News Highlightsr
Nova, the new mascot for the festival, made his appearance alongside Boomer Bear!
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If you’re into science, math and related cool stuff, you’ve gotta attend a few Arizona SciTech events! This is the ninth year of the monstrously fun festival—Arizona’s biggest celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Thousands of events all over the state show people that there’s STEM all around us. So there’s something sure to entertain and/or enrich you! The ribbon-cutting to kick off this celebration happened Jan. 25 at the Connect2STEM event. Ten thousand people attended,  and Nova, the new mascot for the festival, made his appearance alongside Boomer Bear!

“They had a lot of the biomedical highlights from the University of Arizona College of Medicine,” explains Kelly Greene, chief operations manager for the SciTech Festival. There was a da Vinci Robotic Surgery System people could do simulations with, a neurosurgeon was onhand, and there was even a kind of simulation city set up by Banner!

This is just one of 54 Signature Events of the festival. These events are collaborations between organizations and the festival, which helps promote these special events. Bear Essential’s Signature Event is for its Young Reporters and their families outside of Tucson at Saguaro National Park West. It’s a cookout, a nighttime nature hike and hands-on learning about astronomy with a couple of large telescopes set up!

Greene, a former math teacher, was hooked on the SciTech Festival when she first found out about it. “I thought it was incredible to see the engagement and the activities for students who actually experience science rather than reading from a textbook,” she recalls. “The hands-on learning and engagement opportunities really impacted their awareness and made it a more memorable learning experience.”

More than 800 organizations, from schools to libraries to entire Arizona cities are participating! Visit for all the events. See page 24 in this issue for four pages of STEM fun from AZ SciTech.

Coronavirus Is Now a Concern Worldwide

Wuhan residents line up to buy masks.The World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern last week.

The virus was first reported on Dec. 31, when China alerted WHO to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan. Several of the people infected worked at a meat and seafood market, which was shut down the next day. A week later, the WHO identified the new virus by name: 2019-nCoV or more commonly Wuhan coronavirus. It spread rapidly over the next few weeks, with cases being reported in several other countries.

There have now been thousands of cases confirmed in China, and at least 200 people have died from it. The virus has spread to at least 20 countries, and more cases are being reported daily around the world.

WHO declaring the Wuhan coronavirus an international emergency means that there will be even more of a coordinated effort with countries around the world to stop the spread of the virus. Many countries have already been limiting travel and screening travelers as they return home.

So far, only a handful of people in the United States have been confirmed to be infected with the Wuhan coronavirus. Arizona has at least one confirmed case. On Jan. 26, a patient in Maricopa County was confirmed to have contracted the virus after returning from Wuhan, China. The patient has been placed in isolation to avoid spreading the illness.

According to Arizona Department of Health Services director Dr. Cara Christ, the risk for the illness to spread is still fairly minimal.

“The general public who hasn’t traveled to China at this point or is in close contact with somebody who is confirmed or under investigation for coronavirus, the risk to get it is relatively low at this time,” Christ said to KTAR News.

 According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu and include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, fever, and a general feeling of being unwell. For more information, visit

February 2020