Each year, held in conjunction with National Engineering Week, Maui Economic Development Board’s (MEDB) STEMworks™ program offers their signature Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (IGED). This year, MEDB hosted 160 middle school students from 10 schools and over 25 volunteer engineers to participate in IGED during the week of February 20-24th. Girls from several intermediate schools on Maui met at Lokelani Intermediate School and Privateer Space Inc. in the Maui Research &Technology Park, and on Oahu at the UH Manoa Campus Center. During the program, participants did hands-on experiments and learned about the various engineering careers and the contributions engineers make to the community.
“IGED builds awareness of the career pathways that can help shape our students’ future choices into high growth/high wage sectors. Hawaii female engineers shared their experiences, their passion for their work, and how they are making meaningful contributions,” said Leslie Wilkins, MEDB President & CEO.
Kalila Phillips, STEMworks AFTERschool teacher, explained, “Middle school girls were shown how engineers are the inventors and problem-solvers of the world. There are more than 25 major specialties that are recognized in the field of engineering. On Day One, we took a short survey to see which field each girl might be interested in. In addition, we introduced a hands-on technology activity of building jumping robots, which gave them an opportunity to collaborate with teammates with diverse skills.”
At Privateer Space, a Maui-based aerospace company that is working to keep space safe and accessible, the girls learned about space debris, the actual catalogued numbers of debris and satellites currently in space, and how many satellites are projected to launch in the next 10 years. Privateer engineers explained the importance of the education needed to enter the aerospace field.
Tatianah Esteban, 6th grader said, “When my robot actually jumped, I was excited with my accomplishment, my perseverance, our teamwork, and being able to learn engineering skills. At Privateer Space, I realized that we depend on what’s in space. Even the tiniest speck of debris can damage satellites and disrupt the space services we use in our daily lives.”
When my robot actually jumped, I was excited with my accomplishment, my perseverance, our teamwork, and being able to learn engineering skills. Tatianah Esteban, 6th grader