Grant Is Sign of SciTech Institute’s Stepping Into Its Own Spotlight

by Don Rodriguez

It’s one thing to take the lead on building Arizona’s STEM ecosystem, but it’s a plus when that recognition goes beyond the state’s borders.

The SciTech Institute, a collaborative initiative of the Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority, has been awarded part of a $1 million Southwest Airlines Charitable Grant, which focuses on building a stronger workforce for tomorrow. Of more than 300 applicants, the foundation was one of only 24 organizations across the United States to receive grants for their efforts in promoting leadership; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); and workforce development.

The Institute will utilize the $50,000 grant to support STEM programs and education that provide students with opportunities to make sense of the world holistically, as well as support and promote initiatives that attract, grow and retain world-class technology talent in Arizona.

“We are truly honored and humbled to be awarded such a generous grant from the Southwest Airlines Foundation,” says Executive Director Jeremy Babendure. “Our goal is to inspire and engage students with STEM activities so they can see themselves in a STEM career.”

The award comes at a time when the Institute is working to increase its individual brand recognition despite its already being known for spearheading some of the strongest STEM initiatives in the state. They include the Arizona SciTech Festival, the Chief Science Officers Program, Arizona Middle School and High School Science Bowls, the Counting Bee and Science for All. 

Part of the branding is changing its established gecko logo to incorporate the same colors of the Council mark, Babendure says, “so it has the same kind of feel of the Council but really has an updated name and brand.”

The colorful tribute to its ancestry still leaves room for the Institute’s developing its own identity as it moves forward. “It really is coming into our own of what we can accomplish and who we will be,” Babendure says. “We now embrace our next phase of development.”

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