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Lahaina Intermediate students learn about technology and careers at Introduce a Girl to Astronomy Day

By BY CINDY SCHUMACHER - | May 24, 2018

Touring the Maui Surveillance Space System facilities atop Haleakala, Lahaina Intermediate students learned that there are opportunities for Maui girls to reach for the stars.

LAHAINA – Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology Program (WIT) recently presented its second Introduce a Girl to Astronomy Day (IGAD) for Maui girls in grades 7-8. For the past decade, MEDB and WIT have been at the forefront of providing cutting-edge STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs across the state to meet 21st century workforce demands.

Seventy-five middle school girls from Maui County enjoyed learning about optics by touring the Maui Surveillance Space System facilities atop Haleakala.

“IGAD stimulates girls’ interest in astronomy as a viable and exciting career choice that requires STEM education,” said WIT Project Manager Mapu Quitazol. “It’s important to expose our girls to endless STEM opportunities and build their confidence level to know they can achieve their dreams.”

Krystle Dunn, Lahaina Intermediate School science teacher, chaperoned her students to the top of Haleakala for IGAD.

“I wanted to attend IGAD with my female students because I wanted to make sure they had the opportunity to be exposed to something they were either interested in already, or maybe hadn’t thought about, but could now pursue,” said Dunn.

“Students in Hawaii think they have to leave Hawaii to be successful, but I love when they get the chance to see amazing opportunities in their own backyard.”

Dunn was impressed by the variety of information that students got to take in, such as astronomy, satellites, telescopes and hands-on activities with sensors.

“I wanted my students to see the kind of opportunities that are out there, especially at this young age. If they do want to pursue STEM careers, they had the chance to speak with and learn from industry professionals in their own community,” she said.

One of Dunn’s students learned that being a part of the Air Force doesn’t always mean you have to be in combat – you can be involved through technology and other STEM fields.

Dunn concluded, “I’m glad that discovery was made, because I think it sparked my student’s interest, and it’s always awesome to see them learn new things and make new connections that might directly impact their future decisions. I’m so grateful to MEDB and WIT for giving the girls the opportunity to learn more about astronomy and engineering.”