“Preparing Kids for Innovation”

Friday, February 24, 2017
7:00pm – 9:00pm

Hosted at
The Colony Theatre
555 N Third St, Burbank, CA 91502

Moderated By:
Steve Venz, Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator and Project Lead for Arts + STEM Collaborative, Orange County Department of Education

With Panelists:
Jessie Kawata, Creative Strategist and Industrial Design Lead, JPL
Mark Hatch, CEO, Maker Partners
David Card, Physics and Engineering Teacher, Burbank High School
Andre Bormanis, Writer, Producer and Science Consultant, Star Trek

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 Click here to read myBurbank.com’s press coverage of the Forum!


Thank you to the 125 guests who attended Burbank Arts for All Foundation’s Creative Circles Forum: “Preparing Kids for Innovation!” We were excited to welcome: BUSD Board of Education President Larry Applebaum, Vice President Steve Ferguson, and Clerk Dr. Roberta Reynolds; Burbank City Council Member Bob Frutos; Arda Tchakarin representing California State Senator Anthony Portantino’s office; as well as Foundation Board Members, Community Circles and Circle of Champions Members, teachers, parents, and  students from Monterey High, Burbank High, Burroughs High, Muir Middle, Luther Middle and Jordan Middle schools!

Moderated by Steve Venz and featuring panelists Jessie Kawata, Mark Hatch, David Card, and Andre Bormanis, the evening’s conversation was an inspiring exploration of the worlds of space, engineering, and the arts! Our exceptional panelists shared innovative ideas and insider insights from their industries, and provided our student guests with practical and meaningful advice for pursing careers in these exciting fields. Guests left the discussion full of energy and enthusiasm, as well as a stronger understanding of the connection between arts education and Burbank’s local economy.

Highlights from the panel include:

Jessie Kawata from JPL shared her journey of using the skills she learned from her experience studying at ArtCenter College of Design to bring a whole new culture to JPL through design based strategies. When working with scientists, she uses these strategies to help not only visualize a space mission, but also brainstorm new space exploration projects. Jessie urged the students to “keep on going” and to never give up.

Mark Hatch from Maker Partners explained that when hiring employees, he likes to hire students with a BFA degree, because they know how to make anything! Mark also shared that there are potential grant opportunities in building makerspaces through the California Community College Maker initiative. These opportunities will drive innovation in education and prepare students for success in STEM/STEAM careers that demand 21st Century skills.

Andre Bormanis encouraged students to follow their passion, to seek out opportunities in areas beyond their college major, and to keep learning and working to find what skills they can bring to the table. He also took a few minutes to explain the amazing recent discovery of the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star, called TRAPPIST-1.

Burbank High school teacher David Card shared approaching engineering and physics with the mindset of “Form, Fit and Function,” as well as keeping in mind to include a sense of beauty and elegance. His new Intro to Engineering class inspires his students to explore these principles and work creatively through many project-based learning opportunities.



Learn More about our Experts & Educators!

Our Moderator:

Steve Venz for webSteve Venz
Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator and Project Lead for Arts + STEM Collaborative
Orange County Department of Education

As the Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, Steve Venz supports the increased access and implementation of arts education for over 650,000 students in Orange County, CA. He serves as project lead for the Arts + STEM Collaborative, a member of the Americans for the Arts State Policy Pilot CA Team, as a faculty member for the Longy School Of Music of Bard College’s Master of Arts in Teaching Program in Los Angeles, and is also part of a collaborative of Southern California educators working to create a STEAM implementation guide. Steve was the co-architect/principal of the award-winning Quincy Jones Elementary School, a jazz music and arts-focused Title I school in South Los Angeles. Within three years of being established, “Q Elementary” received awards and accolades recognizing it as a successful model for urban elementary schools, exemplified by significant increases in student achievement, positive behavior, attendance, and parent involvement. Sharing the same campus with Synergy Charter Academy (SCA), Q Elementary and SCA have become a national model for working collaboratively to serve all children as co-located schools. Before Q Elementary, Steve was the music administrator for the Los Angeles Unified School District. In addition, he was a member of the US Department of Education’s grant review team, participated on the GRAMMY’s Music Educator Award Blue Ribbon Panel and served as an advisor for the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. During the 2008 launch of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), an El Sistema-inspired music program, he served as the musical director and conductor for the pilot orchestra. As a bassist, Steve continues to perform with artists including Ariana Savalas and the Edmund Velasco Quintet.

Our Esteemed Panelists:

Jessie Kawata for webJessie Kawata
Creative Strategist and Industrial Design Lead

Jessie Kawata is Creative Strategist and Lead Industrial Designer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Her passion for science led her to NASA where she helped to pioneer their very first in-house design and art studio. With a background in product design from ArtCenter College of Design and an MBA experience at INSEAD, Jessie has been able to spearhead the integration of design-thinking, creative methodologies, and research strategy into early space mission concepts as a lead in NASA JPL’s Innovation Foundry. In addition, Jessie has led anthropology studies for Kennedy Space Center, research investigations for a NASA drought indicator proposal in support of the National Climate Assessment, co-led an interplanetary mission concept involving high-def cinematography,  and is currently working on a mission concept investigation about robots on Venus. When she is not staring into space, Jessie teaches part-time at ArtCenter and loves to sail tall ships with the LA Maritime Institute.


Mark HatchMark Hatch
Maker Partners

Innovation revolutionary. Mark Hatch is helping to drive global innovation by arming the creative class with the tools they need to change the world.

Mr. Hatch is an executive with proven expertise in strategy, marketing, business development, product management, product development, IT, technology and creating competitive advantage through innovation and operational execution.

Author – The Maker Movement Manifesto
“Who’s Next” Arial Schwartz – Fast Company
“Biz Dev Ninja” Wade Roush – Xconomy
“Bay Area’s Most Admired CEO’s” – San Francisco Business Times
Speaker – Maker Movement, Innovation, Motivation

Mark has spoken at The White House and at events such as SXSW, Techonomy, TEDx, Singularity University and The Clinton Global Initiative among many others.


David CardDavid Card
Physics and Engineering Teacher
Burbank High School

David Card has been teaching Physics and AP Physics at Burbank High School for the last 6 years. This year is his first year teaching the Introduction to Engineering Career Technical Education (CTE) course. In addition to teaching, he also coaches track & field and is the advisor for the Solar Cup Team. The Solar Cup Team builds a 16-foot electrically powered, solar re-charged racing boat. The team will compete in May against approximately 50 other Southern California high schools.

Before becoming a teacher, Mr. Card had been employed for 20 years in the chemical coatings industry. His degree is in Chemical Engineering and Polymer Science from the University of Southern California. His last position was Plant Manager for the Valspar Corporation in Gardena, California.



Andre Bormanis for webAndre Bormanis
Writer, Producer and Science Consultant
Star Trek

Andre was born in Chicago, but grew up in Arizona, where the dark night skies encouraged his love of astronomy and space science. He holds a B.S. in physics, and a Master’s in science, technology and space policy, earned under a NASA Space Grant Fellowship at The George Washington University. He became the science consultant for the Star Trek TV and film franchise in 1993, and was soon writing episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. He became a full-time writer and eventually co-producer on Star Trek: Enterprise. He then served as a writer-producer on the CBS TV series Threshold and Eleventh Hour, the syndicated series Legend of the Seeker, and Disney XD’s Tron: Uprising. He also worked as a consultant on the FOX / National Geographic production of Cosmos. Most recently, he was a writer and co-executive producer on the National Geographic miniseries Mars, and is currently a writer and supervising producer of the upcoming Fox series Orville, starring Seth MacFarlane.  In 2014, he was elected to the board of directors of the Griffith Observatory fundraising nonprofit organization, Friends Of The Observatory.


Burbank Arts for All Foundation hosts these forums to bring together our community in support of the arts, arts education and creative innovation in Burbank.

Become a Circle of Champions member of the Burbank Arts for All Foundation and receive complimentary tickets to future Creative Circles Forum membership events!

Burbank Arts for All Foundation’s mission is to ensure every student in Burbank public schools receives a quality arts education as part of their core curriculum.



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February 24, 2016
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November 18, 2015
Burbank’s Role in the Future of the Creative Industries
March 18, 2015
Nickelodeon Experts Discuss the Creative Process in Animation Production
October 23, 2014
Art + Technology: Experts and Educators Explore Innovation
February 24, 2014
Burbank ABC’s: Arts Education, Business and Creativity
October 15, 2012
Media Experts Talk Media Arts
March 14, 2013