August winner

Bringing STEM and stars to youths of Arizona

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The Northern Arizona Astronomical Consortium is dedicated to STEM education and aiming to develop unique ways to promote science, technology, engineering and math to all age groups throughout northern Arizona.

Adam England, agency owner of Manzanita Insurance, has always had a passion for astronomy. He has often brought his telescope to public parks, schools, science fairs and other events to share views of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, Saturn’s ring, the Pleiades open cluster and the Orion Nebula. As one of the founders of the Northern Arizona Astronomical Consortium (NAZ Astro), a nonprofit with the goal to educate all age groups on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), it made perfect sense to use his agency’s resources to further the organization’s cause.

“By helping plant the seed of innovation and excitement in our youth today, we are building the foundation for business leaders of tomorrow.”

—Adam England, agency owner at Manzanita Insurance and interim president of NAZ Astro

 

Providing education throughout Arizona

Alongside Manzanita Insurance, NAZ Astro has partnered with educational institutions like the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Liberty Traditional School and Prescott’s Museum of Indigenous People. With support from all of these organizations, NAZ Astro regularly hosts public educational outreach events with attendance and viewership of over 10,000 people.

During the International Astronomical Union’s NameExoWorlds2022 competition, the team – which included members of NAZ Astro – was chosen for the winning submission to name an exoplanet and its host star. They provided a name in the Cherokee language, resulting in the first-ever astronomical bodies to be formally recognized in a North American Indigenous language. This experience was expanded on in England’s astronomy-focused podcast The Backyard Astronomer.

By organizing interesting, hands-on science-focused events to students of all ages, NAZ Astro continually encourages STEM education and careers, which are increasingly important as our society is affected by rapid technological advances. “We believe all industries will be heavily impacted by technology in the coming years, including insurance,” said England. “By helping plant the seed of innovation and excitement in our youth today, we are building the foundation for our business leaders of tomorrow.”

 

Spreading the word and offering support

Manzanita Insurance works hard to promote and support NAZ Astro in any way they can, donating money and time to the nonprofit for a variety of their endeavors. They have shared information about outreach events to numerous businesses through their partnerships in the real estate, mortgage and auto dealership industries. Even their office décor is used to promote NAZ Astro and astronomy in general, putting up a space-themed Christmas tree each year.

The agency also continues to share information about upcoming events, helping to draw in more people throughout the community who are interested in expanding their understanding of astronomy and STEM in general. These moves have been successful: since the winning announcement of the NameExoWorlds2022 competition, which Manzanita Insurance was heavily involved in, NAZ Astro has begun to receive a great deal more publicity.

 

Shooting for the stars

NAZ Astro is working on several upcoming projects and events to continue offering STEM education throughout northern Arizona. One project is to build a STEM Education Center as a hub for students to experiment with telescopes, 3D printers, drones, photogrammetry, open-source software and more. “Our community science center will be accessible to amateur and professional astronomers for real scientific research,” said NAZ Astro director Edward Tucker. “And it will also offer the ability for students of all age groups to actively participate in these scientific discoveries.”

Additionally, NAZ Astro and Manzanita Insurance are planning an event for the solar eclipse expected to occur on April 8, 2024. They hosted a similar event in August 2017 in partnership with the town of Prescott Valley, where over 5,000 students from around the county took field trips to observe the eclipse safely with professional astronomers. For the 2024 event, they aim to double the number of attendees.

“Our community science center will be accessible to amateur and professional astronomers for real scientific research, and it will also offer the ability for students of all age groups to actively participate in these scientific discoveries.”

—Edward Tucker, director of NAZ Astro

STEM knowledge in our ever-evolving world is of the utmost importance as technology continues to advance at a quicker and quicker pace. NAZ Astro and Manzanita Insurance are both committed to ensuring that students are able to get ahead with their STEM education, allowing them to start on pathways toward their future careers.

Help Manzanita Insurance win $10,000 for the Northern Arizona Astronomical Consortium by clicking the vote button. Get them an extra vote by cheering them on in the comments below.

 

705 Votes
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Mariah Kulkin
7 months ago

Congrats!

Mike Burns
7 months ago

Thanks for doing this Adam!

Chris Maragos
8 months ago

What an investment in our future! Thank you for your efforts and education with the children and enhancing their universe!

R Hernandez
8 months ago

Getting today’s youth interested in our galaxy…Excellent!

John Egan
8 months ago

Thanks, Adam, for what you are doing!

Paul Steckenrider
8 months ago

Awesome! We need a good next generation to lead in technology,engineering and math!

Angela Smith
8 months ago

Amazing! This is such a great thing for our community.

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