My name is Mike Vargas. I am a proud recipient of the 2014 ASTA Arizona HS Science Teacher of the Year award and I am a 2016 AEF Arizona Teacher of the Year Ambassador for Excellence. I received my undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University where I was Vice – President of the Associated Students, a recipient of the Gold Axe, and President’s Prize awards. I also hold graduate degrees and certificates from Trident University International and the University of San Diego. I have served as the boy’s head basketball coach and physics teacher at Supreme Headquarter Allied Powers Europe in Mons Belgium from 2001 to 2012. During this time period, I lead our track and basketball teams to multiple European Championships.
Working at NATO’s Headquarters allowed me the opportunity to work with several national military representatives including multiple years teaching science to Norwegian and Canadian sections as well as the American HS and middle school sections. I have taught several subjects including Physics, Physics Applications, Astronomy, Earth and Space Science, 8th grade Canadian Science and World History. I am a member of STEM Teachers Phoenix and I work closely with the Arizona State University Physics Instructional Modeling Program. I am an advocate for physics first instruction and I am leading a movement to double the current number of physics teachers in Arizona in the next 5 years.