Journey Through the Universe education program held virtually this year

The astronomy education and outreach program inspires and teaches schoolchildren to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields by developing literacy in science.

Journey Through the Universe

Journey Through the Universe returns to Hawaiʻi Island this month. The astronomy education and outreach program inspires and teaches schoolchildren to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields by developing literacy in science. The program will feature educational programs, workshops, and career panels March 1-5. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, educators will connect with students in East and North Hawai‘i Island schools virtually.

UH Hilo Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty members are participating as educators in this year’s program. They include Kathy Cooksey, chair and associate professor of physics and Astronomy; Richard Griffiths, affiliate professor of physics; John Hamilton , affiliate professor of physics and astronomy; Marianne Takamiya, professor of astronomy; and alumna Andrea Waiters. Also participating are Christoph Baranee and Carolyn Kaichi from the UH Institute for Astronomy, and UH Hilo alumna Emily Peavy, a planetarium technician support facilitator from ʻImiloa Astronomy Center. The university is also one of about 50 sponsors of the program.

“Journey Through the Universe would not succeed without the help of our community partners and sponsors, including the Department of Education, Hawaiʻi Island business community, Maunakea Observatories, and NASA, among many others,” says Janice Harvey, Journey Through the Universe program coordinator. “Their continued support is a demonstration of their commitment to our community and the future of science education for Hawaiʻi students.”

Career panels featuring local observatory professionals are an important aspect of the Journey program. These panels allow students to discover the wide range of educational possibilities and career opportunities available at observatories and within the field.

“This is an opportunity to make contact with kids at an earlier age, exposing them to the opportunities that exist in their local community, and encouraging them to aim high,” says John Vierra, Gemini’s Safety Coordinator and career panel participant. “It inspires them to think outside the box about what they want to accomplish later in life.”

Read the full story by Lauren Okinaka at Ke Kalahea.