202 Magazine presents AZ StRUT Students Produce Born Again Hardware

This article was written for non-profit, AZ StRUT to be published in the January 2013 issue of 202 Magazine in Phoenix on page 38.

azstrutlogoThey’re taking up space and collecting dust in your home, office or garage.  They can’t handle today’s applications, peripherals or operating systems.  But tossing your old tech gear into the garbage would not be environmentally friendly.

That’s where Arizona Students Used Technology (AZ StRUT) comes in.  This local nonprofit’s aim toward a greener future through recycling technology has not wavered for 15 years.  At the same time, AZ StRUT improves the competitiveness of Arizona’s Technical Workforce.

“Students use AZ StRUT to springboard into technology careers,” says Sharon Highsmith Cuculic-Hain, a retired high school teacher of 43 years.  “It’s rewarding and inspirational to see students succeed.”

 Computer Calling

Since 1997, a blossoming partnership between AZ StRUT and founding sponsors Intel and Motorola molded this program for students to learn new skills through hands-on experience all while progressing the community.

During those years, AZ StRUT has been persistent in the effort of providing real-world technology training to Arizona’s students and educators.  The organization provides quality, refurbished computers to local schools and nonprofits while placing an importance on the environment by diverting old equipment away from landfills.

“I love strut,” says student Isaac Badger.  “I learned so much in my PC repair class at East Valley Institute of Technology thanks to the computers we get from [AZ StRUT].  I’ve probably worked on and fixed more than 100 AZ StRUT computers now.  AZ StRUT is a major contributor to my education.”

 Spreading the Love

The Arizona nonprofit is not only revered as an eco-friendly tool in education but is adored by its local community, totaling an overwhelming 6,476 volunteer hours last year.

Through its enthusiastic student involvement, AZ StRUT is currently providing opportunities for more than 700 youth in 16 high schools and four community colleges to gain updated technology skills while learning how to restore computers.

In 2011, AZ StRUT donated more than 3,000 computers to 190 Arizona schools and non-profit organizations, which addresses the difficult budget challenges.

The Success Cycle

StRUT Schools, or refurbishing classrooms, exist within 19 Arizona schools with more than 700 students enrolled in computer repair classes.  The course partially focuses on the refurbished computer process where the restored computer is eventually donated to AZ StRUT, which in turn provides the equipment to local schools and other nonprofits.

“Earth, student and teacher benefit from technology recycling.  We call this a win-win-win situation,” says Tom Mehlert, executive director of AZ StRUT.

The AZ StRUT program is designed to prepare students for success by addressing a number of workplace skills equally important to a student’s ability to succeed both personally and professionally.  The program identifies “at risk” students as having low self-esteem, lack of teamwork skills or those who encounter socioeconomic circumstances.  A majority of students complete the program successfully and are left with significant experiences in teamwork, accountability and confidence in their work skills.

“Sharon Highsmith Cuculic-Hain and the Red Mountain High School StRUT program inspired me and gave me the foundation to the skills I use every day as an IT Support Analyst,” says former StRUT student, Kevin Crawford.  “Without her great teaching and inspiring leadership of the StRUT program I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”

AZ StRUT offers the Scholars Program, assisting any AZ StRUT student in taking the A+ certification exams valued by technology companies.  The Scholars Program is designed to provide vouchers that cut the certification cost significantly after the student passes the initial examination.  The AZ StRUT Scholars Program supports students who wish to continue their technology training at a college level as well as providing valuable experience in the technology industry.

AZ StRUT relies on donations generously donated by the public and local companies.  Today, more than 100 companies including Intel, Central Arizona Project, Safeguard Security and numerous school districts bigheartedly donate hardware through the program.  If you are a qualified Arizona nonprofit and would like to request refurbished computer equipment from AZ StRUT, please visit www.azstrut.com and “Like” AZ StRUT on Facebook.

Taking All Old Tech Gear

Companies and the public can drop off computers, hard drives, monitors, printers and other computer equipment at the StRUT collection centers.  AZ StRUT accepts ALL computer electronics, as well as personal electronics, such as stereo equipment, DVD and VCR players, and more.  Drop-Offs are also accepted at Batteries Plus nine valley store locations.

* East Valley

1720 W. Broadway Road, Mesa

Located at Stardust Building Materials

Drop-Off Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

* West Valley

3434 W. Greenway Road, Phoenix

Located on the North East Corner, behind Family Dollar

Drop-Off Hours: Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

* High School Drop-Off Locations

Coronado High School

Drop off at main entrance during school hours.


 Gilbert High School

Please contact Rick prior to drop off:

480-734-4194 or chandlerpalm@gmail.com


 Mesa High School

Drop off at main entrance during school hours.


 Metro Tech High School

Drop off at main entrance during school hours.


 Red Mountain High School

Please contact Matt prior to drop off:

480-788-5355 or jkelley@mpsaz.org.


 Tempe High School

Please contact Doug prior to drop off:

480-307-4250 or dtaysom.ths@tuhsd.k12.az.us

Please contact AZ StRUT at (480) 222-4066 or email for additional information.


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