Our Islands, Our Future

Lanai middle and high school students appear to have a fast-growing interest in science and technology following a STEM camp held on their home island. “I would say the STEM Camp and experience has opened our students’ eyes to something they haven’t seen or experienced before,” said Counselor Beth Conroy Humphrey of Lanai High and Elementary School. “It’s definitely got them interested.”

Approximately 20 elementary and middle school students attended a two-day event spotlighting science, technology, engineering and math. Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology Project organized the event earlier this fall in partnership with Lanai School. “It was great and it gave our students a new interest and skills in something they didn’t even know they had,” Humphrey said. Students engaged in breakout sessions that included lessons on drones, coding and programming, Website development and recycling sustainability. A STEM Family Night was incorporated into the event with parents and students participating in hands-on, learning-based activities such as Ice Cream Engineering, iPad ScratchJr Coding and Mobile Proscope. Airport firefighter George Purdy helped facilitate the session on drones while his wife, Stacey, participated in STEM Family Night and supported their two children at the camp.

Purdy said the opportunity to participate in a STEM Camp like the one in October was a rare occurrence for Lanai families. “There’s just not that many activities readily available for Lanai children,” Purdy said. The camp provided students a chance to apply their classroom lessons in science and math to the STEM activities provided at the camp. “It just took our students’ learning to a whole new level.” Humphrey said the STEM camp has been influential on teachers who are incorporating more STEM-related activities in their classrooms. The interest is so great that Humphrey is planning a STEM Day for middle school students and families in December. “The parents and the students are both wanting to be more involved and get more STEM opportunities. It’s quite exciting,” she said.