On July 21, the Arizona Chief Science Officer program began its summer Leadership Training Institute (LTI) at the University of Advancing Technology. CSOs are 6th–12th grade student ambassadors for STEM who focus on raising awareness for STEM in their community and school. It was started in Arizona eight years ago as an idea to get kids at the table with adults who were having conversations about STEM. The program has grown to multiple states across the nation and even to other countries including Mexico, Kenya and Kuwait.

The training took place over the span of three days and focused on teaching the essentials of what a Chief Science Officer is and what they do in their roles. They were taught the fundamentals of how to implement an action plan on their campus—which is the most important part of being a CSO. An action plan can be any project implemented in the CSO’s school or community that focuses on some area of STEM. The CSOs were inspired to create STEMonstrations and present to younger students, or to get STEM professionals to come speak to their peers.

CSOs who could not attend in person attended virtually. Students learned important communication skills that will help them in interacting with STEM professionals both in person and online. In addition, the CSOs were given the resources to stay connected throughout the year with each other. This way, CSOs will be able to ask for help from other students in implementing their plans.

The Leadership Training Institute was a great way for students to connect and grow in their leadership skills. They will remain connected over the course of the year through in-person events and virtually. For the Leadership Council, they will be preparing to lead many more LTIs in the upcoming months for students interested in the CSO program. To get connected with the Chief Science Officer program, visit

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