Molokai Attends STEM Conference

MEDB News Release

The sixth annual Hawaii STEM Conference, held April 17-18 once again lived up to its reputation as the state’s premiere Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) conference for students and educators.  Presented by Maui Economic Development Board’s (MEDB) Women in Technology (WIT) project, the event attracted more than 500 attendees who explored the many benefits of STEM learning, showcased some of the best programs and projects, and expanded Hawaii community of experiential STEM advocates.

This year included 350 student participants, 100 teachers accessed professional development, and 75 industry professionals provided mentoring and career awareness, with more than 30 schools and organizations participating statewide.

But the impact of the conference can’t be conveyed by just numbers, it was the personal development and empowerment that many event attendees experienced and will carry with them way beyond the Conference.

“It’s all about engaging our students and educators through interactive STEM learning,” said WIT Program Director Isla Young. “We strive to make the conference experience unique each year. Whether it’s adding fresh program content, introducing new technologies, bringing in prominent speakers, offering network opportunities or opening one’s eyes to possible careers – it all adds up to an empowering STEM experience.”

For the Molokai Middle School husband and wife team of STEM teachers Kaeo and Kahoiwai Kawaa, the STEM Conference gave them a chance to showcase their program and their students’ work. “We want them to learn how they can affect not only their lives but the lives of others,” Mrs. Kawaa said.

Molokai eighth-grader Evelyn Haase said she’s enjoyed traveling to the Hawaii STEM Conference to share her love for science and the projects her team of STEM classmates have accomplished. The students developed and presented six-foot-tall displays that outlined their STEM projects. For example, there were photographs from Family Night they organized to engaged grade school aged Molokai youngsters to build mini-robots and engage in friendly competitions.

“Robotics really embodies all of STEM,” Haase said. “There’s science, there’s math and a lot of problem solving. I loved working with younger students. They really get to it and I just love it.”

Beth Conroy-Humphrey, a former teacher who serves as the counselor for middle and high school students on Lanai, brought a contingent of six to the conference.

“MEDB is a huge financial STEM supporter but what’s even more important is that their conference is student centered,” said Conroy-Humphrey. “Everything is about and for the students. It’s about getting them excited about science, about math, about technology and about engineering. This conference is awesome!”

For more information on the Hawaii STEM Conference, visit womenintech.com/HawaiiSTEMConference or contact WIT Program Director Isla Young at isla@medb.org or 808-250-2888.


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