STEM in the Community: San Ysidro

Children participating in an outdoor educational activity on a sunny day

Learn more about this year's San Ysidro STEM Fair

Connecting everyone to the power of science takes a lot of commitment and collaboration. That’s why another component of the Fleet, Neighborhood Networks, is key to achieving the Fleet’s mission.

Neighborhood Networks, as the name suggests, bring together partners who live or work in a community to understand how best to build relationships and work together to reach common goals, such as lowering the barriers to participating in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education events.

San Diego County is home to a myriad of STEM institutions, so it stands to reason that STEM professionals and organizations unite to offer opportunities to local youth via signature events such as the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.

That event is held at Petco Park, a central location for many people. It’s also held on a Saturday, which is a day off for a lot of families. However, it’s not so centrally located for many residents of San Ysidro. Plus, many community members in this binational community spend weekends with loved ones in Tijuana, so Saturday is not an ideal day.

That’s where Neighborhood Networks come in. This group, chaired by the Fleet and South Bay Community Services, has created an event that families in San Ysidro can attend much more easily. Starting the conversation to bring a STEM event to San Ysidro was Elva De Baca, a teacher in San Ysidro for more than 30 years, who envisioned the organizations who typically participate in the large San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering participating as a hyper-local event with an equity-centered approach.

The second annual San Ysidro STEM (SY STEM) Fair will engage the community on Friday, April 28, from 1 to 5 p.m. The event will be on a Friday afternoon when many families will be available, and the school district will dismiss K–8 students after lunch to encourage attendance. The San Ysidro STEM Fair will be held at Smythe Elementary School.

Attendees will be able to walk around to experience activities from about 35 exhibitors. Exhibitors fall into three categories: organizations such as museums and nonprofits whose staff members will provide hands-on demonstrations of learning; resources for the San Ysidro community such as healthcare organizations, social services agencies, and advocacy groups; and companies looking to share their STEM professionals’ knowledge and guidance.
The result of this shared vision is an equity-centered event that is customized for the community of San Ysidro, creating a San Diego that is, as a whole, more connected to the power of science.

“I now feel very supported and confident that with the Fleet by our side we can continue to grow our STEM program in San Ysidro and that our families will continue to experience science in their lives,” De Baca says.

Students engaging in activities on a sunny day