Bay Area Teen Science (B.A.T.S.) started as a core initiative of the University of California, Berkeley’s Multiverse education team. In 2011, Multiverse sought other teen programs to partner with for a nighttime STEM-themed event run by teenagers for teenagers. It was at this time the B.A.T.S. Listserv came to be in order to better communicate our ideas with our fellow teen program providers. This resulted in the formation of a special subcommittee made up of Multiverse, the California Academy of Sciences, the Chabot Space & Science Center, the Exploratorium, the Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Oakland Zoo. The subcommittee’s members, and more importantly, teen program participants started meeting regularly in the summer and fall of 2011 to plan the San Francisco Bay Area’s first ever teen-organized, teen-run nighttime “science extravaganza.” This first B.A.T.S. event hosted exclusively for Bay Area teens was held at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science on October 22, 2011, and was dubbed ThrillFest. The ThrillFest event was designed to be an entertaining night of “mystery, magic, and mad science!” It included a DJ, magician, and since it was close to Halloween, a costume contest. But above all, the ThrillFest event was intended to showcase the different B.A.T.S. members’ programs through fun hands-on science activities and attention-grabbing science demonstrations provided by B.A.T.S. teens. The range of science content presented was impressive thanks to the diversity of the B.A.T.S. members and included astronomy, solar energy, biology, biodiversity, wildlife conservation, chemistry, and physics, as well as design and engineering challenges.
The ThrillFest event led to the special subcommittee becoming what was called the B.A.T.S. Collaborative, and with seed money from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, more events followed, including the California Academy of Sciences’ first annual youth-hosted Teen Science Night that now attracts almost 2,000 Bay Area teens to the museum each August. Through additional support from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund and Google Making & Science, B.A.T.S. started running an annual STEM College and Career Fair (now B.A.T.S. Teen Career Conference) in partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District’s Science Department and others. Additional services and opportunities offered For Teens and For STEM Education Providers who work with teens grew from there. To better capture and promote all of our activities and offer even more services to our teen and STEM professional audiences, this website launched in January 2017!
In the fall of 2020, B.A.T.S. became an initiative of UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering. Lizzie Hager-Barnard, the Director of K-12 Outreach for Berkeley Engineering, is now overseeing B.A.T.S.