Local and international students visit UH Hilo for Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Summit

The summit is one of many programs sponsored by UH Hilo and community partners in response to the growing demand worldwide for workers trained in STEM fields.

Classroom of students with diffraction glasses on. Most are holding the glasses on.
Students try on diffraction glasses at the 2015 Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Summit. Courtesy photo.

Thirty-one students and teachers from Hawaiʻi Island and the partner countries of the Thirty Meter Telescope (Canada, China, India and Japan) have gathered this week in Hilo for a five-day forum on astronomy and engineering.

The third annual Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Summit is hosted by the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, and supported by the TMT International Observatory, the Maunakea Astronomy Outreach Committee, the Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium, and University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

“The students involved in the summit all come from countries with rich histories in the advancement and appreciation of science,” says Ka‘iu Kimura, executive director of ‘Imiloa. “Helping students appreciate the history and cultural context of the science they are learning deepens their insights and understanding.”

Group photo taken in lobby of 'Imiloa Astronomy Center. Welina welcome sign on wall.
Participants in the 2015 Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Summit stand for a group photo. 

The summit is one of many programs sponsored by UH Hilo and community partners in response to the growing demand worldwide for workers trained in science, technology, engineering and math – commonly referred to as STEM. The Alliance for Science Technology Research in America estimates that by 2018, Hawaiʻi alone will need to fill 29,000 STEM-related jobs. Expanding exposure to STEM programs and professionals is critical for preparing Hawaiʻi’s youth for these opportunities.

The students at the summit will be immersed in workshops and experiential learning on indigenous engineering, optics, meteorites, digital cameras, making a telescope, and simple robotic programming. The group will meet with scientists and engineers, including many associated with astronomy on Maunakea, to exchange ideas and solutions that advance their shared interests in STEM disciplines.

Speakers include:

  • Chad Kālepa Baybayan, ‘Imiloa navigator-in-residence, navigator/captain Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage
  • ‘Ahia Dye, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center
  • Kaiali‘i Kahele, executive director, Pa‘a Pono Miloli‘i
  • Jim Kauahikaua, Hawai‘i Volcano Observatory
  • Heather Kaluna, UH Institute for Astronomy
  • Mary Beth Laychak, Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope
  • Geoffrey Marcy, professor of astronomy, University of California, Berkeley

The students also will visit ‘Imiloa’s Exhibit Hall and Planetarium and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Also on the schedule are leadership training exercises and field trips for stargazing. The students will be sharing cultural presentations on their home countries and cultures.

For more information, contact Margaret Shiba.