The San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering is a week-long celebration of the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) that reaches more than 55,000 students, parents, scientists, and educators. Hosted annually by BIOCOM, the Festival engages San Diego businesses, schools, and organizations in a week filled with more than 35 events and activities culminating in a day-long EXPO Day at Petco Park. As the presenting sponsor, Illumina is proud to support the Festival and its focus on building awareness of STEM topics in a fun, interactive way. Illumina Chief of Staff Karen Possemato tells us more about the company’s commitment to STEM education and plans for this event.
Why did Illumina get involved in the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering?
Illumina is committed to giving back to the communities where our employees and their families live. As we thought about the best way to make an impact in San Diego, we looked for an opportunity that was aligned with our company’s vision of unlocking the power of the genome to improve human health.
There is a significant and growing need for professionals in the STEM disciplines in San Diego, and with fields like genomic science rapidly expanding and moving into healthcare, this need is even more pronounced. It is critical that we ensure that future generations are interested in STEM and have the opportunity to explore careers that apply STEM disciplines.
Through our participation in other local STEM programs like the Rady Children’s Hospital Summer Medical Academy and FACES for the Future program, we’ve found that many students simply aren’t aware of the multitude of careers that leverage these skillsets. By supporting STEM-focused programs, we can inspire students, build interest in a multitude of career paths, and help to sustain a growing science economy in San Diego.
Also, with so many innovative companies, world-class biomedical research institutes, and medical centers located in San Diego, there is a great need for these professionals, many of them future employees of Illumina. We hope the Festival will engage young San Diegans, capturing the imaginations of local elementary, middle, and high school students, and motivating them to learn more about these rewarding and interesting fields.
How does Illumina participate in the Festival?
Illumina is honored to be one of the more than 125 local companies and organizations participating in the Festival and supporting its mission of providing children of all ages opportunities to explore STEM.
Illumina will host an exhibit at Expo Day, which will include many stations to learn about genetics in a fun, interactive way. From how to extract DNA from cheek cells to the principles of heredity, students will have the opportunity to explore the genome and understand why it’s important for all living things.
To make sure that our work has a lasting impact, Illumina is also building an online toolset for students, parents, and teachers looking for age appropriate genetics projects and learning ideas.
Expo Day will take place at Petco Park in San Diego from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 21. Admission is free. To learn more, visit www.lovestemsd.org.