One of the Largest Nonprofit Science Festivals in U.S. Returns to San Diego

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More than 65,000 San Diego County science fanatics are expected to participate in the 10th annual San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering presented by the Illumina Foundation. This year, festival organizers are busy organizing dozens of new and returning special events and interactive activities for local K-12 students and adults 21 and up to engage in all things science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The festival is March 3-11, 2018, and most events are free and open to the public. 

More than 65,000 San Diego County science fanatics are expected to participate in the 10th annual San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering presented by the Illumina Foundation. This year, festival organizers are busy organizing dozens of new and returning special events and interactive activities for local K-12 students and adults 21 and up to engage in all things science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The festival is March 3-11, 2018, and most events are free and open to the public. 

More than 26,000 children, parents, and STEM enthusiasts descended on PETCO Park in 2017, for the one-day EXPO DAY, breaking attendance records from previous years. Similar attendance is expected in 2018 at EXPO DAY on Saturday, March 3, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., which kicks-off the weeklong festivities. Thousands of local families, children and students will again enjoy a full day of free STEM fun provided by hundreds of San Diego area businesses, schools, libraries, and museums who will provide hands-on learning activities and experiments to inspire students of all ages. Additionally, there will be two main stages with free STEM-inspired performances by crowd-favorites The Music Notes, Fleet Science Center, Ms. Smarty Plants from the Water Conservation Garden, Ecovivarium, Qualcomm, Mad Science, General Atomics and TEDxKids@ElCajon. 

After EXPO DAY at PETCO Park, the fun continues with Festival Week (March 4-11) – eight days of learning, interaction and behind-the-scenes opportunities for students in grades K-12, adults and families to ignite their passion for STEM education. By hosting events and activities throughout the county, the science festival demonstrates how STEM opportunities can be found in your own “backyard” and are for science fans of all ages. In fact, the community-driven STEM in Your Backyard series will now be accessible in areas all over San Diego County, including San Marcos, Chula Vista, Lakeside and Barrio Logan. Festival organizers also expanded the 21 and up series for adult science enthusiasts to continue, and share their passion for STEM with others, proving STEM education doesn’t stop after school. Visit www.lovestemsd.org for schedule updates and to register for individual events.

A program of the nonprofit Biocom Institute and presented by the Illumina Foundation, the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering is one of the largest nonprofit science festivals in the U.S. The weeklong event aims to encourage and engage kids and adults in STEM education, and to increase our region’s reputation of being a leader in the science industry.

Over the years, San Diego County has earned a reputation as a hotbed of STEM activity; however, with a shortage of students entering STEM fields in the workforce, there was a growing need to engage students early on. Inspired by the vision of local entrepreneur, Larry Bock, in collaboration with UC San Diego faculty, the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering was created a decade ago to get kids excited about STEM as well as demonstrate why science and engineering are important in their lives. The inaugural festival in 2009 included more than 500 free events and drew more than 50,000 visitors for the first EXPO DAY. Now, 10 years later, these numbers have grown exponentially and the festival continues to ignite excitement for STEM all around the county. 

Anticipated EXPO DAY Features/Highlights for 2018:

*NEW* U.S. Air Force Rapid Strike Simulator:Ever wonder what it’s like to soar the sky on a down-range Air Force mission? Well look no further! EXPO DAY and Festival Week will feature the U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service’s Rapid Strike Simulator. Rapid Strike is a state-of-the-art flight simulator that showcases the intricacy and capability of modern American airpower. Take around in the sky and experience what it’s like to be an airman.

*NEW* Healthy Lifestyles Area:New year,new you! Visit this booth area in Park at the Park to learn more about the science of healthy living. From exercise to healthy eating habits, this new area will teach festival-goers all they need to know about living a healthy lifestyle. 

Pre-K Zone:Inspire even the tiniest innovators to ignite their love for science! Presented by STEAM Maker Workshop and Children’s Discovery Museum, the Pre-K Zone will give children under 5 an opportunity to participate in STEAM-related activities. Visit the Pre-K Zone to excite your tiny future innovators. Let their imaginations run free, they just might change the world. 

TEDxKids@ElCajon Take the Stage:TEDxKids@El Cajon will join us for a second year for TEDx kids talks starting at 11 a.m. on the Dugout Stage. Hear some inventive ideas from some of tomorrow’s future movers and shakers. You’ll laugh, smile and be proud of the skills these students are learning in public speaking, and leadership. Organized by the Cajon Valley Union School District, these TEDx talks offer a unique platform for students to share their ideas. Connect with our future leaders and leave inspired.

Bright Idea Society Alley – Powered By ViaSat, Inc.:No need to scour the map, our Bright Idea Society award winners will all be gathered together in their own row inside Park at the Park! The Bright Idea Society recognizes individuals (new this year) and groups at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Winners will be awarded stipends, t-shirts, and a free booth space at EXPO DAY to showcase their ideas to thousands of festival attendees of all ages. This year’s winners will be announced Jan. 26, 2018. Visit their activity booths and let these fascinating young minds, teach you about science!

League of Extraordinary Scientists (LXS):Join some of the brightest minds in San Diego County at the Mercado area in PETCO Park. Have questions about Entymology, Nano Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Genomics, Oceanography, Science or Astronomy? Listen and engage with scientists from San Diego companies and organizations who are active in their industries at a Fireside Chat. Be sure to also stay for the LXS Science Tour, which offers hands on activities for scientists of all ages.

Extra Credit Adventure:Teachers, encourage your students to explore STEM by rewarding extra credit for attending EXPO Say! Download the Expo Day Extra Credit worksheet in advance or stop by the booth presented by UCSD Begs Outreach located near the Fireside Chats in the Mercado area.

EXPO DAY Stage Performances:Everyone’s favorite math rappers – The Music Notes – return to Expo Day this year. Through rhythm and rhyme they break down math concepts from simple addition to advanced algebra. Fleet Science Center, General Atomics, Mad Science and others captivate audiences with explosive STEM fun. The experts at Ecovivarium give guests an up close and personal experience to reptiles who call Southern California home. Additional acts will be added as Expo Day approaches.

San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering Festival Week Features/Highlights for 2018:

Co-hosted by the Fleet Science Center, the ever-popular 21 and up series returns this year, giving adults an opportunity to share their passion for science education. Chat over a glass of wine about hot button science topics, learn about the science of distilling, grab a mimosa and talk to a STEAM maker, and play a science-filled game of Cards Against Humanity, and enjoy a local brew with like-minded science enthusiasts. Events will be held throughout San Diego County during Festival Week, making it easy for anyone to participate, especially for parents who need a well-deserved date night out!

The STEM in Your Backyard series includes free events that are mini versions of the science festival EXPO DAY, held in diverse communities across San Diego County, including Escondido, Chula Vista, Lakeside and Barrio Logan. Each STEM in Your Backyard event will feature 20 to 25 hands-on STEM activities led by educators and working STEM professionals. Through these four events, more families from neighborhoods all over San Diego will be able to experience the festival’s STEM exhibits in their own communities.

The science festival will celebrate International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8 with an interactive evening filled with several remarkable women in STEM. In addition to an all-woman STEM panel moderated by former KUSI News reporter and anchor, Kristen Cusato, attendees will have an opportunity to network with several women in the STEM field to learn more about the work they do and hear advice on how to encourage other women and girls to pursue STEM careers.

Below is a preliminary list of events hosted and organized by the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering and partner organizations. Schedule, venues and offerings are subject to change. Attendees are encouraged to visit the festival website at lovestemsd.org for the most current information to plan their experience.

EXPO DAY

Saturday, March 3, 2018

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

PETCO Park

100 Park Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92101

Ticket Cost: FREE

Suds and Science

Monday, March 5, 2018

Time: TBD

Stone Brewing at Liberty Station

2816 Historic Decatur Rd

San Diego, CA 92106

Ticket Cost: $5 

Women In Science – Hear from four female panelists who are on the forefront of science breakthroughs here in San Diego and are truly emerging within their fields.

The Power of Gratitude

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 

Time: TBD

Honey Yoga

4952 El Cajon Blvd

San Diego, CA 92115

Ticket Cost: TBD 

The intersection of science, yoga and the power of gratitude as it shapes our daily lives.

STEM In Your Backyard: Barrio Logan

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Logan Heights Branch Library

567 South 28th St.

San Diego, CA 92113

Join the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering as we celebrate STEM in the Barrio Logan community! Bring your family to the Logan Height Branch Library for a FREE and fun filled day featuring over 25 interactive, hands-on exhibits from local businesses, nonprofits, and schools all meant to spark a love for science in your K-12 future innovator.

Think Drink Science

In conjunction with Life Science Young Leaders of Biocom

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Time: TBD

Cutwater Spirits

9750 Distribution Ave

San Diego, CA 92121

Ticket Cost: $25 – includes complimentary tours, hosted hors d’oeuvres and two drink tickets. 

Biocom’s Life Science Young Leaders and the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering’s Think Drink Science are proud to host a networking event at Cutwater Spirits on Wednesday, March 7. We invite you to join us at their 30,000 ft. production facility to explore the distillery and spirits process, while enjoying an evening of networking with our industry’s young leaders from ages 21 to 39. Complimentary tours of the distilling process will be offered throughout the evening. The Life Science Young Leaders Series (LSYL) provides individuals in life science between the ages of 21 and 39 the opportunity to network with like-minded peers and grow both professionally and personally. The goal of this program is to foster valuable conversations, build relationships between life science young professionals, and retain top talent in California for the next wave of leadership. Evening will also include some trivia fun with Card’s Against Humanity’s Science Edition with a chance to win awesome prize packs!

Two Scientists Walk Into A Bar: Women To The Rescue 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Time(s): Times vary by venue from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Locations: More than 25 bars all over San Diego County

Ticket Cost: FREE

An all-female edition to celebrate International Women’s Day                                             

STEM In Your Backyard: South Bay

Friday, March 9, 2018

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Castle Park High School

1395 Hilltop Dr.

Chula Vista, CA 91911

Join the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering as we celebrate STEM in the South Bay community! Bring your family to Castle Park High School for a FREE and fun filled day featuring over 25 interactive, hands-on exhibits from local businesses, nonprofits, and schools all meant to spark a love for science in your K-12 future innovator.

Super STEM Saturday

Saturday, March 10, 2018

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

California State University San Marcos

333 S Twin Oaks Valley Road

San Marcos, CA 92096

Ticket Cost: FREE

Recommended for ages 5 and up, and their families.

Explore interactive demonstrations and hands-on science activities at Super STEM Saturday, including rocket launches, build-a-robot stations, model displays, scientist chats, and an obstacle course. The event is free and open to the public. Super STEM Saturday is designed to expose and engage kids of all ages and their families to the diverse and exciting fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as the STEM disciplines. Super STEM Saturday is the brainchild of The Classical Academies and is held in partnership with California State University San Marcos. It has grown into a popular festival week event that draws more than 7,000 science enthusiasts each year to the university campus, expanding the festival’s reach to North County area. Super STEM Saturday is sponsored by ViaSat. Learn more at www.csusm.edu/superstem. Complimentary parking available in Lot F on the CSUSM campus. For more information, contact: Laurie Schmelzer at lschmelz@csusm.edu or 760-750-7201.

STEM in Your Backyard: Lakeside   

Saturday, March 10, 2018

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Lakeside Community Center 

9841 Vine St  

Lakeside, CA 92040

Ticket Cost: FREE

Join the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering as we celebrate STEM in the Lakeside community! Bring your family to the Lakeside Community Center for a FREE and fun filled day featuring over 25 interactive, hands-on exhibits from local businesses, non-profits, and schools all meant to spark a love for science in your K-12 future innovator.

Makers and Mimosas

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Time: TBD

Venue TBD

Ticket Cost: TBD

The ultimate adult science display and engagement experience paired with something else San Diegan’s love to do: brunch! Tickets will include champagne mimosas and brunch buffet.

About the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering, San Diego

The mission of the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering, San Diego is to engage kids in science and engineering. By doing this, the organization expands the general public’s understanding of the relevancy of science and engineering in everyday lives, illuminates why the United States must maintain its leadership role in science and technology, and work with parents and teachers to inspire today’s students to become tomorrow’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) innovators. For more information, visit www.lovestemsd.org or call 858-455-0300 ext. 4152. Connect on Facebook (www.facebook.com/loveSTEMsd) and Twitter (@LoveSTEMsd).

About the Biocom Institute

The mission of the Biocom Institute is to support life science innovation and success in San Diego by providing our community with K-12 student and teacher STEM outreach, innovative industry-vetted professional development programs and key veteran focused mentorship and internship programs. In pursuit of this mission, we support: mentorship that ensures diversity; science and technology information that mobilize communities; corporate social responsibility campaigns that strengthen the bottom line and a culture of collaboration that maximize resources. For more information, visit www.biocom.org/s/Biocom_Institute.

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