Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Geeks Night Out is Today - March 3!

Geeks Night Out poster.  Text with geeky glasses
Today is the day, when you can roam freely with your light saber, cape or Spock ears-- and explore the newest frontiers in science, technology, engineering and math!  It's the City of Tempe's 5th annual Geeks Night Out at Tempe City Hall, 4:30-7:30 p.m.!

Rich Cuprak with 2015 attendees
Rio Salado College STEM Faculty Chair Rick Vaughn and Faculty Chair of Applied Technology Richard Cuprak will host an information booth to give attendees a glimpse into some of the latest, emerging technologies—and Rio Salado's Energy System Technology and Nanotechnolgy programs. See related RioNews blog.

We hope you enjoy this free, family event!

‪#‎STEM‬ ‪#‎Geek‬ ‪#‎Nanotechnology‬ ‪#‎AZsciTechFestival‬

Friday, February 12, 2016

Join Us for Tempe Geeks Night Out!

poster for Geeks Night Out

Explore the wonderful and wacky world of science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and much more at the 5th annual Tempe Geeks Night Out, Thursday March 3 at Tempe City Hall! 

photo of Rich Cuprak at 2015 Geeks Night Out
Cuprak at 2015 Geeks Night Out
Among the many exhibitors will be Rio Salado College STEM Faculty Chair Rick Vaughn and Faculty Chair of Applied Technology Richard Cuprak, who will give participants insights into some of the latest, emerging technologies and hopefully spark an interest in young people to consider a STEM career.

“Technology evolves very quickly. We want to encourage the type of curiosity and drive for lifelong learning that will allow students to evolve with it,” Cuprak said. “It’s also a lot of fun.”
Vaughn at 2015 Geeks Night Out
Vaughn and Cuprak will provide participants with information and access to fun gadgets to better understand the latest developments in Nanoscience and Energy Technologies-- including access to a scanning electron microscope and thermocouple and infrared devices-- to show how these new technologies can improve our way of life.

"The best part is that we get to play with really cool toys, meet new people who share our interest in science and geek out about the things we love,” said Cuprak.

Vaughn and Cuprak will also introduce attendees to careers in emerging technology fields and educational opportunities through Rio Salado's Energy System Technology and Nanotechnolgy programs.

“While these events are educational, they also provide an opportunity for Rio Salado to show the public that learning is fun and can happen in many different ways,” Cuprak said.
image of young attendee playing a video game
Forget what you think you know about science! Geeks Night Out is all about discovering what makes science fun! Check out this City of Tempe video with Richard Cuprak and you'll see what we mean.

 2016 Geeks Night Out - Science the Tempe Way Share

5th Annual Tempe Geeks Night Out 
Thursday, March 3, 2016  
4:30-7:30 p.m.
Tempe City Hall

Tempe Geeks Night Out is part of the statewide Arizona SciTech Festival, which takes place in February and March each year. Cities across Arizona host a variety of events and activities to promote STEM in local communities.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Explore the Wonders of ScienceOnline

snapshot of ScienceOnline web page.  Headline: Astronomers say a Neptune-sized planet lurks beyond Pluto.  Image of blue planet with text: "Planet X."

Students now have access to ScienceOnline via the Rio Salado Library!

This database contains articles from the weekly journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as well as enhanced online content from the publisher, including news, topics, multimedia presentations, and more!

Check it out today!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Grant Helps STEM Pros Recareer as Teachers

a group of conference attendees pose for a picture beside a welcome banner.

Fifteen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals have a chance at recareering as secondary classroom teachers through Rio Salado’s Noyce Scholars Program. Qualified candidates will benefit from a generous $16.5K stipend provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Rio Salado’s fast-track teacher education program.

The next deadline to apply is July 24, 2015. 

Rio Salado’s Noyce Scholars Program is ideal for Valley STEM professionals who’ve been thinking about making the transition to teaching. The stipend funds are part of a $1.2 million NSF grant awarded to Rio Salado in 2011 as a way of encouraging STEM professionals to bring their industry experience to the classroom, combat the shortage of qualified STEM teachers and help Arizona teens prepare for high-need STEM careers.

It was a natural decision for Phoenix resident Katy Westersund to enter the program. “I started to think about my prior career as an environmental engineer, and about what I can do now,” said Westersund, a full-time mom who also volunteers at her children's school.

image of Catherine Westersund

“I attended Rio’s Post Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation Orientation,” said Westersund. “The instructor put up a slide with three questions: Do you like math and science? Are you needing to recareer? Do you want to help others learn? And I said, yes, that’s me.”

“I decided to pursue a career as a secondary math teacher because I loved my career as an environmental engineer, said Westersund. “I think I saw that as a mother I could advocate for my children, to give them the best opportunity and to love math and science. By me becoming a secondary math teacher, I can be an advocate for a classroom of students.”

Westersund completed a student teaching assignment at Tempe Union High School in November and received her teacher certification in January. She plans to teach honors algebra and financial algebra at Horizon Community of Learning Charter School in Phoenix. Westersund is one of 28 Rio Salado students who has already completed the program.

Qualified applicants will have an opportunity to earn a Secondary Arizona Teaching Certificate in math or science for grades 6-12. They will be provided mentoring, assistance with job placement and first-year classroom support.
The 15-month post-baccalaureate program is online, making it accessible and convenient. 

“Students are supported throughout the program with their coursework by a success coach and a mentor during the first year of teaching to assist with classroom management and other first-year teacher challenges,” said Noyce Scholars Program Manager Karen Nave.

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, three or more years of experience in a non-education STEM career-- and a passion for teaching. The application process includes a subject knowledge exam, a teaching seminar and screening interview. Please note, the application process usually takes about a month to complete.

Classes for the next cohort begin the first week of September. For more details, visit or call 480-517-8066.

Pictured above: Rio Salado Teacher Ed staff accompany Noyce Scholars at February 2014 National Title I Conference for Educators Conference in San Diego.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Save the Date! Geeks Night Out, March 5

Join Rio Salado College, the City of Tempe and the Arizona SciTech Festival for the 4th Annual Geeks' Night Out, Thursday, March 5, 2015 at Tempe City Hall.

This FREE, family-friendly event is a blend of science, technology, engineering, arts, math and much more.

Learn more about this exciting event by visiting the City of Tempe. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

For the Love of Teaching Math

photo of Lindsey Buckles

Congratulations to Lindsey Buckles, who will earn her teaching certificate from Rio Salado and begin teaching at Bradshaw Mountain Middle School later this month.

Buckles is one of several Rio Salado Noyce Scholars who is taking advantage of a generous $16,500 stipend from the National Science Foundation to transition from a STEM career to teaching.

Check out this great story by Prescott Valley Tribune Reporter Sue Tone to learn more about Buckles journey into teaching, and then visit for more details about Rio Salado's Noyce Scholars program.

Application deadline is Feb. 3, 2015.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Metacognition - Thinking about Thinking

The scientific evidence based in neuroscience that exerting one’s brain to evaluate information can amplify its strength is profound and inspiring as it recommends a strategy to enhance one’s thinking and intellect.

The term that refers to the process of thinking about thinking is called metacognition. The frequency to which one engages in metacognition facilitates critical thinking, which is a skill college students are constantly required to demonstrate.

One of the benefits of metacognition is the ability to easily retract from a situation, event, or information and process not only one’s thoughts induced by the experience but also the emotions and feelings associated with the specific information received.

Metacognition fosters and strengthens psychological, emotional, and intellectual development. Similarly, the article by Elizabeth (2013) highlights the field of neuroscience and the brain’s capacity to acquire additional neural connections to increase its power to process information.

Another advantage of metacognition is the capacity to evaluate one’s own inner-world and create unique perspectives, ideas, and values that one can integrate into new information received to facilitate their choices, decisions, and overall life satisfaction.

It is particularly important for college students to understand their metacognitive processes as they venture into the world of academia, as they will undoubtedly encounter challenges within their educational pursuits, while balancing the uncertainties life can drop into their personal and professional lives.

Comprehending one’s own metacognitive processes is essential to student success. To learn more about metacognition and the empirical evidence provided by neuroscience for this valuable skill go to Rio Salado’s Library page and search the article databases:

If you need help finding an article and/or using the site feel free to take advantage of the 24-hour live chat with a librarian option. 

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Elena Matus McDonald on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

References: Elizabeth, T. (2013). The social neuroscience of education: Optimizing attachment and learning in the classroom. Harvard Educational Review, 83(4), 655-658.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

ASU NanoFab RET App Deadline June 2

image of a researcher in a lab
The ASU NanoFab participates in the NNIN sponsored Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program that is available to grade school teachers and community college faculty from the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

The RET participants work with ASU faculty on research projects over the summer, and then take what they learn and adapt it for use in their own classroom setting. Later in the year, our RET faculty attend the NNIN Professional Development Workshop at a chosen NNIN site, where they have the opportunity to present the instructional materials developed from their experience at ASU NanoFab. Click here for details about the ASU NNIN RET program.

The NNIN RET program consists of:
  • A seven week non-residential summer internship on the ASU campus
  • A stipend of $5,300
  • Travel support to attend the annual RET Workshop
  • Classroom materials support up to $1,000
  • Professional Development Credits

To qualify for the program applicants must be:
  • US. Citizens or permanent residents.
  • Teacher Applicants: Must teach in grades 6-12
  • Must teach science or technology
  • Must have a minimum of two years teaching experience

Community College Applicants:
  • Must be currently teaching at a two-year post-secondary institution
  • Must have taught for at least two years at a two-year institution
  • Must teach science or engineering

Interested in applying to the ASU NNIN RET Program?

Then please download the ASU RET Application Form and e-mail a completed copy to before June 2, 2014. Include “RET Application” in the subject heading of the e-mail.

Written by Jeanne Ratliff  Community and Industry Program Development Liaison at Rio Salado College

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Get Your Science On

Last week, geeks and nerds alike congregated in downtown Tempe to celebrate all things cool (read: science).

“Geeks Night Out” featured interactive exhibits to promote everything from science to science fiction to the business of science.

As an ardent supporter of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, Rio Salado College co-hosted a booth to extoll the wonders of nanotechnology.


Yup. In case you didn’t know it, nanotechnology is all around us. It’s in cosmetics and clothes and lasers and airplane coatings.

To help explain nanotechnology concepts, visitors to Rio Salado’s booth could witness demonstrations of nanotechnology in everyday products.

They were also invited to test a million-dollar microscope located at the Nanotechnology Applications Career Knowledge Center at Penn State University.

Visitors used a regular computer with a 4G cell phone link to control every aspect of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), including focusing and magnifying. Samples loaded included a spider, fly, DVD, and copper nanowires. Testers were also able to print high-resolution images of their samples to keep as souvenirs.

“I was pleased that the Nanotechnology booth was very popular,” said Rick Vaughn, Rio Salado College STEM Faculty Chair. “Students and parents lined up to control the microscope, examine a twelve inch silicon wafer, play with polymers, and write their name in binary code.”

Geeks Night Out was just one of many activities taking place during February and March as part of the statewide Arizona SciTech Festival, which aims to “bring out the curiosity within.”

“Although not fully developed, a student’s aptitude for math and science is determined at a relatively early age,” Vaughn said. “If we can encourage the youth of today to pursue STEM skills, especially in the crucial middle school years, we can build the pipeline of high-tech workers necessary for Arizona to compete in a global marketplace.”

Other Rio Salado STEM initiatives include 2-year degree and certificate programs in Engineering Technology, Pre-Engineering programs, and the SMILE Noyce Scholars program for STEM professionals transitioning into teaching careers.

Rio Salado’s second event celebrating the Arizona SciTech Festival and STEM education is a Digital Technology and Journalism panel discussion on March 7 from 5:30-7 p.m. Students from KJZZ’s SPOT 127 youth media initiative and local experts, including KJZZ’s Digital Media Editor Tracy Greer and KJZZ’s IT Manager Rick Gould, will discuss reaching the digital generation with news and information.  The event takes place at the Conference Center @ Rio, 2323 W. 14th Street in Tempe.

Friday, February 24, 2012

KJZZ and Rio Salado to Host AZ SciTech Forum

Imagine a medical treatment uniquely designed for your body. Science fiction or fact? Valley residents will have a chance to examine the potential of Personalized Medicine during an ARIZONA SCITECH forum presented by KJZZ and Rio Salado College from 7-9 p.m., March 8 at the Conference Center @ Rio.

The conversation will focus on the latest developments in custom treatments, followed by an examination of how this new medical model can affect your wellness and the Valley’s health and science-related industries.  

KJZZ’s Associate General Manager of News and Editorial Strategy, Mark Moran, will serve as the forum moderator. Joining Moran will be a panel of experts including TGen Clinical Professor Dr. Michael Demeure, TGen Researcher Dr. Darin Taverna, and Barry Broome, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Attendees can help focus the dialogue by sending comments and questions in advance to KJZZ Public Insight Journalist, Nick Blumberg, at (480) 774-8231 or
Space is limited; please contact Claire Kerrigan at (480) 774-8444 or for reservations. The Conference Center @ Rio is located at 2323 W. 14th St., Tempe, AZ 85281. Parking is available in the adjacent garage to the west and in the east side parking lot. Desserts and coffee will be available beginning at 6:30 p.m.

This forum is one of 200-plus ARIZONA SCITECH events held in Arizona during February and March. In-kind production support is made possible in part by the Arizona Science Center.

KJZZ is a listener-supported public radio station that is licensed to the Maricopa Community Colleges District. It is as a community service of Rio Salado Colleges Division of Public Service, which also includes KBAQ 89.5, Sun Sounds of Arizona and MCTV. KJZZ features a mix of local and NPR news, entertainment, jazz
and blues—serving more than 306,000 weekly listeners. For more information, visit

Rio Salado College is one of ten Maricopa Community Colleges and the largest online public community college in the nation, serving nearly 70,000 students annually with more than 43,000 online. Founded in 1978, Rio Salado offers degree and certificate programs and general education courses. The college also provides support for dual enrollment, military and incarcerated students, and is the largest provider of adult basic education in Arizona.


Annette Flores, KJZZ Public Relations Coordinator
(480) 774-8459