Among the dazzling sights at Saturday’s Expo Day, the opening event of the nine-day San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering: Qualcomm engineer Saura Naderi’s dress. Under-the-skirts robotic tentacles allowed the floor-length garment to hug bystanders and rhythmically swish and sway.

“I would hope so,” said Charles Bergan, vice president of engineering at Qualcomm Research and a festival board member. “No matter what happens, the commitment to STEM education will continue.” Signs of this commitment to STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — were everywhere at this Petco Park event.

Consider, again, Naderi’s dress. “She wanted to create something that really broke stereotypes of what engineering is,” Bergan said.

“It’s not just for boys.” STEM, Expo officials insisted, is for everyone, not just for the beaker and test-tube set. (Although lines were long at the Illumina Foundation’s “Picture Yourself as A Scientist” photo booth, where kids were snapped in pint-sized lab coats.) “In the San Diego economy, the life sciences play a big part,” said Liisa Bozinovic, executive director of Biocom Institute, the festival’s organizer.

“A lot of our presenters just want to get to the kids and get them excited.” “No one’s ever gotten sick on this ride,” a supervisor said as the next group entered the enclosed simulator. “Let’s keep a good thing going.” Resist, if you can, Music Notes, rapping Los Angeles ninth-grade math teachers David Landix and Lamar Queen. Read more from…

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