Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers that we tend to hear often.

Have a question?

The following are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive here at the Chief Science Officers program. Feel free to browse – and if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly!


Who can become a CSO?

Students in 6th through 12th grade are elected to serve as Chief Science Officers for their school.


How are CSOs chosen?  

Chief Science Officers are elected by their peers after completing a self-nomination form.


What types of students are elected as CSOs?

Generally, students who LOVE Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – but also student leaders hoping to make a difference on their campus and in the community!  We are developing a global network of CSOs.


What does a CSO do?

A CSO participates in a Leadership Training Institute and Cabinet Meetings focused on creating a pipeline of diverse STEM leaders.  They are expected to positively impact the STEM culture at school and within their community. During the year, CSOs are expected to create an Action Plan and collaborate with peers, mentors and professionals to complete their project.


How many CSOs are currently serving in the program and where?
As the startup state of the program, Arizona has 328 CSOs and will have over 400 next year.  An additional 100 CSOs represent programs in Oregon, Michigan, Tennessee, Indiana, and Missouri.  In the country of Kuwait we have 81 CSOs! New states to join the program include New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia and we are currently coordinating with Mexico and Belgium!

What makes the CSO Program different from other leadership programs?

Chief Science Officers are required to complete individual Action Plans at their campus and progress through requirements to level up in the program.  CSOs are expected to participate in a Collective Action Project during level 2 and a Global Networking Project as they continue to progress. Mentors are industry professionals that are paired with CSOs to mentor and support during the project planning at all levels.  Levels 4 and 5 CSOs are also required to mentor new CSOs and share their knowledge during Leadership Training Institutes and Cabinet Meetings.

What have they done so far?

The CSOs are very busy!  Some CSOs have taken on STEM-onstration projects to present to lower grade levels while other CSOs have created clubs on their campus to engage their peers in STEM.  Many CSOs have organized presentations, morning announcements, informational bulletin boards, STEM Nights, STEAM Weeks, Professional Panels, community events and STEAM Challenges on their campuses!  Arizona CSOs serve on the Governor’s STEM Council and presented for 90 minutes on core topics. CSOs from Michigan, Oregon and Arizona have traveled to Washington, D.C. for the U.S. News & World Report STEM Solutions Conference and STEM Ecosystems Convening.  CSOs in Kuwait will travel to Arizona for the CSO Leadership Training Institute and Washington, D.C. for the International CSO Summit!

Be sure to check out our Instagram to see what the CSOs are doing around the world at:


Diverse groups?

CSOs currently represent Arizona, Michigan, Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri and the country of Kuwait!  New states to join the program include New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia and we are currently coordinating with Mexico and Belgium!  Over 63% of the CSOs are female.

How do the CSOs work together?

CSOs are members of an online learning community and collaborate through discussions, blogs and assignments.  Chief Science Officers also attend a leadership institute, cabinet meetings, meet ups, industry field trips and events. Mentors work with groups of students to coordinate projects and support implementation of action planning. The International CSO Team plans opportunities for students to interact with one another on and offline!

Why was the CSO program created?

Dr. Jeremy Babendure created the CSO program to amplify student voice and create a pipeline of diverse STEM leaders.  The program is designed to foster communication and collaboration with all stakeholders to enrich the school STEM culture for all students!  Partnerships with business and industry helps to build strong communities and increase career awareness. The global growth will broaden the impact as a CSO network worldwide.


Do CSOs serve on Student Government?

No.  However, many CSOs work with their Student Government to coordinate and collaborate on events to best serve their student population.


How can I get involved?

Contact us and let us know how you would like to help!  We are willing to train and guide you through a variety of roles to be involved in the Chief Science Officer Program – no matter who you are, what you do or where you live!  Technology is an amazing tool and we want your help to support students.


What is the value of becoming a CSO or starting the program?

Empowering a student to make a difference is valuable!  We consider the cost of the program having a specific cost value of $1500 during the year, based on the training, experiences and collateral (uniform, business cards and online community learning system).  However, the actual return on investment varies with each individual CSO.

“The CSO program is amazing. It’s also what you make of it, and how you take initiative within the program.”  CSO Dana, Arizona


How is the program financially supported?

The Chief Science Officer Program has amazing corporate, business and community sponsors across the country, including grant funding from the National Science Foundation.  With the start of the program, research and evaluation tools have been created to analyze the impact of the CSOs. Individual schools may be required to pay a participant fee per CSO or donations are made to the Science For All 501(3)c charitable organization.