Our Islands, Our Future

The Maui Economic Development Board is continuing to honor the legacy of the late U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye with an award program in his name. “Senator Inouye was a visionary who saw how important it is to affirm and invest in our students, the future of Hawaii,” said MEDB President and CEO Jeanne Skog. First presented in 2013, the Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award advances Senator Inouye’s dream of empowering students who demonstrate an innovative use of STEM tools and capabilities to serve and improve our community.

Deadline for award applications is July 15. The winning project will be one that is ‘outside the box,’ but nevertheless has a practical function and value to the community. Last year’s first honoree was a STEM project conceived and produced by King Kekaulike students Lotus Chen and Sierra Harrell. Using GPS technology and practical applications of math and science, the students mapped out roads leading to and from their school campus. Then, they marked areas that needed crosswalks and sidewalks and took note of troublesome spots where motorists might lose sight of pedestrians. They shared their geospatial map with state and county officials, and their work resulted in Governor Neil Abercrombie releasing nearly $1 million for the Maui County Old Haleakala Highway Sidewalk project.

“Dan would have been pleased that these students worked on a project to potentially save lives,” said his widow, Irene Hirano Inouye. “He was always delighted to see the talented and articulate students display their science, technology, engineering and math projects.” The award will be presented at the annual Ke Alahele Education Fund dinner on August 23 at the Grand Wailea Resort & Spa. All Maui County middle and high school students are eligible to submit applications. Students need not be in a STEMworks lab to be considered. Each team must have a teacher adviser who will need to sign the project application. For more information on how to enter, or to make reservations for the Ke Alahele dinner and auction, visit: