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 One of the Largest Nonprofit Science Festivals in U.S. Comes to San Diego in March 2017

​More than 70,000 San Diego County science fanatics are expected to participate in the ninth annual Biocom Institute Festival of Science & Engineering, San Diego, presented by the Illumina Foundation. Festival organizers have finalized a week of more than 50 special events and presentations, offering entertaining options for local K-12 students, and adults 21 and up. Most events are free and open to the public. The San Diego science festival is one of the largest STEM festivals in the U.S. In 2016, 65,000 kids, parents, scientists, educators and community members participated in festival events throughout the week, including 24,000 STEM enthusiasts of all ages who attended EXPO Day at PETCO Park. Similar attendance is expected in 2017.

Crowd favorite Expo Day is Saturday, March 4, beginning at 10 a.m. when 24,000 students and their families are expected to descend on PETCO Park for a full day of science fun provided by hundreds of San Diego area businesses, schools, libraries, and museums who will present hands on learning activities and experiments to inspire students of all ages. Additionally, there will be two main stages with free STEM-inspired performances and a meet and greet with actors from the new “Power Rangers” reboot that will hit U.S. movie theatres in late March.

After EXPO DAY, the fun continues with Festival Week (March 5-12) – eight days of learning, interaction and behind-the-scenes opportunities for students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade, adults and families to ignite their passion for STEM education. Since the San Diego science festival’s events are held throughout the county, the science festival demonstrates how science and engineering opportunities are in our own “backyard.” In fact, the STEM in Your Backyard series expands to five sites in 2017, including two new locations in East County, Alpine and Lakeside. The series returns to Barrio Logan, Chula Vista, and Vista. Additionally, festival organizers expanded the 21 and up series for adult science enthusiasts to continue, and share their passion for STEM with others, proving STEM education never stops. Visit lovestemsd.org for the schedule and to register for individual events.

A program of the nonprofit Biocom Institute and presented by the Illumina Foundation, the San Diego County area science festival aims to encourage and engage kids and adults in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and to increase our region’s reputation of being a leader in the science industry. “As our region continues to attract attention and accolades for growing a vibrant biotech economy, the Biocom Institute is proud to be the catalyst in linking businesses and community through education and a love of science, to highlight all the amazing companies, schools and research institutes right here in San Diego County,” says Sara Pagano, who is the managing director of the festival. “Our region’s need for a future STEM workforce continues. We hope all science festival week activities will continue to inspire the next generation to create that pipeline.”

Anticipated EXPO Day Features/Highlights for 2017:

  • Meet and Greet with Actors from the new “Power Rangers” Movie: It’s morphin’ time! Take your photo with actors Naomi Scott (“Pink Ranger”) and Ludi Lin (“Black Ranger”) who star in the upcoming Lionsgate studios’ reboot of “Saban’s Power Rangers” which opens nationwide on March 24, 2017. The meet and greet runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on EXPO Day in PETCO Park’s Palm Court just inside the Gaslamp Gate.

  • The Curiosity Cube: Recognizing that tomorrow’s discoveries depend on the next generation of scientists—and that breakthroughs begin with curiosity—The Curiosity Cube™ is a 22x10-foot, retrofitted shipping container that has been transformed into a mobile science lab. Equipped with the latest technology, the Curiosity Cube™ provides a learning environment that allows visitors of all ages to become immersed in specific science topics—from learning about how DNA works to building their own, custom microbe using a 3-D printer.

  • 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 three winning schools include Torrey Hills Elementary School, San Pasqual Union Middle School, and Westview High School. 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 Etymology, 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 2017 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, and Mad Science 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.


Science Festival Week Features/Highlights for 2017:

  • Co-hosted by the Fleet Science Center, the 21 and up series returns this year, giving adults an opportunity to share their passion for science education. Get your STEAM on with wine and painting, heighten your STEM IQ conversing with Two Cybersecurity Experts when they Walk into a Bar. Enjoy a local brew and crafty cocktails with like-minded science enthusiasts. In 2017, the series has expanded to locations throughout San Diego County, making it easy for anyone to participate.

  • The STEM in Your Backyard events are mini versions of the science festival EXPO Day, held in diverse communities across San Diego County, including Vista, Barrio Logan, Chula Vista, and extending east to Alpine and Lakeside this year. Each STEM in Your Backyard event will feature 20 to 25 hands-on STEM activities. Through these five events, more families from neighborhoods all over San Diego will be able to experience the festival’s STEM exhibits in their own communities.


Sponsors for the 2017 Biocom Institute Festival of Science & Engineering, San Diego include:

PRESENTING: Illumina Foundation; GOLD: ABC 10 & Azteca America, CBS Radio, City of San Diego, Diversity Comm, Qualcomm Foundation, ViaSat, Inc.; SILVER: Cox Communications, Hologic, Inc., Fleet Science Center, San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego Padres; COPPER: County Board of Supervisors, Cubic Corporation, ASML/Cymer, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Geek Girl, Genentech, Live Well San Diego, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Univision Radio San Diego, UTC Aerospace Systems, Aerostructures, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.