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Hawai‘i STEM Program for Women Receives $15K

July 6, 2019, 9:00 AM HST (Updated July 5, 2019, 9:45 AM)
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Photo: PISCES.

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems’ (PISCES) Women’s STARS (STEM Aerospace Research Scholars) Program has received $15,000 in supplemental funding awards to encourage and support young women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) this summer.

Major heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, Inc. donated $10,000 to the week-long space and science camp and Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s Career Connected Learning Program awarded a $5,000 grant. The funding will help cover costs associated with transportation, meals and overnight accommodations during the program.

“The STARS Program is an important and necessary workforce development initiative to encourage and support our young women and cultivate a stronger STEM and high technology sector in the state,” said Mike McCartney, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT).

“Motivating young women to pursue careers in STEM is an important endeavor and we’re very thankful to have the generous support of our sponsors this year, Caterpillar and Hawai‘i Community Foundation,” said Rodrigo Romo, PISCES program director. “With a fully funded program, we have all the resources necessary to give our students a valuable learning experience that we hope will benefit them for years to come.”

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“It is incredibly important that we inspire students and help them develop an interest in science and technology at a young age,” said Anthony McNealy, Caterpillar engineering manager. “These young women are the innovators of the future. Programs like this help grow the next generation of engineers and scientists we hope will one day want to work at Caterpillar.”

To help manage the program’s funding, PISCES has partnered with the Hawai‘i Science and Technology Museum (HSTM), a Hawai‘i Island nonprofit dedicated to STEM outreach and education. As fiscal sponsor, HSTM is helping to manage and disperse the funding.

Now in its sixth year, the PISCES STARS Program offers an intensive, hands-on learning experience to Hawai‘i high school girls interested in STEM. The program includes presentations and tours at world-class research facilities, workshops and opportunities for networking and mentoring.

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Though primarily focused on aerospace and astronomy in years past, the 2019 program has expanded to include a wider range of natural sciences including marine biology, conservation biology and geology.

To learn more about STARS, visit pisces.hawaii.gov.

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