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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

SARSEF: S. AZ Research, Science & Engineering Foundation (SciEnTeK-12)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education

Mission: The mission of our foundation is to inspire students to create change in their lives, community, and world through science and engineering using technology and math. SARSEF teaches STEM research skills and provides direction and support for Southern Arizona Kindergarten through 12th Grade students and schools by teaching research methods using hands-on projects. The results of our efforts may be measured at the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair (SARSEF) held each March. The members of the SARSEF Board and staff provide presentations, support, and mentors for students, teachers and parents throughout the Southern Arizona region.

Results: Our area includes 45,000 square miles, 1.5 million people, 700 plus public, charter and private schools, over 5,000 home schools for a total of more than 300,000 students involved in science and engineering research projects.  Currently, about 24% of the schools are involved. Approximately 75,000 students are involved at their local school. From, there, approximately 4,500 students are selected to participate directly in the Regional Science Fair. We hope to reach even more! We are expanding our efforts to reach students and teachers who have not previously participated so they may learn problem-solving techniques and research skills.

Target demographics: teach critical thinking and problem-solving to 75,000 K-12 students many of whom have been previously underrepresented in the fields of science and engineering research

Direct beneficiaries per year: 75,000 students participate in research and 30,782 underrepresented students succeed.

Geographic areas served: Seven counties of Southern Arizona

Programs: STEM educational outreach on the scientific method, engineering design and how to conduct research projects.

Community Stories

88 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 JessicaMoreno

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered as a science fair judge, and my organization Sky Island Alliance love to donate special awards every year. Our volunteers have also expressed how significant and meaningful it was to judge the awards on our behalf. The children's projects are so inspiring! A a scientist myself, I know these experiences and the encouragement they receive are crucial to raising the next generation of smart, passionate scientists. SARSEF needs your support!

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

My first experience with SARSEF was when my daughter entered a project at her school and then attended the regional fair. I was able to see first-hand the pride and feeling of accomplishment she had as she received her award. Since then I have volunteered at the regional fair and provided support as a community partner. Now I have an opportunity to advocate for this amazing organization as a board member. I am so excited to be a part of this STEM legacy in southern Arizona, helping kids of all ages feel that same sense of accomplishment.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

SARSEF provides educational outreach to students of all ages so that they can compete in the annual Regional Science Fair. There are over 75,000 children in Southern Arizona that are involved and benefit from SARSEF's efforts. It never ceases to amaze me the value of SARSEF when I see the science projects presented at the Science Fair each year. I am truly inspired by these kids.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was pretty sure in 1965, that my entry in the Southern AZ Regional Science Fair would be my 1st and last contact with the fair or the organizers. Happily, I was wrong! In time, both of our daughters competed at SARSEF ... with investigations which put mine to shame (bragging parent). In 1992 I was asked to be a judge at SARSEF, and gladly agreed. The 21 years that followed have been remarkable. I was asked to serve on the SciEnTeK-12 Foundation Board 11 years ago and have had the pleasure of working with a spectacular array of scientists, engineers, educators, students and community volunteers. Literally thousands of projects have passed through SARSEF during my tenure, each demonstrating that our future is in very good hands ... and that the herculean efforts of this organization are important. The SciEnTeK-12 Foundation has focused for decades on "Exciting Young Minds about Science & Engineering". Seldom have I seen a more united, and effective, volunteer effort in support of such a future-looking cause.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 4

As a person interested in community volunteerism and programs for kids, I can report that serving with SciEnTeK-12 Foundation has been fulfilling and productive. The kids have all the talent necessary to succeed in math and science, but guidance and support from family and community are essential. What a rewarding experience. What a Class-A foundation!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first experienced the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair when I was a sophomore in high school. This was the first time I was ever exposed to a science fair and I only participated because it was a requirement at the charter school I was attending. I thought my project was ridiculous and insignificant but I met people at the fair that were encouraging, and optimistic. Judges praised aspects of my project that I did not think mattered and they made me feel like I had potential in science. Everyone at the fair made my experience one of the best I have ever had in my high school career.
I was shocked at how advanced some of the other projects were, and I noticed that most of them were from Tucson Magnet High School. I visited SARSEF everyday just to look at the projects because they amazed me so much. Attending the fair made me want to pursue science, work on a better project and be more competitive, so I transferred to Tucson High School so that I can learn from the best Science Teacher in Arizona. I received the opportunity to work in a lab at the University of Arizona where I worked on a project for two years. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had the science project of my dreams and I was so proud. At SARSEF, I won scholarships, medals and the opportunity to compete at the International Science Fair. For the first time of my life, I had the opportunity to go to college which was an opportunity that no one in my family has ever had.
I am currently a junior at the University of Arizona pursuing a degree in Microbiology and I am also a board member. When I was asked to join the board, I felt more honor than when I received my awards at the SARSEF. It is an honor to be a part of the non-profit that changed my life and I am proud to represent SciEnTek-12. I will forever be grateful for everything they have done for me and I am happy to be on a team that aims to excite student about science, and change their live. SciEnTeK-12 is the best!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Although I am presently a board member, I first became involved with the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair as a home-schooling parent in 2000. It quickly became a yearly "must do" for our family. The fair challenged my boys to think critically, plan, organize, research, interact with scientists during the judging process and really understand the scientific process. It solidified my older son's desire to be an engineer, and drew my younger son into the same field. Both boys were able to excel and exceed their dreams and expectations through the fair, particularly when they were selected to compete at the international level and receive college scholarship awards. SARSEF encouraged, supported and challenged them through every experience, and the board and volunteers made them feel like family. Both boys credit SARSEF with changing their lives and positively impacting their futures.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the SciEnTeK-12 Foundation for the better part of 15 years. The regional science and engineering fair is has always had a large number of very high quality projects that exceeds expectations every year. A tremendous job by everyone involved.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

My participation in SARSEF began as a student in the Third Grade. I wasn't very skilled in sports and had always quietly envied the shiny trophies my friends had for soccer and swimming. Then I completed my first research project. I not only investigated a topic I was truly interested in at the time (where bugs like to live), but my effort was rewarded with a beautiful trophy with my name on it. That was enough to light the fire. I continued to enter SARSEF year after year, each time gaining more skill in the scientific process, each time researching something I loved and each time getting the encouragement I needed to continue.

I ended up attending the International Science and Engineering Fair five times- all expenses paid by SARSEF. I won a top award (2nd, 1st, and special awards) three of those visits. i was sent to Washington DC twice, and to China to compete in research further. i had so many incredible opportunities opened to me due to the overwhelming support and generosity of SciEnTeK-12 that the best way I can attempt to quantify it is by explaining that due to my participation in SARSEF, i earned over $180,000 in scholarships. And yet that doesn't come close to portraying what completing a research project and gaining the life-skills necessary to explain it to a professional does for a student's confidence.

I have served as a member of the Board of Directors since the moment I completed my last Science Fair competition, and did so while completing my higher education- currently culminating in a Master of Science. I am passionate about bringing the SARSEF experience to every student in the Southern Arizona region, and empowering every child to believe that they can be successful in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. SARSEF not only has the antidotal evidence for student achievement, but one of the best records for student success at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Over 1,800 students competed in SARSEF last year, representing over 52,000 students who competed to get there. We are committed to expanding the opportunity to succeed in STEM.

1 Brian74

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been judging for the SARSEF science fair since 1996 and it has been one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences I've engaged in. So much so, I agreed to become a Board member when I retired. It's a wonderful feeling to know you've helped encouraged a talented young person to continue with an interest in science from High School and on into college. The amount of thought and work the students put into their projects shows through every year. Also, SARSEF is one of the few science fair programs in the country to have full, yearly participation for grades K-12. The experience each student gets in presenting their project in a public forum will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was first exposed to SciEnTeK-12 Foundation some 7 years ago when a member came to a nearby elementary school to introduce the whole Science Fair system to the kids there. Paula Johnson told my son all about what a science fair is and the kinds of things he might get to do if he got involved.

This sounded interesting to him and soon he started looking for science learning opportunities the way some kids look for candy.

As each year passed we noticed a consistency and growth at the Southern Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (SARSEF).

The consistency was quality. The fair is run like a well-oiled machine. The SciEnTeK-12 Foundation is responsible for SARSEF and its operation.

The growth was in the SARSEF fair itself. Year after year the space occupied at the Tucson Convention Center (TCC) seemed to grow and grow. Incredibly, I heard that in 2013 they had well over 1700 projects!

Thank you SciEnTeK-12 Foundation for this fabulous activity!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an educator I have been involved with SciEnTek-12 Foundation over the years. The foundation has provided students all over southern Arizona with an opportunity to delve into the scientific process, rewarding students for their creativity and hard work. I have also had the pleasure of volunteering as a judge. Meeting scientists and other professionals at this event has enhanced my teaching abilities.
The foundation is very organized and well run, the top priority is the students and this is evident in all that they do! The Southern Arizona Regional Science Fair and the Math, Science and Technology FunFest are an integral part of this community!

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been a member of the SARSEF advisory board for several years now, and I really find everyone involved in the organization not simply dedicated and amazingly effective, but downright inspirational. Their focus in attracting as many students as possible to participate in the science fair is nothing short of phenomenal. I do whatever I can to help and consider it a privilege to be in the company of such an intelligent, hard-working and highly accomplished group.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I participated in science fairs as a student back in the early 1970s, and have been "paying back" since 1992 as a judge, prize solicitor, and now board member with SciEnTeK-12 Foundation. Our board, advisors, and volunteers are among the most committed I have seen anywhere, Stimulating kids' minds to engage in scientific research is a wonderful pursuit, and seeing our students go on to careers in science/math/engineering/technology is a true gift.

kathleenbethel

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became involved in SciEnTeK-12 first as a parent. The organization literally changed my daughter's life -and in the end - mine. Because of her success through science, she attended college for free due to the scholarships and prize money that she was awarded. And as a result, I became more involved in the organization. I wanted others to have the valuable learning experiences and be encouraged just as much as she was.
Now, as a board member, I am proud to represent SciEnTeK-12 and make sure that every student has the same opportunities despite where they may reside. I love that this organization is committed to that as well. They have a vision and nothing compromises that. The kids come first. With no employes and no overhead (offices) they put their contributions right to serving the students. I like that. I highly recommend this organization for its transparency and authentic caring about students.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with SARSEF since 1988 and am a founding member of the SciEnTeK-12 Foundation. This is an organization made of extremely dedicated volunteers whose sole goal is to assist in the education and encouragement of K-12th grade students in the sciences, engineering and technology fields - the future!!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a fabulous experience! The people that volunteer are dedicated. The kids that participate are amazing. What a great thing for our community.

Read more
1

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have volunteered and worked with SciEnTeK-12 Foundation for over ten years now, and can tell you that the work being done by the foundation to enrich the experience of the Southern Arizona Research, Science, and Engineering Fair (SARSEF) is phenomenal. The SciEnTeK-12 Foundation is responsible for putting together SARSEF, and to provide educational outreach throughout Southern Arizona, actually going into the classroom to provide students with information on the scientific method, and other vital information about science, engineering and research. SARSEF is an experience that all children should have, and that is why the SciEnTeK-12 Foundation is a much needed and valued resource in our community.

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

This is a super bunch that does great work! I'm new to the advisory board and also a vendor for their new website and database. They are a joy to work with and the community is fortunate to have such a leading edge Science Fair.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a fantastic organization and they obviously care about "encouraging youth in science and engineering" as their tag line states.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked in the for profit sector and not for profit sector, but my association iwth the Science, Engineering & Technology-Kindergarten to 12th Grade Foundation (SciEnTeK-12 Foundation) is indeed the most heartwarming and self satisfying orgaization I have ever worked for in my over 60 years in the workplace.

The work this group does, with 800 or more volunteers at the Math Science and Technology FunFest and the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair (SARSEF) is nothing short of incredible. We have had the opportunity to interest kids, even in kindergaten, to pursue the tough stuff in math and science, and to go into incredible careers. Careers from mangement in a Mars mission, engineers, medical doctors, teachers, researchers and entrepeneurs. I don't know it can get any better than that.

Jack D Johnson, a SciEnTeK-12, FunFest, and SARSEF volunteer for life.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This foundation has been running the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair and helped bring the Math Science and Technology FunFest to the full Southern Arizona Community. The delight of seeing these outstanding youngsters go Wow! over what they see and do at the FunFest is so rewarding and and then to see so many who compete and are rewarded for their hard work is what makes this volunteer activity the best job I have ever had!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SARSEF is a wonderful organization which helps school-aged children learn about science in a competitive and rewarding way. I have participated in a science fair and won a trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair. My experiences at SARSEF and ISEF will last a lifetime, and I am so glad that I was able to experience science in the fun, different and interactive way SARSEF provides.