Graduate College

Preparing K-12 students for the future

Arizona State University graduate students help prepare K-12 pupils for future careers with a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

Practical knowledge in STEM will expand a young learner’s opportunities in a world that faces immense challenges in energy, health, environmental protection and national security.

ASU K-12 education projects nurture a student’s natural curiosity through hands-on explorations and experiments, while simultaneously teaching graduate students how to communicate the importance of scientific research to both K-12 pupils and the general public.

Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) Graduate Research Fellows

Photo of SFAz Graduate Reserach Fellow working with K-12 students

Graduate Research Fellowships are funded by Science Foundation Arizona and supported by ASU Graduate Education.

In addition to their research, SFAz Fellows are trained as future citizen-scientists/citizen-engineers who can communicate scientific research to K-12 students, their teachers, families and the general public.

A 3-credit course in how K-12 pupils learn is a requirement of their fellowship. SFAz Graduate Research Fellows collaborate with K-12 teachers to design and implement learning modules for K-12 classrooms.

What K-12 students learn:

STEM discovery education includes classes in such diverse topics as microbiology and genetics, bacteria and immune systems, electricity and energy, photosynthesis and nutrients. Students use their newfound knowledge in hands-on projects such as these:

  • create artificial heart models
  • design water-filtration devices
  • design nets for sustainable fishing
  • use hydrogen fuel cells to power toy cars
  • develop ideas for new state-of-the-art prosthetics

Who participates?

K-12 students working on a STEM project

The SFAz Graduate Research Fellows program at ASU works with these partners in K-12 education:

  • Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies (QESST): a National Science Foundation-funded engineering research center at ASU that focuses on harnessing solar energy in economical and sustainable ways. QESST is particularly interested in developing educational programs for energy solutions.
  • Graduate Partners in Science Education (GPSE) from the ASU School of Life Sciences. These graduate students develop educational science lessons to be implemented at schools and districts throughout Arizona. All of their materials are open for public use. They welcome invitations to visit schools to deliver workshops and lessons focused on science and science communication.

Video and news from previous programs

video link to ASU-SFZz K-12 Initiative video link to ASU-SFZz K-12 Initiative: 2012 Energy Meets Biology video link to ASU-SFZz K-12 Initiative: 2011 Program video link to ASU-SFZz K-12 Initiative: 2010 Program
Spring 2012 Program Spring 2012
Energy Meets Biology
Spring 2011 Program Spring 2010 Program

Doctoral students mentor young scientists in after-school program April 26, 2012
Science, engineering doctoral students energize young scientists  April 15, 2011

K-12 science education resources at ASU

Contact for more information

Jennifer Cason
Director of Graduate Support Initiatives

Andrew Webber
Vice Provost for Graduate Education

Graduate Student Support Programs
Interdisciplinary Building B (INTDSB) 288
Arizona State University
PO Box 871003 Tempe, AZ 85287-1003