STEAM Festival

Empowering Futures & Igniting Dreams

Creating connections and opportunities for the next generation of Roadrunners is at the heart of what we do.  Under the leadership of Professor Dr. Garima Garg and the Division of Math, Sciences & Engineering, and through the generous support of the BCM Foundation, The Whittier Charitable Trust, and The Rotary Club of Whittier, local children can learn about STEAM fields, participate in exciting, hands-on activities, and connect with College faculty and students on the Rio Hondo College campus. 

Through the STEAM Festival, Rio Hondo faculty expose local K-12 students to STEAM activities to raise educational aspirations and introduce students to the college environment. Many young students in Whittier and neighboring communities are low-income, first-generation students. Exposing high school, middle school, and elementary school students and their families to STEAM activities through a community festival experience gives Rio Hondo an opportunity to introduce young students to college life in the hope that these kids will look forward to their educational journey and start to dream about what their future holds.

Approximately 700 (K-12) and their family members participated in the March 2023 pilot launch of the Rio Hondo STEAM Festival. The festival turned out to be a great success with positive feedback from visiting students and their parents. Due to limited funds, attendance was restricted to 700 visitors. Several faculty members and students from Math, Science, and Engineering Division volunteered along with several of their students to help organize and set up several booths with wide range of science fun activities that appealed to K-12 level students and their parents. The parents were also encouraged to participate with their kids. The activities included slime makingsolar telescope, robotics, simple circuit making, balloon cart, egg throwing to explain impact, eggstra strong eggs to show how eggs can support lots of weight without breaking, extracting DNA from strawberries, animal life, coke fountain, drone, explaining probability with candies, building character with straws, catapult, luminol glow in the dark, sacrifice of the gummy bear, colorful flame, and several other activities. Rio Hondo Teacher Prep STEM students volunteered by explaining the STEAM activities and addressed questions from the attendees. This gave Rio Hondo students who are preparing to be STEM teachers an opportunity to do direct field work with K-12 community students.

In 2024, Rio Hondo’s STEAM Festival will expand its outreach goal to encourage 2,000 attendees (students and families) and plan to double the number of Rio Hondo Faculty and volunteer students. This funding will allow Professor Garg and her team to expand and add more experimental learning activities. Similar to last year, attendees and their families will be able to register online ahead of time. This will help faculty and facilities prepare learning stations ahead of time to accommodate the increased number of attendees. The festival and details for registration will be announced two months before the event. The STEAM Festival coordinators will contact all the neighboring school district superintendents to help post the event details on parent portals. The details of the event will also be posted on social media for people to see within the Whittier and neighboring districts. There is a dedicated Rio Hondo STEAM Festival webpage with the event information and registration link. It will be updated every year. The webpage can be accessed here: