San Diego families are invited to explore the power of science through new initiatives
San Diego, CA—With schools, libraries, recreational centers and even the facility in Balboa Park closed, the Fleet Science Center is activating and expanding their network of partners to ensure that the next generation of scientists and engineers has access to the STEM support systems they need to thrive. "The Fleet Science Center has grown from a museum in Balboa Park to a county-wide organization focused on reaching San Diegans where they live, work and play," said Steve Snyder, President & CEO of the Fleet Science Center. "Given the current challenges facing our community, this shift in direction is of special importance." One of the first initiatives put in practice is FLEETtv, an exciting online place to find fun and engaging science experiments, hands-on activities, behind-the-scenes interviews, bloopers, jokes and more. This experience shares with San Diegans that science really is everywhere and approachable to everyone through fun videos and the instructions to recreate activities. "FLEETtv is a vibrant reflection of our mission to realize a San Diego where everyone is connected to the power of science," said Danielle Grassi, Director of Brand Experience. "Like the students, educators, guests and community partners we serve, our Fleetsters live across the county from South Bay to North County and everywhere in between. Their personalities shine as they deliver fun hands-on activities from their homes, with guest appearances from their families and inquisitive pets, that invite San Diegans of all ages to enjoy creating ah-ha moments together." The Fleet Science Center continues to convene meetings and facilitate collaborations within the San Diego STEM Ecosystem, which include a network of schools, after-school program providers, curriculum developers, parents and communities. In the efforts to support community aspirations, the Fleet maintains engagement with STEM Neighborhood Networks in Escondido, National City, Clairemont, San Ysidro and the communities of Southeast San Diego to plan future events and programs. These partners are also reaching out to provide support for each other. "The Fleet is always working to support the various San Diego communities, including neighborhoods, teachers, families and scientists," said Kris Mooney, Director of Education at the Fleet Science Center. "Even during these unusual times, we are finding ways to engage and thinking outside the box about how we can assist." The BE WiSE (Better Education for Women in Science and Engineering) program keeps connecting participating girls to female scientists and engineers through live chats. In the month of April, the online events include Q&A with a Neuropathy Researcher, Mosquito Vector Control, a SciChat with a scientist from the Salk Institute and a virtual tour of marine habitats with Wildcoast. The Fleet is working with San Diego Unified Schools to ensure that science activity guides are distributed at sites that offer Title 1 school lunch pick-up. The guides provide information for a different science activity each week and the Fleet Science Center plans to distribute up to 1,000 activity guides per week. Activity guides are also being distributed to families who participate in the Fleet's Young Scientists program. This program provides informal learning experiences that support and enhance exploration, create excitement and facilitate scientific discoveries. In addition, programs like Sky Tonight, Suds & Science and even our ever-popular Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar are being reimagined to connect with people online. The next Suds & Science events are part of a series that focuses on San Diego's Amazing Race to Combat COVID-19. Partners for this series include the University of California San Diego Health, Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., La Jolla Institute for Immunology and Sanford Burnham Prebys Institute. "Sanford Burnham Prebys Institute would like to thank the Fleet Science Center for their incredible support," said Sanford Burnham Prebys Institute about maintaining a partnership with the Fleet Science Center. "They have been instrumental in accomplishing our goal in Community Outreach, which is to integrate our faculty members into the San Diego community and building the awareness of our research, where our scientists lead the way in developing revolutionary medical discoveries and therapies. We have developed a very successful partnership that we look forward to expanding in the future." These initiatives focus on immediate community needs and will evolve in the direction of the communities we serve, which is core to the values at the Fleet Science Center. "At a time when the traditional mechanisms by which we maintain community are under stress, the Fleet is dedicated to ensuring that all of San Diego remains connected not only to the power of science but also to each other," said Steve Snyder.