‘Setting Course’ Documentary Features Two Hilo Students

January 5, 2018, 10:10 AM HST
* Updated January 8, 9:22 AM
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(L–R) Traven and Keakealani from Hilo,Bonnie Kahapea-Tanner (captain, Mana Maoli) and Tehani from O‘ahu are featured in “Setting Course,” a the new Roadtrip Nation documentary series. Courtesy photo. 

Roadtrip Nation announced on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, that Setting Course will air on Hawaii Public Television stations starting Jan. 3.

The new documentary series follows three students in Hawai‘i—including two from Hilo on the Big Island—as they explore the innovations happening in their state in the STEAM fields (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).

These three road-trippers began their journey on the Big Island in Hilo, crisscrossing the islands with highlighted stops on O‘ahu, Maui and other locations on Hawai‘i Island. They met with local professionals working in STEAM fields along the way.

From interviews with Dr. Jim Kauahikaua, research geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, to Chriselle Galapon, assistant thermal systems engineer at the National Solar Observatory, to Gov. David Ige, and Kevin Wallis, lead forecaster at Surfline, this road trip introduced them to all types of STEAM careers that are possible in Hawai‘i.

“This film highlights the broad range of career opportunities available right here in the state of Hawai‘i, which is vital in keeping our students connected to learning about innovative careers for our diverse Hawaiian economy,” said Gov. David Ige.


The students of Hawai‘i don’t have to leave home to find careers in innovative fields—but to find careers and education that matches their goals and interests, they do need to see what’s possible. That’s why Roadtrip Nation set out with three local students from Hawai‘i to hear inspiring stories and advice from people all across the islands who are using science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics to make a better future that’s still connected to the traditions of the past.


The students of Hawai‘i, featured as road-trippers in the film, have unique backgrounds and individual goals, but all share a passion for Hawai‘i and an interest in STEAM.

Keakealani, from Hilo, Hawai‘i Island: When Keakealani was in high school, she was chosen to attend an international technology conference—and once she’d interacted with other members of the tech community, her curiosity about the industry was solidified into a lifelong passion. As someone who was raised with a strong focus on tradition, she’s excited to tackle a field that’s constantly looking forward to the future.

Traven, from Hilo, Hawai‘i Island: Born on O‘ahu, Traven feels Hawaiian through and through. But after 18 years spent moving around the country, he lost touch with his roots. Most of his upbringing was spent in Alaska, where an experience volunteering for a nonprofit uncovered his passion for environmental science. He decided to return to his home state, where he re-immersed himself in the Hawaiian language and traditions, including the art of hula. Now, almost a college graduate, with a major in environmental studies, he is looking forward to what’s next.


Tehani, from Haleiwa, O‘ahu: The daughter of a high school biology teacher, she has always been drawn to the sciences. As a senior in high school, Tehani enrolled in a maritime program that taught her how to sail the open ocean using traditional Hawaiian navigational practices—guided only by the wind, sea, and stars. After seeing this custom in practice, she knew her life’s passion would be combining ancestral Hawaiian sciences with contemporary methods and technology.

“Our philosophy at Roadtrip Nation is simple: show people real career journeys, so they can be inspired to forge their own fulfilling career paths,” said Mike Marriner, cofounder of Roadtrip Nation. “In this film, we set out to show how Hawai‘i’s rich history and incredible natural environment create the backdrop for the spirit of innovation that is shaping the future. This project was fueled by Strada Education Network, and our aim is to share stories of community leaders in Hawai‘i who are pursuing engaging and impactful careers, and contributing to more opportunities for the next generation.”

“Some of the most innovative organizations in business today have a local footprint in Hawai‘i amid some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes,” said William D. Hansen, president and CEO of Strada Education Network. “At Strada Education Network, we are focused on student’s success in education and finding rewarding careers, possibly within the STEAM career space, and we were pleased to fuel Roadtrip Nation’s latest project showcasing the opportunities happening in Hawai‘i.”

To watch Setting Course or to find local broadcast air times, visit

The film was made possible with support from Strada Education Network and will be distributed through KQED.

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