Molokai Among STEM Conference Winners

MEDB News Release

The 10th Annual Hawaii STEM Conference, held May 1-2, reaffirmed once again the power of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and its impact on the future of our keiki, community and our world. Over 1,000 educators and students from over 100 schools and 215 industry partners organizations across the state and even from the U.S. mainland at-tended the annual conference, which is the state’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) event dedicated to engaging a new generation of STEM innovators and leaders in Hawaii.

The conference was presented by STEMworks, a statewide initiative of Maui Economic Devel-opment Board, Inc. (MEDB).

This year’s regional conference featured over 85 hands-on student sessions and teacher profes-sional development sessions presented by education teams and industry experts, seven student-centered STEM competitions, an interactive STEMworks Playground, a formal awards banquet (“The STEMMY’s”), a STEMworks Spotlight showcasing the STEM service learning projects by Hawaii STEMworks students statewide, and a 5×5 Session that provided students the opportuni-ty to engage with engaged STEM industry professionals in a speed networking format.

New to the event this year were three fast-paced HACKATHONs where students were empow-ered to create a Voyaging song for the Hokulea, develop solutions to protect endangered corals from our planet’s warming oceans, or design an app to mobilize citizen scientists to bring atten-tion to endangered/threatened animals in Hawaii.

A Molokai team of Laulea Kekahuna, Waileia Poepoe Mollena, Ikaia Purdy, Loane Sibayan from O Hina I Ka Malama Kula Kiekie Molokai High School was among the winners of the on-site Voyaging Song Challenge for their song “Fishes in the Sea.”

According to Kawika Gonzales, a teacher at Kaunakakai School on Molokai, “My goal with at-tending this year’s conference was to be inspired, to see the various tools and resources availa-ble that can enrich our students’ learning and to make connections with people. I’ve been teach-ing for 18 years and seeing my students being able to learn today’s technology and to become problem solvers has really been refreshing.”


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