Exploring STEM in California Trip

Students take part in a whirlwind STEM tour in California

Inspired by the creativity and innovation featured throughout The Franklin Institute’s recent special exhibition The Science Behind Pixar, three Philadelphia students travelled to San Francisco, California this past summer to experience a five-day whirlwind STEM education tour. 

The trip included exclusive access and tours of major technology centers and some of the most innovative companies in the world such as IDEO, rLoop, TE Connectivity in Menlo Park, San Francisco’s Exploratorium, and PIXAR Animation Studios.  Engineered by The Franklin Institute and TE Connectivity, the trip was designed to foster an ongoing appreciation for the importance of STEM education and insight into the career paths that can follow which are vital to the growth and advancement of our nation and world. 

The Franklin Institute’s Dr. Frederic Bertley, Senior Vice President of Science and Education joined the students on the August tour.  “There really isn’t a more solid way to showcase the importance of STEM education and the benefits of pursuing STEM careers than providing these students direct exposure to some of the top places in the country for science and technology production, and face-to-face meetings with some of the world’s most renowned scientists,” Bertley explained.  “At this pivotal time in these students’ lives, this trip can be a game-changer.”  

The winners were selected among a pool of entries from students enrolled in two of The Franklin Institute’s youth education programs STEM Scholars and Partnerships for Achieving Careers in Technology and Science (PACTS), as well as the Institute’s partnership high school Science Leadership Academy (SLA).  Students were asked to submit 1200-word essays and finalists had to interview before a panel of judges. A talented pool of experts, engineers, scientists and educators from The Franklin Institute and TE Connectivity selected the following students who were awarded the all-expense paid STEM education tour: Kate Kopf, Khafren Smith, and Matthew Milligan.

As a global technology leader in connectivity and sensor solutions, TE’s culture is defined by innovation, collaboration and creative problem-solving.  “Encouraging kids to pursue STEM education and careers ensures the next generation will be able to invent a bright future,” said Amy Shah, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at TE Connectivity. "At TE, we believe every connection counts, which goes beyond our technology solutions. The learning opportunities and personal connections made during this experience will open these students' worlds to new possibilities. We couldn’t be more proud to partner with The Franklin Institute in this way."

Thank you TE Connectivity for making this incredible trip a reality.

TE Connectivity