Our Islands, Our Future

National Engineering Week is well on its way here on Maui where more than 75 students are immersed in a variety of opportunities to explore the field of engineering. This is the 11th year in which Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology program has taken the lead in coordinating the weeklong event that runs through this Saturday. Partners include the Air Force Research Laboratory, Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers Maui Chapter, the County of Maui and local engineering firms. With fewer than 5 percent of Hawaii’s engineers being women, National Engineering Week is important as it exposes young girls to engineering as a career.

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day has more than 250 middle school students participating from Maui County. An engineering expo event will feature 40 students in hands-on activities that expose them to various engineering fields. Other activities include Maui Electric Co. hosting 12 girls on a tour of their central plant, a career shadowing with MECO engineers and an activity that shows them how to build their own circuit boards. In the County’s Wastewater Reclamation Division, 10 girls are poised to learn about civil engineering and the important role of a wastewater treatment plant. Iao Intermediate School student Christine says it all: “Going to an engineer’s worksite and seeing what a big role they have in our community inspired me to pursue engineering as a career.”

Engineering In the Middle competitions are also in the mix including Popsicle Bridge Building and Marshmallow Launcher contests. There are five participating schools — Lokelani Intermediate, Maui Waena Intermediate, Iao School, Kalama Intermediate and Molokai Middle School. Winners will go on to compete at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Jr. Engineering Expo in March. For information about the Women in Technology program, please visit or contact Mapu Quitazol at 875-2343 or at