By WRAL Tech Wire STEM News

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Life is your lab.

The North Carolina Science Festival scheduled April 13-29 is a statewide series of events that showcases science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in North Carolina through hands-on activities, science talks, lab tours, nature experiences, exhibits, performances, and other events.

In an era where the U.S. appears to be losing ground as the world leader in science and technology and fewer students are pursuing careers in STEM, the N.C. Science Festival is looking to energize North Carolina’s efforts in responding to these challenges while building new and stronger relationships among the education and business communities.

Organizers expect more than 150,000 to participate in the 16-day event with more than 260 event listings held throughout the state.

The 2012 Festival Champion sponsor is Time Warner Cable.

Platinum sponsors include Burroughs Wellcome Fund, NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation and SAS. Gold Sponsors include Biogen Idec Foundation, Duke Energy and News 14 Carolina. UNC Health Care is a silver sponsor. Bronze sponsors currently include Our State magazine, CREE, and BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina. Additional support comes from Life Technologies Foundation and Dr. Nicholas B. Duck and Family.

The festival is an initiative of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Charlotte’s Discovery Place also is a key strategic partner.

The N.C. Science Festival aims to serve as a vehicle for encouraging students to pursue STEM careers and for businesses to invest in North Carolina.

“The support of the business community is driving the festival’s growth,” said Todd Boyette, the Festival’s co-founder and the director of UNC Chapel Hill’s Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.

The festival began in 2010 as an initiative of UNC Chapel Hill’s Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, which continues to produce events and administer the festival.

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