Penn seeks Philly Science Festival submissions

As part of Penn’s participation in the annual Philadelphia Science Festival, University organizers are putting out a call for students, faculty, and staff to host an event or activity at the spring extravaganza.

Held from April 24-May 2, the Science Festival of discovery and innovation, organized by The Franklin Institute, is a collaboration involving area universities, research centers, museums, and high-tech companies.

“We’re looking for submissions of hands-on projects that really get children engaged so that they’re doing something and not just watching something that’s being demonstrated,” says Gina Lavery, associate director in the Office of Government and Community Affairs and the coordinator of Penn activities for the Science Festival.

In a previous Science Festival exhibit, Penn researchers cracked an egg by throwing it on the ground to demonstrate what happens when someone suffers a brain injury.

This year, one of the scheduled events is a robotics showcase by the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory.

The nine-day festival offers events at sites across the region, including local libraries, parks, museums, and university campuses.

There are many opportunities for the Penn community to host an exhibit.

The Penn-sponsored Clark Park Discovery Day on April 25 offers dozens of science activities at carnival booths set up in the West Philly park.

The Neighborhood Science After School events from April 27-30 bring science activities to local libraries, including those located in West Philadelphia.

Exhibit submissions for the Clark Park and Neighborhood Science events are being accepted through March 14 at the Science Festival website.

The Festival’s closing event on May 2, the Science Carnival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, features nearly 150 booths with fascinating science presentations and exhibits.

“It’s a great way to get our research out to Philadelphians to show what our researchers are looking into,” says Lavery.

The Festival is also looking for volunteers to assist with answering questions about the events and distributing maps of the event locations.

To submit a Science Carnival event proposal or to volunteer, go to the Philadelphia Science Festival website

A limited number of complimentary Carnival booths are available for Penn students, faculty, and staff. To be considered for a free space, email the Penn Science Festival Coalition at by Feb. 2 with a short (maximum of 75 words) description of the exhibit and activity. Also include whether you are participating in any other Festival event, and if there are any special requirements for the exhibit, such as the use of hazardous chemicals, large amounts of water, or live animals.  

For additional information about how to participate in the Penn sponsored events, contact Gina Lavery at

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