September 18 – October 15


WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! Help us achieve our goal of serving gifted and creative youth by joining the STEAM-a-thon and raising awareness and funds for IEA. IEA relies on your participation and support to continue providing the enriching programs and nurturing experiences that allow this exceptional population of children to thrive and reach for their full intellectual and personal potential.  

We are excited to invite bright innovators of all ages from all across the country to participate in our special STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Challenge competition and peer to peer fundraising event supporting IEA.  Our annual fundraiser for 2021, the four-week virtual event is set to kick-off on Saturday, September 18 and will feature engaging opening and closing presentations, intriguing STEAM challenges/experiments for competition as either individuals or small teams, a judges panel, multiple prize opportunities, fun activities and a STEAM focused keynote speaker. This is a wonderful opportunity to inspire our young STEAM critical thinkers in addition to raising vital funding to support IEA’s gifted programs, services and financial aid for underserved students in need.  Help us reach our overall fundraising goal is $40,000!


How to Participate

It’s easy – just follow these steps!


  1. CREATE your personal STEAM-a-Thon account page (as an individual or a team of 2-3 students). Customize your page with a photo and a personal message to your friends and family. You may select from two participation options:


Option #1: Participate as an IEA STEAM-a-Thon Challenge contestant AND fundraiser.  With your page you will be able to showcase and promote the progress of your Challenge project to your friends and family and ask for their support. Click here to create a STEAM-a-thon fundraiser page.


Option #2: Participate as an IEA STEAM-a-Thon fundraiser only. Click here to create a STEAM-a-thon fundraiser page.


Here’s a sample STEAM-A-thon page to give you a better idea of what a contestant page will look like.


  1. CHOOSE from the following Challenges, if you are participating as a STEAM-a-Thon Challenge contestant:
  • BRIGHT IDEA: Turn on a lightbulb – no one can directly touch the lightbulb
  • HOLE IN ONE: Move a ping pong ball into a cup three feet away 
  • FIBONACCI CHALLENGE: Create a Fibonacci spiral using multi-media of any kind

CURVEBALL: Incorporate recyclable materials in your project! This is an optional goal that will impress judges and qualify you for the “Best Use of a Curveball” Prize.


For more details, see our Rules section.


  1. SHARE your STEAM-a-Thon page with your friends and family and encourage their support! For STEAM Challenge contestants, be sure to update and share your page with new messages about your Challenge project progress (video and pictures)


  1. SUBMIT your final video or image for judging if you are a STEAM Challenge contestant. Challenge competition videos/images are due by midnight on Saturday, October 9, 2021. Submit your image or video file with this Google Drive link, by choosing “New” and then “File Upload.”


  1. CELEBRATE with us on Friday, October 15, 2021 as we announce the winners of the STEAM Challenge and STEAM-a-thon fundraising campaign.




Our judges panel includes:

  • Valerie Ding, Software Development Engineer, Amazon (Seattle, WA)
  • Al Hastings, Chief Architect, Insomniac Games (Santa Monica, CA)
  • Mark Panning, Planetary Scientist, Geophysicist (Pasadena, CA)
Judges Valerie Ding, Al Hastings and Mark Panning


Keynote Speaker

Click Here to Watch


A special STEAM-A-THON highlight will be our Keynote Speaker, Mike Brown, Professor of Planetary Astronomy at Caltech where he has been on the faculty since 1996. In 2006 Professor Brown was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 People Who Shape Our World as well as one of Los Angeles magazine’s Most Influential People in Los Angeles. Among the accomplishments he is best known for is his discovery of Eris, the largest object found in the solar system in 150 years, and the object which led to the debate and eventual demotion of Pluto from a real planet to a dwarf planet. His award winning best selling book, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming, is a memoir of the discoveries leading to the demotion of Pluto. He was inducted into the National Academy of Science in 2014. He has won many awards and honors including the one that started his career, an honorable mention in his fifth-grade science fair in Huntsville, Alabama. Q & A will follow his presentation.



Important STEAM-a-thon dates


  • Saturday, September 18 – 10:00 AM PDT – Live Kick-Off
  • Saturday, September 25 – 10:00 AM PDT – Keynote Speaker, Mike Brown
  • Saturday, October 9 – Video or Image Submission Deadline.
  • Friday, October 15 – 5:00 PM PDT – Celebration Closing Event via YouTube – Join us in celebrating our fundraising efforts and student STEAM challenges.   Announcement of our Prize winners! Time to applaud all our participants!



Prizes will recognize students for both STEAM Challenge competition entries and peer-to peer fundraising campaign participation including top prizes for the STEAM Challenge and Top Fundraiser.  Prizes will be announced at the Closing Celebration Saturday, October 15.


  • Grand Prize – STEAM Challenge Competition -$250 Gift Card (Apple Store or Amazon)
    • 2nd Prize – STEAM Challenge Competition – $100 Gift Card*
    • 3rd Prize – STEAM Challenge Competition – $50 Gift Card*
  • Grand Prize – Top Fundraiser – $250 Gift Card (Apple Store or Amazon)
  • Most # of individual donations – $50 Gift Card*


Plus, these additional prizes!

  • Best use of Color – $25 Gift Card*
  • Best use of Humor – $25 Gift Card*
  • Best Implementation of a Curveball – $25 Gift Card*
  • Raffle Prize – $50 Gift Card* – Everyone who raises $20 is automatically entered to win!

and more!

*Gift Card Choices – Amazon, NASA Space Center Store, Vroman’s Book Store


Thank You

Thank you for participating and making a difference in the lives of gifted youth.   With your support, IEA can continue to provide our nation’s brightest young people with the educational opportunities and developmental support essential to helping them realize their potential. Your gift to IEA is a targeted, powerful investment in the future of young people, our community and our nation.



For any questions regarding the STEAM-a-thon, contact jlaudeman@educationaladvancement.org or call us at (626) 403-8900[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][button size=”large” icon=”” target=”_self” hover_type=”default” font_weight=”700″ text=”Join as a Contestant/Fundraiser” link=”https://stagingiea.wpengine.com/iea-steam-a-thon/join-fundraiser-contestant/”][vc_empty_space height=”18px”][button size=”large” icon=”” target=”_self” hover_type=”default” font_weight=”700″ text=”Join as a Fundraiser” link=”https://stagingiea.wpengine.com/iea-steam-a-thon/steam-a-thon-join-as-a-fundraiser/”][vc_empty_space height=”9px”][vc_separator type=”normal” color=”#ab2723″][vc_empty_space height=”9px”][button size=”large” icon=”” target=”_self” hover_type=”default” font_weight=”700″ text=”Sponsorship Opportunities” link=”https://stagingiea.wpengine.com/steamathon/”][vc_empty_space height=”18px”][button size=”large” icon=”” target=”_self” hover_type=”default” font_weight=”700″ text=”Rules” link=”https://stagingiea.wpengine.com/iea-steam-a-thon/steam-a-thon-rules/”][vc_empty_space height=”18px”][button size=”large” icon=”” target=”_blank” hover_type=”default” font_weight=”700″ text=”Donate Now” link=”https://secure.givelively.org/donate/institute-for-educational-advancement/iea-steam-a-thon”][vc_empty_space height=”18px”][vc_separator type=”normal” color=”#ab2723″][vc_column_text]


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Michelle and Ken Hirschman



  • The Gialanella Family
  • Anonymous Donor



  • Anonymous CDB Family   
  • Mr. Kim Beong-Soo Kim and Ms. Bonnie Wongtrakool 
  • Brian and Cindy Malouf 



  • In Memory of Daniel L. Chu 
  • Jim and Deb Delisle 
  • Hap Deneen and Jennifer Yount 
  • Valentin Popescu, Monica German and Alexander Popescu 
  • Sandi Schwartz/Ecohappiness Project 
  • Limin Tseng and Tor and Espen Slettnes 

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“I have seen so many amazing young people who have achieved so much in their lives with the help of iea. Iea helped give them the confidence to enjoy life and go through each and every door that opens for them.”

— Academy Instructor

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