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Episode 57 – Mike Vargas – “STEM Acceleration”
Episode 571st June 2024 • Science Modeling Talks • Mark Royce
00:00:00 00:33:26

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Mark talks with veteran physics teacher and proponent of physics first in high school. He talks about how the connecting thread of energy should start in middle school and continue through 12th grade. They talk about the Cactus Caucus, advocating to get funding for more teacgers to get state certified to teach STEM classes in Arizona. Then they talk about the Arizona STEM Acceleration Project, which brings on teacher fellows each year. One benefit of this program for all teachers is the free content produced by their STEM fellows, including some modeling-friendly materials in their lesson plan archive.


Mike Vargas Mike Vargas is a 20-year veteran Physics teacher who is a founding member of the Cactus Caucus, a group of Arizona Physics teachers who helped pass legislation to advance science teacher education in Arizona. This effort led to the Arizona Department of Education’s “Get Set for STEM”program which aimed to increase the number of higher-level STEM teachers state wide. This initiative helped increase the number of physics teachers in Arizona by nearly 20%. Mike is also a founding member of STEMteachersPHX and has extensive ties to the Arizona Science Teachers Association, the American Modeling Teachers Association, and the American Association of Physics Teachers. Mike served as a board member to the Northern Arizona University K12 Center and has been an active participant in the Arizona Education Foundations efforts to promote STEM education with its “TeachSTEM” program. Mike has served on the Air Force Association National Aerospace Council for the last few years and co-led the Space Force’s first national education outreach project, “STEM to Space”. Mike served on the Federal Coordination in STEM’s Interagency Working Group for Strategic Partnerships (IWG-SP) and served as a Department of Defense Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow to the Department of the Air Force K12 STEM National Office as well as the Department of Defense’s Strategic Manufacturing Education Workforce Development program. His policy and strategic partnership experience has been essential for the creation of Arizona State University’s newest initiative - The Arizona STEM Acceleration Project. He is currently the Co-Principal investigator and Senior Program Manager for ASAP. X | LinkedIn


[3:44] Mike Vargas "You should really start in middle school and have that energy thread going through all the way up through senior year, because you can tie that to all the sciences, right?" [20:05] Mike Vargas "we're curating a website. It's STEM, and there's gonna be about 2000 lessons on here, at the end of the day. They're all curated, they're all made by teachers, for teachers. It's kinda like teachers pay teachers, but free"


Download Transcript Ep 57 Transcript Links Arizona STEM Acceleration Project Website | Facebook | Instagram




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