Winners all at the 7th Annual Hawaii STEM Conference

May 12, 2016

KIHEI, Maui, Hawaii – May 12, 2016 – The Hawaii STEM Conference held this past weekend, May 6-7, proved once again that everyone’s a winner when it comes to STEM education. Whether it’s empowering our youth through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); providing our teachers with needed STEM-based resources and tools; or inspiring our state’s next generation of innovative thinkers and doers – STEM has the power to impact us all.

Held at the Wailea Marriott Resort on Maui, this annual statewide conference was presented by Maui Economic Development’s (MEDB) Women in Technology (WIT) project.
Over 800 students, teachers and industry professionals participated in the two-day conference which boasted over 43 student breakout sessions, 16 teacher professional development breakout sessions, and 15 STEM competitions. A total of 112 schools and organizations statewide were represented.
“Programs like this STEM Conference where you can go and explore your passion is really the best,” said Luke Jones, a senior at Kihei Charter School. “Every time I come, there’s always something new and I’m excited to learn more.”

“What I like best about the conference were the breakout sessions,” said Raymond Andrade, a senior at Baldwin High School. “It’s one big get together of all these schools, trying the latest technologies and working together.  Whether it be coding or engineering or math-based programs or digital media, there’s a session for practically everyone here which is pretty amazing and well organized.”
Students also had the opportunity to participate in STEM competitions. This year’s winners were announced during Saturday’s awards ceremony:

  •  On-Site Video Competition  – Bernard Sula, Milmar Villanueva (Maui High School)
  • Royer Onsite Competition – Marleen Tana, Alana Kahawai (Roosevelt High School)
  •  On-Site Cyber Spyware Competition – Maya Ooki, Jeremie Amano, Kai Richardson, Michael Reeves (King Kekaulike High School)
  •  On-Site Design Pitch Competition – Zoe Whitney, Allyza Sayno (Maui High School)
  • CAD Showcase Application Competition – Loi Phan, Jasmyn Ann Carlos (Waipahu High School)
  • Game Design Competition – Sean Graefen (Kauai High School)
  •  GIS – Storytelling with Maps Competition – Bernadette Dela Cruz (Farrington High School)
  •  Music Competition – Emmanair Rich (King Kekaulike High School)
  •  Photography Design Competition – Allyza Sayno (Maui High School)
  •  PSA Competition – Shanell Pugal, Jada Chang, Roxanne Agtang, Sydney Dempsey, Jordyn Paa (Maui High School)
  •  STEMworks™ Tech Tips Competition – Kyle Alquisalas, Jake Arnsbrak (Maui High School)
  •  T-Shirt Design Competition – Thanthawat Moengchaisong (King Kekaulike High School)
  • What is STEMworks™ Competition – Evan Aquinde, Jayboy Badua, Josh Cui, Jadynne Zane (Maui Waena Intermediate School)
  •  Inter PIA Competition – Christine Alonzo, Czerena Bayle, Tiana-Lei Juan, Jadynne Zane (Maui Waena Intermediate School)
  •  High School PIA Competition – Chelsea Kau, Shanelle Macaraeg (Baldwin High School)

To view all the winning videos, visit

Karen Roberts, an 8th grade science teacher at Lokelani Intermediate, shared her thoughts on the conference. “This experience is definitely life-changing. My students were motivated and excited to share their community-based STEM learning projects with others their own age and with adults. It also gave us, as teachers, the opportunity to bring back new curriculums that will encourage 21st century learning.”
“One of the big benefits for students attending this conference was they got to meet other students who have similar interests,” said Keith Imada, a STEMworks™ facilitator at Maui High School. “As teachers, a lot of times we put students together who are in STEM or science, but they don’t always have the same interests. But here, they have similar goals, motivations, frustrations, and accomplishments. They are proud of what they’ve done and get to share with other students who understand what they’ve gone through.”

“The high energy 5×5 sessions were invaluable for students as it offered them a rare opportunity to have direct access to professionals in the STEM field,” said Emily Haines-Swatek, Career and Technical Education coordinator and MEDB’s STEMworks™ teacher at King Kekaulike High School. “They got an idea of the wide variety of careers available, as well as the benefits and challenges they may face on the road to such a career.”
Tessie Lumabao, a STEMworks™ teacher at Waipahu High School, agreed with the impact of the 5×5 session. “Students got to network with industry professionals that specialize in fields that they are interested in. Experts shared how they can prepare for these specialties, why attending college is important, and encouraged students to continue to pursue their passions.”
This 2016 conference theme was “download knowledge, upload service” which emphasized the role the conference played in promoting and developing the skills of students to become innovative thinkers.

“One of our goals in providing these types of STEM events and programs is to encourage our youth to use STEM as a tool for making a positive difference in their community,” said Isla Young, MEDB’s K12 STEM Program Director. “By all of us working together we can help Hawaii’s students access the wonderful world of STEM and provide experiences that will foster the next generation of innovators, educators, and leaders.”
The 2016 Hawaii STEM Conference sponsors were:

  • County of Maui
  • Office of Naval Research
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • County of Maui
  • Hawaii Energy
  • MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund
  • National Science Foundation
  • National Security Agency
  • Cyberwatch West
  • Microsoft
  • Airforce Research Laboratory
  • Trimble SketchUp
  • Pacific Center for Advance Technology Training
  • Monsanto
  • Opterra Energy Services
  • STEM Pre-Academy
  • Mount Mercy University
  • ExploreU
  • King Kekaulike High School
  • Maui High School ACOM
  • Camp CenterStage
  • NASA
  • 3D Academy
  • Elemental Minds
  • Hawaii Geographic Information Coordinating Council
  • esri
  • Maui Electric Company
  • devleague
  • Drone Services Hawaii
  • Goma Games
  • Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources
  • Ben Franklin Crafts/Ace Hardware by HouseMart
  • Hawaii State Department of Education
  • University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy
  • University of Hawaii Maui College
  • University of Hawaii Manoa College of Engineering
  • University of Hawaii Hilo College
  • University of Hawaii Manoa College
  • Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

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.
For more information on the Hawaii STEM Conference, visit or contact Isla Young at or 808-250-2888.