Post Details

Posted On:
June 5, 2016
at 9:43 pm


PCC STEM Innovation Challenge Mentorship: Summer & Fall 2016

The Goal: Identify and prototype relevant, real-world solutions that build education and career pathways in STEM that support innovation, entrepreneurial learning and collaboration.

The Challenge: The STEM workforce in Arizona is crucial to our innovation capacity and global competitiveness. Yet, in Pima County the education to employment pipeline (in most STEM industries) is underdeveloped and underutilized. To address this problem, our community needs to come together to identify relevant and sustainable ways to help young people connect with STEM education and employment opportunities.

The Method: We challenge teams of students, educators, and professional mentors to answer the following question by creating real prototypes for local solutions:

What does a STEM Town (ecosystem) that supports your future look like?

The competition kicks off in June with a two-day, “Startup Weekend-inspired” event where cross-generational teams of PCC students, PCC faculty, and K-12 educators work together with industry professionals to design relevant and sustainable solutions to the Challenge question. From June through September the student teams meet bi-weekly with faculty mentors as they design and test their pilots, preparing to pitch their concept at a community-wide STEM Innovation Showcase in October.

Get Involved! Become a mentor!

Support workforce development and STEM education by participating in the PCC STEM Innovation Challenge as an industry or community mentor.

Mentor Opportunities: Choose the level of engagement that works for you. The time commitment depends on your schedule and availability. To participate, contact PCC STEM Challenge Organizers Michael Peel ( or Frank Velasquez (

Mentor Position / Time Commitment & Duties:

  • On-CallTime commitment: On-call mentors have no obligation to participate if time does not allow. Duties: Your name will appear on a list of skills-based mentors. If needed, student teams will contact you for specifc advice.
  • Idea Development: Time commitment: 9 am – 1 pm, Thursday, June 9 @ PCC West Campus. Duties: Idea Development mentors will be paired with teams for the initial ideation phase. Mentors will participate as team members with the primary goal of providing industry and/or community perspective.
  • Team Support: Time commitment: 8-12 hours from June – October, 2016. Duties: Team Support mentors will be paired with teams for the idea development and testing phase. Mentors will attend 4-6 team meetings over the course of the challenge. The primary goal of team support mentors is to provide perspective and help connect the team with resources and/or connections that might be required to develop and test the team’s innovation concept.

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