Our Islands, Our Future

Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) held their annual Ke Alahele Education Fund Benefit Dinner & Auction, Pathways to Our Future, on Labor Day at the Wailea Beach Resort–Marriott, Maui. “MEDB  nurtures Maui County students’ passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education,” said Leslie Wilkins, MEDB President and CEO. “From offering our original STEMworks™ service-learning initiatives, to providing needed training, internships, and resources to empower a new generation of leaders and innovators, MEDB is dedicated to creating meaningful pathways to benefit the lives of residents today and tomorrow.”

Over 500 guests attended the event that included Apples for Education Silent and Live Auctions; The Price Is Right (STEM edition game); and memorable presentations by Maui County’s STEM students, teachers, and stakeholders. Winners of two prestigious 2019 STEM awards were also announced. The Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award (DKII) recognizes outstanding students who have demonstrated the most innovative use of STEM tools and programs to serve and improve the community. The Czechowicz Award recognizes exceptional educators in Maui Nui.

Recipients of the Czechowicz Award, and $5,000 each, went to Elizabeth Conroy-Humphrey of Lanai High & Elementary School, Jennifer Suzuki of Maui Waena Intermediate School, and David Kawika Gonzales of Kaunakakai Elementary School for their dedication to the teaching profession.

Wilkins noted, “The DKII is the highest student honor that MEDB bestows. Named in memory of the late Senator, who anchored this MEDB Ke Alahele event for many years and was our foundation for supporting STEM education, this annual award is presented to a Maui County student project team that demonstrates the most innovative use of STEM tools and capabilities to serve and improve our community.”

The 2019 DKII went to the Baldwin High School team: Cameron Loewen, Kalila Phillips, Victoria Teoh, and Brandon Wong. Each of the four students and their teacher Trisha Roy received $2,000 for creating a product to help stimulate coral regrowth and mitigate the effects of coral bleaching.

Roy said, “As a STEMworks™ teacher, I am so grateful to MEDB for providing our students with tools to prepare them for future STEM careers.”

Proceeds raised will help to advance MEDB’s STEM education programs from kindergarten to careers and enable MEDB to continue to pursue meaningful pathways that benefit the lives of residents in Maui County and statewide.

Leslie Wilkins, MEDB, President & CEO