Super Bowl Science Brings 12,000 Visitors to Trailblazer

Super Bowl Science Brings 12,000 Visitors to Trailblazer  #DrivingSTEM #LonestarSTEM #SuperBowl2017

Football aside, there was lots to do at Super Bowl Live, a 10-day event held at Discovery Green in downtown Houston: the event offered family-friendly exhibits, performances, food, and a virtual reality trip to Mars. Even in this context, the Trailblazer, a mobile science museum, got a lot of attention.

Thanks to support from Raytheon, the Trailblazer, a flagship program of the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME), welcomed visitors for all 10 days of the event. Over 12,000 people stepped onboard (a few at a time!) to explore the Trailblazer’s hands-on exhibits on space, aeronautics, weather, energy, and biotechnology.

“The Trailblazers are like field trips in a box,” explained Carol Bernhard, Trailblazer Program Coordinator at TAME. “Many students around Texas don’t have the access or opportunity to visit a science museum. So we bring the museum to them.” In 2015 and 2016, TAME’s two Trailblazers traveled an average of 20,000 miles of Texas roads, bringing the excitement of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) to over 25,000 students a year in communities across Texas.

Super Bowl Science Brings 12,000 Visitors to Trailblazer  #DrivingSTEM #LonestarSTEM #SuperBowl2017

In Houston, that excitement was shared by whole families. “It was a real learning experience for us,” said Ray Casserly, who took his granddaughter through the Trailblazer during the event. He contacted the TAME office after the event to learn more about the science behind an exhibit that captured his granddaughter’s interest.

That kind of follow-up is just what TAME programs are designed for. Trailblazer exhibits & the TAME Science Squad Comic Books spark an interest in STEM concepts. For visitors who want to take that interest further, TAME provides activities and teaching materials, including an online experience with activities, games, and virtual reality videos ( The statewide non-profit, now celebrating its 40th year, also connects Texas students to after-school STEM clubs, competitions, and other opportunities.

Community events like Super Bowl Live give families the chance to explore STEM together. Trailblazer exhibits offer hands-on illustrations of concepts that a child might be learning about in school, and connects those concepts directly to STEM careers and payscales (“Fix a broken heart: become a cardiologist!” suggests a sign at the medical exhibit). This approach helps to strengthen family support for kids pursuing STEM.

TAME relies on industry partners like Raytheon, community partners like the Super Bowl, and academic institutions to help prepare Texas students for STEM careers. This three-pronged partnership ensures that the Trailblazers and other TAME programs are relevant, targeted, and up-to-the-minute.

Super Bowl Science Brings 12,000 Visitors to Trailblazer  #DrivingSTEM #LonestarSTEM #SuperBowl2017

“We received tremendous feedback from everyone that visited,” said Jennifer Griffith, Community Relations Manager with Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information and Services Communications. Griffith made special note of the efforts of TAME Trailblazer Facilitators in engaging thousands of visitors, managing exhibits, and training the over 50 volunteers coordinated by Raytheon.

One of the visitors offered this feedback: “Please keep up the great work of encouraging young people to study science.” With support from Raytheon and other partners, that’s what TAME plans to do.

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#DrivingSTEM #LonestarSTEM #SuperBowl2017
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