MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund Benefit Dinner & Auction to benefit STEM education programs at home

July 10th, 2014 · Ke Alahele, Ke Alahele 2014, STEM

Proceeds from the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund Benefit Dinner & Auction slated for Sat., Aug 23, will benefit a variety of STEM education programs here at home.

Proceeds from the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund Benefit Dinner & Auction slated for Sat., Aug 23, will benefit a variety of STEM education programs here at home.

The annual MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund Dinner & Auction returns on Saturday, August 23. Held at the Grand Wailea Resort, this annual event raises needed funds for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in our community.

Guests will bid on fabulous prizes at the popular Apples for Education Auctions, compete in a lively “Are You Smarter Than a STEM 5th Grader?” game, and mingle with Distinguished Educators – Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui and his wife Lyndelle and Mayor Alan Arakawa and his wife Ann – as well as your friends and neighbors. This year’s winner of the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award, which honors the legacy of the late U.S. Senator, will also be announced.

The Reception and Silent Auction begins at 4:30 pm, followed by dinner and a program and Live Auction at 6:30 pm.

Sponsorships are available.  Event tickets are $175 per person.  For reservations and information, contact Maui Economic Development Board at 808-875-2300 or visit

Throughout Maui County, STEM education is empowering students and teachers, thanks to donors of the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund. This past school year, the Fund awarded nearly $175,000 which enabled Robotics teams to compete on Maui, Oahu and even the mainland; equipped digital media labs and engineering technology programs with the latest tools, software and training; prepared students for going head-to-head with national digital media peers, and organized the annual Science Olympiad.

“Thanks to generous businesses and other community stakeholders, we have touched thousands of students,” said Jeanne Skog, MEDB President and CEO. “Donors send a clear message to our students of the value of pursuing careers in STEM.”

For reservations and information, contact Maui Economic Development Board, at 808-875-2300 or visit Sponsorships for the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund Benefit Dinner & Auction are available.

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Ke Alahele Education Fund grant fits into hands-on learning

June 13th, 2014 · Ke Alahele, STEM

A Ke Alahele Education Fund grant for Montessori School of Maui was intended to support its engineering and robotics programs plus help provide a practical learning environment for students to enhance their skills in science, technology, engineering and math or STEM. But it went beyond that, according to Thomas Daubert, the school’s director of development. “In its first year, our after-school Robotics and Engineering studios have provided a fun learning environment for up to 16 students each session,” he said. “The students came away with increased skill development and a new way to perceive themselves and the physical world around them,” Daubert said.

At Montessori, students work in teams to learn the mechanics of simple machines, basic electronic circuits, polarity, magnetism and more. Jason Verkaart, the Robotics studio coordinator, is also a parent of a student at the school. Each session culminates in a fun competitive race or game using the vehicles and systems constructed throughout a course. “Our students have become very excited about seeing the physical application of math, engineering and science coursework and have personally experienced the enthusiasm of a parent working within his profession,” Daubert said.

Daubert said the program was a good fit for a Montessori school with its strong emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning. “As a Montessori school, on a daily basis, we work to develop the interests of each unique student through practical collaborative work, which is the basis for a successful Robotics program. This is a great fit for our school, and we look forward to finding even greater connective points between this after-school studio and our core curriculum activities in the coming year.” MEDB established the Ke Alahele Education Fund to power up STEM Education in Maui County. This year’s Ke Alahele Education Fund Dinner and Auction will be held Aug. 23 at the Grand Wailea Resort. Call 875-2300, or

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Mayor Arakawa Inspired by STEM

May 29th, 2014 · Education, Ke Alahele, Ke Alahele 2014, STEM

Mayor-Arakawa-Ann-ArakawaFor the past two years, Mayor Alan Arakawa and his wife Ann have served as hosts of the popular “Are You Smarter Than a STEM 5th Grader?” – a lively game during the annual MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund dinner that tests attendees’ STEM acumen against those of our students. Often times, with interesting results. Recently, Mayor Arakawa spoke candidly with us about his thoughts on STEM education and the future of our youth.

How did you feel about math and science classes when you were growing up?

Science has always intrigued me. I’ve always loved the different kinds of sciences and did well in those classes…I use the math I learned every day, whether it’s about seeing if a proposed project will pencil out, calculating the plusses and minuses for the county, or balancing our County’s budget.

Do you feel it is important for students to have strong STEM skills today? If so, Why?

It’s absolutely necessary in this day and age to have strong STEM skills. Scientific breakthroughs and technical advancements are happening every day and our youth needs to have these skills in order to survive in this world. Having a strong STEM foundation will benefit our youth for the rest of their life.

How does today’s workforce compare to when you started working?

The workforce of today is not heavy labor.  Back when I was growing up you were just as likely to end up farming or doing heavy labor work. Today, the less people are getting into heavy labor professions and the majority are going into the technology and information sector.  More STEM education is needed in order to expand and support this growing workforce.

You’ve supported the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund Dinner every year since you’ve served as Mayor. Why?

The answer is simple.  MEDB’s STEM programs help students excel. Our children are bright. If given the proper motivation and needed skills they can achieve great things. That’s what STEM does. Students are not just there taking up space, they’re learning about space.

What advice would you give to our children regarding education?

My advice is to absorb as much you can and learn how to enjoy learning. It’s a lifetime requirement.  Many of you will not stay in one job forever and you may change careers sometime in your lifetime. So continuous learning experiences will be key to your success.

What was it like living with a terrific Math teacher?

Ann has always been very much involved in education and because of that she was able to take our children and mold them into good learners who enjoy learning. She’s very good at difficult math concepts and balancing our household’s financial books.  I suppose with my interest in science and arithmetic, we complete each other.  I definitely think I got the better deal in our marriage – I got her.

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Innovation award honors legacy of Inouye’s vision

May 21st, 2014 · Ke Alahele, Ke Alahele 2014, STEM

The Maui Economic Development Board is continuing to honor the legacy of the late U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye with an award program in his name. “Senator Inouye was a visionary who saw how important it is to affirm and invest in our students, the future of Hawaii,” said MEDB President and CEO Jeanne Skog. First presented in 2013, the Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award advances Senator Inouye’s dream of empowering students who demonstrate an innovative use of STEM tools and capabilities to serve and improve our community.

Deadline for award applications is July 15. The winning project will be one that is ‘outside the box,’ but nevertheless has a practical function and value to the community. Last year’s first honoree was a STEM project conceived and produced by King Kekaulike students Lotus Chen and Sierra Harrell. Using GPS technology and practical applications of math and science, the students mapped out roads leading to and from their school campus. Then, they marked areas that needed crosswalks and sidewalks and took note of troublesome spots where motorists might lose sight of pedestrians. They shared their geospatial map with state and county officials, and their work resulted in Governor Neil Abercrombie releasing nearly $1 million for the Maui County Old Haleakala Highway Sidewalk project.

“Dan would have been pleased that these students worked on a project to potentially save lives,” said his widow, Irene Hirano Inouye. “He was always delighted to see the talented and articulate students display their science, technology, engineering and math projects.” The award will be presented at the annual Ke Alahele Education Fund dinner on August 23 at the Grand Wailea Resort & Spa. All Maui County middle and high school students are eligible to submit applications. Students need not be in a STEMworks lab to be considered. Each team must have a teacher adviser who will need to sign the project application. For more information on how to enter, or to make reservations for the Ke Alahele dinner and auction, visit:

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Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award

May 19th, 2014 · Ke Alahele, Ke Alahele 2014

The Maui Economic Development Board is pleased to announce that the Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award will be presented this year to a student team that demonstrates the most innovative use of STEM tools and capabilities to serve and improve our community.

The Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award is open to all Maui County students Grades 6-12. Please encourage your students to apply.  Teams may submit completed applications to Lalaine Pasion at by August 5, 2014. Relevant supplementary project materials will be accepted with the application.


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Facebook Small Business Boost

May 14th, 2014 · Business Development, Social Media

2014-FB-Small-Business-BoostFacebook’s Small Business Boost is coming to Maui! with special guest speaker, Senator Brian Schatz

Through a special partnership with local business organizations, the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and Facebook invite you to join experts from Facebook’s Small Business Team as they share best practices, success stories, and strategies for how to grow, manage, and understand your small business identity on Facebook. There are over one billion people on Facebook. Learn how to reach the right audience for your business and turn them into loyal customers.

Location: The King Kamehameha Golf Club (Waikapu Ballroom, 2500 Honoapiilani Hwy) in Wailuku.

Date: Sunday, May 25th.

Time:  4:00 Checkin & Networking 4:30 – 6:00pm Presentation

This is a FREE event!

Register for the event

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Ke Alahele grant leads to teaching insight on Molokai

May 14th, 2014 · Ke Alahele

Kualapu’u School teacher Susan Forbes began her Ke Alahele Education Fund grant project with a goal – field a competitive robotics team. It was a building year at the Molokai K-6 charter school and this year the students were not ready to compete. The hope is that soon the returning students will have enough foundational knowledge to handle the robotics materials and that program hours can be expanded to give students enough time to complete their projects, Forbes said.

While she was unable to immediately field a competitive robotics team, Forbes was able to adapt how she trains the students. “I no longer ‘train’ the students individually,” she said. “Instead, I train one student at a time, with the expectation that the student will go on to train another student and so on. This works well and results in students becoming better listeners and observers during the initial teaching,” Forbes explained. All the team members, except two, were exposed to robotics for the first time this school year, Forbes said. “At the end of the year, all participating students learned how to build, program and operate a robot. In addition, the problem-solving format of the challenges promoted perseverance, higher-order thinking, and teamwork – since difficult problems are best tasked out to groups. The students also learned “how to work with one another and to develop their own values and character,” Forbes said.

STEM education incorporates knowledge of science, math and technology with creativity in design and engineering, she said. And, by incorporating the components into one, “student engagement and learning are enhanced.” Forbes said schools should support education in science, technology, engineering and math “not only so that their students see the connection between problems, ideas and solutions/products, but also that their students are better prepared for the types of careers that await them.” MEDB established the Ke Alahele Education Fund to power up STEM Education in Maui County. This year’s Ke Alahele Education Fund Dinner and Auction will be held August 23 at the Grand Wailea Resort. Call 875-2300, or go to

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Students show how 3D computer aided design impacts community

May 7th, 2014 · Education, STEM

King Kekaulike High School students used their developing skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to help special needs students overcome a lack of fine-motor skills to create works of art. The project was one of the highlights at the Hawaii STEM Conference held May 2-3 at the Wailea Marriott Resort. “I really enjoy science. I really enjoy art, and STEM shows you that you can bring science and art together,” said sophomore Maya Ooki. She and her classmates Jeremie Amano and junior Rosie Kulhavy-Sutherland made up King Kekaulike’s Program Impact Assessment (PIA) Team. The team was tapped as the overall winner of the PIA competition at the conference.

Using 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD), senior A.J. Ramelb created a paintbrush using Solidworks – a 3D CAD program. The 3D CAD design was then printed with their 3D printer allowing Kekaulike’s students with special needs to grip a paintbrush well enough to paint. “It was a really cool project because we used STEM to benefit our community,” Ooki said. King Kekaulike students also won several of the conference software competitions – including the Hackathon competition, the on-site 3D CAD contest and the on-site video competition. Overall, the students from King Kekaulike’s STEMworks lab were those who exemplified the qualities of a successful lab – high-tech resource integration, teamwork, service learning, professional skills, project development and community impact, among others. Each school team developed and gave a 10-minute presentation to judges, including five minutes for questions and answers. Students were judged on self-directed learning, critical thinking and problem solving, teamwork, resource integration, community involvement and collaboration.

The two-day conference drew more than 400 students and educators, and about 75 industry professionals. The event hosted representatives of some of the world’s most innovative technology companies – Google, National Geographic Education, Apple for Education, Chevron and more. The conference’s theme was “Innovate, Empower. Impact the World through STEM.” Presented by the Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology Project, the statewide STEM conference allows students to have first-hand exposure to advanced in-demand technologies, the latest software training and real world challenges in the form of fun, hands-on team competitions. For more information visit

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2014 Hawaii STEM Conference partners up with Google, National Geographic

May 6th, 2014 · Education, STEM

The fifth annual Hawaii STEM Conference was held this Friday, May 2 through Saturday, May 3 at the Wailea Marriott Resort on Maui. The popular two-day event brought together over 500 local students, educators and industry professionals with some of the most innovative technology companies in the world.

Since it began in 2009, the Hawaii STEM Conference has grown in popularity and star quality. The event continues to attract national partners and sponsorships from top tech companies like Google and National Geographic Society, as well as Apple for Education, SketchUp, Chevron and ESRI.

For the first time, the 2014 Conference introduced an overall theme: “Innovate. Empower. Impact the World through STEM.” Throughout the sessions, attendees were encouraged to keep this theme in mind as they gain new knowledge and are motivated to apply what they learn to help their own communities, if not the world.

As living proof of the power of STEM, the following keynote speakers also supported the Conference theme with their personal and professional stories:

  • Rosemary Wardley, Senior GIS Cartographer in the Maps Division of National Geographic Society
  • Pono Shim, President and CEO of Enterprise Honolulu, Oahu Economic Development Board
  • Ben Pigao, Maui High grad, former STEM student, Nike designer, global photographer and principal of Empire Green Creative

Statewide attendance

This year, 300 students representing 30 intermediate and high schools across the islands attended.  For many, it was their first experience at a regional technology conference complete with breakout sessions, software competitions, a formal awards banquet, and exhibit presentations.

Sponsored and presented by the Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology Project, the statewide event allows students to have firsthand exposure to the advanced in-demand technologies, the latest software training, and real world challenges in the form of fun, hands-on team competitions.

Innovative agenda

Kicking off the event on Friday, a timed, high-energy mixer – the 5×5 Sessions – gave 300 students the opportunity to engage 5 different industry professionals every 5 minutes to learn about career pathways, personal experiences and insights.

Throughout the two days, 26 student breakout sessions were offered, led by education teams from Google and National Geographic Education, as well as industry presenters from EPSCoR, Air Force Research Laboratory, 3D Innovations, University of Hawaii-Maui College, Searider Productions, 3D Innovations, Goma Games and many more.  There will also be professional development designed just for teachers to motivate and increase STEM learning in the classroom.

The sessions ranged in topics from Google Earth and cool mapping resources to augmented reality, canoe design, game and web design, 3D CAD and outdoor GPS/GIS projects.

Competition winners

The following winners of the 2014 Hawaii STEM competitions were recognized at the formal Awards Ceremony held on Saturday.

The rigorous competitions help engage and encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math, while providing a regional tech competition that garners attention on college resumes.

This year’s winning students represented a cross section of schools across the state.

Web Design

Farrington High School, Oahu: Lauren Avelino

Music Design

Roosevelt High School, Oahu: Rey Chinen

GIS Storytelling

Lanai School, Lanai: Keona Conroy-Humphre, Jasmine Conroy-Humphrey

CAD Design

Maui High School, Maui: Michelle Suyama, Trent Hori

On-site Video Competition

King Kekaulike High School, Maui: Riley Calvin, Adam Howden

On-site Hackathon

King Kekaulike High School, Maui: Jeremie Amano, Dylan Franco, Michael Reeves, Vanessa Sotoza

On-site CAD Competition

King Kekaulike High, Maui: A.J. Ramelb, Joseph Metz, Jamie Oldenburg, Coleson Costales, Justin Jose, Elliot Bronick

Poster Design

Maui Waena Intermediate, Maui: Honeykien Lagran

T-shirt Design

Maui High School, Maui: Kristen Domingo

Game Design

Roosevelt High, Oahu: Andy Kim

Program Impact Assessment (PIA): TIE

King Kekaulike High, Maui: Maya Ooki, Jeremie Amano, Rosie Kulhavy-Sutherland

Kealakehe High School, Hawaii:  Josiah Clark, Daniel Andrade, Kyla Hollis, Uriah Camacho, Courtney Nelson, Kea Piper, Ashley Kim, Alec Goodson, Emily Gambing

For more information on the Hawaii STEM Conference, contact WIT Program Director Isla Young,, 808.250.2888.

The 2014 Hawaii STEM Conference is sponsored by MEDB’s Women in Technology project in partnership with the County of Maui and the Office of the Hawaii State Director for Career and Technical Education.

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Computer gamer takes off with STEMworks™

April 30th, 2014 · Education, STEM

A STEMworks™ internship turned out to be a launching pad for Andres “AJ” Ramelb and his pursuit of a career in computers. Putting it in the words of the King Kekaulike High School senior, Ramelb said: “When I had all this technology through my STEMworks™ program at my disposal, it really boosted my interest.” Ramelb sought and earned a STEMworks™ internship at Ardent through the Women in Technology Project, a statewide workforce initiative at Maui Economic Development Board.

The STEMworks™ program provides students with access to high tech tools, software training, project design, career exposure, and internship opportunities to learn from mentors and gain real-world job experience, knowledge and skills they’ll need when they join the 21st century workforce. Following his internship and his experiences with his school’s robotics team, STEMworks™ and a course in design technology, Ramelb said he acquired a “good feel” for the work behind computer programming, software analysis and Web site design. He said the summer STEMworks™ internship led to his decision to devise a senior project that featured converting a broken arcade machine into a MAME cabinet. MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. Ramelb used the old shell of the broken arcade game to house a new one. “I wired and programmed the control panel for the cabinet and found an open source platform to run three games – Pac-Man, Galaga and Street Fighter III,” he said.

Ramelb said he’s always liked math and computers, but it wasn’t until the STEMworks™ internship that he realized a career in computers was possible. His plans after high school graduation are to seek a liberal arts degree from the University of Hawaii Maui College and then pursue more studies in either engineering or computer technology. “I can see myself with a future in computers and technology,” he said. In order to be eligible for a STEMworks™ internship, applicants must be STEMworks™ program participants. Slots are available on every island throughout the state. For more information, call MEDB at 875-2300, or visit:

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