Monday, July 15, 2019
Vice president of regulation for Arizona Public Service and past board chairman of Arizona Science Center
By Adam Rabinowitz
As a high school junior discovering her passion for science, Barbara Lockwood never imagined that doing what she loved would lead her to many firsts — including becoming the first woman to chair the Arizona Science Center board of directors.
It was during high school that through caring teachers and timely connections, Lockwood became aware of opportunities that exist in the world of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). For Lockwood, there was no going back — she knew what she was meant to do.
As she continued on to college and into her professional career, she became aware that her path into engineering was not all that common among women. According to the US Department of Commerce, women hold fewer than 25 percent of jobs in STEM. This prompted Lockwood to take action in nurturing a pipeline of future female leaders in science and technology.
“It’s all about seeing a real-life example of what’s possible, as well as having mentors who will encourage young women to step out and have confidence in their ability to make a difference in the world through science,” Lockwood said.
After working in chemical engineering and management roles for more than 10 years, Lockwood accepted a role at Arizona Public Service. In keeping with the company’s strong community involvement and nonprofit support, Lockwood became an active supporter of the Arizona Science Center, viewing it as a way for her to give back to the community and encourage more young girls to explore science.
Since opening its doors in the early 1980s, the Arizona Science Center has focused on its mission to inspire, educate and engage communities through science, offering programming for schoolchildren, teachers and families in every county in Arizona. This includes the half million people who visit the center every year, the 300,000 individuals who participate in outreach programs in schools and community centers across the state, and more than 5,000 educators that participate in professional development.
Lockwood joined the center’s board of directors in 2010, and with the support of APS and the APS Foundation, has helped expand the center’s Girls in STEM events, its teacher professional development in rural Arizona, and science education programs for underserved youth throughout the state.
Reflecting on her tenure, she is particularly proud of how the center’s Girls in STEM initiative has grown in such a short period of time. Beginning in 2013, Arizona Science Center launched its mission-critical Girls in STEM programming focused on students from grades 4-8, the age range when interest in STEM traditionally drops off. Through this program, young, aspiring female scientists from across the Valley and Arizona now have the opportunity to engage in a variety of hands-on programs and connect with female mentors who can serve as role models. The program has seen no shortage of interest. In fact, attendance has nearly tripled since it was introduced.
Lockwood also supported the expansion of Arizona Science Center’s Rural Communities Expansion project, which since 2012 has provided teachers and administrators with the knowledge and training to inspire their students to engage in STEM. APS Foundation has served as a valuable partner since the beginning of that initiative, providing $2.4 million in funds to date.
“The Center continues to push the boundaries of the types of science experiences it offers young learners and expand its ability to connect an entire community — from private companies like APS to rural nonprofits — all working toward the goal of propelling the center to become a world leader in providing science education,” Lockwood said.
In early 2019, Lockwood handed over the reins of the Arizona Science Center board to Kay Corbin, another inspiring female leader in STEM. While Corbin devoted more than 35 years to the financial services field, she holds a BA in biochemical sciences from Harvard University and has emerged as a well-known, respected leader in the community. From serving as past president of the Phoenix Art Museum League and the Golden Gate Settlement Guild to the Osborn School District board of trustees and the Phoenix Mid-Town Rotary Club, Corbin is ready to assume the mantle of providing science learning opportunities for all individuals in Arizona.
Lockwood will continue to serve on Arizona Science Center’s board and its executive committee, teaming up with Corbin and the center to realize a long-standing mission: inspire more young women to pursue STEM careers and prepare the next generation of science talent in Arizona.
Lockwood hopes her board service to the Arizona Science Center has served as a visible, and valuable, role model for young women in the community, inspiring them to pursue a career in STEM, like her teachers and mentors did for her.