Honoree 2015 – Bill Blanning

Congrats to Bill Blanning for being honored as an outstanding community volunteer!

Name:  Bill Blanning

Nominating Organization:  Science@OC

Honoree Category:  Education

Why Nominated:  Bill is the type of volunteer for which every organization searches. He connects dots and people, opens doors to friends and funding, and gets his hands dirty while wearing a tee-shirt with your logo on it. He is the person who sees a need and jumps over hurdles to find a solution.

Bill saw the need for our students to be exposed to outstanding innovators in Orange County to “”spark”” their interest in pursuing a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics). Statistics were showing a critical shortage of STEM prepared students to fill the workforce demand in Orange County. He proposed the idea to recognize and “”spotlight”” local innovators throughout Orange County in the “”SPARK of Innovation”” Series that appeared weekly in the Sunday Commentary Section of the Orange County Register. Students could align their interests with careers, learn about Orange County companies and what the innovator had to say to students that thought math and science were “”too hard””. Those highlighted came from all walks of life from a Boeing Engineer,to an Architect at IBI Group, to an Endocrinologist at Hoag Hospital, to a Walt Disney Imagineer, each sharing their career experiences and encouraging students to explore their own career possibilities in STEM-related fields.

But, it didn’t end there. Out of “”SPARK of Innovation”” grew the “”SPARK a Passion for Science”” which every other week now highlighted an extraordinary educator and his/her role in advancing student achievement in STEM. Each educator whether from UCI, a district superintendent, a principal, or a teacher at the high school, middle school or 2nd grade level, or from the Tiger Woods Center, or Think Together, an after school program, all deserved recognition for what they are doing to raise the bar for STEM education that prepares our students for success in the future workforce. For over two years, thanks to BIll Blanning, some 100 outstanding people in business and education have been honored for their contributions for making Orange County a better place to live. It is impossible to know the number of young lives that were impacted by the SPARK Series. Thank you, Bill Blanning.

We at Science@OC are honored to nominate Bill Blanning, a member of the Science@OC Advisory Board, Chair of the Marketing and Public Relations Committee, MC of our SPARK Imagination event, and overall STEM advocate in Orange County for this award.

Please write a note of congratulations below!

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