April 18, 2017

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This article originally appeared on Maui Now.

The annual Hawaiʻi STEM Conference, state’s largest conference celebrating students’ achievements in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education takes place on May 1-2, 2017.

The Hawaii STEM Conference brings together hundreds of local students, educators and industry professionals with some of the most innovative technology companies in the world.

For the first time in the event’s history, it will be held on Oʻahu. Prior to this year the statewide conference was held on Maui.

Over 1,000 of the state’s brightest STEM stars, prominent speakers, industry leaders, and event partners are expected to attend the two-day conference at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center in Honolulu.

The conference is presented by Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology project.

This year’s conference will include 40+ student breakout sessions, 30+ teacher breakout sessions, 14 software competitions, STEM playground, a formal awards banquet, and exhibit presentations.

For more than a decade, WIT’s cutting edge learning programs have led the state in progressive STEM education. Student teams select community based/environmental and cultural issues to create high tech solutions. MEDB’s STEM/Service Learning model has been recognized nationally as an innovative, relevant, and successful approach to K-12 education curriculum.

“The Hawaiʻi STEM Conference ramps up the STEM-o-meter by providing even more opportunities for students and teachers to immerse themselves in a variety of STEM education activities and to network and learn with industry experts,” said Isla Young, MEDB’s K12 STEM Education Program Director. “This event will help them gain insights into their own abilities to acquire and use information, new technologies and to solve problem. Ultimately, these experiences can encourage today’s youth to use their STEM skills to do good and improve their world.”

The Hawaii STEM Conference empowers students and educators with first-hand exposure to advanced technologies, the latest software training, and real world challenges in the form of fun, hands-on team competitions.

The annual Hawaiʻi STEM Conference offers:

– a public forum for students to showcase their STEM/Service Learning projects in front of community leaders, industry representatives and their peers.

– opportunities for students and teachers to engage in activities with some of the biggest names in STEM.

– first-hand exposure to advanced technologies and the latest software training.

– real world challenges in the form of fun, hands-on STEM team competitions.

This year, 1,000 students and teachers representing intermediate and high schools from every island across the state of Hawaiʻi are expected to participate in the conference. For many, it will be their first experience at a regional technology conference, complete with 40+ student breakout sessions, 30+ teacher breakout sessions, 14 software competitions, STEM playground, a formal awards banquet, and exhibit presentations.

Event highlights this year include:

– Presentation during Monday’s awards dinner by keynote speaker, Lynn Allen, Autodesk Technology Evangelist. Lynn speaks to more than 30,000 Autodesk users worldwide each year. She has written Cadalyst’s “Circles and Lines” column since 1993 and is the creator of Cadalyst’s popular AutoCAD video tips. She began using AutoCAD software with Release 1.4 more than 20 years ago and taught at the corporate and collegiate levels for 13 years before joining Autodesk. A sought-after public speaker with a unique comedic style, she is the host of Autodesk University and always one of the event’s highest-rated speakers. She has written three AutoCAD books; the latest is titled AutoCAD Professional Tips and Techniques.

– Presentation by Tuesday’s luncheon keynote speaker Renezel Lagran, star STEMworks student who has overcome many obstacles to become one of the most highly innovative and successful STEM leaders winning multiple awards and recognition both locally & nationally.

– Announcement by Microsoft on new statewide DigiCamp initiative.

– A timed, high-energy mixer – the 5 x 5 Sessions – that will students the opportunity to engage 5 different STEM industry professionals in a “speed networking” format to learn about STEM career pathways, personal experiences and insights.

– Hands-on student sessions offered by education teams and industry experts from Apple Inc.; Microsoft; Air Force Research Laboratory; Blue Planet Foundation; Camp CenterStage/Maui OnStage; Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope; College of Engineering Ambassadors; DevLeague LLC; Drone Service Hawaiʻi LLC; Elemental Minds; Esri; FBI Honolulu; Fournier Designs LLC; MEDB’s Women in Technology STEMworks Project; Monsanto; Patsy T. Mink Leadership Alliance; Regional Satellite Communications Support Center Pacific; STEM Jobs; STEM Pre-Academy and John Allen, WCRC; UH Cybersecurity and Steven Auerbach, PCATT; UH Manoa; and representatives from Maui High School ACOM, Momilani Elementary School and Nanakuli–Waianae Complex.

– Professional development sessions designed just for teachers to motivate and increase STEM learning in the classroom.

– Various student-centered competitions: CAD Showcase, Drone Competition, Digital Storytelling, Game Design, GIS Story Maps, Music, Photography, Program Impact Assessment, STEM Career Interview, T-Shirt Design and On-Site Competitions

“By participating in STEM events such as this, our hope is that these young people will become innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders who can solve the most pressing challenges facing our nation and our world, both today and tomorrow,” said Young.

The 8th Annual Hawaiʻi STEM Conference is sponsored by:

Office of Naval Research
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Labor
County of Maui
MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund
Strada Education Network
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Hawaiʻi Energy
21st Century Community Learning Centers
Hawaiʻi Geographic Information Coordinating CouncilC)
Hawaiian Electric Company
Opterra Energy Services
Trimble SketchUp
Central Pacific Bank
Apple Inc.
Creative Industries Hawaii
Creative Lab Hawaii
National Security Agency
STEM Pre-Academy
King Kekaulike High School
Maui High School ACOM
Searider Productions
Ben Franklin Crafts/Ace Hardware by HouseMart
Blue Planet
Camp CenterStage
Drone Services Hawaii
Elemental Minds
3D Innovations
Hawaiʻi HCM Creative Media Team
Hi FusionEd
Iolani School
The Janus Group
Momilani Elementary School
Maunakea Scholars
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Regional SATCOM Support Center-Pacific U.S. Army Space and Missle Defense Command
Patsy T. Mink Center for Business & Leadership
State of Hawaiʻi Department of Labor
State of Hawaiʻi Department of Education
University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa College of Engineering
University of Hawaiʻi, Maui College

The Women in Technology Project is a statewide initiative of the Maui Economic Development Board. WIT is funded in part by the U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture, Office of Naval Research, State of Hawaii, and the County of Maui.