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Posted On:
November 13, 2019
at 12:06 pm

Jasper Pena

Blog, Business Radio X, STEM Summit

SciTech Institute STEM and Innovation Summit with Maricopa Unified School District and Baltu


SciTech Institute STEM and Innovation Summit with Maricopa Unified School District and Baltu

Take part in the future and interact with some of Arizona’s most influential thinkers at the 2019 STEM and Innovation Summit held in Scottsdale, Arizona.

This year’s statewide conference brought together Arizona’s key stakeholders in business, industry, education, government, NGO, the community to:

  • Share best practices, lessons and stories from the field
  • Experience the latest in Arizona technology and innovation
  • Build unique and diverse STEM networks
  • Discuss how we can work as connected ecosystem to improve public STEM awareness and improve workforce readiness


The Maricopa Unified School District #20 is located in Pinal County about 20 miles south of the Phoenix city boundary. The district consists of 9 schools: six elementary, two middle and one high school. MUSD #20 also has a growing PreK program. One of the goals of the district is to provide cutting edge opportunities in STEAM to students. The district maintains a strong partnership with the Maricopa Ak-Chin STEAM Foundation.

Dr. Donna Jagielski is a leader in STEM based learning. At MUSD #20 she has implemented STEM/STEAM based programming that includes robotics and coding for the PreK students and is currently developing a cohort of STEM/STEAM based teacher leaders across all schools. Dr. Jagielski has presented her work on STEM based learning with ITEEA and currently serves on the board of AzTEA.

Baltu is a social impact company using technology to augment human capability for the workforce. Baltu’s mission is to empower individuals of all skill levels by performing in-demand jobs that previously required thousands of hours of experience. By leveraging augmented reality and virtual reality technologies commonly used for video games, Baltu is developing a Just-in time learning platform to rapidly train employees for the benefit of businesses and communities.

Peter Costa is the CEO and co-founder of Baltu. His diverse professional background includes: degrees in both Physics and Music Composition/Theory at ASU, successes in the entertainment industry and academia, and has overseen the development of immersive applications and content used by large companies and museums. He is a co-organizer of Phoenix VR for Good and has been a featured speaker at conferences throughout the United States, Abu Dhabi, and China.

Learn more about SciTech on their website and follow them on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

In your professional opinion, how can we better work as a connected ecosystem to improve public STEM awareness and improve workforce readiness?

Donna: Communication, collaboration and gaining greater visibility is key. We need to know what we are all doing and support one another. There are fantastic programs going on all over the state and country but sometimes we don’t get the word out about it. The more we become visible about the work we are all doing the more support and sustainability we can all create. Our work will be that much stronger as a movement going forward.

In what ways are you and your organization involved in STEM education and/or the SciTech Institute?

Donna: We are involved in multiple ways. The first way is through the CSO program. Last year we started the CSO program at both our middle schools and high school with the generous support of the Maricopa Ak-Chin STEAM Foundation. This year we have expanded our number of students serving as CSOs and I now serve as the Pinal County Cabinet Representative. One particular goal we have for our Pinal County student STEM leaders is to gain greater visibility.

Peter: We’ve created virtual and augmented reality content used to educate students on STEM topics. Our meetup, Phoenix VR for Good, holds monthly meetups which educates the community on how VR/AR technology can be used for good.

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