This year’s annual Hawaii STEM Conference takes place April 17-18 at the Wailea Marriott Resort. The event is sponsored by Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology project in partnership with the County of Maui.
The event seeks to help students and educators statewide with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills and the opportunity to network with innovative technology experts. During the conference, participants will get up-close exposure to advanced technologies, the latest software training and real world challenges in the form of fun, hands-on team competitions.
Since it began in 2009, the Hawaii STEM Conference has grown in stature and popularity, annually attracting prominent national partners and sponsorship from top tech companies like Google, the National Geographic Society, Apple for Education, SketchUp, Chevron and ESRI. This year, the conference welcomes Microsoft and NASA for the first time.
The two-day event will feature student sessions offered by education teams and industry experts from a variety of companies, educational institutions and organizations including Microsoft; DevLeague LLC; UH Hilo-SDAV; UH Maui College; Goma Games; UH STEM Pre Academy/Hawaii Creative Media; Maui Economic Development Board; Relativity School; OpTerra Energy Services; Janus Group; and STEMworks. Also offering sessions will be Elemental Minds; EPSCRoR/SDAV Team; Hawaii State Department of Land & Natural Resources; The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii; HouseMart/Ben Franklin Crafts; OnStage Maui; and representatives from King Kekaulike High School, Maui High School, Waiakea Intermediate School.
Kicking off the event on Friday will be a timed, high-energy mixer called the 5 x 5 Sessions; the mixer will give students the opportunity to engage five different STEM industry professionals every five minutes to learn about STEM career pathways, personal experiences and insights.
Also on the first day of the event, Mayor Alan Arakawa’s office will proclaim the week of the conference “Hawaii STEM Education Week.” This proclamation is being made to encourage Maui County’s citizens to support STEM education efforts that empower our students and educators with STEM skills.
In addition to opportunities for students, there will be professional development sessions designed for teachers to motivate and increase STEM learning in the classroom.
“Events like this attest to the power of STEM,” said Isla Young, WIT Program Director. “Our hope is that by empowering our students–our future STEM stars–and educators with STEM abilities they can apply these skills to service-learning projects that can impact our community, if not the world.”
Keynote speakers for the 2015 conference include Titan Gilroy of Titan Manufacturing; Erika Bergman, Co-founder of GEECs (Girls Engineering and Exploration Counselors) and National Geographic Explorer; and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard’s Lauren Thompson.
Photo courtesy of Maui Economic Development Board