Frequently Asked Questions

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 site.


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 enjoy or advocate for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – but also student leaders hoping to make a difference in the community!   


What does a CSO do?

A CSO participates in a Leadership Training Institute and Cabinet Meetings focused on creating a global network of diverse STEM leaders.  They are expected to positively impact the STEM culture 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 start of the program, Arizona trained over 300 CSOs. In the recent years, additional 300 CSOs represent programs in Oregon, Michigan, Texas, Florida, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. In the country of Kuwait, over 75 CSOs have been trained! Sonora and Guanajuato of Mexico have also trained over 275 CSOs while over 50 students in Nairobi, Kenya have completed the required training. New cabinets are preparing to join the program, including New Jersey, Louisiana, Iowa, California, South Carolina and we are currently coordinating with additional states in Mexico.


What makes the CSO Program different from other leadership programs?

Chief Science Officers are required to complete Action Plans at their campus and in their communities to advocate for STEM awareness. CSOs can progress through requirements to level up in the program to advance their leadership skills and collaborate with community partners to create opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. CSOs are expected to participate in a Community Impact Project during level 3 and a Global Networking Project as they continue to progress to level 5. Mentors are STEM industry professionals and support in a variety of ways during the project planning at all levels.  


What have they done so far?

The CSOs are focused on our motto – Don’t just HOPE it happens, MAKE it happen. They are always working to make an impact!  Some CSOs have taken on STEMonstration projects to present to PK-5th 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. CSOs serve on various Advisory Councils, including the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame and NASA’s Infiniscope Project. CSOs from Michigan, Oregon, Kuwait, Georgia, Sonora and Arizona have traveled to Washington, D.C. for CSO International Summits and many conferences to include the U.S. News & World Report STEM Solutions Conference and STEM Ecosystems Convenings. CSOs have also presented at the National Science Foundation’s ITEST STELAR Conference 3 years in a row. CSOs from all regions are invited to travel to Arizona for the CSO Leadership Conference in 2022!

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


Diverse groups?

Yes! 6-12th graders ranging from all background and ethnicity categories. Over 60% 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 annual Leadership Training Institutes, Cabinet Meetings, STEM events and meet ups in the community. Mentors work with groups of students to coordinate projects and support implementation of action planning. The CSO International 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 global network of diverse STEM leaders by placing them in conversations regarding current innovations.  The program is designed to foster communication and collaboration with all stakeholders to enrich the STEM culture for all students!  Partnerships with business and industry helps to build strong communities and increase career awareness. The growth will broaden the impact as a CSO network worldwide.


Do CSOs serve on Student Government?

Not necessarily. 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 you to get connected.


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

Empowering a student to make a difference is valuable and after 5 years of tracking individual growth, we have learned the impact has been life changing on the CSO and the individuals they interact with during their Action Plans.  When you consider return on investment, the cost of the program has a 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 and CISCO.  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.

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