Maui Business

MEDB Education Fund awards $90,000 in STEM grants

March 19, 2014, 8:40 AM HST
* Updated March 19, 9:29 AM
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(pictured left to right) Baldwin High Robotics team members Brandon Waite and Evan Grimes work on the chassis of their robot during the 2013 FIRST season.

(pictured left to right) Baldwin High Robotics team members Brandon Waite and Evan Grimes work on the chassis of their robot during the 2013 FIRST season. Courtesy photo.

By Wendy Osher

The Maui Economic Development Board unveiled a list of award recipients who will share in more than $90,000 in grants for STEM education, an acronym that is short for science, technology, engineering and math.

The MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund issued awards ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to 24 programs this school year, in an effort to expand STEM education programs and careers in Maui County.

The list of beneficiaries include Robotics and Science Olympiad teams, digital media curriculum, and electronics programs.

“These grant funds are enabling local schools and organizations to create enriching STEM education programs,” said Ryan Churchill, MEDB education committee chair in an organization press release. “Students and teachers gain important STEM skills, build confidence and obtain needed tools to help them succeed in education and prepare for their careers.”


Below is a list of grant awards provided by the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund for the 2013-2014:

  • Baldwin High School
    • Fund the Future Sponsorship: Robotics – $5,000: Support Baldwin High School Robotics Team’s 2013-14 season, which includes robot programming, design, building, competition, and publicity.
    • VEX Robotics – $4,000: Continue to support Baldwin High’s fourth season of VEX robotics program and competition participation.
  • Hawaiʻi State Science Olympiad – $1,000: Sponsor Hawaiʻi State Science Olympiad, a “hands-on, minds-on” team-based science program for K-12 public, private, charter, and home schools across the state. HSSO is a science-education non-profit organization associated with the National Science Olympiad program.
  • Kalama Intermediate School – $5,000: Help eighth grade students learn and practice the skills required for 21st century citizens through “Hui Hoʻokele,” problem-based STEM units taught quarterly.
  • Kaunakakai Elementary School
    • WeXplore – $5,000: Enable fifth graders to participate in “weXplore,” an initiative to promote college and career readiness through a variety of inquiry-based STEM projects in the classroom, including bridge building, electrical boards and circuitry, computer-aided design, computer technologies, robotics, and flight and space exploration.
    • FIRST Lego League – $1,618.46: Support the school’s extracurricular robotics program and allow students to participate in the 2013 FIRST Lego League Robotics competition.
  • Kīhei Charter High School – $1,250: Fund the purchase of 20 “SparkFun” Inventor Kits which teaches the basic concepts of electronic circuitry, introduces electronics and programming careers, and primes interested students for entry into the Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology program at University of Hawaiʻi Maui College.
  • Kīhei Charter Middle School
    • Tablet Computers – $2,364: Help students struggling in math by offering new education applications and unique learning platforms through the purchase of 12 tablet computers.
    • 3D Printer Engineering – $4,000: Allow students to produce a modeled solution using “Autodesk Inventor” software and an in-house 3D printer. Local STEM professionals provide guidance and support in the engineering design process.
  • King Kekaulike High School – $3,880: Continue the VEX Robotics program at King Kekaulike, giving interested students the opportunity to explore various STEM pathways through competition and skill development.
  • Kualapuʻu Charter School – $1,914: Restart Kualapuʻu Charter School’s competitive robotics team after a one year hiatus and participate in the 2013 FIRST Lego League Robotics competition.
  • Lahainaluna High School Fund the Future Sponsorship: Digital Media – $5,000: Update and expand the school’s digital media lab with the purchase of iMac computers and “Final Cut Pro X” video editing software.
  • Lokelani Intermediate School – $4,000: Fund the school’s robotics program which has over 200 students participating in three different tournaments. The program partners with mentors from the Maui High Robotics Club to build skills and confidence.
  • Maui High School
    • Fund the Future Sponsorship: Robotics – $5,000: Support Maui High School Robotics Team’s 2013-14 season which includes robot programming, design, building, competition, and publicity.
    • FIRST Robotics – $5,000: Continue to support Maui High School’s ten-year robotics program by funding participation in the FIRST Robotics competition and their community outreach efforts.
    • Fund the Future Sponsorship: Digital Media – $5,000: Help offset expenses for sixteen students and two teachers to attend the 2014 Student Television Network convention to learn about new communication technologies, creative media, and broadcast journalism.
  • Maui Waena
    • Media Club – $4,691.69: Augment the middle school’s media club with three new Apple MacBooks designated for digital media training and competition.
    • Bot – $5,000: Allow more than 25 robotics student participants to compete in the state Botball tournament.
  • Molokaʻi High School – $2,053.45: Build capacity for the VEX Robotics Club through mentoring middle school students and fund competition at the Valley Isle VEX Tournament.
  • Molokaʻi Middle School – $2,015.97: Funding will help state champion robotics team compete in regional robotics tournaments. Robotics has exposed Molokaʻi Middle School to first-time STEM opportunities and skills.
  • Montessori School of Maui – $5,000: Expand the school’s newly launched robotics program and enhance STEM curriculum.
  • PBS Hawaiʻi – $5,000: Support HIKI NŌ, a PBS Hawaiʻi learning initiative that trains students in digital media, communications, broadcast journalism, STEM, and 21st-century workforce skills in a professional setting. Student-produced HIKI NŌ episodes are broadcast weekly on PBS Hawaiʻi.”
  • Pukalani Elementary School – $4,945: Supplement an engineering, project-based curriculum that encourages classrooms to integrate and expand STEM concepts across disciplines through “STREAM” or STEM programs that include reading and arts.
  • Seabury Hall – $2,558: Award allows Seabury Hall to form its first Hawaiʻi State Science Olympiad team and enhance the school’s STEM curriculum through team learning and competition.

“Community supporters like MEDB are helping students on our Robotics team learn something new and strengthen our skills,” said Jasmine Feliciano, Maui High School’s Robotics Team co-captain in an MEDB press release. “Ultimately, we strive to be independent and motivated individuals who will be challenged, learn from our failures, and realize that we are all winners,” she said.

According to the Maui Economic Development Board, more than $740,000 in grants have been awarded since 2007.

The funds are made possible through the investment of individuals and businesses, in part through an annual fundraising dinner. This year’s benefit dinner and auction is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Grand Wailea Resort in South Maui.

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