, write amicus briefs, develop legal strategies, and work beside criminal defenders and tribal prosecutors in courtroom settings.

The Global Experiential Learning (GEL) under the Diversity & Inclusion department integrates travel, education and service learning to empower students with knowledge and skill sets to utilize as they continue their careers at UArizona and beyond. GEL actively seeks to provide valuable holistic student experience in the form of short-term trips both domestic and abroad. Themes of interdisciplinary learning through civic engagement, cultural immersion, environmental justice and social equity are explored through GEL programming. Faculty, staff and community partners have developed shared tools and resources and strengthened collaborative relationships to provide new hands-on learning gateways. Through The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI), a robust incubator network with 83 startups, students are working alongside company founders to get a comprehensive view of the journey entrepreneurs take to launch and scale business.

Student interns working at the UA Tech Park, a major employer

The Eller College of Management leads the Tech Core summer internship program that provides an in-depth, handson encounter of all components in and around the world of technology. Students work on projects for clients across the university and specialize in software development, emerging technologies, creative services, marketing and more. Interns who join the team work alongside other like-minded individuals and a team of professional faculty to gain experience in the tech world. Whether a student’s interest is in coding, marketing, visual design or emerging technologies, Tech Core has a place on the summer internship team.

UACI, in collaboration with the Small Business Administration, has a focus to encourage female-identifying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students to work with these scalable science and technology startup companies. UArizona is training innovators and entrepreneurs who will invent leading edge technology that fuels the growth of tomorrow.

The University of Arizona Skillbridge Gateway program is part of UArizona’s Arizona Applied Research Corporation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that leverages the longstanding strength of a public land-grant university. The UArizona SkillBridge program has an added dimension that many other SkillBridge programs lack: access to world-class researchers and laboratories where transitioning service members can learn unique skills, network with professionals, gain research experience and take a deep dive into areas of interest.

Jessa B. Turner is director of communications at Tech Parks Arizona.

Through these initiatives and many more, the UArizona is developing a deep and diverse talent pool to meet company needs both now and into the future. A diverse qualified workforce provides employers with a greater range of talent with different world views and backgrounds, thus improving productivity and creativity in the workplace.

Showcase award-winningrecognizesprojects

a variety of awards are presented to spotlight some of the projects. Six award-winning projects were cited at the summer 2022 event.


Best in Show went to virtual reality major Christelle Cyprien. Her project aims to create an interconnected and interactive mobile application that provides users with an account of most Biblical figures. This includes their family trees and maps of their journeys, as well as a timeline of Biblical events.


Similar to a master’s thesis submitted at other postsecondary schools, showcase projects often are those that students have been working on throughout their entire time at the school.

The SIP Showcase is held at the end of each semester for students to present their innovations to faculty, staff and the Alongcommunity.withtheshowcase,

RJ Catterton, a game programming student, took home Best SIP Pitch for his project Stealth Perimeter. This game helps catch “thieves,” using a patented system that tracks the potential movements of the thieves so the gamer always has an idea where they could be.

games that users play then recommends time slots of when to play future games based on when it believes the gamers will perform at their best.

The Viewers Choice Award went to Isis Boone, an ACS and artificial intelligence (AI) major, for SNIP THAT. This accessibility application allows the user to capture a section of their screen so the text can be read aloud by the app, enlarged or copied to the clipboard. SNIP THAT utilizes myriad AI techniques to improve accessibility in an intuitive and easy-to-use way.


Dapzury Valenzuela (middle), lead SIP instructor and an art direction professor, is surrounded by students at the Student Innovation Projects Showcase.

Erin Sullivan is digital brand manager at University of Advancing Technology.

ACS major Monte Guiltier took home the World Changer Award for Deep Lens Weapon Tracker. This project is a computer program that uses tracking software to determine whether a student or intruder on campus has pulled out a weapon like a gun or Michaelfirearm.Brewer, a robotics and embedded systems major, was awarded the Ingenuity Prize. His Smart Visor is an automated sun visor for vehicles. It uses a compass, clock and photosensor to lower the visor when the sun is shining in the eyes of the occupants.

George Couch, an advancing computer science (ACS) major, was awarded Most Market Viable for his project Peak Gaming Performance Tracker. This program reviews past data from

From an automated smart visor to a game mechanic based on color theory, the recent Student Innovation Projects (SIP) Showcase at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe was nothing short of amazing.

Designed for incoming and continuing undergraduate, graduate, and medical school students, Helios Scholars at TGen offers a one-of-a-kind summer experience in biomedical research under the guidance of an experienced TGen mentor.

In May 2007, TGen received a $380,000 grant from Helios Education Foundation to pilot a paid summer internship program that brought 50 students into TGen laboratories. Following the success of the pilot program, a $6.5 million endowment from the Foundation in January 2008 officially established the Helios Scholars Program at TGen.

The symposium of the 16th class was the capstone event for the eight-week program that annually supports students from all backgrounds in their efforts to develop foundational skills by placing them alongside faculty and staff. The event brought together TGen faculty, staff, families and community members to celebrate this year’s 45 graduates of the program.

Helios Scholars at TGen, the flagship internship program at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), part of City of Hope, recently celebrated a summer of science by showcasing their work at a daylong scientific symposium.

“Helios Scholars at TGen is one of the partnerships Helios Education Foundation is most proud of,” says Paul J. Luna, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “Helios regards this scholarship endowment as one of the ways that we can help to keep superstar young talent in our state and thus we consider it a vehicle for creating a cycle of giving and giving back that we believe is so important.”

Interns showcase their work at daylong scientific symposium

Helios Scholars at TGen celebrate at annual event

“Mentorship is an integral part of the scientific experience, especially when you are in the formative stages of a career or, in the case of many Helios Scholars, gaining hands-on experience to validate a career choice,”


Since its inception, Helios Scholars at TGen has trained more than 650 students, many who have gone on to careers in Arizona’s biomedical research, health care and life science sectors. Scholars boast an array of impressive accomplishments including acceptance into top-tier graduate and medical schools, unique career developments, national awards and scholarships, and authorship on numerous scientific publications.


One member of this year’s class was Freya Abraham of Maricopa, who attends The University of Arizona as a neuroscience and cognitive science major. “Becoming a Helios Scholar helped me solidify the vision for my future,” she says. “It allowed me to join a lab focused on a field I’m drawn to, apply and strengthen my lab skills, and learn more about a topic I hope to continue researching as my educational and professional career unfolds.”

says Kristen Kaus, manager of Education and Outreach at TGen. “The symposium serves as a nod to their individual accomplishments and recognition of a significant step in their educational and career pursuits.”

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