Expanded Discovery Day Event at AT&T Park Caps 2017 Bay Area Science Festival

Yearly Event Also Brought Experiments to Kids at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco

By Mike Billings

Robots, slime making, human organs and hundreds of other science and engineering exhibits filled the field at AT&T Park on Saturday during the seventh annual Bay Area Science Festival Discovery Day.

This year’s Discovery Day was an expanded event, with even more hands-on exhibits, games and experiments on AT&T Park’s field and other levels. The day also included longer hours so that the tens of thousands of attendees had more time to explore the activities.

Saturday’s event was the finale of a two-week long festival held across the Bay Area that included exhibitions, lectures, concerts and even a special science day at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.

UC San Francisco is the organizer of the festival, which is produced by the Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP) at UCSF and a core group of science institutions. The festival is hosted by Bay Area universities, museums, cultural institutions, corporations and government agencies.

“For 30 years, SEP has supported science education across the Bay Area,” Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, MAS, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, said in a welcome message for the event. “In these times, it is more important than ever to ensure quality science education for all of our students in all of our communities.”

Exhibits and Presenting Health Information

This year’s Discovery Day included an expanded UCSF presence, with University alumni joining faculty, students and staff in booths that highlighted topics including human anatomy, cellular construction, reproductive sciences, neurosciences, prosthetics and more.

During the event, San Francisco high school students also presented public health messages to festival attendees. The students were part of the San Francisco Health Investigators Program, which brings students to the University for a yearlong program in which they investigate the awareness, knowledge and attitudes about current health issues in their communities. 

Saturday’s AT&T Park event was one of three Discovery Days that also included an event in the North Bay and one at California State University East Bay, both of which were held on Sept. 28.

Bringing Science to Children’s Hospital

In addition, the Bay Area Science Festival this year brought experiments to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco for young patients unable to attend the AT&T Park event.

SEP designed a couple of activities with materials that were safe and sterile so that the patients could experience the hands-on learning experiences like those at Discovery Day.

“Working with the children at the Benioff Children’s Hospital was a memorable and humbling experience – children from a range of ages were not only engaged in the science activities, but also incredibly collaborative with one another,” said Breanna Allen, a PhD student in biomedical sciences and a SEP volunteer. “It was very fitting to bring science into a classroom physically located across the street from top-tier scientific investigators.”

SEP is a partnership between UCSF and the San Francisco Unified School District that supports high quality science education for K-12 students. The program offerings include bringing UCSF volunteers into K-12 classrooms, learning experiences for teachers, and a high school internship program that pairs underrepresented students with mentors and immerses them in a university environment conducting scientific research.