Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Downey, City of STEM

Clarissa Arceo
The City of S.T.E.M. returns to Downey at a kickoff Launch Event at the Columbia SpaceCenter on April 2 where over 100 partners joined to educate youth.

The Columbia Memorial Space Center hosted City of STEM, a program dedicated to encouraging and teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics to younger audiences. The event took place in greater Los Angeles, at a free, immersive festival on April 2 in Downey.

The festival ran from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., where special guest Ellen Ochoa, the first female Latina to go to space, gave a speech about her experience as a woman in STEM.

The month-long event is composed of a variety of activities exploring the world of STEM and providing an immersive experience for all ages through panels, Zoom meetings, live events and more.

At the launch event on Saturday, over 100 partners catering to the science, technological, engineering and mathematical fields were set up throughout the Discovery Sports Complex, 12400 Columbia Way, to provide hands-on learning workshops, exhibits and mini games.

Thousands of family visited Downey from all over the state to learn about the benefits and history of S.T.E.M. in Greater Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Clarissa Arceo

Food trucks and local businesses also had their own booths and sections to join the thousands of families attending the event from all over the state.

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, former Downey Mayor Claudia Frometta and other guest speakers had a stage in the center of the festival where they gave speeches prior to the main event [Ochoa].

Ben Dickow, the Center’s president and executive director, emphasized their rich 70-year aerospace history and highlighted that the Center is home to where the first shuttle in space was built and currently serves as a memorial for Space Shuttle Columbia.

In officially announcing her retirement from Congress at the end of the year, Roybal-Allard also expressed how thankful she is to Dickow and his team for allowing her to be a part of the Center’s journey as she had been a great contributor and volunteer for their programs.

Congresswoman Roybal-Allard was the first to speak at the introduction ceremony of the event and awarded Ben Dickow, President and Executive Director of the Center, a congressional recognition certificate for his work to promote S.T.E.M. to youth. Photo Credit: Clarissa Arceo

“I will cherish our many years of friendship and support. What the Center does for our youth is incredible and I am grateful to have been part of this journey for Downey truly is the city of STEM,” Roybal-Allard said.

At the end of her speech, Roybal-Allard presented a certificate of Congressional recognition to Dickow and the Center in celebration of their 7th annual City of STEM event and honoring their efforts to educate youth.

Also recognizing the Center’s efforts to promote STEM to our youth, former mayor of Pico Rivera and current 32nd district senator, Bob Archuleta, presented Dickow with an $8 thousand check, applauding the team for their hard work.

Claudia Frometta, former Downey mayor, then applauded all the families who attended the event and emphasized the importance of the community’s participation in STEM and how it will positively affect our future.

“I see all [parents] today cradling their little ones and I just want to say thank you [parents] for investing in their futures and encouraging their passions,” Frometta said, “I look forward to working with and seeing our future astronauts, doctors, scientists and engineers here today.”

Folk of all ages were invited to embrace their inner child and get hands-on experience in learning the basics of coding, building marshmallow towers to understand gravity, fly drones and understand marine and wildlife in our environment throughout the day.

Sofia Marcela, environmental science major at Cerritos College, said that she felt glad to see that there is a lot of love for STEM in Downey.

“This festival showed me so many more opportunities in STEM that I didn’t realize I had,” Marcela said, “As a college student trying to figure out what exactly it is that I want to do, I appreciate these types of events as they allow me to see that there is so much more to STEM than just basic science and math.”

Partners in the science, technological, engineering and mathematical fields joined the Columbia Memorial Space Center on Saturday in launching a month-long event. Photo Credit: Clarissa Arceo

More information– including a calendar of events for the program and a live-streamed video providing a run-through the festival- can be found at cityofstem.org.

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About the Contributor
Clarissa Arceo, Community Editor
Clarissa Arceo is Community Editor for Talon Marks covering community news, Life, and arts & entertainment. She is a Journalism major transferring to a 4-year university in the Fall. Aside from reporting, Arceo enjoys photographing community events, reading contemporary romance and psychological fiction novels, and taking trips to the beach.  
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