University City Science CenterThe 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