Our Islands, Our Future
Jonathan Olsten

Jonathan Olsten, former STEMworks™ intern

Jonathan Olsten, once a student in Maui Economic Development Board’s (MEDB) STEMworks™ Summer Internship Program, speaks of the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in his life. “I interned with MEDB while I was in college,” explained Olsten, a Foreign Spacecraft Analyst at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC). “Through MEDB I worked at the University of New Mexico’s Maui Scientific Research Center doing data analysis of solar intensity. I took what I learned from that experience and applied it to my current job at NASIC, analyzing large amounts of data.”

Olsten first realized he wanted to pursue a degree in engineering while he was taking high school physics. Understanding the way things work in theory and applying that knowledge in practice, was the kind of academic experience that he found most interesting and enjoyable. “It was nice to be good in math, but math for math’s sake was not as interesting to me,” Olsten noted. “It was learning how to apply the mathematical concepts to solve real-world problems that made math interesting.”

After Olsten decided to pursue engineering, it wasn’t difficult to choose his major. Inspired by a couple of pilots in his family, and a child’s dream to be an astronaut, aerospace engineering seemed like a great career choice. “In fact, one of the first toys I can remember having was a space shuttle,” Olsten said. “My advice for kids still in school is to make sure they end up in a position where they have the tools they need to find the job they will enjoy. That is almost synonymous with STEM. Take electives in high school to decide what kinds of STEM careers interest you most.”

Olsten praises MEDB for the extraordinary job they do in the community. “MEDB’s assistance to teachers and students provides education in cutting-edge technologies,” he said. “MEDB’s programs provide STEM thinking skills that solve real problems in the community and beyond.”

MEDB continues to offer extraordinary STEM programs and internships throughout the year.

Jonathan Olsten, Foreign Spacecraft Analyst, NASIC