My journey through Art of Science Learning

On July 24, I was surrounded by sunshine, music, and the enthusiastic voices of hundreds of innovators in art and science filling the Plaza de Panama and the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa. There, educators, parents, children and passersby gathered to share ideas and learn from each other at the Play Day for Educators hosted by the Art of Science Learning (AoSL).

Incubator for Innovation:

At the heart of Play Day, teams from AoSL’s San Diego Incubator for Innovation presented their projects in progress and received feedback and support from the community. All nine teams will present their final projects on October 18th. Stay tuned for details!

Here are a few conversations that stood out to me:

  • Waterstock: Many attendees considered the question “What would you do with the last water balloon?” giving answers like, “Drink it!” “Definitely feed it to my gold fish,” “I’d find a way to make more with it,” and “Use it to water a fruit tree.”
  • Aqua Diao: After describing a prototype that converts the humidity in the air into drinking water using electrical currents, a 12-year-old enthralled by the prototype and the battery it works from asked, “Does that help steady the voltage?” and “How does that sensor work?” and other technical questions.
  • Trash to Paradise: After walking through the plans and a mini prototype for filtration system made from recycled plastics and wetland plants to locally convert black water into gray water at a Tijuana church site a young woman echoed, “So you’re filtering water with plastics and soil instead of heavy machinery? That’s fantastic!”


In addition to the San Diego Incubator Teams, schools and organizations from around the county provided mini workshops to showcase the benefits of applying art to STEM education for even the earliest learners. Here’s what I heard:

  • Feaster STEAM Charter: as Kim Richards, co-founder of STEAMConnect, struggled to make a pyramid from 4 pieces of connected circles, the Feaster engineering teacher pointed out, “I saw a kid earlier today solve the puzzle in one move from where you have it right now.” With a look of surprise and one twist, Kim solved the puzzle exclaiming, “I didn’t even see it at first!” Another Feaster team member chimed in, “Kids have an easier time with this the younger they are. As we get older we get so set in our ways, it’s hard to let go and imagine possibilities.”
  • BuildTopia: Children used basic engineering design handbooks and recycled materials to model their own utopia. One little boy grabbed my hand and said excitedly, “I made it look like leaves fell out of the tree!” as he showed me his eco-friendly utopia complete with elevator tree house and duck pond.
  • Rokenbok: Attracting by far the most and smallest kids, the Kid*Spark by Rokenbok play area held cars and lego-like bridges and buildings. A father watching his children guide Rokenbok cars over bridges mumbled to his wife, “This is fascinating. They’re all so calm.” As a little boy was being pulled away from a dump truck, he asked his mother disappointedly, “We need to go?”

    Meanwhile young-at-heart adults marveled over 3D printed pieces that interfaced perfectly with Rokenbok’s.

  • CRMSE: While creating a 3D drawing, anamorphic projection, a 4th and 5th grade math teacher shook his head saying, “There’s not enough art in math, my students would probably love something like this.” Pausing a moment, he asked the representative from the USD Theoretical Math extension, “Do you think fourth or fifth graders could handle this?” who replied “I do this with preschoolers and adults. They’ll do great!”

-By Romy Beigel, KDR PR summer 2014 intern & president of Team Paradox, the FIRST Robotics team at San Dieguito Academy

Launching the first STEAM Conference in San Diego March 28

We announced yesterday that STEAMConnect, an organization co-founded by KDR PR and UCSD Extension, will be holding its first-ever STEAM Conference on Friday, March 28 at the Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall in San Diego. We are looking forward to partnering with our STEAM Site Sponsor Qualcomm on this exciting event!

This conference will bring together dynamic speakers, engaging entertainment, exemplary STEAM programs and inspiring STEAM students to discuss hot topics around STEAM, forge new partnerships and pinpoint key action items to help turn STEAM ideas into reality.

Purchase your tickets now at steamconf14.eventbrite.com and visit http://steamconnect.org/events/steam-conference-2014/ for regular program updates. You can also follow our conference updates on Twitter @STEAMConnect via #STEAMconf14.

Video testimonial: My journey to find my passion

It’s an exciting journey I’m on blending my passions in life with my career building KDR PR and . The following is a testimonial of this journey that started with the wonderful Marcy Morrison of Careers with Wings. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you’re on the right path! My takeaway from it all: Take a risk and jump into the unknown because you truly never know.

Building STEAM in San Diego

What a journey this past year has been! I’m approaching year one with KDR PR and am amazed at how quickly the time has gone and how the business has transformed. Until recently, my career centered on life science corporate communications, which seemed like a stretch at first with a communications degree, not science. I was open to learning something new, and over the years have grown to love science. Every day scientists are making incredible discoveries that are changing the way we approach medicine and our own health. This recent study struck me…what will studying the brain on dance teach us about how the brain learns complex movement?

Starting KDR PR last March, I was so focused on making sure arts were incorporated into education, I didn’t realize that there is a similar need in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). Around the same time, I became aware of a movement from STEM to STEAM (adding arts) in San Diego that was just starting to build momentum. Local community and business leaders gathered last spring to talk about the movement and the role San Diego can play (Art of Science Learning), and Patricia Frischer at the San Diego Visual Arts Network launched DNA of Creativity, a project bringing together local artists, scientists and educators in a creative collaboration.

It quickly became clear that my focus at KDR PR needed to be on science, the arts and education, and where the three areas converge. Enter Full STE[+a]M Ahead – a networking event started by Sneaker Academy (now Do Good Communications) and ArtsBusXpress for STEAM professionals to discover cross-discipline collaborations. I decided to take on the group and re-energize the community-wide movement towards STEAM. We had our first event last Wednesday at Hera Hub and it was a great success! Excerpts of some feedback: “inspiring professionals, STEAM enthusiasts, inspiring and energizing to see how much activity there is in the art and science realm locally…” Now in partnership with UCSD Extension, I’m working to build a hub for all things STEAM in San Diego, Full STE[+a]M Ahead events included.

What’s your take on STEAM? Please share your experiences, connections in the community, new events or initiatives, etc. I look forward to connecting with you!