For the past four years, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix has partnered with Cox Communications to present Connect2STEM, a free family event that celebrates Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine. Each year, interest has grown not only among participants, but among community members who have hosted interactive booths.
Through the event on Saturday, Jan. 26, youth can experience the wonders of STEM hands-on, encouraging them to one day pursue a degree or occupation in one of the related fields.
Connect2STEM started as a way to introduce the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus to Phoenix residents.
“We have been thrilled to see so many children exploring science on our campus,” said Allison Otu, senior director of Marketing and Communications for the college, who created the event. “The UA College of Medicine – Phoenix is committed to inspiring the next generation of physicians, researchers and STEM professionals.”
The cornerstone of Connect2STEM exhibits for the College of Medicine – Phoenix is a vast simulation room where children can learn from medical students how to intubate a realistic medical mannequin, take vitals, perform ultrasounds and practice surgery skills with the da Vinci surgical robot. At the Wildcat Play Hospital, little ones can give their stuffed animals annual checkups just like a pediatrician.
“We are so thrilled that the Phoenix community has embraced Connect2STEM,” Otu said. “It’s not just a way for us to introduce our campus, but for organizations and student groups to showcase their research and projects.”
This year, the University of Arizona Cancer Center will exhibit its giant colon. The 10-foot-long, 150-pound inflatable colon raises awareness about colon health, teaching how polyps can form and eventually become cancerous if not removed in time.
There will be more than 150 fun science activities designed for children of all ages that include foaming toothpaste experiments led by students from the UA College of Pharmacy and cow eye and pig heart dissections led by medical students from the College of Medicine – Phoenix. Participants can play on a mini computer keyboard powered by a half-dozen bananas at Intel Corp.’s exhibit.
Children and parents will have the opportunity to interact with Suni the Robot, virtually fly an airplane in a flight simulator and make slime with the Arizona Ghostbusters. Drones, robotic dinosaurs, virtual reality technology, space equipment, and chemistry experiments are among additional exhibits that will be on hand.
Last year, 7,500 children and their parents participated. This year’s event is from 10 am to 3 pm at 550 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix.
At Connect2STEM 2018, Kristi Boles from Phoenix brought her 10- and 11-year-old daughters, where their favorite activity was learning about virtual reality.
“They definitely have an interest in science,” Boles said. “They found out about Connect2STEM at school and said they wanted to go. It’s important that they have a broad exposure to science and medicine. They loved exploring all the interactive exhibits.”
Yoseline Felix heard about the event from her friend and came with her husband and 5-year-old son.
“These kind of free events are hard to come by,” she said. “This was our first time, and my son loved all of the hands-on activities. It was a great learning opportunity for him outside the classroom.”
The daylong event at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus will showcase exhibitors from all three of the state’s universities, including the Northern Arizona University Athletic Training, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy programs, and Arizona State University’s Graduate Association of Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Students.
Professionals from businesses and local community organizations will include the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, the Musical Instrument Museum and the Phoenix Zoo Arizona Center for Nature Conservation.
In addition to Cox, sponsors include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, the City of Phoenix, USAA, SP Plus, Boyer, Fry’s Food Stores, APS, Southwest, and DPR, and Sundt Construction.
Registration is strongly encouraged. By registering early, you will be automatically entered to win an iPad and receive $10 off parking.
To learn more, visit: http://phoenixmed.arizona.edu/connect2stem