Students receieving free laptops at a Project UP event.
Digital Equity

A STEAM Experience of Jurassic Proportions

By Marge Jackson

This past June, millions of people went to see Jurassic World Dominion. Audiences worldwide were captivated by the astonishing special effects and pulse-pounding story—which just crossed $1 billion globally! And thanks to a company-wide initiative at Comcast NBCUniversal, a group of 350 low-income high-school students saw even more: the science behind the story on the big screen, and all the possibility that comes with it.

As part of Project UP—our 10-year, $1 billion commitment to close the digital divide, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation—we welcomed busloads of first-generation, college-bound students to Universal Studios Hollywood for the Jurassic World Rule Your Future Symposium. Over the course of the weekend, students were given a one-of-a-kind, inside look at the science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics that went into bringing the film to life. They also learned about the breadth of career opportunities available to them in STEAM fields and industries, including the entertainment industry.


Commitment to close the digital divide, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation

You can read more below, but here’s a short video that captures the essence of what these students experienced that weekend:

We kicked off the weekend by taking students on a behind-the-scenes tour of NBCUniversal’s backlots where our iconic shows and films are made. We also hosted a curated college and career fair, featuring more than 30 STEAM-related colleges, universities, companies, and other STEAM-related organizations.

For many of the students, the college and career fair not only proved informative, but also eye-opening. It gave them a glimpse into jobs they previously didn’t know existed. One student, Benicio Mares, a high school junior from California, even said, “There are so many different things I can do now that I never thought about or dreamed about.”

There are so many different things I can do now that I never thought about or dreamed about.
Benicio Mares
High school student

Mares’ reaction exemplifies why programs like Project UP and Internet Essentials—our low-cost broadband adoption program for low-income individuals and families—are so important. In the 21st century, there is real opportunity in STEAM fields. But to seize it, students need access to high-speed internet so they can develop digital skills, explore new worlds and possibilities, and turn their passions into a career path.

During the weekend, we also invited students to a private panel with some special guests who did just that. Jurassic World Dominion director and writer Colin Trevorrow, paleontologist Steve Brusatte, and actors DeWanda Wise, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Isabella Sermon talked to students about their own experiences overcoming challenges, setting goals, and the courage it requires to follow your dreams and be “the first” to accomplish something. Then, to cap off an incredible event, we treated students to a few big surprises.

Trevorrow, along with Comcast’s Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Digital Equity, Broderick Johnson, and Universal Pictures’ President of Domestic Marketing, Dwight Caines presented each student with a brand-new laptop. And Trevorrow announced the students would get an exclusive screening of Jurassic World Dominion, making them among the first in the country to see it. Between the laptops and the premiere—the excitement and emotions were running high.

It was indeed a weekend of firsts, for me and the students. This was my first opportunity to work with our partners at Council for Opportunity in Education (COE), my first time experiencing the sheer joy and elation of a laptop giveaway, and the first time I’ve witnessed 350 students realize their potential in an afternoon.


Students received free laptops to help them realize their potential

Last week I spoke to COE’s Annual Conference of program directors and student support staff and shared the excitement I’m still carrying with me from our Jurassic World Rule Your Future STEAM Symposium weekend. I also talked about the personal kinship I feel with their students, based on the challenges of my own upbringing and life experiences. I know COE’s students have what it takes to turn their dreams into reality, and I’m proud to support their work.

It was a powerful weekend that I will never forget. And it’s also not over. Through our partnership with COE, Comcast NBCUniversal created Jurassic World Rule Your Future with STEAM curricula, and we’re making it accessible to countless other high-school students across the country, though our Internet Essentials and Lift Zones partners.

As students learn about paleontology, animatronics, and genetics and DNA activities, they will be able to take what they saw on the big screen to create big change in their lives and in our world.

Marge Jackson is SVP Consumer Services Group