Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award

Showcase your STEM project!

Applications are now being accepted for this year’s Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award. This annual award will be presented to a Maui County project team that demonstrates the most innovative use of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) tools and capabilities to serve and improve our community.

In 2013, MEDB, with the endorsement of Irene Hirano Inouye, established the Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award to honor the late Senator’s vision for Maui as an innovation center for the latest scientific and technological advances.

Award guidelines:

  • The Award will be presented to the winning team in the form of a MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund financial grant.
  • The Award is open to all Maui County students grades 6-12. High school seniors graduating in June 2017 are also eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must demonstrate the best combination of technology with service learning for the benefit of Maui Nui.
  • This is an innovation award so students are encouraged to submit a project that is “outside the box” but still has a practical function and value to the community.
  • STEMworks students are encouraged to apply, but applicants need not be in a STEMworks™ lab to be considered.
  • The winning project will be recognized during a formal ceremony during the annual MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund Dinner & Auction on Saturday, August 26, 2017 at the Fairmont Kealani.

How to enter:

  • Each team must complete and submit an official Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award Application.
    Click here to download guidelines & application
  • Applications must be submitted in PDF format to MEDB.
  • Relevant supplementary project materials may be submitted with the application.

Applications must be received by MEDB no later than August 11, 2017

Submit applications to Lalaine Pasion at lalaine@medb.org

For information and/or questions, please contact:
Maui Economic Development Board
1305 North Holopono, Suite 1
Kihei, HI 96753
(808) 875-2300

Past Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award winners:


Jasmine and Keona Conroy-Humphrey of Lanai High School

2016 First Place winner

The Conroy-Humphreys used the training they received and the Geospatial (GIS) software in their MEDB STEMworks™ lab to locate, load in the collector app, and create an updated map of where the fire hydrants are located on Lanai. The electronic map helps to support the Lanai Water Company and the firefighters to be able to geolocate the fire hydrants in a timely manner which will help to make Lanai a safer place.  Their project is being used by the Maui County Fire Department.

Evelyn_HaasEvelyn Haase of Molokai High

2016 2nd Place Winner

Evelyn invented a pH sensor that can measure accurate data detecting the tiniest changes to the Ocean pH due to environmental fluctuations. Not only does it improve accuracy, but is offers a huge cost savings compared to the current systems available to marine scientists. Estimates are that her device is 1/42 of the price (which is about $200 to compared to $11,000 for today’s technology costs) and requires half the maintenance.

Jett Bolusan of Maui High and Maya Ooki of King Kekaulike High

2016 3rd Place Winner

Maya Ooki and Jett Bolusan worked over the summer to support HC&S’s transition plans for the sugar lands. Working with Mae Nakahata of HC&S, Ooki and Bulosan researched and created a comprehensive list of pests on Maui lands and compiled them into a “Wikipedia-like” website entitled “Bugpedia” to help not only HC&S plan for new crops, but to be a tool for all Maui Farmers.

winner 1st place-Jenkins sistersSarah Jenkins and Lily Jenkins of Molokai High School

2015 First Place winner

In this first-of-its-kind study, this sister team revealed the socioeconomic and ecological effects of Red Mangrove, one of the most invasive coastal vegetation in Hawaii, which will ultimately have an impact in addressing the Molokai’s fragile ecosystem. They used GIS to interpret satellite data, aerial imagery, historic maps and coastal surveys to determine the extent to which red mangroves have migrated seaward on Molokai’s south shore; and were able to analyze the mangroves’ effects and predict their future impact on nearby reefs.

winner 2nd place-Keaaokahonua Davis Amber Afelin (Molokai HS)_photoAmber “Momi” Afelin, Kea`aokahonua Davis and Alexandria Simon of Molokai High School

2015 Second Place winner

This student team’s project, “Investigating Agar Extraction from Gracilaria salicornia,” focused on finding viable ways to efficiently remove the highly invasive seaweed Gracilaria salicornia or Gorilla Ogo from our reefs.

winner 3rd place-Jeremie Amano Gabriel Rayburn (King K)_photoJeremie Amano and Gabriel Rayburn of King Kekaulike High School

2015 Third Place winner

This student team developed a “MISC Report-A-Pest App” that the public can use to send sightings of invasive species to MISC (Maui Invasive Specials Committee) using mobile Android devices.


AJ Ramelb_King KekaulikeAJ Ramelb – King Kekaulike High School graduate

2014 First Place winner

Ramelb was recognized for using technology in the campus STEMworks™ lab to design a paintbrush grip for special needs students. Using 3D Computer Aided Design, he created a “brass knuckle” design for students who are challenged with holding a paintbrush, even with assistance. Ramelb’s design has led to the production of four grips for students with severe disabilities.


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