San Francisco STEM Career Awareness Day Emphasizes Hands-On Scientific Learning to Highlight Exciting Science Careers


Primary Media Contacts:
UCSF: Laura Kurtzman (Laura.Kurtzman@ucsf.edu)
CLSI: Will Zasadny (Wzasadny@califesciences.org)

To build the next generation of innovators in San Francisco, local companies, academia and local government came together to sponsor this STEM event for local high school students

San Francisco, CA, March 15, 2016—Today, UC San Francisco (UCSF), Bayer, the City of San Francisco, the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) hosted its second annual STEM Career Awareness Day to showcase the potential scientific and technology career pathways for local high school students and to inspire students to pursue STEM majors in community and four-year colleges. This event, the result of a unique collaboration between academia, business and local government, was held at the Rutter Center, UCSF Mission Bay at 1675 Owens St, San Francisco.

More than 100 high school students from three San Francisco Unified high schools participated in this STEM event and visited local businesses for a closer look at the innovation that is taking place in the Mission Bay region. The companies that opened their doors to high school students for tours and mentoring between their scientists and engineers included UCSF, Bayer, FibroGen, OtherLab, Splunk, Discovery Digital, the EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park, PG&E Energy Center, the TechShop, Adobe, Illumina, and the San Francisco’s PUC Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant. These leading STEM-focused organizations span fields from biopharmaceuticals, utilities engineering, robotics, environmental sustainability, performance medicine, big data, and digital media/communications.

A student from Burton HS tries her hand at pipetting during the 2015 STEM Career Day. Photo by Elisabeth Fall.
A student from Burton HS tries her hand at pipetting during the 2015 STEM Career Day. Photo by Elisabeth Fall.

The annual San Francisco STEM Career Awareness Day is hosted and organized by UCSF through its Science and Health Education Partnership (SEP) with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). Bayer is the primary sponsor of the event. Additional partners include the San Francisco Office of Economic  and Workforce Development, the Chamber of Commerce, California State University East Bay,  and the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI).

“We know the best investment we can make for our City’s future is an investment in our young people, and that’s why we are laser focused on making sure our public schools are the best in the nation,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “STEM Career Awareness Education Day helps to inspire our students to pursue the science and technology careers of the 21st Century economy, and gives them a roadmap to succeed through STEM education.”

In the U.S., STEM unemployment is already low—3.1% compared to 7.4% overall nationwide (according to a 2015 report by Economic Modeling Specialists). STEM careers are projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022, according to a 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, with many jobs requiring only one to four years of education after high school.

About UCSF and the SEP

UCSF is the nation’s leading university exclusively focused on health. UCSF is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with world-renowned programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and top-tier hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. Please visit www.ucsf.edu.

The UC San Francisco Science & Health Education Partnership has, for more than 25 years, worked to support science teaching and learning in San Francisco’s public schools through a wide variety of programs. Through its programs, SFUSD K-12 students develop relationships with scientists and health professionals, teachers receive intellectual and material support for science teaching, and UCSF volunteers gain experience communicating science clearly and become advocates for teachers and science education. SEP is also the organizational home for the Bay Area Science Festival.  Each year, more than 250 UCSF volunteers and 300 teachers are active in SEP’s programs. Collectively, this work benefits nearly 30% of SFUSD’s 25,000 students and SEP programs are active in 85-90% of SFUSD schools on an annual basis.


The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is the seventh largest school district in California, educating approximately 56,000 students every year.

Its mission is to provide each student with an equal opportunity to succeed by promoting intellectual growth, creativity, self-discipline, cultural and linguistic sensitivity, democratic responsibility, economic competence, and physical and mental health so that each student can achieve his or her maximum potential.

SFUSD’s five-year strategic plan places access and equity, student achievement, and accountability at the forefront of every child’s education. The ideas and actions in the plan focus on one central idea: every child has the right to be well-educated.

About the SF Chamber of Commerce and UniteSF

Founded in 1850, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is recognized as the preeminent business organization for advocacy, networking, and economic growth. A private, nonprofit 501(c)(6) membership organization, the Chamber works to create a better San Francisco through our foundation and initiatives such as UniteSF, which brings together committed partners around common goals to prepare our students for college and the 21st century global economy and workplace.

About Bayer in the Bay Area

Bayer is the third largest biotech employer in the Bay Area and a global leader in the research, development and manufacturing of biotechnology and specialty pharmaceutical therapies that improve human health. Bayer’s presence on the U.S. West Coast includes a manufacturing facility in Berkeley and its U.S. research hub, the U.S. Innovation Center in San Francisco.

About California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI)

California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) supports the foundations of innovation that have made California home to the world’s most prominent life sciences ecosystem. With a focus on the San Francisco Bay Area, CLSI’s mission is to maintain California’s leadership in life sciences innovation through support of entrepreneurship, education and career development. CLSI is an affiliate of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), which represents more than 750 life sciences organizations. The California Life Sciences Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3), and was established in 1990 as the BayBio Institute. Learn more at http://califesciencesinstitute.org.

Additional Media Contacts:

  • SF Office of Economic and Workforce Development: Gloria Chan (Gloria.chan@sfgov.org)
  • SFUSD: Heidi Anderson (Heidi AndersonH@sfusd.edu)
  • Chamber of Commerce: Marshall Wilson (mwilson@sfchamber.com)
  • Bayer: Jennifer Chang (jennifer.chang@bayer.com)
  • California Life Sciences Institute: Will Zasadny (wzasadny@califesciences.org)