NASA Astronaut Visits Hilo for Onizuka Science Day

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On Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, about 400 students grades 3 through 12 attended the 18th annual Onizuka Science Day.

Astronaut Jack Fischer talks to the UH Hilo crowd. Courtesy photo.

The event, presented by American Savings Bank (ASB), featured Col. Jack Fischer, a NASA astronaut, who shared his stories of space travel with students from across the state.

Onizuka Science Day honors Hawai‘i-born Astronaut Ellison Onizuka, whose life was cut short 30-years-ago on the Space Shuttle Challenger mission. ASB has been the title sponsor of the Ellison Onizuka Science Day for the past 17 years. Claude Onizuka, Ellison’s younger brother and a former ASB branch manager, has led the event that honors his brother’s memory.

The Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day has welcomed thousands of Hawai‘i youth to explore topics in science ranging from satellites to space travel. “My brother once said, ‘vision is not limited by what your eye can see, but by what your mind can imagine.’ It is my hope that his science day will continue to inspire Hawai‘i youth to imagine great opportunities for Hawai‘i and the world,” said Onizuka. This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the Challenger mission.


At the event, students had the opportunity to participate in interactive science-themed workshops, take part in a robotics competition, enjoy a complimentary lunch and meet the astronaut.

Next week, Col. Fischer will visit with students from Mililani Waena Elementary School. Mililani Waena recently won 1st place in the Elementary School Division in ASB’s Bank for Education KeikiCo Business Plan Competition.



Col. Fischer was selected by NASA in July 2009 as a member of the 20th NASA astronaut class. A Colorado native, he served as a flight engineer aboard the International Space Station of the Expedition 51/52, and during his 2017 mission, logged 136 days in space with two spacewalks. During this mission, Col. Fischer completed hundreds of scientific experiments for the crew with his fellow astronauts. He has worked in the CAPCOM, Soyuz, International Space Station Operations, ISS Integration, and Exploration branches of the NASA Astronaut Office. Col. Fischer is an Air Force Command pilot with over 3,000 flight hours in more than 45 types of aircraft.


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