Our Islands, Our Future

The fun, new STEMworks AFTERschool Program for the 2015-2016 school year, presented by the Women in Technology (WIT) project of the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB), is for boys and girls, grades 6, 7 and 8. The program addresses the need to stimulate interest and skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and to apply it to real world issues. It hopes to nurture student interest into their high school and post-secondary education, as well as prepare them to meet the workforce needs of their communities in viable careers. “STEMworks AFTERschool curricula are developed in close consultation with industry and education partners,” said Leslie Wilkins, MEDB’s vice president and director of WIT. “The flexible structure of the curriculum allows teachers to align with in-school science and math curricula and the needs of students.”

The program includes an emphasis on coordination between the academic and enrichment activities offered in the after-school program and the coursework students complete during the school day. “The enrichment lessons and activities are interactive in order to teach the curriculum in a different way. This can benefit students who struggle in a regular classroom environment,” said Wilkins. Unlike any other class in Hawai’i’s middle and high school curriculum, STEMworks is a multi-faceted, hands-on program where students get to use the most current, high-end technologies in actual learning projects. “This is more than an after-school science club!” Wilkins said, noting participants will acquire skills to adapt to the rapidly changing technology landscape.

“Having the partnership with MEDB and the 21st Century grant to form the STEMworks AFTERschool program will provide our students with state-of-the-art equipment, trained staff to run the programs and support for training,” said Jennifer Suzuki of Maui Waena Intermediate. Other schools in the STEMworks AFTERschool program are: Iao Intermediate, Lanai High and Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate and St. Anthony Junior High.