Dr. Babendure with his CSOs and CTO Megan Smith

Dr. Jeremy Babendure created and oversees the Chief Science Officer Initiative. He is the Executive Director of the Arizona Technology Council Foundation (AZTC), Annual Arizona SciTech Festival Initiative, Research Fellow Institute for Learning Innovation, and Assistant Professor at Arizona State University School of Molecular Sciences. The annual SciTech Festival includes over 800 collaborators, 1,200 events and draws over 400,000 participants. Most recently he has launched the Chief Science Officers Initiative, transforming student voice in the conversation about Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) and education and the Arizona STEM School Community of Practice bringing together 60 diverse schools teams focused on STEM. Prior to his work in Arizona, Dr. Babendure received his doctorate in the lab of recent Nobel Laureate, Dr. Roger Tsien at the University of California, San Diego developing molecular sensors for the detection of RNA. Following this work, he and Dr. Tsien launched the ScienceBridge program as mechanism to bring current science to the San Diego schools annually impacting ~200 teachers, ~20,000 students, and ~60,000 community members and attaining 12M+ in national grants.

Dr. Babendure earned a Doctorate of Philosophy, Biomedical Sciences from the University of California and a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University where as a Flinn Scholar he graduated Suma Cum Laude from the prestigious Barrett Honor’s College. In 2016, Dr. Babendure was honored by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the been selected out of 400 candidates statewide as one of the Phoenix Business Journal’s Forty-Under-40 Class of 2016. This program salutes the up and coming leaders in the community and the recognition is well deserved.      Send eMail


Susan Farretta is the Educational Initiatives Director at the AZ Technology Council. She works full time on the Chief Science Officer Initiative. She holds a MA in Education and a BA in Business. Susan taught high school CTE business classes in the Scottsdale Unified School District for 12 years and worked at the Phoenix Union High School District as the CTE STEM Coordinator for one year before taking on the CSO position. Prior to her career in education, she worked at Motorola Semiconductors as an International Business Manager.    Send eMail

"I was born and raised in the land of Saguaros and scorpions"

“I was born and raised in the land of Saguaros and scorpions”

Kaci Fankhauser works full time on the Arizona Chief Science Officer Initiative through the AmeriCorps Vista program. She comes from a diverse educational background; she attended a Montessori school through 8th grade, completed the International Baccalaureate program in high school, and attended Arizona State University through Barrett, The Honors College to earn her degree in biology and anthropology. Early on in her ASU experience she stumbled into the realm of scientific research, and graduated with a poignant passion for interdisciplinary research and collaboration. Almost all of her professional experience is in animal science – she is unanimously recognized among friends and acquaintances for a love of all things furry, feathered, creepy and crawly – but her diverse educational experiences and passion for science outreach and hands-on learning has led her to focus her attention on more integrative and inclusive STEM education.    Send eMail