Special to KPUA.net by H.I.E.D.B
HIEDB's Exhibit Brings Science Possibilities to the Masses
Hawaii Island Economic Development Board is a private non-profit organization whose mission is, "To provide and promote private-sector support and expertise for balanced economic growth in Hawaii County, in partnership with federal, state, county and private resources."
"I want to be a scientist because you get to work with cool stuff," said one youngster recently following her walk through Hawaii Island Economic Development Boardıs science exhibit. "It [science] is good pay, it sounds fun, it sounds interesting," said another.
Utilizing a grant from the Women in Technology (WIT) program with assistance from Hawaii County and the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hawaii Island Economic Development Board unveiled a comprehensive science exhibit at the 2004 Onizuka Science Day this past January at the University of Hawaii in Hilo. The exhibit is titled "Get Real Science: Hawaii Island." Youngsters were surveyed recently after seeing the exhibit displayed at the groundbreaking for the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center in Hilo. The informal survey provides data for future programs that can and should be developed to encourage more youth to enter the fields of math and science.
Because there were an equal number of opposing responses among the youth for preference of sciences in their future, this could be an indication that there should be more exposure to children on a broader scope of the sciences. Responses such as 'I'm not smart enough' or 'it is too hard' could be a directive to make science available in a simpler language or to demonstrate sciences using other children focusing on or accomplishing scientific problems or theories.
The 200-square-foot exhibit, a collaborative effort between the University of Hawaii in Hilo, and the private and public sector, highlights unique, science-related opportunities available on Hawaii Island. It is primarily aimed at students, while also appealing to researchers, scientists, technical support personnel, and visitors looking for memorable once-in-a-lifetime edu-, eco- and techno-tourism experiences.
An evocative short video contains live action shots and still images of island landscapes, lava flows, observatories and students, teachers and scientists in action. The videoıs sound track is a chant by Kaumakaiwa "Lopaka" Kanakaole, underscoring the importance of and respect for the spiritual and cultural forces that enrich and inform all scientific pursuits on Hawaii Island. Printed rack cards encourage exhibit visitors to take home information about the various types of programs available on the island. The cards help people find and peruse websites of educational institutions and research programs on island.
Embedded in the exhibit are several small, three-dimensional artifacts representing astronomy, Geographic Information Systems/Global Positioning Systems (GIS/GPS), agriculture, astronomy, volcanology and geology. These artifacts, donated by Hawaii Island scientists, underscore the hands-on nature of Hawaii Island science and help bring the photographic images to life.
Because Hawaii Island's vast and varied topography offers everyone a chance to experience science real science like no where else on Earth, the exhibit can present the islandıs many microcosms in a contained space. From the worldıs most active volcano, to pristine near-shore and deep-sea ocean resources, to the worldıs largest and most sophisticated collection of astronomical observatories atop Mauna Kea to a thriving diversified agricultural industry, Hawaii Island offers opportunities for science and research that is unparalleled anywhere else in the world.
In September the exhibit will be part of WITıs Gender Equity Training Workshop in Hilo. Pending approval of WITıs program budget, thousands at the National Science Teacherıs Association regional meeting in Seattle, Washington may also see the exhibit.
During the youth exit survey, a sampling of young people enthusiastically named science careers as marine biologists, astronomers, volcanologists and ecologists as their dream jobs. The more the exhibit can be displayed and influence young minds towards the sciences, more possibilities for the future become available to the children of Hawaii Island.
Women In Technology (WIT) is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor through the Maui Economic Development Board, Inc. (MEDB) to address under representation of women in technology fields. MEDB, in partnership with the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board and the Kauai Economic Development Board are the respective on-island contacts for the program. For more information on WIT or on the exhibit, call HIEDB at 966-5416.
Tune In: First and third Thursdays for HIEDBıs Business Forum, KPUA Radio 640 AM. Joining HIEDB on August 19th at 9:30 a.m. is Marlene Hapai with the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center. Our guest on September 2 at 9:00 a.m. will be Janice Harvey with the Gemini Telescopes.
Focus on the Economy is written for Hawaii Island Economic Development Board, Roberta Chu, chair / Paula Helfrich, president. Readers with comments, questions or suggestions should check the web site, www.hiedb.org , e-mail email@example.com or call HIEDB, 966-5416. An archive of Focus on the Economy columns is available on the web site.
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