Tech Parks Arizona Wins Award for Educational Outreach | Tech Parks Arizona

Tech Parks Arizona Wins Award for Educational Outreach

(Tucson, Arizona)  Tech Parks Arizona has won the Metropolitan Education Commission’s (MEC) Crystal Apple Award for its efforts to encourage local youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Tech Parks Arizona has collaborated with area educators since its inception in 1994, and has been growing its educational outreach efforts steadily over the years.

Through a creative partnership between Vail School District and the UA Tech Park, Vail High School, a small public charter school focused on science and technology, was launched in the early 1990’s and was the first school to be located in a university related research park.  The school was such a success, it expanded to include grades K-8 providing a consistent educational foundation and the development of vast knowledge around important concepts. Vail School District and the Tech Park have developed innovative programs that offer students real-world business experienceincluding internships, part-time employment, research projects and workshops with park engineers and scientists. The Park also supports the Vail Robotics Team, which competes annually in the First Robotics Program, a nation-wide competition for grades 9-12. UA Tech Park is proud to be home to Vail Academy and High School, which was recently named 2014 A+ School of Excellence by the Arizona Educational Foundation.

Tech Parks Arizona also partners with the Sunnyside School District’s Career Technical Education (CTE) Program to organize a semester-long high school internship program focused on developing workplace skills. Each of the participating students has the opportunity to intern with a UA Tech Park company.

Tech Parks Arizona has developed and administers Racing the Sun, a high school solar go-kart competition. High school students learn to apply the principles of science and engineering while designing, building, testing and racing solar powered go-karts. The Park also hosts tours and outreach activities for grades K-12 based on its solar demonstration site, the Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park. 

“Here at the Park, we are growing and incubating technology companies,” says Tech Parks Arizona Associate Vice President Bruce Wright, “which is really all about putting science into practice. Through our outreach work, we’re creating meaningful connections with our community – especially our young people who are tomorrow’s innovators.”

As part of the UA Never Settle strategic plan and President Ann Weaver Hart’s efforts to provide every University student with a “real world experience” prior to graduation, Tech Parks Arizona manages an active internship program. Typically fifteen or more students a year participate in the program providing work experience in regional economic development, business recruitment and marketing, and community and public relations.  This educational outreach exemplifies the close connection between the world of education and the world of science and technology. 

Tech Parks Arizona is a unit of Tech Launch Arizona, a cabinet-level unit of the University of Arizona dedicated to moving the discoveries and inventions developed through University research into the marketplace for increased economic impact and social benefit.

Tech Parks Arizona creates the place, environment and interactive ground that generates, attracts and retains technology companies and talent in alignment with the research, mission and goals of the University of Arizona.  Tech Parks Arizona directs the UA Tech Park, the UA Bio Park and the Arizona Center for Innovation with the highest priority of recruiting companies with connections the UA to locate at these facilities. 


Vail School District Robotics Club

Racing the Sun


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