Get ready for an evening charged with electricity. IGNITE!, the inaugural gala fundraiser for SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, will be unleashed on Saturday, Feb. 24, at Settlemyer Family Hall on the Bellingham Technical College campus.

Start your evening at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails, appetizers and electrifying hands-on activities. Browse the mouth-watering desserts awaiting your bid in the Dessert Dash, grab a chance to win one of several cool raffle prizes, peruse the fantastic packages available during the Live Auction, and get your science on with unique table centerpieces.

At 7 p.m., take your seat for a delicious dinner of either chicken cordon bleu or butternut squash ravioli followed by a lively and energetic program, including the presentation of a new accolade – The SPARK Award – and a fascinating presentation by honoree Dr. Melissa Rice.


Don’t miss this hair-raising opportunity to help SPARK Museum expand its family-oriented science exhibits and educational programming. SPARK is the only dedicated STEM-oriented museum north of Seattle.

Individual tickets are $100, or tables of 8 are available for $800. You can purchase tickets online or by mailing a check to SPARK Museum, Attn: IGNITE! Committee, 1312 Bay St., Bellingham, WA 98225. Be sure to include your contact information, the names of all guests and each person’s dinner selection (chicken or ravioli). Reservations are requested by Feb. 17.

Not able to attend? You can still support SPARK Museum with a contribution. Click here to donate.

For information on available sponsorship opportunities, contact Wendy Eickmeyer at (360) 510-2390 or

About The SPARK Award

The SPARK Award recognizes outstanding contributions to science education. The award extends the Museum’s reach into contemporary society to celebrate and acknowledge those who share our mission to encourage wonder and curiosity in science, technology, math and engineering.

Dr. Melissa Rice has been selected as the first recipient of The SPARK Award. Her passion, mentorship and unwavering commitment to igniting curiosity in students of all ages – from grade school to college – along with her encouragement to pursue fields of scientific study make her a standout educator and a deserving recipient of the award.

As an assistant professor of planetary science at Western Washington University, Dr. Rice focuses her research on the sedimentology, stratigraphy and mineralogy of Mars. She is a collaborator on the active Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity missions, a participating scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory rover mission, and a co-investigator for the Mastcam-Z investigation in development for the Mars2020 rover mission.