2014 Hawaii STEM Conference a huge success

WAILEA, HI — The fifth annual Hawaii STEM Conference was held on Friday, May 2 through Saturday, May 3 at the Wailea Marriott Resort on Maui. The popular two-day event brought together over 500 local students, educators and industry professionals with some of the most innovative technology companies in the world.

 Since it began in 2009, the Hawaii STEM Conference has grown in popularity and star quality.  The event continues to attract national partners and sponsorships from top tech companies like Google and National Geographic Society, as well as Apple for Education, SketchUp, Chevron and ESRI.

 For the first time, the 2014 Conference introduced an overall theme: “Innovate. Empower. Impact the World through STEM.”  Throughout the sessions, attendees were encouraged to keep this theme in mind as they gain new knowledge and are motivated to apply what they learn to help their own communities, if not the world. 

 As living proof of the power of STEM, the following keynote speakers also supported the Conference theme with their personal and professional stories:

  • Rosemary Wardley, Senior GIS Cartographer in the Maps Division of National Geographic Society
  • Pono Shim, President and CEO of Enterprise Honolulu, Oahu Economic Development Board
  • Ben Pigao, Maui High grad, former STEM student, Nike designer, global photographer and principal of Empire Green Creative

 Statewide attendance

This year, 300 students representing 30 intermediate and high schools across the islands attended.  For many, it was their first experience at a regional technology conference complete with breakout sessions, software competitions, a formal awards banquet, and exhibit presentations.  

Presented by the Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology Project, the statewide event allows students to have firsthand exposure to the advanced in-demand technologies, the latest software training, and real world challenges in the form of fun, hands-on team competitions.

 Innovative agenda

Kicking off the event on Friday, a timed, high-energy mixer – the 5×5 Sessions – gave 300 students the opportunity to engage 5 different industry professionals every 5 minutes to learn about career pathways, personal experiences and insights.

 Throughout the two days, 26 student breakout sessions were offered, led by education teams from Google and National Geographic Education, as well as industry presenters from EPSCoR, Air Force Research Laboratory, 3D Innovations, University of Hawaii-Maui College, Searider Productions, 3D Innovations, Goma Games and many more.  There were also professional development workshops designed for teachers to motivate students in STEM and increase hands-on learning in the classroom.

 The sessions ranged in topics from Google Earth and cool mapping resources to augmented reality, canoe design, game and web design, 3D CAD and outdoor GPS/GIS projects.

 Competition winners

The following winners of the 2014 Hawaii STEM competitions were recognized at the formal Awards Ceremony held on Saturday.

The rigorous competitions help engage and encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math, while providing a regional tech competition that garners attention on college resumes.

 This year’s winning students represented a cross section of schools across the state.

 Web Design: Farrington High School, Oahu - Lauren Avelino

 Music Design: Roosevelt High School, Oahu - Rey Chinen

 GIS Storytelling: Lanai School, Lanai - Keona Conroy-Humphre, Jasmine Conroy-Humphrey

 CAD Design: Maui High School, Maui - Michelle Suyama, Trent Hori

 On-site Video Competition: King Kekaulike High School, Maui-Riley Calvin, Adam Howden

 On-site Hackathon: King Kekaulike High School, Maui- Jeremie Amano, Dylan Franco, Michael Reeves, Vanessa Sotoza

 On-site CAD Competition: King Kekaulike High, Maui - A.J. Ramelb, Joseph Metz, Jamie Oldenburg, Coleson Costales, Justin Jose, Elliot Bronick

 Poster Design: Maui Waena Intermediate, Maui - Honeykien Lagran

 T-shirt Design: Maui High School, Maui - Kristen Domingo

 Game Design: Roosevelt High, Oahu - Andy Kim

 Program Impact Assessment (PIA): TIE between King Kekaulike High, Maui - Maya Ooki, Jeremie Amano, Rosie Kulhavy-Sutherland AND Kealakehe High School, Hawaii - Josiah Clark, Daniel Andrade, Kyla Hollis, Uriah Camacho, Courtney Nelson, Kea Piper, Ashley Kim, Alec Goodson, Emily Gambing

 For more details, visit www.womenintech.com/hawaiistemconference.

 The 2014 Hawaii STEM Conference is sponsored by MEDB’s Women in Technology project in partnership with the County of Maui and the Office of the Hawaii State Director for Career and Technical Education.