KIHEI - More than 200 intermediate and high school students from Maui County and Oahu uploaded a mega-amount of knowledge from the third annual Hawaii STEM conference Friday and Saturday at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.
A segment about digital storytelling was "so cool," said Awa Yerhot, a Molokai Middle School student. "The many ways to make videos were very informational.
"The best part was meeting and interacting with new people," Yerhot said. "The time allowed us to get to know the professionals in the specific fields, and they gave me advice that helped me decide on what to do to get to my career goals."
Molokai Middle School students Kaimana Kahale (from left), Jordan Boswell, Kananiokeaolani Ah Van and Awa Yerhot work on a project during the third annual Hawaii STEM conference at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. More than 200 students from Maui County and Oahu took part in the two-day conference.
Maui Economic Development Board photo
Maui High School student Tristan Pascual was equally enthusiastic.
"I learned that STEM projects can make a big difference, using technology as a tool to help the community," Pascual said.
The focus of the conference was on STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math - all skills needed by a high-technology workforce. The students learned about in-demand technologies, received software training and applied their skills in team competitions.
The competitions included sessions in computer-aided design, geographic information systems, video, music and Web and game designs. Teams also worked on creating a promotional package for a local company.
Overall, students from more than a dozen intermediate and high schools participated, including Maui, Baldwin, Lahainaluna and King Kekaulike high schools; Lokelani, Lahaina and Maui Waena intermediate schools; Molokai Middle School; Kihei Charter School; Kamehameha Schools; and the Imi Naauao Maui Education Program. Farrington, McKinley and Roosevelt high school students flew in from Oahu to take part in the conference.
The students took advantage of networking with one another as well as industry professionals from companies such as Google, National Geographic and Apple. The students took part in breakout sessions, software and digital media competitions, exhibit presentations and an awards banquet.
The event precedes the state's first STEM Week, with events to be held Tuesday through Thursday at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu. The Hawaii State Science & Engineering Fair will be held there at the same time.
The Maui conference was hosted by the Maui Economic Development Board's Women in Technology Project in partnership with Maui County and the Office of the State Director for Career and Technical Education.
Other groups taking part in the conference were Searider Productions, the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, UH-Maui College, UH-Hilo, Kapiolani Community College and Esri, a geographic information systems software company.