iMAGINE Upstate STEM Festival Inspires Thousands to Take Charge of Their Futures

April 22, 2015

Earlier this month, iMAGINE Upstate, an activity of the South Carolina Coalition for Mathematics & Science, a unit of the College of Engineering and Science at Clemson University, celebrated its first STEM-inspired festival in downtown Greenville.

The weeklong series of crowd-sourced programs and signature events successfully promoted cultural and economic development with a celebration and showcase of STEM, innovation and entrepreneurial activity in Upstate South Carolina. The program kicked off on March 28th, 2015 with the CU-ICAR 2nd Annual Millennium Drive Car & Cruise and capstoned with a family-friendly festival in downtown Greenville on Saturday, April 4th, 2015.



GREENVILLE, S.C. (April 21, 2015) – The 2015 iMAGINE Upstate Festival exceeded expectations drawing in more than 14,000 attendees in its inaugural year. Families, children of all ages, entrepreneurs and industry leaders spent April 4 experiencing hands-on learning to elevate conversations around innovation, creativity and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

The festival was created to help inspire Upstate students to take ownership of their future career paths. Beyond STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the downtown festival showcased creative, entrepreneurial and innovative happenings from across the Upstate.

“When we set out to plan the festival we wanted to create an experience that would impact a broad range of ages and interests,” said Ryan Heafy, executive director of iMAGINE Upstate. “In order for this program to make a lasting impact, we knew that we needed to showcase a variety of organizations on Main Street combined with a series of live shows throughout the day.”

iMAGINE Upstate partners including ScanSource, Duke Energy, Michelin North America, GE Power & Water, Bosch, Fluor and Greenville Technical College elevated the festival experience by running major festival tents. The festival hosted 61 organizations from across the Upstate, including:

  • 36 non-profit organizations
  • 10 start-up organizations
  • 18 educational institutions
  • 10 student organizations
  • 8 Upstate industry leaders

In addition to the tented experiences on Main Street, the festival showcased six stages and 14 shows throughout the day.

“Our partners made it possible to run live experiential shows on stage throughout the day,” said Jared Hartzell, director of development at iMAGINE Upstate. “The stages helped reinforce our core program tracks: learn, innovate, engage, create, launch and make.”

The festival had a steady stream of attendees from start to finish. Students from across the Upstate attended and volunteered at the festival. Social media played a major role in keeping students engaged. With more than 7,300 Twitter impressions, 14,500 Facebook impressions, 2,770 app status updates, the iMAGINE Upstate Festival successfully leveraged modern technology to enhance the attendee experience.

“Beyond the festival, we want iMAGINE Upstate to help foster student conversations around their futures,” said Sarah Arbogast, director of marketing and events at iMAGINE Upstate. “An ongoing goal for iMAGINE Upstate programming is to help facilitate peer-to-peer sharing and learning.”

For more information about iMAGINE Upstate visit

About iMAGINE Upstate

iMAGINE Upstate fueled by ScanSource is an activity of SCCMS, a unit of the College of Engineering and Science at Clemson University. More than a festival, iMAGINE Upstate is a weeklong series of crowd-sourced programs and signature events designed to promote cultural and economic development with a celebration and showcase of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), innovation and entrepreneurial activity in Upstate South Carolina. The weeklong celebration will consist of STEM related programs including presentations, workshops, challenges and special events culminating into a festival on Saturday, April 4th, 2015. This festival is designed to inspire students, families, and young professionals while promoting workforce development across Upstate South Carolina. For more information visit and follow @imagineupstate on Twitter.