Arizona SciTech Convenes in Washington D.C. with STEM Ecosystem Leaders; Meeting with White House Officials

Leaders of 27 local and regional networks exchange strategies for building equitable, real-world STEM learning opportunities for students

PHOENIX--()--Last Thursday in Washington, D.C., leaders from Arizona SciTech, a group anchored at both the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Arizona Technology Council Foundation in collaboration with the Arizona Board of Regents, the Arizona Science Center, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, met with the leaders of 26 other regional networks from across the U.S. that promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning.

“Collaboration among STEM ecosystems serves not only the needs of Arizona, but the needs of the entire country,” said Jeremy Babendure, Ph.D., executive director, Arizona SciTech. “It’s important to present a unified front for the importance of STEM learning and innovation, and work toward common goals. We are honored to a part of this imperative effort.”

The groups convened to exchange strategies for building students’ STEM knowledge and expertise through multi-sector ecosystems that bring together schools, out of school programs, businesses, institutions of higher education and STEM-rich institutions such as museums. The education, business and community leaders who participated also met with White House officials to discuss equitable STEM education and federal STEM policy.

“When our nation’s STEM leadership compares notes, triumphs in one region can be recreated in another,” said Steven G. Zylstra, Sc.D., president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council Foundation. “Events like this one are the backbone of a strong economic future. STEM education gives tomorrow’s technology entrepreneurs the fundamentals they need to succeed and guards our future labor force against talent shortfalls.”

The 27 STEM Learning Ecosystems that gathered in D.C. represent the inaugural group selected by the STEM Funders Network for support as part of a larger commitment that will grow to support 100 ecosystems in its first three years. These groups are forming a diverse set of communities from across the country by creating engaging, real-world STEM learning experiences.

“The President has called for all of us to think of creative and effective ways of getting all of our students engaged in STEM education,” noted John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “It’s heartening to see so many communities working locally and together in response to the President’s call to action.”

The ecosystem leaders also met with Harvard University student David Boone, who spoke to the group about the impact of real-world STEM experiences on his own path from homelessness to higher education. Boone benefited from Cleveland’s growing STEM ecosystem during his time at MC2 STEM High School.

The first 27 STEM Learning Ecosystems selected by the STEM Funders Network include:

  • Arizona SciTech Ecosystem (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Bay Area STEM Ecosystem (San Jose, CA)
  • BoSTEM (Boston, MA)
  • Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative (Chicago, IL)
  • Colorado STEM (Denver, CO)
  • East Syracuse Minoa Central School District STEM Learning Ecosystem (East Syracuse, NY)
  • ecosySTEM KC (Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS)
  • EvanSTEM (Evanston, IL)
  • Great Lakes Bay Regional STEM Initiative (Freeland, MI)
  • Greater Austin STEM Ecosystem (Austin, TX)
  • Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Indiana STEM Ecosystem Initiative (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership in Western New York (Buffalo, NY)
  • Los Angeles Regional STEM Hub (Los Angeles, CA)
  • NC STEM Ecosystem: Driving the Future (Research Triangle Park, NC)
  • Northeast Ohio STEM Learning Ecosystem (Cleveland, OH)
  • NYC STEM Education Network (New York, NY)
  • Orange County STEM Initiative (Corona Del Mar, CA)
  • Oregon’s Statewide Regional STEM Hub Network (Salem, OR)
  • Pittsburgh Regional STEM Ecosystem (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Providence After School Alliance (PASA) AfterZone STEM – FUSE Initiative (Providence, RI)
  • Queens 2020 (Corona, NY)
  • San Diego EcosySTEM (San Diego, CA)
  • STEMcityPHL Regional Network (Greater Philadelphia, PA)
  • Tampa Bay STEM Network (Tampa, FL)
  • Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance (Tulsa, OK)
  • Ventura County STEM Regional Network Learning Ecosystem (Camarillo, CA)

About Arizona SciTech

Arizona SciTech is committed to promoting the celebration of science, technology and engineering across the state. Spearheaded by its Foundational Partners the Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Science Center, Arizona State University, Arizona Technology Council Foundation and The University of Arizona, Arizona SciTech’s premier initiative is its annual science festival held in February and March. Through a series of more than 800 expos, workshops, conversations, exhibitions and tours held in diverse neighborhoods throughout the state, the festival excites and informs Arizonans age 3 to 103 how STEM will drive our state. Visit for more information.

About the STEM Funders Network

The SFN was formed in 2011 by a small group of funders from the Grant Makers for Education community to focus attention and better coordinate funding in support of robust STEM programs across the country. The SFN members fund individually as well as collectively, and their work has supported the adoption and implementation of NGSS in all 50 states, as well as dozens of STEM programs of promise. For more information visit

About Arizona Technology Council Foundation

The Arizona Technology Council Foundation is dedicated to further promoting and growing technology in Arizona through the raising of funds, leadership, collaboration and innovation. The Foundation is home to Science, Engineering, Technology and Math programs, including getSTEM™-az, the Arizona SciTech Festival, the Arizona Middle School Science Bowl, and the Arizona Science & Engineering Fair. In additional, The Foundation is home to the Arizona Innovation Institute and the Tech Terra Recycling program.


Media contact:
Linda Capcara, 480-229-7090
Organization contact:
Arizona Technology Council
Steven G. Zylstra, 602-422-9447


Media contact:
Linda Capcara, 480-229-7090
Organization contact:
Arizona Technology Council
Steven G. Zylstra, 602-422-9447