PG&E, Genentech, Chevron, Autodesk help launch new programs
The Exploratorium has partnered with leading California corporations to expand or develop programs that strengthen scientific literacy. PG&E, Genentech, Chevron, and Autodesk are partnering with the Exploratorium to expand the museum’s already robust programs and extend field trip opportunities to the more than 20,000 Title I school students in the region, and develop teacher workshops on new educational standards, among other initiatives. These programs will impact thousands of schools and teachers statewide.
“A robust STEM learning ecosystem in California is a powerful driver for the community, business and state,” said Dr. Dennis Bartels, Director of the Exploratorium, and an educational policy expert. The Exploratorium is venturing beyond traditional corporate support to collaborate with leading businesses to identify ways in which its mission and its partners long-term vision in support of STEM education aligns in new ways.
For example, due to budget constraints, currently only 10 to 12 percent of the students in the San Francisco Unified public school system visit the museum as a school-sponsored activity in an academic year. To help increase access for underserved communities, PG&E is launching a field trip program at the Exploratorium that will sponsor visits from Title I schools in the region.
Building on two decades of collaboration to drive public engagement with science, Genentech is underwriting an Exploratorium program to offer free admission to all California public school teachers. As part of Genentech's longstanding and growing commitment to science education, this program will provide much needed support to local educators and make it easier for more teachers to access to Exploratorium educational resources.
Similarly, in November, the Exploratorium and Chevron will launch the first of a series of STEM Education Teacher Conferences, which will host more than 200 educators statewide for an all-day seminar. Sessions will provide professional development to teachers in preparation of the Next Generation of Science Standards that will soon include subjects such as design and engineering and will be required in all California high schools next year. Chevron brings key educational partners as well as Chevron employees to contribute to the conference and provide tools in the new subject areas, alongside the Exploratorium’s PhD level teacher professional development staff. The sessions will be recorded and available online along with a digital magazine for further distribution.
“Chevron invests in education because it’s critical to the competitiveness of our home and the success of our own business,” said Diana Reyes Baughman, Manager of California Corporate Affairs for Chevron. “Our investments in professional development for STEM educators support the Next Generation Science Standards and will help California build a new and growing talent pool of young critical thinkers.” Two more conferences will be conducted in April and November of 2014.
Designers from the Exploratorium will also team up with engineers and designers from Autodesk to create three new exhibits for the museum’s visitors. This is part of an intended three-year partnership, which will include exhibits at the Autodesk Gallery at One Market. The partnership builds on Autodesk's mission to inspire students to think creatively about design by engaging with technology from an early age. The designers will use software and resources from Autodesk’s consumer products team, which is moving this summer to Pier 9, next door to the Exploratorium. Autodesk also plans to collaborate with the museum to launch the Tinkering Social Club, which will bring together maker movement enthusiasts, including at the ongoing “After Dark” programming for adults only that takes place at the Exploratorium on the first Thursday of the month.
In total, more than $4M was contributed to extend these STEM education initiatives.
“It’s a great example of how the educational and business communities can collaborate to make a meaningful impact,” said Barbara van Dillen, Director of Corporate Engagement for the Exploratorium. For more information, visit http://www.exploratorium.edu/collaborations/corporate-leaders.