Our Islands, Our Future


For the first time, Maui Economic Development Board’s (MEDB) Women In Technology (WIT) Project is presenting a student collaboration opportunity between Hawaii and California. Kamali’i Elementary School, Lokelani Intermediate and Kihei Charter High School on Maui, together with Elliott Ranch Elementary School and Cosumnes Oaks High School in California, have chosen their most environmentally conscious students to participate in The Pacific Clean Energy Exchange. “In an effort to inspire creativity and collaboration with their counterparts, the students will explore, via conference calls and digital sharing, clean energy solutions both in the Golden State and the Aloha State,” said Lesley Brashier, Elliott Ranch Elementary School teacher. “Plus, leadership and management skills will be practiced by the high school students who are mentoring younger student teams in fourth, fifth and sixth grades.”

The students will work together to synthesize their findings for a presentation at the MEDB Hawaii STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Conference on May 6-7, 2016. “The Pacific Clean Energy Exchange Program is the first of its kind,” said MEDB WIT Project Manager Melinda White. “Elementary and high school students are being tasked with exploring solutions for the global energy crisis. They’ll be contributors to a relevant world issue being tackled by the brightest scientists, engineers and political leaders.”

The discussions in this program are very diverse. How can renewable energy be better integrated into city planning? How can citizens be encouraged to utilize clean energy like solar, wind, ocean wave and tidal action when available? Are there more energy sustainable ways to cool the schools? In the culminating event, California and Hawaii teams will be able to meet in person when they offer their innovative ideas and solutions at the STEM Conference. “The Pacific Clean Energy Exchange is giving my students a chance to learn about the significance of Hawaii’s 100% renewable energy goal,” said Zayna Stoycoff, Lokelani Intermediate School teacher. “As one of my students recently explained, ‘No one individual can possibly make every contribution, but by coming together great goals can be reached.’ As a teacher, this is what it’s all about!”

The Pacific Clean Energy Exchange project is a one-of-a-kind STEM opportunity that joins students from Hawaii and California to collaborate on clean energy issues. I very much wanted to be part of this project to learn more about environmental science and hopefully contribute to Hawaii’s future.

Cole Logrande, Lokelani Intermediate School 6th grader