More than a half million people turned out Oct. 23-24, 2010, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to experience the final weekend of the two-week USA Festival, which was focused on building interest in science and engineering among K-12 students. The festival, the first of its kind on the mall, drew crowds of elementary, high-school and college students, parents and techies of all ages to more than 1,500 displays of science and engineering technology. Hand- on activities ranged from an F-35 simulator and robot races to earth science experiments and Rubik’s cube competitions among junior and high-school teams. Satellite festivals were held at more than 30 other cities across the country, attended by another 250,000 people.
The SAME Washington, D.C., Post Festival Committee, chaired by Mike Pavlides of Brown and Caldwell, hosted the SAME booth, which was manned by 19 volunteers representing the U.S. Public Health Service, the George Washington University Student Chapter and eight D.C. Post member companies—Brown and Caldwell, Tetra Tech, Jacobs, Alpha Corp., Clark Construction, Grunley Construction, The Louis Berger Group, and EYP Architecture and Engineering.
Volunteers gave several hands-on demonstrations at the booth. Brian Hickey of Clark Construction created a “solar-powered Halloween” activity that allowed children to make the eyes of a candy-filled plastic pumpkin flash and eerie sounds emanate from a transparent control box. Katherine Ollinger of EYP Architecture and Engineering provided a proton-powered toy car demonstrating fuel-cell technology that fascinated kids and their parents and attracted constant crowds to the SAME booth. Kurt Maldovan of Jacobs and Paul Demeo of The Louis Berger Group developed a building information modeling (BIM) slideshow and video to demonstrate the technology trends in our industry. The booth had a computer slideshow of SAME student mentoring and educational outreach activities from SAME Posts around the country, and flyers for the booth ran out if its supply of SAME Engineering & Construction Camps brochures.