The University of Washington’s GEAR UP program is teaming up with the university’s GENOME Sciences education outreach group to hold the second annual Science and Engineering Festival in Yakima on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The festival will be open to the public on Tuesday from 2:30 to 8 p.m., and to scheduled student groups all day both days.

It’s a hands-on experience that last year drew more than 2,000 students and 500 family and community members. Displays include exhibits from the Pacific Science Center, NASA, the Museum of Flight, UW Health Sciences and Engineering departments, as well as activities related to agriculture, forensics, robotics, Legos, lasers, and wind and solar power.

There will also be a VEX Robotics competition for student groups, along with a broader showcase of student-created STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) projects, coordinated and sponsored by the local Educational Service District 105. Several school districts in the Lower Valley are part of the UW’S GEAR UP program, which is aimed at helping low-income students plan for and achieve higher education.

For the public, the festival offers a variety of biomedical workshops for free on Tuesday evening, including some in Spanish. Biomedical research and the interaction of genes and the environment is the current focus of the UW’s GENOME Sciences education outreach.

The festival will be held at the Yakima Convention Center. On Tuesday, it’s open to preregistered student groups from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and then will be opened to the general public from 2:30 to 8 p.m. On Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. it’s again only open to student groups.

For more information or to sign up a student group, call Dana Pride with UW GEAR UP at 509-865-8670, or go to uwgearup.com/index.html.

• Molly Rosbach can be reached at 509-577-7728 or mrosbach@yakimaherald.com.