TEACHING TEACHERS STEM SKILLS
It’s no jape, there are fewer female scientists than male ones. In fact, the National Science Foundation says biases against female students in the science classrooms persist, as do myths like “girls are less interested in science than boys are.” The Women in Technology Project (WIT), founded by the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) in 2000, has honed in on this issue.
They’re now training Maui County educators in a three-day professional development course entitled “Science Building Blocks,” in a partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory and University of Hawaii Maui College. The course offers teachers science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) training.
“We know that girls start to make gendered career assumptions as early as age seven, so by supporting our teachers with the tools to teach science and math concepts in exciting and interesting ways, we know we are debunking the stereotypes that these subjects are boring and only for geeks,” says Leslie Wilkins, Program Director of Women in Technology. “WIT includes gender equity principles in all its trainings and will provide female science role models in follow-up support for the teachers.”
Stacie Williams is the Program Director of Community Outreach for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). She’s determined to even up the numbers by motivating young girls, as well as boys, toward science even before they’re out of grade school.
When Williams was in college, she she says she was the only woman in her physics class. “That was pretty typical in my advanced science courses,” she says. “By developing STEM programs for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders as part of AFRL’s outreach efforts, we’re working toward engaging Maui kids as early as possible.”
They held their first course at Maui Economic Development Board’s Malcolm Center July 19-21. Eighteen elementary school teachers, including three from Molokai, signed up for the hands-on biology and physical science course. Each participant received a complete science kit and curriculum to use in the workshop as well as later in the classroom. In addition, each teacher earned a $300 stipend.
“The teachers really appreciated the well-structured lessons on light, optics, sound, circuitry, as well as biology,” MEDB Project Manager Mapu Quitazol says. “But what really pulled it together for them were the fun hands-on activities. They can’t wait for school to begin to try them out with their students!”
PWF GETS NEW REGIONAL MANAGER
Tapani Vuori has “hit the ground running” as Pacific Whale Foundation’s New Regional Manager and Retail Buyer, says Greg Kaufman, President and Founder of Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF). Tapani comes to the PWF with more than 25 years in retail, the last nine as Maui Ocean Center’s Retail Director.
“I am originally from Finland and still remember vividly the day I stood at the bus stop bidding goodbye to my parents at the beginning of my journey all the way across the World, via few stops along the way.” Vuori says. “The Maui Ocean Center was a great organization that was a catalyst for me personally in becoming more interested and active in environmental issues, not only locally here on Maui, but also globally. I graduated from UCLA in 1987 and came to Hawaii in early 90’s, first Honolulu, and now on Maui for about 10 years. I am very excited to be part of creating a global brand that can and will change how we think about and take care of ‘our’ environment.”
Vuori directed the high-end retail operation at Maui Ocean Center and managed a staff of 26. While there, he also led the opening of a retail operation at Maui Ocean Center’s sister aquarium in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in 2007.
“Tapani brings extensive experience in all phases of retail management to this job,” says Kaufman. “We are especially impressed with the many demanding assignments and challenges he has taken on during the course of his career, his entrepreneurial outlook and his progressive approach to management He arrives at an exciting time of growth for our retail operations.”
The stores serve visitors and residents of all ages. PWF stores currently sell educational books and videos about whales and the oceans, logo shirts and clothing with an ocean theme, cameras, binoculars and gifts. The stores support PWF’s marine education, research and conservation programs. They are located at 612 Front Street in Lahaina and at The Harbor Shops at Maalaea next to Maui Ocean Center. Store hours are 6:30 am to 8:30 pm daily in Lahaina and 6:00 am to 6:00 pm daily in Maalaea. To learn more, visit wwww.pacificwhale.org.
FAIRMONT HELPS JAPANESE GUESTS
Ko, the Fairmont Kea Lani’s signature restaurant, recently hosted the Aloha Initiative’s 30 visiting Japanese guests and their host families in a demonstration of our island’s aloha spirit. Niko Nemoto of the Fairmont spearheaded the effort. “It is a local, Maui-led program and it helps and supports the people of Japan directly,” she said.
For three days, Ko welcomed more than 30 participants and volunteers through Aloha Initiative. “I ate frozen hamburger (literally frozen) in a shelter in Japan,” said one Aloha Initiative guest, Mrs. Yoko. “I feel like I am dreaming.” Others said they had never seen a big resort hotel.
“We felt both a responsibility and a sincere desire to support Aloha Initiative,” said Charles Head, general manager of the Fairmont Kea Lani. “After learning that the families were excited for a nice dinner out, we were delighted to welcome them to Ko.”
Maki, mother of three, said, “My family and I were so excited and joyful when we received the invitation. When we arrived at the hotel, we couldn’t believe how beautiful it is. It was a very special occasion and we are so thankful.”
For more information or to donate to The Aloha Initiative, call 280-1299 or visit www.alohainitiative.com. To learn more about Ko, including the renovation this fall, call 875-4100 or visit www.Fairmont.com/kealani.