Management Team

Sara DW Pagano

Managing Director

With over a decade of non-profit  and event experience, Sara joins the Biocom Institute team after executive leadership positions with USO San Diego and Discover Pacific Beach – Business Improvement District.  With an emphasis on community outreach, fundraising, public relations and volunteer management, she brings a myriad of skills and expertise to the Festival.  An east-coast transplant from Massachusetts, she graduated from Westfield State College with a Bachelor of Science in Education and also holds a certificate from University of San Diego’s Event Management Program. Sara enjoys spending time with her family and exploring the great outdoors that San Diego has to offer.


Amanda Coates

Communications and Programs Manager

With five years of non-profit and customer service experience, Amanda joined the Biocom Institute following development positions with Home Start Inc and Only Make Believe. Amanda brings a diverse background in fundraising, program management, education, community outreach, and event planning and has a passion for working with children. After growing up in Delaware, she completed her Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Psychology and English/Language Arts at CUNY Hunter College in New York City. In her spare time Amanda enjoys spending time with her family, taking her dog Griffin to the beach, and enjoying outdoor activities..


Karen Overklift

Community Impact Manager

Karen joins the Biocom Institute team with a wealth of skills and experience within the San Diego non-profit arena.  Most recently with the San Diego Workforce Partnership; her career has included positions in community outreach, HR management and operations management for various local non-profit organizations.  She has a love for educational programs and in particular is very passionate about employer outreach and connecting students to internships.  In her spare time, Karen enjoys volunteering for Better Education for Women in Science & Engineering (BE WiSE) and riding her quad in the desert.  Karen is a native San Diegan, who grew up in Pacific Beach and earned a B.A. in Communications from UCSD.  


Heather Zimkin

EXPO Day Project Manager

Heather has been the Festival’s EXPO DAY Project Manager since 2012, bringing in more than 15 years of professional experience in the areas of corporate sponsorship, event planning, broadcasting and community relations. During her 10-year tenure with the San Diego Padres, as Director of Corporate Partnerships and Broadcasting, she was instrumental in developing the club’s major sponsorships, including programs with PETCO, Cox Communications, Qualcomm, Sycuan Resort & Casino, and Wells Fargo. She served an integral role in the strategic planning process for both the San Diego Padres and their Partners and was responsible for the activation and management of all corporate partner and broadcasting partner investments.  


Scatena Daniels Communications

Scatena Daniels Communications is an award-winning boutique communications agency based in San Diego, Calif, and led by Denise Scatena and Arika Daniels, two seasoned professionals with a proven track record in planning and executing marketing communications strategies on local, regional and national levels. More at www.scatenadaniels.com.


Engage and encourage kids in science and engineering and work with parents and teachers to inspire today’s students to become tomorrow’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) innovators.

The Festival's Mission

2017 Gold Sponsors

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