Philadelphia’s University City Science Center FirstHand program wins award

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Congratulations to Ridge Policy Group client University City Science Center, whose FirstHand program for STEM-oriented middle schoolers won the “Most Innovative Hands-On Project” from the US2020 Program.  The mentoring group traveled to the White House on July 23rd to accept the award.


Official Press Release:

The University City Science Center’s FirstHand program has won a 2015 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand program travelled to The White House on July 23 to accept the award for “Most Innovative Hands-On Project” from the US2020 Program. FirstHand – which engages middle-school students in career-focused hands-on learning experiences with the STEAM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math – was also a finalist in the Volunteer Experience category.

US2020 is a national public-private partnership with a mission to advance STEM education and mentoring. FirstHand was selected for this award by a panel of public and private sector leaders in STEM that received submissions from more than 80 organizations in 30 cities representing 13 states.

The awards ceremony was part of the first US2020 STEM Mentoring Symposium, which brought together leaders from the public, private, and social sectors to discuss common challenges, share best practices, and reaffirm STEM mentoring as a powerful tool for education reform.

“FirstHand is designed to give under-served middle school students in Philadelphia first-hand experiences with STEM subjects through experiential learning,” says Science Center President & CEO Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA. “We need to engage kids early if we want to keep the talent pipeline filled with students who are prepared to become the innovation workforce of the future.”

“We are honored to receive the ‘Most Innovative Hands-On Project’ award from US2020,” says FirstHand Director David Clayton. “This award affirms FirstHand’s unique approach and the Science Center’s commitment to career-focused STEAM Mentoring. We believe that FirstHand is creating something special at the Science Center, as we continue to open doors for the minds of tomorrow.“

FirstHand is supported by generous donations from Cognizant Making the Future, The Dow Chemical Company’s Dow Gives Program, The Lenfest Foundation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, OHAUS, Rainin Instruments LLC, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Startup PHL and Wexford Science + Technology, A BioMed Realty Company.

About the Science Center
The University City Science Center is a dynamic hub for innovation, and entrepreneurship and technology development in the Greater Philadelphia region. It provides business incubation, programming, lab and office facilities, and support services for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and growing and established companies. The Science Center was the first, and remains the largest, urban research park in the United States. Since it was founded in 1963, graduate organizations and current residents of the University City Science Center’s Port business incubators have created more than 15,000 jobs that remain in the Greater Philadelphia region today and contribute more than $9 billion to the regional economy annually. For more information about the Science Center, go to

About FirstHand
Equal parts Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, FirstHand provides Philadelphia’s curious minds access to the knowledge and resources of the Science Center, the nation’s oldest and largest urban research park. FirstHand programming serves local youth from under-resourced schools and the teachers and professionals from their communities. FirstHand aims to spark an interest in the STEAM disciplines for students to explore and cultivate, now and throughout their lives. To learn more:

About US2020
US2020, a division of Citizen Schools, developed from a White House call to generate large-scale, innovative solutions to our STEM education challenges. Its mission is to dramatically scale the number of STEM professionals mentoring and teaching students through hands-on projects with a focus on serving underrepresented communities — girls, underrepresented minorities, and low-income children. US2020 is supported by national Co-Investors: Alcoa, CA Technologies, Chevron, Cisco, Cognizant, Discovery Communications, Raytheon, SanDisk, Tata Consultancy Services, and Texas Instruments, as well as the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Through partnerships at the national level and coalitions at the city level, US2020 has built a network of more than 250 organizations in 13 cities actively working to scale the STEM mentoring field, to align the field on common metrics, and to advance a focus on quality. To learn more, visit

today on the hill

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June 25, 2015


9:30 – House Insurance

Informational meeting examining the Commonwealth’s pharmacy purchasing and spending costs


10:00 – House Children and Youth

To consider: HB 162


Off the floor – House Appropriations

Agenda TBA


11:00 – House and Senate sessions


today on the hill

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June 24, 2015


9:15 – House Consumer Affairs

HB 48, HB 965, HB 1098, HB 1241, HB 1326


9:30 – House Aging and Older Adult Services

To consider: HB 142, HB 271, HB 1210, HB 1329


9:30 – House Local Government

To consider: HB 1296, HB 1330, HB 1331


10:00 – House Professional Licensure

To consider: HB 1161, HB 1275, SB 538


10:00 – Senate Finance

Public hearing on the nomination of Timothy Reese for Treasurer followed by a voting meeting on: HB 239, HB 683


Off the floor – House Appropriations

Agenda TBA


Off the floor – Senate Urban Affairs and Housing

To consider: SB 877, HB 447, HB 613


11:00 – House and Senate sessions

today on the hill

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June 23, 2015


8:00 – House State Government

To consider: HB 941, SB 644, SB 645


9:00 – Legislative Audit Advisory Commission

Meeting to vote on auditing firm to handle the Statement of Financial Affairs for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015


9:30 – House Finance

To consider: HB 928, HB 930


10:00 – House Judiciary

To consider: HB 262, HB 1118, HB 1205, HB 389


Off the floor – House Appropriations

Agenda TBA


11:00 – House session


1:00 – Senate session

today on the hill

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June 22, 2015


12:15 – House Transportation

To consider: HB 950, HB 1335, SB 385, SB 405, SB 438


Off the floor – House Appropriations

Agenda TBA


Off the floor – Senate Environmental Resources and Energy

To consider: SB 875


1:00 – House and Senate sessions