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The Nifty Fifty Program Returns (times 2) to Reach Even More Students 
Send Us Your NF Nominations Today!

NF Collage

"Nifty Fifty" Speakers from the inaugural Festival -
Returning for Nifty Fifty (times 2) 

From Left to Right - Bonnie Bassler, Alan Leshner, S. James Gates, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Anthony Fauci, and Aprille Ericsson



They're back!  Yes, the Nifty Fifty (NF) - that high-profile group of researchers and professionals in science and engineering who wowed students during last year's Festival with their inspirational school visits and talks - are returning for the 2nd Science & Engineering Festival.


But this time we're doubling the number of participating Nifty Fifty speakers to 100 so that more classrooms can experience these renowned experts. To make this happen, we are asking Festival Partners to nominate at least one of their scientists, engineers or related professionals to be considered for this elite cadre of professionals.


This noted group fans out to middle and high schools across the DC metro region to communicate about their work and careers through stimulating talks and demonstrations -- adding excitement and momentum to the Festival in the weeks leading up to the event's massive finale Expo in Washington, DC.


Do you know someone who has made a major impact on the field of science and engineering either through research, or through other fields such as law, business, government and public service? Then Click Here to nominate a Nifty Fifty speaker today!   


Here's a "sneak peek" at some of the exciting NF that have been selected thus far: 


Charles LimbCharles Limb, M.D. - In his quest to discover how the brain creates and perceives music, learn what this surgeon-researcher and musician is learning from jazz and hip-hop artists.


Cynthia BrezealCynthia Breazeal, Ph.D. - Discover how this leading social roboticist is creating intelligent humanoid robots that will change our world - aiding humans in a host of situations from education and physical performance to family communication and health.


MohrCatherine Mohr, M.D. - She began her career developing alternative-energy vehicles and high-altitude aircraft, but discover why she is known today for a different high-tech pursuit: creating the next generation of surgical robots and robotic procedures!


GalloDavid Gallo, Ph.D. - Find out what life is like deep below the ocean as this renowned oceanographer (who co-led the Titanic exploration) reveals the wonders of his fascinating undersea journeys.


VestCharles Vest, Ph.D. - Learn from this former president of MIT where the field of engineering is going and how young students can best prepare (based on a personal philosophy he's followed throughout his career).


WurmanJosh Wurman, Ph.D. - Discover first-hand from this original storm chaser what it's like to track and study deadly tornadoes across the Kansas landscape and stare down wicked hurricanes off the Gulf of Mexico!


KolterRoberto Kolter, Ph.D. - Explore with Dr. Kolter the world of biofilms, a promising area of microbiology which investigates how bacteria and other microbes live and function in their microscopic communities.


Two Exciting New Programs Added to Festival Finale Expo - Career Pavilion and Book Fair  

You spoke and we listened! Based on the valuable feedback we received from participants of the inaugural Festival, we have created two new programs as part of the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival Finale Expo - a STEM Career Pavilion and Festival Book Fair. Read on to learn how you can get involved with these exciting new programs!


Sign Up Today for the STEM Career Pavilion at the Finale Expo

teacher showing experimentCalling all scientists, engineers, companies, STEM organizations, universities, colleges and other organizations - we want you to be part of the first STEM Career Pavilion at the Festival's Expo Finale. The Pavilion will give students a chance to explore tomorrow's hot careers in renewable energy, robotics, space tourism, nanotechnology, virtual reality, clean technology, genetics and education.


Four different kinds of activities will take place in the Pavilion:

Encounters with Scientists/Engineers, STEM Programs Exposition, a College Fair, and a Job Fair.


Click Here to learn more and get involved now!

Participate in the First Festival Book FairStack of Books

New this year to the 2nd USA Science and Engineering Festival is the Book Fair - an excellent opportunity for science and engineering authors, booksellers, and publishers to reach a large science-loving audience over two days. We are seeking book exhibits which fit into the Festival's overall mission of inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.


We invite authors, booksellers and publishers to apply to host a book exhibit at the premiere USA Science and Engineering Festival Book Fair!


Click here if you are an author, publisher or independent bookseller who would like to host a book-selling exhibit at our Book Fair.


Calling All Science & Engineering Authors  

Submit your book and become a featured speaker! Green Technology, Physics Discoveries, Novel Number Theories, Science Fiction - we are looking for books which make scientific principles interesting and relevant to everyday life, and make science fun and accessible to the general public. Each author will be featured on our website once accepted, will have a featured speaking spot, and have an allocated book-signing time at the Finale Expo.We will also have a limited number of opportunities for authors, booksellers and independent publishers to offer science books for sale.


Do you have a favorite science, math, engineering, technology or innovation author you would like to see at the Book Fair?   


Email suggestions to Laura at bluebonnetpath@gmail.com.  


Calling All American Idol Wannabes - Submit Your Original Song to the Festival! 

music notes music notesmusic notes

We're challenging musicians around the world to enter the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival Songwriting Contest! Imagine hundreds of thousands of people humming your Song on their way to the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival Finale Expo! 


kids with guitarsThe inaugural Festival featured a competition to create a Jingle for the USA Science & Engineering Festival and more than 100 individuals entered the contest from various parts of the country. The winner of the Jingle Contest was Ryan Miyakawa and his song "Come and Play at the USA Science & Engineering Festival." Click here to view the Jingle Contest Finalists and hear their unique Jingles.  


This year we're changing the contest format and have created two unique categories for Songwriters. Depending on your musical style, you can choose to enter your song into one of the two categories below:

  1. Create a song that gets kids (ages 2-10) interested in science or engineering
  2. Create a song that shows middle and high-school age students how cool a career in the sciences can be 

All genrsinger and birdes are welcome: Rock, Pop, Country, Rap, Adult Contemporary, Modern Rock, Jazz, New Age, Opera, etc. You can sing it solo or with your friends, with your choir or band, in unison or harmony, with accompaniment or a cappella, as long as the words and music are your idea and the entire song is your original idea.



We are looking for Songs that:

  • capture the spirit of curiosity, innovation and discovery that the Festival is all about and gets people excited about science
  • are so memorable that people can't stop singing it!

Song Entry Period: March 1 - July 31, 2011


Prize for the 2 winning Songs: $500 each (and knowing that your Song will be heard and sung by hundreds of thousands of science enthusiasts across the country)!


To learn more and submit a song, Click Here!


Superhero Movies: Do They Get Science Right? 


How scientifically accurate are today's Hollywood superhero and sci-fi movies?  Surprisingly accurate, says physicist James Kakalios, He should know - he's author of the widely known book, The Physics of Superheroes, which examines such things.  


In this video clip from last year's Festival, Dr. Kakalios talks about what makes recent movies like Iron Man so scientifically "right on"  

and appealing.

The 2nd USASEF -- At A Glance

K&L Gates, a leading global law firm comprised of nearly 2,000 lawyers who practice in 37 offices located on three continents, increases their commitment to the Festival as a K&L Gatesium Sponsor, creating a new element in the Periodic Table of Sponsors.


Popular Mechanics, the premiere source that informs its readers of the latest science breakthroughs, technological advances, DIY projects and tips, solutions to puzzling car problems, and other exciting science and technology topics, returns as a Media Partner at the Nobelium Level.  


Technology Review published by MIT, an invaluable resource which identifies emerging technologies and analyzes their impact for technology and business leaders, returns as a Media Partner at the Nobelium Level.


Illumina, Inc., a global leader that develops innovative array-based solutions for DNA, RNA, and protein analysis, returns as a Krypton Level Sponsor.


Inaugural Festival Partner American Nuclear Society, the premier professional society serving the nuclear industry with online offerings including meeting information, nuclear news, publications, member services, and other resources, becomes a new Platinum Level Sponsor.


The Society of American Military Engineers, the premier professional military engineering association in the United States and a Festival Partner last year, becomes a Titanium Level Sponsor.


The Thirty Meter Telescope Project, a public-private partnership and pioneer of the largest optical telescope in the world that will allow astronomers to analyze the light from the first stars born after the Big Bang, is back again as a Titanium Level Sponsor.


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laura angle

Laura Angle joins the Festival Team as the Festival Community Outreach coordinator. Laura will be working on our Science Book Fair and other new initiatives. Laura brings a comprehensive background in K-12 education, non-profit management, program development, and small business entrepreneurship to the festival. As a homeschooler, Laura has a passion for developing a love of math and science through good curriculum and science based exploration. Laura holds a M. Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.S. in Botany from the University of California at Davis. Laura can be reached at:



joann digennero

Ms. Joann DiGennaro, Esq., President of the Center for Excellence in Education, joins the

Festival Advisory Board.


Learn more about the Festival's hard-working advisors here.   



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Check out the new Sponsor Brochure and Benefits for the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival by clicking here .



Call for Volunteers   

Volunteers will be an essential part in making the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo a huge success.Volunteers

We need volunteer help in areas like recruiting new exhibitors, sponsors and media partners, working on various Festival outreach channels and staffing Festival events.  See a full list of opportunities and sign up here now!

Visit us online at




Science Spark is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization responsible for creating the USA Science & Engineering Festival and several regional Festivals including the San Diego Science & Engineering Festival, Bay Area Science & Engineering Festival, Boston Science & Engineering Festival, Los Angeles Science & Engineering Festival, Chicago Science & Engineering Festival, Houston Science & Engineering Festival, Miami Science & Engineering Festival and the Philadelphia Science & Engineering Festival.