TMT Wins Pualu Community Education Award

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On Friday, June 29, 2018, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) was awarded the 2018 Pualu Community Education Award at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership and Installation Luncheon.

Meaning to “work together,” the Pualu Awards were established in 1979 to honor dedication and hard work in the community. The Pualu Community Education Award honors an individual or organization that promotes and supports education and enrichment programs that develop personal skills and lifelong learning.

It was noted that TMT listened to the community in the early stages of discussing the project when it heard what was needed was a TMT community benefit dedicated to education and Hawai‘i Island’s young people. TMT responded by creating The Hawai‘i Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund and an annual $1 million contribution. To date, the Thirty Meter Telescope has funded $4 million to the THINK Fund initiative to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Science (STEM) on Hawai‘i Island.

“The Thirty Meter Telescope believes that education benefits all and we’ve been active in promoting and supporting STEM education through the THINK Funds at the Hawaii Community Foundation and the Pauahi Foundation,” said TMT Hawai‘i Community Affairs Manager Sandra Dawson. “These efforts are already having a profound effect today in changing lives and helping young people and their families on Hawai‘i Island.”

TMT wins Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Pualu Community Education Award. LtoR: Dale Suezaki, Kona-Kohala Chamber Past President; Sandra Dawson, Manager – Hawaii Community Affairs Thirty Meter Telescope; Virginia Aragon-Barnes, ES-H Compliance Engineer TMT International Observatory; J. Porter DeVries, Kona- Kohala Chamber President; Wendy Laros, Kona-Kohala Chamber Executive Director


The THINK Fund has awarded college scholarships totaling $1,050,000 to 116 local Hawai‘i Island students over the past 4 years and an additional $2 plus million to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) pursuits. The THINK Fund also has a $900,000 endowment to fund STEM education on Hawai‘i Island far into the future.In addition to providing scholarships to local Hawaii Island students, the THINK Fund supports STEM Learning Grants (Career Connected Learning) to programs that demonstrate success in recruiting and addressing the needs of groups underrepresented in STEM fields, including students in rural communities, Native Hawaiians and those disengaged in school.

The THINK Fund also supports classroom grants through Thirty nine of the 55 public and public charter schools on Hawai‘i Island have received grants with high need students receiving 78% of the funding.

TMT is a major funder to other educational programs on Hawaii Island including Akamai Internship Program, GEMS, Journey Through the Universe, AstroDay, Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Summit, Super Science Fair, BrushBot and VEX Robotics programs. TMT is also funding a new Physics and Astronomy Computer Laboratory at UH Hilo and is a major funder of the UH Hilo 2018 Science Olympiad.



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