What is Ozark STEM?

The Ozark STEM Foundation’s mission is to foster high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) opportunities for all students in grades K-16. We work with students, teachers, parents, and community organizations to build a sustaining and “maker” community equipped to challenge to meet the challenges around them. We serve as a connection point and a resource pool as we collaborate with internal and external partners on sponsored projects to improve STEM opportunities throughout the Northwest Arkansas area. Our goal is to help establish NWA as one of the premier STEM locations for students.


Visual learning technology is going to get increasingly important. So much of what scientists do now is modeling, which requires smart interfaces and lots of hands-on work. Let’s see more doing and less reading about doing. The rise of maker-spaces give some credence to this.


It’s hard to build curricula for technology courses because it changes so rapidly. There are hundreds of great articles and how-to’s published online every day. We have to devise new systems around new tools to help students navigate this dynamic realm.


Relies heavily on math, so let’s make sure that students have the remediation they need, and more importantly—when they need it. Let’s get away from the idea that your course materials consist of a single Statics and Dynamics textbook. The course content should be wrapped in a layer of just-in-time mathematics support.


While neither the content nor the teaching methods have changed very much over the past 100 years, the tools have certainly changed. Thank goodness, because mathematics education is the cornerstone of the entire building. We know where students need support, so let’s start giving it to them. The “textbook” concept is way overdue for an overhaul.

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John Paul Thompson

Associate Director at Ozark STEM & Sr. Technical Expert Walmart Labs

Senior Technical Expert currently involved in store systems development. Previous projects have involved collaboration, social business, b2b, e-commerce, data café, supply chain, and emerging technology research.

Jeff Charlson

Technology leader & Entrepreneur Rockfish

CEO and co-founder of Bike Rack Brewing Co. in Bentonville and previously served as vice president in the Information Systems Division of Wal-Mart Stores for more than 11 years

Karl Kay

Senior Director, Infrastructure & Security Architecture at Walmart

Karl Kay is a respected manager and technologist by all who know him. Karl has demonstrated technical prowess and managerial finesse necessary to meet or exceed goals and expectations.

Kurt Haas

Co-Founder and Education Director Company Name Ozark STEM Foundation & Cloud/Mobile Architect at QuikTrip

Planned, initiated and established a funding vehicle and visibility for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math initiatives in Northwest Arkansas and the larger Ozark area.

Founding Circle Members

Ozark STEM is incredibly thankful for all of their sponsors who make it possible to fulfill our mission.

UST Global

UST Global® is a leading provider of end-to-end IT services and solutions for Global 1000 companies.



IBM manufactures and markets computers hardware, middleware and software, and offers hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology.

Recent News

Keep up with the latest that's happening in NWA!

STEMPOSIUM Trebuchet Contest 2015

Concept Build and test a trebuchet-type of launching device capable of flinging a practice foam golf sized ball. Materials Use only materials that would have been available to a Medieval inventor: Glue Metals Wood Natural Read more…



Come join us at our STEMixer event on April 13th. We’ve got a great evening planned with STEM program updates, a look back at our first year. and some amazing speakers including Lord Michael Hastings. Read more…

Press Release

Rock City Regional

Earlier this March 59 teams from North America competed in the Rock City Regional in Little Rock. This robotics competiton featured high school students from across the nation and Canada competing in this year’s Recycle Read more…

Parents, Get Involved

We'd love to have you volunteer at our next event