“Preparing Kids For Innovation” Forum Focuses On Creativity And Technology


The co-mingling of arts, sciences and technology was highlighted at a recent Burbank Arts For All Foundation Creative Circles Forum, “Preparing Kids For Innovation.” More than 125 guests attended the forum, held at The Colony Theatre in Burbank.

Approximately 40 students from Monterey High, Burbank High, John Burroughs High, Muir Middle, Luther Middle and Jordan Middle schools listened to the panelists talk about their personal experiences.

Moderated by Steve Venz (Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator and Project Lead for Arts + STEM Collaborative, Orange County Department of Education), the “Preparing Kids For Innovation” panelists included Jessie Kawata (Creative Strategist and Industrial Design Lead, JPL), Mark Hatch (CEO, Maker Partners), David Card (Physics and Engineering Teacher, Burbank High School) and Andre Bormanis (Writer, Producer and Science Consultant, Star Trek.)

“The evening’s conversation was very inspiring, exploring the worlds of space, engineering, the arts and even the entertainment industry!” commented Trena Pitchford, Executive Director of the Burbank Arts For All Foundation. “Our panelists were exceptional, sharing innovative ideas and insider insights of their industry.”

“The Foundation was thrilled to host another Forum where high school students receive practical tips and advice from the pros and our donors and guests enjoy a peek into the many ways an arts education and Burbank’s local economy are connected.”

Kawata talked about how her art education from ArtCenter College of Design added a new culture to JPL with design based strategies in her work with scientists. She works with JPL scientists to not just visualize space missions but to also brainstorm new space exploration projects.

As CEO of Maker Partners, Hatch said he likes to hire students with a degree in art, such as a Bachelor of Fine Arts, “because they know how to make anything.”

Hatch also talked about potential grant opportunities to build maker spaces through the California Community College Maker initiative that seeks to grow innovation in education and prepare students for STEM/STEAM careers that require 21st Century skills.

Burbank High teacher Card discussed that engineering and physics always include “Form, Fit and Function,” while emphasizing the tenet should require beauty and elegance. He talked about his new Intro to Engineering class and its project based learning opportunities that inspire kids to be creative.


Bormanis encouraged students to follow their passion, to not just color within the lines but look for opportunities to develop a wide range of skills.

Burbank Unified Board of Education President Larry Applebaum, Vice President Steve Ferguson and Clerk Dr. Roberta Reynolds also attended the forum, along with Burbank City Council Member Bob Frutos and Arda Tchakari, representing California State Senator Anthony Portantino’s office.

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