As technology entrepreneur, with an engineering background and a proclivity for education, it was only natural that Shashi Jashthi, CEO of Solugenix Corporation joined the Arizona Science Bowl committee. Led by Shashi and the Arizona Technology Council’s Executive Emeritus, Ron Schott, the event is organized to showcase the state’s talent and promote a STEM workforce in Arizona.
The Arizona Science Bowl, a regional event of the National Science Bowl®, is a fast-paced, Jeopardy-style question and answer competition. Since 2007, teams from junior and high schools throughout the state have sharpened their skills and battled head-to-head to prove their science and math intelligence. The winning teams then go on to represent Arizona at the national event in Washington, D.C. where hundreds vie for the country’s top title.
The event began nearly ten years ago, as an initiative of the Arizona Technology Council’s Workforce Development Committee. In 2006, at a monthly committee meeting, a speaker addressed the STEM workforce problem in Arizona and the need to reach students earlier, in middle school. Since many students make STEM career decisions before high school, the need to reach out to them in time to start an appropriate academic track is critical. Moreover, keeping the momentum through high school is key to building a skilled workforce.
“The need for a stronger tech workforce is of utmost importance. To make Arizona a global leader, there is no greater need than to build a skilled workforce,” said Shashi Jasthi, “that is why we continue making significant time and financial investment in supporting this event.”
Each year, middle and high school students prove that science education in Arizona is alive and well. With around 200 competitors and double the attendees, the event is a prime opportunity to promote STEM careers.