DOWNEY – Downey’s Columbia Memorial Space Center will host a week-long “City of STEM” science festival April 6-11, with events throughout the city highlighting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) technology. “City of STEM” also aims at reintroducing the space center, which is under the direction of recently-hired executive director Ben Dickow.
“The City of STEM embodies the first step in realizing the Space Center’s new vision,” Dickow said. “The week provides a platform for connecting to many different members of the public in several locations, allowing the Space Center to have a presence in places where it has not traditionally been before and in places relevant to its audiences.
“From this, the Center will begin to build an interconnected network throughout the city with the hope of scaling this concept to the whole of Southern California,” he added. Admission to the Space Center will be free during “City of STEM” week, which is also spring break for Downey Unified School District campuses.
Below is a schedule of programming planned during “City of STEM” week:
Monday, April 6 – NASA Retiree Appreciation Lunch, 11:30 a.m. A free lunch for invited retired aerospace workers at the Barbara J. Riley Center that includes the launch of a living history program to record the stories of the former professionals.
Tuesday, April 7 – Pub Science, 7-9 p.m. The first of its kind in the LA area, and modeled on similar successful programs in Europe and the East Coast, the Pub Science night will feature an informal presentation and discussion lead by “Star Trek” science advisor Andre Bormanis in the casual atmosphere of Downey Brewing Company, complete with activities and trivia games. For adults 21 and older.
Wednesday, April 8 – Cosmic Car Classic, 6-9 p.m. A night at Downey’s iconic Bob’s Big Boy Broiler will feature a curated collection of cars that represent the heyday of the aerospace era, 1961 – 1972, along with examples of cars on the cutting-edge of the future, including hydrogen-fueled, hybrid and fuel cell cars. Space Center staff will be on hand to facilitate activities and interactive presentations focused on transportation science and on illuminating the local history of life in a NASA town.
Thursday, April 9 – Girls in STEM, 5-7:30 p.m. Held at the library, professional women in science will connect with local girls to promote STEM careers while those young women demonstrate their latest science projects to the public. The event will include activities presented by Space Center staff, speakers and a mini college fair that includes local LA colleges and universities.
Friday, April 10 – Sci-Fi Invasion, 7 p.m. Enjoy a sci-fi movie at the space center and then hear from a scientist about what’s real and what’s pretend science in the film. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs.
Saturday, April 11 – City of STEM Festival The week culminates in an all-day festival held at the Space Center. Programming partner USC will provide a diverse schedule of speakers and workshops (focused on STEM topics, careers and science education) in the building while Space Center staff facilitate hands-on activities, the exhibits, the Robot Lab and the Challenger Learning Center.
Outside, a curated group of organizations and businesses focused on STEM and science education will staff booths to promote their missions, including neighboring science museums, the LA Zoo, Kidspace, the Long Beach Aquarium, JPL, after-school programs, etc. Additional outdoor activities and experiences will include morning rocket launches, food trucks, physical activities, music and daytime solar observations.
“The Columbia Memorial Space Center not only celebrates our city’s rich aerospace history, but also inspires our youth to become the next generation of space explorers,” said Mayor Luis Marquez. “The City of STEM event will help engage our community through the world of STEM and we’re excited to host this for the first time ever at our Space Center.”