Our Islands, Our Future

STEMworks students at Queen Kaahumanu Center

Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology (WIT) Project recently showcased the STEMworks™ AFTERschool program at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. Students from participating Maui County schools, Pukalani Elementary, Maui Waena Intermediate, Lahaina Intermediate, Lokelani Intermediate, and St. Anthony School presented demonstrations with enthusiasm and proficiency. “STEMworks™ is a multifaceted, hands-on program where students get to use the most current, high-end technologies in actual learning projects,” said Isla Young, WIT Program Director of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), Education and Workforce Development. “It hopes to prepare students throughout their high school and post-secondary education to meet the 21st century STEM needs of their communities.”

Jennifer Suzuki, Maui Waena Intermediate STEMworks™ AFTERschool technology advisor said, “Our program has over 150 6th-8th grade students enrolled. Students participate in a variety of activities with a group of talented mentors to guide them through the different offerings such as the finer points of video editing, motion graphics, and 3D printing. They also learn how to build and program robots and drones.”

Maui Waena 8th grade Robotic Build Captain Renzo Gaoiran said, “It’s so exciting to work with my team on the building issues. We have to figure out what design would be best and work out problems such as what drives, lifts and accessories to use.” Program Captain Emily Tom, 8th grade, explained, “My job is to teach others how to make the robot do simple actions like go forward, turn, go backward, etc. Our team works together on codes to operate the robot and ways to solve the errors.”

STEMworks™ Instructor Jared Nagura’s students are working on their final semester projects at Pukalani Elementary School. “One team is using a scientific method to test the difference in conductivity between water and salt-water with Snap Circuits,” he noted. “Another team is using the engineering design process to build a motorized ferris wheel out of Kinects. The WIT STEMworks™ AFTERschool program is the ideal organizer to reinforce fundamental mathematics and scientific processes. It gives students the opportunity to apply skills they have learned and share them with others.”

The STEMworks™ AFTERschool program builds confidence. We learn to solve problems and are challenged to gain teamwork skills. Thanks, MEDB and WIT, for supporting the students!

Emily Tom, Maui Waena 8th grade Robotics Program Captain