Road safety project captures for inaugural Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award
The memory of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye was honored Saturday night with the announcement of an innovation award in his name and remarks from his widow, Irene Hirano Inouye.
“As a politician, Dan never liked to be upstaged,” Ms. Inouye told more than 600 people attending the Maui Economic Development Board Ke Alahele Education Fund Dinner and Auction at the Grand Wailea Resort. “But he knew at this dinner he was likely to be upstaged by the talented and articulate students that would emcee the event or that would make a presentation on their latest school projects.”
Inouye was referring to exhibits displayed prior to the dinner and manned by students and their teachers who received grants for science, technology, engineering and math or STEM projects. The Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award was established this year to commemorate his legacy by recognizing an exceptional student-led project for applying STEM solutions to improve their community.
MEDB selected a STEM project conceived and produced by King Kekaulike High School students Lotus Chen and Sierra Harrell. Using their know-how of GPS technology and the practical applications of math and science, Chen and Harrell mapped out the roads leading to and from their school campus.
They marked areas that needed cross walks and sidewalks, and took note of troublesome spots where motorists might lose sight of pedestrians. The King Kekaulike STEM project resulted in a geospatial map that was shared with both state and county officials.
Earlier this summer, Gov. Neil Abercrombie released nearly $1 million for the Maui County Old Haleakala Highway Sidewalk project. As the inaugural award recipients, Chen and Harrell will each receive a portion of the $10,000 prize for college and their school will receive money for the enhancement of the school’s STEMworks lab.
The 2013 Ke Alahele fundraiser garnered nearly $315,000. Proceeds will be used by MEDB to support and administer MEDB-led STEM education programs and to provide grants for the expansion Science, Technology, Engineering and Math educational initiatives. To date, the fund has awarded over $730,000 in grants to teachers, schools, organizations and internships.
The Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation established in 1982 with a focus on diversifying Maui’s economy. MEDB partners with the private, public and nonprofit sectors at the local and national levels to achieve its goals. MEDB’s programs — which are founded on a respect for Hawaii’s culture and precious environment — assist growth industries, educate and train residents for new career pathways, and build consensus in addressing the community’s challenges and opportunities.
MEDB is governed by a 34-member Board of Directors drawn from business, government, academia and nonprofit organizations. For more information, call 875-2300.
Hana School students and their mentors shared their experiences from a STEM project featuring interaction with students in neighboring Pacific coastal communities. From left: Sheriah Day Ng, Sara-Ann Kanakaole, Hana School teacher Margaret Magonigle, Kassidy Smith and Margaret “Maggie” Prevenas, a Kalama Intermediate School teacher who also mentored the Hana students.
Boeing Company Hawaii Director Jerry Cornell paired up with radio and stage personality Kathy Collins to entertain and cajole the crowd during this year’s Live Auction, which helped to raise thousands of dollars for STEM education programs here at home.