Press Release For Immediate Release

 Arizona Science Center Hosts Virtual Early Education STEM Conference 

Early Childhood Educate to Innovate Conference to Explore Ways to Engage Youngest Learners in STEM 

PHOENIX, AZ, September 8, 2021 – As learners and educators alike try to ensure children don’t miss out on science learning and inspiration, Arizona Science Center invites PreK-2 educators from across the state to participate in the inaugural Early Childhood Educate to Innovate Conference (E2I). E2I will provide hands-on, innovative professional development training for educators on ways to inspire our youngest learners in STEM learning. The daylong virtual session will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2021.

This conference is made possible by funding received from PNC Bank to support high-quality, early childhood professional development for teachers. PNC’s support is particularly critical as Arizona eliminated state-funded preschool programs in 2001, shifting the burden onto school districts and other providers to fill the need.

“Children are insatiable learners, constantly seeking new information to understand the world around them, and we owe it to them to give them every opportunity to gain that knowledge and put them on a path for academic success,” said Dean Briere, The Hazel A. Hare Interim CEO, Arizona Science Center. “PNC’s support allows us to help meet the interest of early childhood educators for innovative training sessions on strategies to create effective learning environments.”

Participating educators will earn five continuing education credits and gain valuable new ideas to bring to their students, including classroom science materials. Registration closes on September 22.

“Investing in early childhood education is a solution that creates upward mobility by ensuring all children have the opportunity to build foundations for long-term success in life,” said Lourdes Sierra, PNC Bank vice president, client & community relations director of Arizona. “When we engage young, Pre-K children in STEM-based activities as a means of equipping them with the necessary skills to be successful future engineers, scientists, and mathematicians, our communities will prosper.”

PNC is expanding their presence in Arizona to include areas outside of Phoenix including Tucson, Southern Arizona (Sierra Vista and Wilcox) Flagstaff, Prescott, Kingman, the river cities of Lake Havasu and Bullhead, and Northern AZ (Payson and Pinetop).

PNC launched its $500 million, bilingual early childhood education initiative, PNC Grow Up Great®, more than 17 years ago to help prepare children from birth to age five for success in school and life. It collaborates with organizations like Sesame Workshop™, Fred Rogers Productions, and National Head Start Association.

The mission of Arizona Science Center is to inspire, educate and engage curious minds through science. The Center, located at 600 E. Washington Street in downtown Phoenix, features more than 300 hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, a range of interactive online science content, the state-of-the-art Dorrance Planetarium, and the five-story Irene P. Flinn Giant Screen Theater. CREATE at Arizona Science Center® , adjacent to the main building, is the newest addition. This 6,500 square-foot community maker space provides workshops, including 3D printing, laser cutting, woodworking, and sewing. The Center offers programs for all ages, including CONNECT at Arizona Science Center, CAMP INNOVATION, Teen programs, Professional Development and Learning for Educators, and adults’ night out: Science With A Twist. The Center also offers a broad range of online science learning resources for parents, educators, students, and anyone curious about science. For further details, please visit

PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit

Media Contacts

Maura Keaney
Collaborative Communications

Kristina Celik
Arizona Science Center