PASADENA, Calif. (June 17, 2024) – In support of education initiatives for students and teachers, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses® has partnered with Cal Poly Rose Float to engage in an insightful educational program, RoseSTEM presented by SoCalGas and Southwest Airlines. The program was held June 10-12 and included field trips to the Cal Poly Rose Float facility, where middle and high school students were introduced to STEM concepts used to create a Rose Parade® float, including hands-on experience.

Cal Poly Rose Float, an organization of college students, shared their expertise in float construction, design and engineering beyond floral decoration. Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo have participated in the Parade since 1949 and their floats continue to introduce new technological advances, including the first use of hydraulics for animation in 1968 and the first use of computer-controlled animation in 1978.

“Cal Poly Rose Float embodies a student-centric opportunity to allow students to explore innovation while adapting their academic principles to a real-world scenario. Our program emphasizes career readiness exposure preparing students to contribute day one on a new job,” said Cary Khatab, director, Cal Poly Rose Float. “Our partnership with the Tournament of Roses helps expose future students that college is possible and open to all who desire.”

For more than 70 years, students from Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo have designed, built and decorated the joint Cal Poly Universities float for the Rose Parade®. RoseSTEM introduced San Gabriel Valley area middle school and high school students (ages 12-17) to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts that demonstrate the “Learn by Doing” approach of Cal Poly Universities. Nearly 150 students from the greater Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley area participated thanks to the support of community partners; Flintridge Center, Harambee Ministries and STEAM:CODERS.

“We love the opportunity to encourage students to soar through learning and are proud to support STEM-focused education in such a fun, creative setting,” said Kayla Valencia, Corp Responsibility Regional Manager for Southwest Airlines.

RoseSTEM bridges connections with other programs, such as the Tournament of Roses Foundation grants, which include past recipient STEAM:CODERS. “The collaboration between STEAM:CODERS, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, SoCalGas and Cal Poly Rose Float provided our students with hands-on engineering experience. This unique opportunity introduced the students to a new and exciting field of interest,” Raymond Ealy, president and CEO of STEAM:CODERS said. “Now, they know that STEAM covers a wide variety of fields and can provide them with an array of options.

“At SoCalGas, our mission is to build the cleanest, safest, and most innovative energy infrastructure company in America. Key investments in diverse and underserved communities where we live and work can make a real difference, and supporting the Tournament of Roses Association’s RoseSTEM helps provide more students with access to STEM programming and hands-on learning experiences,” said Andy Carrasco, vice president of communications, local government and community affairs, SoCalGas. “As an engineer, I know that opportunities like this help strengthen interest and knowledge in STEM, which further grows the next generation of STEM professionals.”

RoseSTEM participants were provided with lunch courtesy of Panda Cares, the charitable branch of Panda Express, free transportation, a college tour and the opportunity to connect with Cal Poly student leaders and SoCalGas’ employees on the Cal Poly Pomona campus.