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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news May 28, 2016

10/5/2013 1:44:00 PM
Cottonwood seeks input for first STEM festival
Mayor Diane Joens
Mayor Diane Joens

Yvonne Gonzalez
Staff Reporter

Plans are under way to hold the first-ever Verde Valley SciTech Festival, set for March 2014.

Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens is leading the preparations with organizations and businesses in the community. The next planning meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday at Yavapai College in room M203.

Many Americans are not qualified for some of the high-paying jobs available, and Joens said the festival is one way to show both students and adults that there are opportunities in the Verde Valley.

"We're all trying to reach out to the community," Joens said. "It's not just the kids in school who need to understand this."

Viticulture, science programs in schools, like Mingus Union High School and the Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education, and businesses like Precision Lab, which makes diabetes testing strips, are all present in the Verde Valley.

"Just about everything takes either science or math," she said. "We want to get the community involved so we can support our students as well."

Pooling resources will make the event possible with a minimum amount of funding.

"It's not going to be a big expensive thing," she said. "We're going to use the resources we already have."

There are 22 organizations who have agreed to participate in some way, whether it's hosting a booth at the main March 28 event at Yavapai College or proposing an event sometime during that week. That Saturday may also feature a Verde River activity, though that, and many other parts of the event, are still in the planning stages.

Joens said she wants to reach out to the mining companies, perhaps through Clarkdale or Jerome's ties to the industry, and other businesses who can share how STEM impacts their operations.

"We're brainstorming and bringing ideas of who might participate, either bringing them to the meeting or bringing ideas of who might participate," she said.

The event will also serve as an opportunity for kids to see the college and see the jobs available in the Verde Valley that could provide them with a good standard of living.

"We want them to stay here and raise their families here," she said. "We're trying to show people the opportunities they have in our community to make a good living."

When there aren't enough qualified people to fill a STEM-related job domestically, employers go abroad. This makes STEM education important for ensuring residents of the Verde Valley are able to find employment.

"The bottom line here is jobs," she said. "We want to provide high-paying jobs so we have a good standard of living."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Article comment by: @ Rex P -


we think... would be nice of the article had covered that but as we can see that would require changing the M for math into a W for writing and then we would have STEW... can't win them all but at least we keep trying right?

Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Article comment by: Rex Peters

What exactly does STEM stand for? I'm just curious. I do believe that a good background in science and math will benefit our students and if there are jobs utilizing those skills here, we can keep the talent here and that will improve our community.

Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

How STEM-savvy are VI readers?

Take the Pew Research/Smithsonian test online:

Posted: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Article comment by: cornvillian christian

I appreciate Mayor Jones involvement in the future of our community. The Verde Valley is very limited in these types of businesses. A better idea is to encourage these types of businesses to locate here and make the valley a viable place to work and live.

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