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 Vol. 2 - No. 17 - January 10, 2012

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Volunteer Outreach Team Meeting Scheduled - NEW YEAR!


Kick off the New Year by attending the next Volunteer Outreach Team Meeting on January 15th, 2012 from 2-4pm! Meet with our 20 Volunteer Outreach Coordinators to share plans to the word about the Festival.  Volunteer Outreach Team members will get first choice at the Pre-Event Volunteer Activities and Expo & Book Fair events.  Come network with amazing STEM youth and adult leaders in the DC Metro area. We will be meeting at our favorite location: K&L Gates, 1601 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006. Register Here.

And in Other Important Festival News...  

Preregister for the Expo to win a cool prize! 

Let us know that you are planning to attend the Expo, and you will automatically be signed up for a chance to meet Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage of the Mythbusters OR Mayim Bialik of The Big Bang Theory; an iPad 2; lots of Cool Video Games; lots of Science and Engineering Books; or 1 of 50 T-shirts! You don't have to preregister to attend the Festival Expo, but you will have a chance to win a cool prize while letting us know a little about who will be attending. 

Click Here to preregister now!    


In Search of Four Emcees Plus Moderators and Stage Hands

StageAre you a budding Ryan Seacrest? Do you love the limelight of being on stage? Or do you want to help behind the scenes at what promises to be the "Woodstock of Science" ultimate event? Here is your big opportunity!   


If you would like to volunteer your services as a Stage Emcee, Book Fair Announcer and/or Stage Hand for our 100+ stage performances and Book Fair Author presentations, then please Click Here and tell us why! 


We will give you a Festival t-shirt for dedicating your time and expertise!     

Science Idol: Don't Forget to Vote by January 31! 

Science IdolWe challenged musicians around the world to enter the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival Songwriting Contest, and we received so many fantastic submissions...now we need your help to choose the winning songs!

Please help us decide which top song in each category should take home the prize and be featured as the official 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival winners! 

Simply click here to go to the Festival website, listen to each song and vote for your favorite(s). Complete the short form to vote for your favorite song in one or BOTH of the song categories. The winners will be announced in early February! 

Experience the Excitement of Expo Weekend Even Before April 28-29!  

Without a doubt Expo Weekend in Washington, DC will be an unforgettable fun-filled journey into science exploration. But you won't have to wait until April 28-29 to join in the excitement!  


In The CaveFrom science cafe-style discussions that will engage you in the "weirdness" of quantum mechanics, the mysterious life of microbes and other scientific questions to such fun-filled outings as a "Night of Comedy," and "Ellipse Day" - our pre-Expo events are sure to prime you in a big way for Expo Weekend!


And why not consider hosting a pre-Expo event with your university or professional organization. For examples of pre-event ideas, and how to submit application online, click here.


Here are examples of exciting pre-Expo Weekend events that are scheduled thus far:


February 21: Quantum Weirdness: There is No Objective Reality, Right?  Join Steve Rolston, physicist at the University of Maryland and co-director of the Joint Quantum Institute, as he takes you inside the mysteries of quantum mechanics!

March 27: Know Thyself: What Moves Us to Do the Things We Do? Author and science writer Wray Herbert leads an intriguing discussion examining the mental shortcuts, biases and tricks that enable and cause us to make the decisions and judgments we do each day.

April 17: You and Your Hundreds of Trillions ofAlison O'Brien  Microbes.  Learn the good and the bad side of microbes from Alison O'Brien, former president of the American Society of Microbiology and currently professor of microbiology and immunology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and Karen Nelson, director of the Rockville Campus of the Venter Institute. 

April 24: The Mystery of Vacuums. Your vacuum cleaner reduces the air pressure (compared to normal pressure) inside a chamber in the machine to generate a weak vacuum, which in turn creates a sucking action that can lift dust from your carpet. There are other types of vacuums that have far more sublime roles in our lives. Join physicist John Gillaspy of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in a discussion about these fantastic vacuums! 

April 26: Join Us for "Ellipse Day."  In a massive experiment called "Ellipse Day," you and students will have the chance to help figure out the elliptical configurations of the well-known Washington, DC landmark, just as they were laid out in the late 1800s by Lieutenant Col. Thomas Casey of the Army Corps of Engineering when he designed the Ellipse. Fun and challenging, plus cash prize awards!

April 27:"Night of Comedy." Don't miss itBrian Mallow when comedians Brian Malow, Norman Goldblatt, Pete Ludovice, and Tim Lee each bring their unique style of science humor to Georgetown University as part of the Festival's "Night of Comedy."

Remember to keep updated on these and other Pre-Expo Weekend events by clicking here.

Book Fair Family Science Stage Featured Authors: Saturday, April 28th, 2012 

USESEF book fair  

The Book Fair has an exciting line-up of Featured Authors to appear on the Family Science Stage (K-5) on  Saturday, April 28, 2012 at the Finale Expo, including 3 new Featured Authors! They include: 


Dawn CusisckDawn Cusick - Cool Animal NamesCusack Book

Cusick teaches general biology and zoology courses at Haywood Community College and is publisher of Earlylight Books, a children's publishing company specializing in nature non-fiction.   


Rebecca KlemmRebecca Klemm - NumbersAlive! Books for Young Travelers: Washington, DC Klemm Bookfair

After teaching 7th grade through Ph. D. and running her own research firm, Rebecca Klemm has recently turned her attention to numerical illiteracy for young children with her new series NumbersAlive! Books for Young Travelers: Washington, DC.


Jenny OffillJenny Offill - 11 Experiments That FailedJenny Offill

Jenny Offill is the author of two books for children, 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore and 11 Experiments That Failed.




Dia MechelsDia Michels - If My Mom Were a PlatypusDia Michels

Dia Michels is an award-winning science and parenting writer with over a dozen books for adults and children, founder and president of the independent press Science Naturally!, and a popular speaker at conferences, universities and libraries around the country.


Loree BurnsLoree Griffin Burns - Citizen ScientistsLoree Burns

Loree Griffin Burns holds a Ph. D. in biochemistry and is an award-winning author about books that celebrate the natural world and the people who study it.  Her most recent book celebrates real kids doing real science in Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard.


Previously announced Featured Authors on the Family Science Stage are:


Seymour Simon- Butterflies


Bruce Degen- The Magic School Bus & Climate Challenge


Jeff BennettThe Wizard Who Saved the World


View all of our exciting Featured Authors by clicking here! 


Think You Know Microsoft?

Meet the Many Sides of this Festival Sponsor!


Microsoft is a virtual household name, known worldwide for everything from personal-computer software to Xbox gaming experiences to its online portal, MSN and so much more.  But the company is fast becoming equally prominent for its role as a "global citizen" through powerful outreach initiatives and programs that are helping people around the planet. These efforts reach diverse groups of every stripe - from students and teachers in Chicago to farmers in South Africa, to budding entrepreneurs in the Czech Republic - helping them achieve dreams and realize their true potential through technology.

Microsoft will participate as an Einsteium Sponsor during its encore appearance this year. Why is Microsoft returning? "We absolutely love the Festival!" says Donna Woodall, Director of Microsoft's Corporate Citizenship initiative for the East  region of the U.S.  "At the last Festival Expo it was incredible seeing hundreds of thousands of people come through the Mall in Washington, D.C.,  to learn and be inspired from the latest in technology and innovation."   


For this year's Festival, participants can expect to see and interact with a variety of new technology and industry innovations from Microsoft, while Donna and her team showcase the company's global impact.


Students Looking At LaptopMicrosoft's citizenship objectives include using technology to help students and other young people worldwide obtain the skills needed to pursue their dreams. Under Corporate Citizenship's efforts in education alone, Microsoft reached nearly 16 million students and teachers in 114 countries/regions in fiscal year 2011, and since 2003, it has  impacted nearly 210 million students and teachers in 120 countries/regions through efforts in education, Microsoft reports.


Donna and her colleagues at Global Citizenship are currently working to implement Microsoft's National Plan, which includes coordinating and sponsoring such high-profile corporate programs as the annual Imagine Cup event, the world's largest student technology competition.      

Microsoft ArticleKeeping an active profile in local communities around the U.S. is also an important  Corporate Citizenship objective, says Donna. "We just opened our 14th Microsoft Retail Store, which are community storefront establishments designed to help Microsoft develop stronger relations with neighborhoods and schools to better meet their changing needs," she explains.  


Here's a brief rundown of how other key Microsoft Corporate Citizenship outreach initiatives are making an impact nationally and around the world:


Using computer games as interactive teaching and tools.  Microsoft has launched a computer video program called Kinect for Xbox 360 which is being used by teachers globally to help stimulate students' proficiency in such areas as STEM, language, and even physical fitness.


Fighting high school dropout rates. Microsoft is making a difference at with high schools with high dropout and truancy rates by introducing technology designed to keep students motivated in STEM and other disciplines.


students looking at computerHands-on after school initiatives. For instance, a partnership between Microsoft, the Tiger Woods Foundation and teachers from DC Schools is being used to excite kids in STEM through hands-on afterschool exploration in technology and career preparation.


Supporting U.S. Veterans. Through its vast resources in technology, Microsoft  is helping Armed Services veterans, including those recently returning from overseas, obtain technology skills training, job placement, career counseling and other services.


Encouraging  minorities and females in technology.  Microsoft's Diversity Initiative requires its top corporate officials to support diversity in the workplace and Microsoft also sponsors summer camps in technology for female students to encourage them to pursue STEM fields. 


For a listing of other Microsoft Corporate Citizenship initiatives, click here.


We thank Microsoft and our other Sponsors for their valued participation!                                       

Volunteers Needed for Expo's Squid4Kids Booth     

squids4kidsDo you enjoy studying marine life?  We're seeking volunteers to help staff the Squids4Kids exhibit booth at the Expo where frozen specimens of the giant Humboldt squid will be used for insightful educational activities exploring this fascinating deep sea creature!


Volunteers should have a background in marine biology or related study, and we are also seeking people who can commit to helping out at the booth throughout Expo weekend when activities take place April 28-29 in Washington, DC.


Squids4Kids is a science outreach collaboration between researchers at the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University and the National Marine Fisheries Service in Santa Cruz, CA (a division of NOAA - the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).


To volunteer for the Squids4Kids booth, contact Larry Bock.

Looking for Magic School Bus Ms. Frizzle 

Magic School BusNews ALERT!  The Magic School Bus will be landing at the USA Science & Engineering Festival Book Fair at the on SNEAK PEEK FRIDAY, April  27th and at the EXPO April 28-29th.  We are looking for creative volunteer actors to be Ms. Frizzle. Friz in Adventure


Ms. Frizzle volunteers will be furnished with a costume (or they can provide their own) for Sneak Peek Friday, April 27th and the EXPO April 28-29th. Ms. Frizzle can work in shifts  and share the Ms. Frizzle role.  If you have an inner Ms. Frizzle, fill out this online application


Or - you can email Youtube audition links to Laura.  More than 1 Ms. Frizzle will be chosen.

USA Science & Engineering Festival BOOK FAIR Key Volunteers Needed

USESEF book fairThe Book Fair is looking for Key Volunteers to help out with our 36 Featured Authors. Key roles will be:  Book Fair Announcer, Stage Coordinator, Audience Manager, Author Escort, Signing Stage Coordinator, Magic School Bus Coordinator, Author Evening Audience Manager, and Book Fair Promotions.


Complete this application if you would like to be a Key Book Fair Volunteer.


For more information about Book Fair Volunteer opportunities, contact Laura.


Sign-up Now for Rubik's Cube Teachers Workshop: January 11 or January 21  

Join in the fun at the 2nd Annual You Can Do the Rubik's Cube Contest hosted by the USA Science & Engineering Festival, April 28, 2012. We are offering 2 teachers workshops in January, so sign up now!


Fort Belvoir Elementary School

  • Wednesday, January 11  from 4 pm to 6 pm
  • Saturday, January 21 from 12 noon to 2 pm

At the teacher's workshop attendees will learn how the Rubik's Cube relates to STEM, learn how to solve the Rubik's Cube and receive a Free Rubik's Cube Math education kit valued at $150.  In addition, attendees will learn how to prepare a team for the Rubik's Cube Challenge.    
Teams from DC, MD, VA, WV and DE will be competing for the fastest time to collectively solve 25 Rubik's Cubes. Teams may compete in one of three divisions: K-5th grade, 6th-8th grade and 9th-12th grade.

 three girls holding rubiks cubes

This workshop is open only to teachers/youth directors currently employed at a VA, DC, WV, DE MA school and the free kit offer is only available to 1st time workshop attendees, 1 free kit per classroom.  Learn more and register by clicking here.     

New Sponsors of the Festival 

U.S. Census Bureau, Statistics in Schools                      

The U.S. Census Bureau, Statistics in Schools reached 118,000 schools and informed about 56 million students about the importance of the 2010 Census.  The Festival is excited to have the U.S. Census Bureau, Statistics in Schools as a Palladium Level Sponsor for this year's Festival. 


Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) manages the exploration and development of the nation's offshore resources. The Festival is honored to have the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management as a Titanium Level Sponsor this year.


U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)is the Federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks. The Festival is excited to have the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office as a Titanium Level Sponsor for this year's Festival. 



The Festival thanks all of our Sponsors this year! 


sponsorsThank You to our Palladium Sponsors

Academy of Model Aeronautics


American Mathematical Society

Biogen Idec

Children's National Medical Center

Draper Laboratory

Dassault Systèmes Solidworks Corp. 

Destination DC

FEI Company


National Girls Collaborative Project

University of Massachusetts Lowell

U.S. Census Bureau, Statistics in Schools   


Thank You to our Titanium Sponsors

Aerospace Corporation

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA)  

American Society of Agronomy

American Society of Civil Engineers

American Society for Microbiology

Atlas Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider 

Big Kid Science

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)  

Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute  

Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Crop Science Society of America


Defense Threat Reduction Agency

DeVry University

The Engineering Place, North Carolina State University 


George Mason University

Georgetown University

George Washington University

 George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) 

Georgia Institute of Technology 

Idaho State University

James Madison University

Johns Hopkins University


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers

National Museum of Health and Medicine

North Carolina State University


Polytech Institute of NYU 

Rochester Institute of Technology 

 San Diego State University  

SMU Caruth Institute for Engineering Education

Society of American Military Engineers (SAME)

Soil Science Society of America

The Mars Society

The Pennsylvania State University  

Thirty Meter Telescope

Tumblehome Learning, Inc

 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  

United States Naval Academy

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office 

University of Connecticut 

University of Florida 

University of Georgia

University of Rochester

Vanderbilt University

VCU School of Engineering

Wellesley College

West Virginia University

Wind Energy Foundation  


In-Kind Sponsors:

American Elements 



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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.