The following content is created in consultation with the USA Science & Engineering Festival. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC Washington’s editorial staff. To learn more about the USA Science & Engineering Festival, visit Usasciencefestival.org.
Space enthusiasts, deep-sea lovers and extra-terrestrial questioners unite this April 7 and 8 for the biggest celebration of science in the country.
The USA Science & Engineering Festival is hosting its 5th Festival Expo to celebrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Presented by Lockheed Martin, the event is designed to exhibit the intricate world of STEM and the fascinating things that come from the studying of it. The Festival will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. on April 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and April 8 from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. It is free for all to attend and registration is required. For more information, visit usasciencefestival.org or visit @USAScienceFest on social media.
Founder Larry Bock says, “The USA Science & Engineering Festival focuses on meeting a critical need in America: motivating and invigorating the next generation of young innovators about science and engineering and, at the same time, expanding the public’s appreciation and understanding of science and technology.”
So where can The USA Science & Engineering Festival take you? Boasting over 3,000 interactive activities and over a dozen different stage shows, the Festival provides engaging fun for children, students, adults, and STEM enthusiasts alike. There’s over two million square feet of hands-on STEM activities to enjoy over the weekend. The Expo will demonstrate how STEM can take you into outer space, the deep blue, cyberspace, into nature, the human body, and more. It is the nation’s largest science festival and is expected to draw over 350,000 people.
“Our nation’s future relies on encouraging more kids to go into STEM careers. By hosting the nation’s largest science festival, we are hoping to capture their imaginations by introducing them to STEM innovators and engaging them in hands-on projects to illustrate that STEM can really take them anywhere they want to go.”- Marc Schulman, Festival Executive Director.
The Festival is meant to incorporate the multifaceted industries of the STEM world by featuring science celebrities, explorers, astronauts, physicists, inventors, and experts in fields like oceanography, climatology, robotics, medical research, neuroscience, space exploration, artificial intelligence, and more. Past Festivals have featured performances and guest appearances from bands like They Might Be Giants, Big Bang Theory regular Wil Wheaton, and science comedian Doktor Kaboom.
Some of the performers this year include NASA astronauts, stunt scientists, Science Cheerleaders, and magicians.
Here are a few you won’t want to miss.
Marine Biologist Danni Washington, host of Xploration Nature Knows Best
Danni will be on the stage multiple times throughout the weekend, so you’ll be sure to see her at least once. She will talk about #SciComm, the world of science communication and in another show she will share her stories from the deep blue and will discuss ocean conservation. Make sure to check out her non-profit organization, Big Blue & You, which she founded at age 21, at the booths upstairs in the Ocean Pavilion.
Explosive Chemist Dr. Kate Biberdorf, Explosive Science
“Dr. B” has created over 200 educational videos to help high-school students through chemistry. Her videos bring the boom for sure – one even features Dr. B turning herself into a fire-breathing dragon. Dr. B also works with local schools in Austin, Texas to promote fun science. But her favorite things to ignite are opportunities for young women: “Who doesn’t want to wear designer heels while discussing nuclear energy?”
NASA Astronaut Jessica Meir
Jessica Meir was selected by NASA in 2013. Born and raised in the small town of Caribou, Maine, Jessica remembers being 5 years old when her teacher asked her to draw a picture of what she wanted to be when she grew up. The image she drew, of an astronaut in space, turned out to be close to what her life is shaping up to be now. See her “Journey to NASA” on the Expo stage!
“World Champion of Magic” Jason Latimer, creator of Impossible Science
Jason Latimer is usually stationed in San Diego, California, where he works as a curator for the Fleet Science Center and performs the incredible live show Impossible Science. Jason combines magic with science to use wonder and curiosity as academic tools.
“America’s Science Teacher” Steve Spangler, creator of SICK Science
Ellen DeGeneres once dubbed Steve Spangler “America’s Science Teacher,” and it’s pretty clear why: with over 180 million views on his YouTube channel SICK Science, Steve Spangler brings science home with fun experiments. You can expect Steve to show off some of his cooler experiments at the Festival.
Grand Hank: Rocking the World of STEM Education Through Hip-Hop and Science Exploration!
Tyraine Ragsdale, best known as Grand Hank, has evolved as one the most exciting and passionate evangelists in STEM Education, inspiring millions in science through his enticing combination of hip-hop music and multimedia production.