MEDB helps power robotics, STEM careers

Jan 11, 2017

The robotics phenom is spreading and students throughout Maui County are getting a dose of the “hardest fun” they’ve ever had. Helping to fuel Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs like robotics is Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB).
For over a decade, MEDB along with the support of numerous community stakeholders have been empowering students in Maui County and statewide through the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund, a grant program that encourages pathways to STEM careers. Two of the popular educational programs supported by the Fund are VEX and FIRST® Robotics.
VEX Robotics is an international program that offers intermediate and high school students the experience of solving real-world problems by applying STEM skills. MEDB was proud to be one of the first and continues to be a major funder of VEX robotics in Hawaii.
FIRST® Robotics Competition challenges high school students to hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform tasks against a field of competitors. Today, there are more than 140 FIRST Robotics competitions worldwide.
This 2016-2017 school year, over $63,300 was awarded by MEDB to support robotics programs in Maui County. Recipients were:
VEX Robotics programs:
Akaula, Kaunakakai Elementary, and Kilohana Elementary School – $1,119
Baldwin High School – $5,000
Kalama Intermediate School – $5,000
Lahaina Intermediate School – $2,000
Lahainaluna High School – $2,500
Lihikai Elementary School – $3,000
Maui High School – $4,000
Maui Preparatory Academy – $3,000
Maui Waena Intermediate School – $5,000
Molokai Middle School – $5,000
Pomaikai Elementary School – $2,695
Pu`u Kukui Elementary School – $4,989
Pukalani Elementary School – $5,000
St. Anthony Junior-Senior High School – $3,000
FIRST® Robotics programs:
Baldwin High School – $5,000
Maui High School – $5,000
Lahainaluna High School – $5,000
“MEDB’s grants would not be possible without the generous support of the many businesses and individuals who contribute to the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund’s annual fundraiser dinner,” said Jeanne Skog, President & CEO of MEDB. “In addition to robotics, contributions also help to support various STEM programs and initiatives for students and teachers.”  For a list of grantees, visit
The 2017 MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund Benefit Dinner & Auction will be held on Saturday, August 27th at The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, call 875-2300 or visit