The Science Center is dedicated to helping innovators and entrepreneurs bring world-changing technologies to market. It is our vision to fuel and support discoveries that solve problems for the entire world, inspire and connect the next generation of scientists, and establish Philadelphia as a global innovation city.

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Talent Pipeline
FirstHand Students Make Program History
FirstHand Students Make Program History

FirstHand’s Project Inquiry students are changing tomorrow through the power of design.

A group of 12 tenth graders from School of the Future were challenged to put their own spin on the brand identity of Evol Science, a biotech company located in the Science Center’s Port business incubator.

Teams of students created a new logo, brand book and marketing materials for Evol Science. Throughout the program, they enhanced their graphic design skills, while learning about prototyping and advanced modeling skills.

Project Inquiry students receiving a check from Joe Divis
Joe Divis of AT&T presents a check to Project Inquiry students.

The winning team made program history. Vikram Bhattacharjee, Primary Scientist at Evol Science and Project Inquiry judge, liked the students’ take on the logo so much that the company will be using the new design.

Project Inquiry offers an in-depth and focused experience with STEM learning, paired with mentorship from professionals. Mentorship is a key component of FirstHand programming. Since launching in 2016, 14 designers, entrepreneurs, innovators and business professionals from six different companies have served as mentors to 24 Project Inquiry students.

Bhattacharjee mentored the current cohort of students, providing a glimpse into life at a startup. Dylan Garner, Creative Director at Cohere, also served as a mentor giving the students a professional perspective as they created varying iterations of designs leading up to the final student showcase.

Project Inquiry is just the type of immersive programming that’s so important in guiding students toward academic success and ultimately career success. Exposing high school students to STEM in the real world through hands-on experience and caring mentors delivers powerful learning and inspiration."

Project Inquiry is just the type of immersive programming that’s so important in guiding students toward academic success and ultimately career success. Exposing high school students to STEM in the real world through hands-on experience and caring mentors delivers powerful learning and inspiration."

–Joseph Divis, AT&T

At the showcase in February 2018, students presented their designs to members of the community, their mentors, and representatives from AT&T. A $20,000 donation from AT&T’s Aspire program funded the latest cohort of Project Inquiry, enabling students to participate in FirstHand programming at no cost.

While FirstHand students make program history, FirstHand itself continues to earn national recognition for its unique approach to mentoring. FirstHand won US2020’s award for Excellence in Volunteer Experience in October 2017, its third recognition from the organization in three years.

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