2021 NEDC Host

Arizona MESA

The Grand Canyon State is more than just deserts and sun. Although it is the youngest of the contiguous states — Arizona was admitted to the Union on February 14, 1912 — its history goes back thousands of years with important contributions from its many native peoples and more recently from Spanish, Mexican, and American influences.

Arizona is home to 22 Native American tribes including the majority of the nation’s largest tribe, the Navajo Nation, and the second largest, the Tohono O’Odham. Over a quarter of the area of the state is reservation land.

Boasting over 300 days of sun a year, many people travel to Arizona for its mild winter temperatures and amazing natural attractions. However, Arizona’s growth is the result of growing STEM opportunities in areas like micro-electronics, mining, aerospace, optics, and bio-medicine.

It’s two largest cities, Phoenix and Tucson, are also home to our Arizona MESA education partners; The University of Arizona (Tucson), Grand Canyon University (Phoenix), and Phoenix College (Phoenix).

The University of Arizona dates back to 1885 — before Arizona was a state and long before mascots Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat cheered a “Bear Down, Arizona!” chorus. But there’s nothing old-fashioned about this leading public university. It’s a hub of community activity, like a walkable mini-city where you can experience the arts and humanities, learn about scientific discoveries, rally at athletic events, marvel at modern architecture, and stroll nature paths.

Academically, the University of Arizona is a global leader in both science and the arts. Nicknamed Science City, the UA is a longtime partner of NASA and a center of world-renowned observatories that has been at the forefront of modern astronomy and space science for decades. The two UA medical schools rank among the nation’s best and are transforming academic medicine with innovative research, while the UA BIO5 Institute is the national epicenter of collaborative research on biology-based challenges. And, the university’s top-rated theater, film, photography, and dance programs are a source of outstanding yet affordable student performances, exhibitions, and screenings.

Grand Canyon University is a private Christian university that offers a wide range of programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels that you can earn on campus and online. Grand Canyon College was chartered on Aug. 1, 1949, with 16 faculty and approximately 100 students in Prescott, AZ. In 1951, the college relocated to a 90-acre tract in West Phoenix and was accredited in 1968 by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Established as a Baptist-affiliated institution with an emphasis on religious studies, the school initially offered bachelor’s programs in education. Programs expanded to include the sciences, nursing, business, music and fine arts. It was during this time when the college started to develop a reputation for producing effective teachers, nurses and health care professionals in the Southwest.

The university grew its campus student body from fewer than 1,000 students in 2009 to over 19,000 ground students in fall 2017. By 2016, more than 75% of the university’s traditional students study in rigorous STEM and business programs. In total since 2009, the university had invested over $1 billion dollars—and today, continues to invest in full-time faculty, improved technology infrastructure, new facilities and programmatic expansion in high-growth, high-demand areas such as engineering, computer science and IT.

Phoenix College is Arizona MESA’s newest partner and will be starting the first community college program in Arizona in the fall of 2021. Historically, Phoenix College was one of the first higher education institutions in Maricopa County, welcoming their first students on September 13, 1920. The founders envisioned the College as a place of inclusion, as a non-segregated institution.

Today, the College continues to be a place of diversity, equity and access. Their focus on transformation includes seeking out partnerships that work with opportunity youth, refugee and immigrant populations, Hispanic, Asian, Native American populations and adult learners. PC is dedicated to providing access to valuable and affordable education and community services. At Phoenix College, you can pick from more than 150 degrees and certificates in areas like Applied Technology, Computer and Information Technology, Health Sciences, and STEM to build the future you deserve.

Arizona Office of Tourism
Tucson Visitors Center
College and University Websites linked above

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