Graduate students and scientists from Arizona’s three public universities met in Flagstaff this week to discuss global challenges facing researchers and how to communicate about science with a broader community.

The discussion was part of the 2011 Science Foundation Arizona Grand Challenges Summit, hosted at the High Country Conference Center by Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona in partnership with Science Foundation Arizona.

This year’s conference focused on challenges to education and how it can be shaped in pre-college stages to spark younger students’ interests in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Science Foundation Arizona’s graduate research fellows attending the conference visited with Flagstaff middle and high school classes and talked with teachers about ways to translate research into engaging classroom activities.

“Having such diverse, young and enthusiastic examples of scientists visit Flagstaff schools was a great way for our research fellows to share their passion and creativity with students,” said Laura Huenneke, vice president for research at NAU. “This annual event is exciting because we talk with the next generation of engineers and scientists to see how creatively they are tackling some of society’s major problems—in health, in energy and in sustainable systems.”