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Avnet & SciTech Institute Partner to Expand Chief Science Officers Program in U.S. and Internationally

SciTech Institute, an organization focused on enhancing and promoting the value and importance of STEM education, is pleased to announce it has partnered with global technology distributor and solutions provider, Avnet, Inc. (Nasdaq: AVT), to expand the footprint of SciTech’s Chief Science Officers (CSO) program to new locations in the U.S. and internationally.

Avnet is investing in the CSO program to support expansion in four Avnet hubs over the next two years, in areas in or near Chicago, Illinois; Gaffney, South Carolina; Leeds, United Kingdom; and Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Arizona-grown CSO program has become a blueprint for communities across the world to grow their STEM ecosystems by empowering sixth- through 12th-grade students to be STEM ambassadors for their schools, the community and private industry. In just seven years, the program has expanded into 11 other states, along with international chapters in Kenya, Kuwait and Mexico. The CSO program currently consists of about 1,000 students – 600 in the U.S. and 400 internationally.

The partnership with Avnet underscores the powerful intersection between industry and STEM education. A pillar of the CSO program is to encourage students to pursue a career in science and technology, while empowering them to use their STEM skills to make a positive difference in their world.

“Avnet is sponsoring SciTech’s Chief Science Officers program because we share a common goal: to build productive career paths for young adults within the STEM field,” said Phil Gallagher, Avnet CEO. “By expanding this exciting program into more regions we’re not only helping more students develop their skills, we’re also engaging our employees as mentors, speakers and examples of success in the high tech industry. That experience can serve as a guide in years to come—both for the students and our own employees.”

“The support of innovative companies like Avnet, along with the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, have helped make the CSO program a worldwide success,” said Steven G. Zylstra, President and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “Most importantly, this expansion will empower more young adults to discover their passions, be science and tech ambassadors, and explore new STEM career opportunities.”

“We are grateful for Avnet’s support to expand the CSO program,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Avnet’s investment will increase STEM opportunities in Arizona and around the world. The success of the CSO program highlights the need to continue developing a next generation workforce to fill the in-demand STEM jobs of tomorrow. We look forward to continuing to support the CSO program and its successful partnership with Avnet.”

The CSO program was launched in 2015 in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority and Arizona Technology Council.

About Avnet

As a leading global technology distributor and solutions provider, Avnet has served customers’ evolving needs for more than a century. We support customers at each stage of a product’s lifecycle, from idea to design and from prototype to production. Our unique position at the center of the technology value chain enables us to accelerate the design and supply stages of product development so customers can realize revenue faster. Decade after decade, Avnet helps its customers and suppliers around the world realize the transformative possibilities of technology. Learn more about Avnet at

About SciTech Institute

SciTech Institute is a nonprofit organization working to enhance and promote STEM awareness and engagement in Arizona and beyond. SciTech Institute strives to connect the STEM community and motivate individuals to pursue STEM-related career paths and get engaged in community events during the Arizona SciTech Festival as a way to help enrich their lives. SciTech Institute is a collaborative initiative of the Arizona Technology Council and Arizona Commerce Authority. Visit for more information. Follow SciTech Institute on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

About the Arizona Commerce Authority

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state's leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona's economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create - attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, please visit and follow the ACA on Twitter @azcommerce.


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