C+M

Case Study: Events DC Invests in the Future of STEM by Celebrating Science with the USA Science and Engineering Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center

08/17/2016

Situation 

In keeping our promise to be the home of innovation and extraordinary events, Events DC welcomed back the USA Science and Engineering Festival (USASEF) to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for its 3rd consecutive year. As the official convention and sports authority, we continue to pursue events that not only make us leaders in the world of conventions and meetings, but to help bring events to DC that will make an impact on the District’s footprint – both residents and visitors alike. The USASEF reaches the nation’s youth and sparks their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Our lives are constantly changing due to the advancement of technology – making the education and engagement of technical skills and STEM even more important for the younger generation. As a result, this Festival is a way that not only we as a convention center can be focused on the future but also provide programming and activities for Washington DC’s community, particularly its youth.  

The USASEF has been a catalyst for science and allows today’s youth to be excited about STEM and education as a whole. Founders Larry Bock and Lockheed Martin had hopes of driving more of today’s youth towards careers in STEM by celebrating science like we celebrate pop-culture.

Execution 

The USASEF brought in large numbers in the past with the initial event in 2010 having 325,000 attendees. However, the Festival has seen its footprint grow tremendously from just three major halls to the 2016 Festival activating the entire 2.3 million square feet of exhibit space in the Convention Center which allowed more programming to fully engage with attendees. In fact, the 2016 Festival set records over the course of the two days in mid-April with 365,000 attendees representing 50,000+ students from 2,000 schools nationwide.

Attendees were joined by celebrity STEM supporters such as the cast of the CBS’ hit television series, the Big Bang Theory, as well as, Bill Nye, They Might Be Giants and a number of leading STEM professionals – astronauts, physicists, paleontologist and explorers just to name a few. During the two-day festival, our exhibit halls were vibrating with more than 3,000 hands-on exhibits providing kids with a chance to experience the laws of science through experiments and over 150 live performances. Another strategy the Festival utilized in order to reach the younger generation was an initiative called “Nifty Fifty” whereby groups of notable STEM professionals panned out over Washington, DC to different schools and spoke about their experiences in a STEM career.  

One of the Festival’s major goals in 2016 is to reach and engage with millennials through social media. As a result, there was a stronger push than ever to encourage its attendees, partners and exhibitors to post about the Festival leading up to and during the event. The impact this event had on social media was immense with over 1,000% more interaction on Facebook, 144 Million Twitter impressions and 1 million plus website hits.

Results

With a record year in 2016 of more than 365,000 attendees and activations around the entire Convention Center, the USASEF is poised to continue to engage with and inspire the younger generation to pursue a career in STEM by showcasing the latest innovation for many years to come. Events DC is excited to work with the Festival’s event organizers to host a greater impactful and innovative event at the Convention Center in 2018 and the many years to come.  

The diversity of the special events that Events DC hosts are growing and are impacting the city, not only as an exciting way to spend a weekend but also a time to inspire the community and keeping DC natives knowledgeable of the advancement of our ever-changing society.

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