In 1999, Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) created the Women in Technology Project (WIT) whose mission is to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) throughout the state with hands-on and project-based service learning. WIT works in partnership with educators and businesses to build and strengthen Hawaii’s STEM education- to-workforce pipeline. Today, WIT provides cutting-edge STEM education across the islands, throughout the year. Effective programs, such as STEMworks AFTERschool, the Annual Hawaii STEM Conference, and more, continue to meet 21st century workforce demands. “STEM education has the power to impact all of us,” said Isla Young, MEDB’s K-12 STEM Program Director. “Through the years, we’ve seen first-hand how empowering our youth with STEM skills and opportunities can make a difference in their lives and in the career pathways they choose to pursue.”
WIT’s STEMworks AFTERschool program is multi-faceted and hands-on. Students get to use the most current, high-end technologies in actual service learning projects. Participants work with their peers and industry partners, using their skills to help improve life on their respective islands. “Through the STEMworks program, I’ve been able to strengthen my love for computer programming,” said Jeremy Amato, a 12th grader at King Kekaulike High School. “STEMworks has allowed me to apply my skills to real-world jobs and even use it to help my community. Now I’m looking at pursuing computer programming as my career choice.” Maui Waena 8th grader Christine Alonzo said, “The STEMworks AFTERschool program taught me how to work a camera. I now know how to write scripts, edit, and use Photoshop. But mostly, I learned the importance of teamwork.”
“We have the power to change the world,” said Thanthawat Moengchaisong from King Kekaulike High School. “I personally love helping the community with the technology around me because STEM is all over the world and it connects people in a powerful way.”
Through STEMworks AFTERschool, I achieved more than I ever thought I could. With the support of MEDB and WIT, my partner and I won first place in a nationwide film competition. Thank you MEDB!
Czerena Bayle, Maui Waena Intermediate School 8th grader