Megan Holm
Megan Holm
Helios Scholar
School: Smith College
Hometown: Flagstaff, Arizona
Mentored by: Elizabeth Driebe

Email This Article Print This Page

"What Is Flagstaff, AZ Seqing?"

STEM-based careers will continue to grow in the upcoming decades, highlighting the importance of STEM education. In 2012, Flagstaff, Arizona became America’s First STEM City. However, even with many independent STEM programs (STEM City, MIT-e, etc.), the question arose: where is bioscience represented in Flagstaff and how can we improve current representation to reach a wider audience?     We conducted interviews with STEM-education administrators and educators, to understand which factors limit bioscience STEM education, including exposure, lack of industry involvement, relevance, and classroom implementation.  We also researched existing bioscience education programs nationwide, TGen North publications and techniques, and the Arizona Education Standards to answer the question “How can TGen-North bioscience be approachable and safe?” We created the Bioscience Education for Students by TGen North (BEST) Teaching Kits. These kits teach relevant and intriguing bioscience topics while meeting pertinent Arizona education standards. They require minimal preparation time, help prepare learners for future STEM careers, and can be taught in multiple settings. The kits cover a range of topics, time commitments, and age groups. TGen-North employees and interns also have the opportunity to inspire, educate, and motivate by using the kits during education outreach events. The BEST Teaching Kits are accessible online at and [email protected].  In the future, we would like to expand The BEST Teaching Kits to include new TGen-North publications, improve TGen-North’s social media presence to increase awareness that these materials are available to the public free of charge, and possibly have monthly STEM-education social events to help educators understand the usefulness of The BEST Teaching Kits. On a much grander scale, TGen-North could help design a mobile science laboratory, to take the lab to the classroom. This would also help reach underserved communities not only in northern Arizona, but throughout the state.  Community-based, industry-education partnerships create confident, prepared learners who enter the workforce as educated individuals equipped for current and emerging STEM careers and ready to solve the problems of tomorrow.