Transforming STEM Education ASAP! with Mike Vargas and Amanda Whitehurst
Aug 24, 2023

Transforming STEM Education ASAP! with Mike Vargas and Amanda Whitehurst


Episode Notes

STEM education can look very different across Arizona, which is why the Arizona STEM Acceleration Project came to be to help advance STEM in schools across the state. In this episode, hosts Donnie and Daniela talk with Mike Vargas and Amanda Whitehurst share how the Arizona STEM Acceleration Project (ASAP) works to transform how educators deliver STEM education.


The Arizona STEM Acceleration Project has three components for the program’s teacher fellows:

  • overseeing a student- or community-facing project
  • writing four STEM lesson plans
  • taking part in research on teaching STEM in Arizona


ASAP has completed its first year and is embarking on its second. In it’s first year, 433 fellows in about 300 different schools completed the program, affecting almost 90,000 students. About 90% of fellows who started ASAP completed and were able to energize STEM education in their classroom. The fellows represented every county, every major city, and most reservations in Arizona.


Those fellows completed almost 15,000 hours of professional development and created 1,771 STEM lesson plans that are now in this online lesson plan archive that is free and open for all Arizona teachers. These lesson plans are all specific to STEM and the Arizona State Standards.


ASAP also provided about $850,000-worth of classroom equipment and paid $2 million in stipends to the teacher fellows.


In this episode, Amanda also shares examples of how ASAP fellows’ projects have directly impacted students and their future goals. You can find more of those stories on the ASAP website’s fellow highlight section.


ASAP is also partnering with the Arizona K12 Center to introduce a National Board Certification STEM cohort for teachers interested in pursuing National Board Certification alongside other STEM educators. Read more about that opportunity here, and contact Donnie Dicus at ddicus@azk12.orgto join.

Learn more about the Arizona K12 Center at

Arizona K12 Center


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