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APS Foundation gives AZ Science Center a grant for STEM in rural schools

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Middle School Students In Kyrene Community Education's Minecraft CREATE Cohort Make LittleBits Circuits Light Up, Make Noise And Move Through Actions They Take In The Videogame Minecraft At CREATE At Arizona Science Center On Saturday, May 7, 2016. Photos By Lisa Irish/AZEdNews

Arizona Science Center is on a mission to bring an increased focus on STEM subjects to rural Arizona schools through its Rural Communities Expansion Project.

In July, the APS Foundation awarded Arizona Science Center a $385,000 grant to continue the program in Cottonwood, Oak Creek, Humboldt, Winslow, Prescott, Sedona, Buckeye and Florence, and to expand into Yuma schools. Since its inception, the APS Foundation has granted over $1.2 million to this program.

The Rural Communities Expansion Project was first launched by Arizona Science Center in 2012 with the goal of increasing teacher confidence and competence in using hands-on, inquiry-based STEM instruction in their classrooms,  ensuring the same opportunities for success for all students, regardless of geography.

APS Foundation gives AZ Science Center a grant for STEM in rural schools KyreneStudentsMinecraft-300x199

Middle school students in Kyrene Community Education’s Minecraft CREATE Cohort make littleBits circuits light up, make noise and move through actions they take in the videogame Minecraft at CREATE at Arizona Science Center on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Photos by Lisa Irish/AZEdNews

The project brings Arizona Science Center staff and assets into rural districts, where tailored programs are developed for teachers, students and administrators.

This includes professional development programs for teachers, training for administrators, and student programs featuring hands-on STEM projects such as engineering activities and roller-coaster building.

“This program is unique because it enables us to bring a focus on STEM education to rural schools that would otherwise not have access to such training and resources,” said Dr. Andi Fourlis, Arizona Science Center’s Chief Learning Officer Center.

“The APS Foundation grant will help us continue to grow this program that opens the eyes and minds of so many students in rural Arizona to the possibilities of STEM.”

“The mission of the APS Foundation is to support STEM education, because it is a critical component to prepare our youth for the jobs of the future,” said Tina Marie Tentori, Executive Director of the APS Foundation.

“Arizona Science Center staff are pros at bringing STEM to life through hands-on interactive activities, and this program brings Science Center resources to rural Arizona students who otherwise wouldn’t have such an opportunity.”

About Arizona Science Center:

The mission of Arizona Science Center is to inspire, educate and engage curious minds through science. The Center, located at 600 E. Washington Street in downtown Phoenix, features more than 300 hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, the state-of-the-art Dorrance Planetarium and the five-story screen Irene P. Flinn Theater.

CREATE at Arizona Science Center, adjacent to the main building, is the newest addition. This 6,500 square foot community maker space provides workshops, including 3D printing, laser cutting, microcontrollers, woodworking and sewing.

The Center also offers various programs for all ages. Programs include Camp Innovation, Teen Science Scene, Professional Development and Learning for Educators, and adults-only Science With A Twist.  For further details, please visit

About APS Foundation

The APS Foundation is committed to making a deep impact in Arizona communities and does so by supporting statewide nonprofits that advance knowledge in the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

The Foundation supports a wide range of educational initiatives that target both students and teachers in order to keep the next generation of Arizona’s workforce strong and competitive.

Privately endowed by Pinnacle West Capital Corp. in 1981 as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, the APS Foundation distributes an average of $1.5 million to $2.5 million per year through a bi-annual grant process.

Since its inception, it has invested nearly $38 million in Arizona nonprofits. For more information, please visit and click on the Foundation link.