September 19, 2008

UCSD BioBridge Program to Award $300-grants to Area Schools for Best Exhibit Proposals for San Diego Science Festival

By Michael Dabney

The BioBridge science education program at UC San Diego is inviting area science teachers to work with their middle school and high school students in submitting proposals for exhibits that best communicate what excites them about science.

Schools judged to have the best proposals will be awarded $300 by BioBridge to pay for the materials and supplies for their science exhibits. The exhibits will then be displayed next spring at the San Diego Science Festival, a premiere event highlighting and celebrating the best in leading-edge science, research and technology in the city and region.

Deadline for proposal submissions is Tuesday, September 30. (Applicants will be notified of judges’ decisions by early October.)

“The Science Festival is the first event of its kind in San Diego and on the West Coast, and we are looking to engage as many schools, students and teachers as possible in this exciting celebration,” says Jeremy Babendure, BioBridge director, and executive director of the Science Festival, a gathering expected to draw more than 250,000 attendees.

BioBridge at UC San Diego is a partnership between school districts, other universities and industry. The goal of the program is to link educational and scientific communities in creating hands-on laboratory experiences that help enhance bioscience achievement at schools in underserved areas of San Diego.

The call for science exhibit proposals from middle schools and high schools throughout San Diego County is a key way in which BioBridge and the Festival hope to encourage K-12 educational involvement in the event.

Says Babendure: “We’re seeking creative proposals from schools and students that communicate what really excites them about science, research or technology. Successful applicants will also propose exhibits that are hands-on and interactive, communicate how science impacts our lives; how science is ‘cool;’ and what the future of science holds.”

Exhibit proposals should also demonstrate teamwork and involve a “reasonable amount” of student participation from each school site, says Babendure, as well as involving local community collaboration if possible, and a description of how the $300 award would be used in developing the exhibit.

“Students of winning proposals will also be strongly encouraged to videotape their exhibit development process so that this can be posted on the Science Festival’s website for future years.”

BioBridge has allotted funds to award a minimum of 25 grants. Winning applicants will display their exhibits on Saturday, April 4 in Balboa Park during the Festival’s “Expo Weekend” in 10 ft. x 10 ft. spaces reserved by the Festival.

The entire Science Festival will take place from March through April in various parts of San Diego County, featuring more than 250 free events for the general public.

To apply for an exhibit grant award, visit this web site: http://biobridge.ucsd.edu/SDSFschoolRFP/display_info.php

For more information on the San Diego Science Festival (including a complete list of events for students, teachers and the public, and how schools can arrange for a visit by one of the Festival’s Nifty Fifty Scientists), visit this web site: http://www.sdsciencefestival.com/

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