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April 2, 2014

On March 28, more than 420 guests—including pre-K-16 educators, administrators, arts and STEM nonprofit leaders, scientific research centers, business leaders and regional policymakers—attended the first-annual STEAMConnect Conference in San Diego. The event focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education.

STEAMConnect is a collaborative effort between UCSD Extension and KDR PR, providing a forum for community collaboration and a collection of STEAM resources to further the movement from STEM to STEAM. The +a in STE[+a]M integrates arts with STEM education, sparking the interplay between left-brain convergent thinking and right-brain divergent thinking.

STEAMConnect launched the STEAMConnect conference in order to 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.

The conference—which was held in the Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall in collaboration with STEAM Site Sponsor Qualcomm—featured a host of speakers, including emcee Alex Kajitani, “The Rappin’ Mathematician.” Opening session speakers included Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox; Christopher Roe, CEO, California STEM Learning Network; and Craig Watson, Director, California Arts Council. 

The Research Updates panel provided highlights on new research being done around arts and STEM. The Quality STEM/STEAM Criteria panel provided updates on the efforts to develop an updated and consistent set of criteria to identify quality STEM and STEAM programs and schools. The Creative Collaborations panel focused on specific examples of unique and creative collaborations in STEAM, along with what worked well and lessons learned. 

Aspirations Awards were also presented at the conference. Qualcomm supports Aspirations in Computing, a talent development pipeline initiative of the National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT), designed to increase women’s meaningful participation in computing careers by providing encouragement, visibility, community, leadership opportunities, scholarships, and internships to high potential technically inclined young women. The winners, from high schools across San Diego, receive scholarships from K-16 Programs at UCSD Extension to participate in the Academic Connections Summer Program that links high-achieving high school students with college subject matter courses and experiences.

2014 Aspirations Awards Winners

  • Adeline Longstreth – Francis Parker School
  • Charlotte McGinn – Mission Hills High School
  • Daniela Perry – Poway High School
  • Khelsey Gozum – Morse High School
  • Nadah Feteih – Westview High School
  • Noa Glaser – Torrey Pines High School
  • Rochelle Anne Manongdo – Morse High School

To read more about STEAMConnect 2014, visit And to follow the chatter about the event on social media, search #STEAMConf14 on Twitter.

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