Rivalries on Hold

by Don Rodriguez

Who would have guessed that science could trump sports rivalries when it came to Arizona universities actually getting along in the     same space?

Instead of heated competition, the annual Connect2STEM event at The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix was the scene where representatives from Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University joined their host in the celebration of science, technology, engineering and math.

The occasion in late January marked the kick-off of the statewide 2020 Arizona SciTech Festival. Jeremy Babendure, executive director of the SciTech Institute, remembers when Connect2STEM first launched with a few thousand attendees. “Now they’re getting upwards of 10,000 people,” he says. “These are the kinds of event that have been here with us every single year and, in addition to the newer events that have popped up, they’re really starting to come into their own.”

Now in its ninth year, the festival has grown into the country’s third-largest science festival. More than 800 organizations are working together this year to present more than 2,300 events through April 30. “Diverse partnerships are key to building a vibrant STEM ecosystem, which is exactly what the festival has done over the past decade,” Babendure says.

The festival is spearheaded by the Arizona Commerce Authority, in collaboration with partners that include SciTech Institute, Arizona Technology Council, Arizona Science Center, Arizona State University, The University of Arizona and Arizona Board of Regents. A full list of events can be found at scitechinstitute.org/events.

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