SAN DIEGO, March 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- From petting a bearded dragon and peering into a telescope at the sun to seeing a robotic skateboard on a half pipe, kids had the opportunity to encounter inspiring moments at the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering, which wrapped up its March 17-24 celebration Saturday at PETCO Park. At the Festival's EXPO DAY at PETCO Park, 27,000 K-12 students and their families turned out to explore a generous sampling of the ways in which science and engineering relate to everyday lives. More than 140 booths offered attendees a range of exhibits including creatures from the sea, explorations into space and the science and engineering of the human body.
From its inception in 2008 through the March 2012 events, the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering—the largest celebration of innovation and education in Southern California—has been organized by the University of California, San Diego with the support of community collaborators to engage kids and families in science and engineering. While the Festival staff manages the events, they rely on content contributions from many partners for the vast majority of the countywide programming.
The Festival seeks to raise awareness of the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and to inspire San Diego's youth to pursue careers in these rewarding fields. With activities designed for San Diego's diverse student population, and spanning school districts from Oceanside and San Marcos to Poway, El Cajon and Sweetwater, the Festival shows students of all social and economic backgrounds that they have the potential to become tomorrow's leading scientists, engineers and innovators.
"UC San Diego is proud to have helped build the foundation for the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering to become a sustainable tradition for our region that will inspire generations of future STEM professionals," said Suresh Subramani, executive vice chancellor of Academic Affairs at UC San Diego. "Since it was founded in 1960, UC San Diego has been known for its entrepreneurial spirit and enjoys a proven track record in incubating, then spinning off, successful organizations and businesses including CONNECT and Qualcomm, among others."
Now, UC San Diego is passing the organizational torch of the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering to the BIOCOM Institute, a nonprofit organization, which serves as a bridge between academia and the life science industry. As part of its mission, the Institute works to cultivate the STEM workforce pipeline to promote innovation, job creation and economic growth.
"The BIOCOM Institute works with its partners to develop educational programs that enhance scientific literacy, making it an ideal fit with the mission of the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering," said Kristie Grover, Executive Director for the BIOCOM Institute. "We feel well suited to take on and grow the Festival and its year-round focus on STEM education."
Under the BIOCOM Institute's direction, San Diego's youth, their families and the broader community will enjoy exciting science and engineering Festival activities for years to come. UC San Diego, which faces declining support from the state, will remain a collaborating partner with the Festival. The university's efforts will include providing:
- Chief Scientist: faculty member Steve Briggs;
- Chief Engineer: National Medal of Science winner and faculty member Shu Chien;
- Student interns and student participation;
- Faculty members for the Nifty 50 initiative to help spread the word on science and engineering careers; and
- Interactive booths at the Festival EXPO event.
In addition, the Festival will continue to look to UC San Diego for science and engineering content.
About the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering
The Festival serves to raise awareness of the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and to inspire San Diego's youth to pursue education and careers in these rewarding fields. Through interactive demonstrations, hands-on activities and engaging speakers, the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering shows students of all social and economic backgrounds that they have the potential to become tomorrow's leading scientists, engineers and innovators. Visit www.sdsciencefestival.com.
About the BIOCOM Institute
The BIOCOM Institute serves as a bridge between learning institutions and life science companies to build comprehensive education initiatives that advance scientific literacy. The nonprofit Institute works with its partners to develop educational programs that enhance scientific literacy and cultivate the STEM workforce pipeline to promote innovation, job creation and economic growth. Learn more at http://biocominstitute.org.
About UC San Diego
Innovation is central to who we are and what we do at the University of California, San Diego. Here, students learn that knowledge isn't just acquired in the classroom—life is their laboratory. UC San Diego is an academic powerhouse and economic engine, recognized as one of the top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report and ranked number one in the nation for public service by the Washington Monthly. Our location is unparalleled, our impact unmistakable. UC San Diego shapes minds, changes lives, launches industries and builds the future ... one student, one discovery and one achievement at a time. Visit www.ucsd.edu for more information.