Skyline High School senior Caillou Peña is only 17 but he’s been making big strides in his determinations to spread the love for STEM.

The Mesa teen is a Chief Science Officer at Skyline – an elective post in a program with a mission “to elevate the student voice by bringing their peers and community leaders together to ignite new opportunities in science, technology, engineering, math, and innovation.

Recently he was selected to join CSOs from school across the country in Washington D.C, where he visited wth officials from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and then went to Mexico for a summit between Sonora and Arizona officials.

Gov. Doug Ducey attended the same summit and, in fact, Caillou got to talk with him.

“I was able to have a quick chat with Gov. Ducey about the importance of the program and he congratulated everything we were doing as well as asked me where I was planning to go to college,” he said.

The first student at his school to be elected to two successive terms as a Chief Science Officer, Caillou is more than a little passionate about STEM’s possibilities.

“STEM is everywhere,” he explained. “It will be the answer to climate change, advance technology and, simply stated, improve our society.”

Yet, he also admits that when he starts college next year, STEM won’t be his major. He wants to major in political science with the possible goal of going into international relations “so that I can make STEM a global initiative.”


“Throughout my time in the CSO program, I have been able to meet industry professionals involved in STEM from a wide variety of careers. However, what became apparent to me is the lack of science in politics. If we are to solve problems sch as climate change, governments need to be on board and that is why I want to take my love for science into politics.”

He’s already found that the Chief Science Officer Program “is giving students – education’s most important constituents – a voice and platform to reflect on STEM education.”

“The program also mends the gap between STEM and education as liaisons like me connect students to the STEM community,” he said. “For example, later this school year I will be bringing STEM industry professionals to my high school to have them speak on their careers. My role is really to bring STEM to the students,” he said. “A science class might not excite a student for a number of reasons but my goal is when they can see, or even feel, science and understand how exciting of a field it is, they will fall in love with it as much as I have.”

The Chief Science Officer Program was the first of its kind when it was launched in 2015 by its SciTech Institute (formerly Arizona Technology Council Foundation), which cited the need “to elevate awareness of, and engagement, in STEM; empower students to bring in-school and out-of-school educational opportunities to their peers.”


Retrieved From: East Valley Tribune – Northeast Mesa December 16, 2018. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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