2017 Viola Award Nominee for Excellence in Leadership
Mindy Bell has been the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Coordinator for STEM City since soon after Flagstaff was declared America’s 1st STEM Community in 2012. Her primary role is to connect the STEM-rich resources in Flagstaff with our K-12 students to both increase STEM literacy and to enthuse more students to consider careers in the myriad STEM-related fields.
She also helps the STEM City Board of Directors with the annual STEM Awards, and is a key partner in the annual Flagstaff Community STEM Celebration that brings all 28 K-12 schools together with over 60 community partners in the NAU Skydome each spring. This “Super Bowl of STEM,” as STEM City instigator Dave Engelthaler calls it, has become a signature family event drawing close to 5,000 community members to engage in hands-on learning.
Mindy draws on the experiences gained in her 30-year science teaching career to help businesses and other STEM partners provide authentic and age-appropriate outreach into classrooms. Prior to moving to Flagstaff in 1998 with her husband Darrell Kaufman and daughter Lindsey, Mindy taught in six schools in five states. She learned the critical importance of community involvement to promote student success. In Flagstaff, she first taught for the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at NAU, and then taught secondary science at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy (FALA) and served as a part-time Biology instructor at NAU. She received several grants and awards while at FALA and was able to initiate a place-based project at Coyote Springs, and also extend her understanding of polar science as a PolarTREC teacher in Antarctica.
Mindy’s interest in science and education was cultivated by both her family and the natural environment she grew up in. She holds a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College and an M.A.T in Biology Teaching from the University of Washington. She is most proud of the many students she has had over the years and of the connections she helps foster between STEM-rich organizations and students in Flagstaff.