More than 800 students, teachers and industry professionals participated in The Hawaii STEM Conference May 6-7 at the Wailea Marriott Resort. The two-day conference hosted more than 43 student breakout sessions, 16 teacher professional development breakout sessions and 15 STEM competitions. A total of 112 schools and organizations statewide were represented.
“Programs like this STEM Conference where you can go and explore your passion is really the best,” said Luke Jones, a senior at Kihei Charter School. “Every time I come, there’s always something new and I’m excited to learn more.”
The seventh annual statewide STEM Conference was presented by Maui Economic Development Board’s (MEDB) Women in Technology (WIT) project. Event organizers said the annual event proved once again that everyone is a winner when it comes to STEM education, whether it is by empowering youth through STEM programs; providing teachers with needed STEM-based resources and tools; or inspiring Hawaii’s next generation of innovative thinkers and doers–STEM has a far-reaching impact.
“What I like best about the conference were the breakout sessions,” said Raymond Andrade, a senior at Baldwin High School. “It’s one big get together of all these schools, trying the latest technologies and working together. Whether it be coding or engineering or math-based programs or digital media, there’s a session for practically everyone here which is pretty amazing and well organized.”
Students also had the opportunity to participate with others from around the state in STEM competitions. “One of the big benefits for students attending this conference was they got to meet other students who have similar interests,” said Keith Imada, a STEMworks™ facilitator at Maui High School. “As teachers, a lot of times we put students together who are in STEM or science, but they don’t always have the same interests. But here, they have similar goals, motivations, frustrations, and accomplishments. They are proud of what they’ve done and get to share with other students who understand what they’ve gone through.”
The winners of this year’s competitions were announced during the May 7 awards ceremony. The event featured numerous student winners from Maui County.
Bernard Sula and Milmar Villanueva from Maui High School won the On-Site Video Competition; Maya Ooki, Jeremie Amano, Kai Richardson, Michael Reeves from King Kekaulike High School won the On-Site Cyber Spyware Competition; and Zoe Whitney and Allyza Sayno from Maui High School won the On-Site Design Pitch Competition.
Other Maui winners included Emmanair Rich (King Kekaulike High School), who won the Music Competition; Allyza Sayno (Maui High), who won the Photography Design Competition; and Maui High’s Shanell Pugal, Jada Chang, Roxanne Agtang, Sydney Dempsey and Jordyn Paa won the PSA Competition.
Maui High’s Kyle Alquisalas and Jake Arnsbrak won the STEMworks™ Tech Tips Competition. The T-Shirt Design Competition honors went to King K’s Thanthawat Moengchaisong. The What is STEMworks™ Competition honors went to Evan Aquinde, Jayboy Badua, Josh Cui, Jadynne Zane from Maui Waena Intermediate School.
Christine Alonzo, Czerena Bayle, Tiana-Lei Juan and Jadynne Zane, also from Maui Waena Intermediate School, won the Inter PIA Competition; and Baldwin’s Chelsea Kau and Shanelle Macaraeg won the High School PIA Competition.
Click here to see the winning videos.
“The high energy 5×5 sessions were invaluable for students as it offered them a rare opportunity to have direct access to professionals in the STEM field,” said Emily Haines-Swatek, Career and Technical Education coordinator and MEDB’s STEMworks™ teacher at King Kekaulike High School. “They got an idea of the wide variety of careers available, as well as the benefits and challenges they may face on the road to such a career.”
This 2016 conference theme was “download knowledge, upload service” which emphasized the role the conference played in promoting and developing the skills of students to become innovative thinkers.
“One of our goals in providing these types of STEM events and programs is to encourage our youth to use STEM as a tool for making a positive difference in their community,” said Isla Young, MEDB’s K12 STEM Program Director. “By all of us working together we can help Hawaii’s students access the wonderful world of STEM and provide experiences that will foster the next generation of innovators, educators, and leaders.”
Photo courtesy of Maui Economic Development Board