In 1999, the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) created the Women in Technology (WIT) Project to work in partnership with educators and businesses to build and strengthen Hawaii’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education-to-workforce pipeline.
To accomplish this, WIT strives to motivate under-utilized resources such as women and minorities toward technology-related fields. According to the latest national studies, women represent the largest under-utilized national resource of great potential in science and technology. Data suggests that to maintain the present number of scientists and engineers in the U.S., enrollment and retention of women and ethnic minorities in these fields must rise from less than 25% to 75% over the next 40 years.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are all forms of wisdom based on our ongoing human experience. The knowledge and skills derived from these disciplines will be the source of innovative solutions to humanity’s quality of life. But just as ancient values and wisdom cannot survive without being passed on to future generations, the cumulative wisdom of the STEM disciplines cannot be brought to bear on modern challenges without new scientists, engineers, technicians, and mathematicians. STEMworks is dedicated to encouraging Hawaii’s students to explore careers in STEM fields through hands-on, community based service projects that are rooted in the STEM disciplines.
Students in STEMworks are challenged to be self-directed, responsible individuals with the skills necessary to navigate a whole series of personal, professional, and community relationships.
The goal of the STEMworks curriculum is to assist course advisors in providing learning activities that develop knowledge, understanding, and skill sets in the following areas:
- Science – Introduction to Scientific Inquiry Method
- Technology – Introduction to Hardware and Software Technologies
- Engineering – Introduction to the Engineering Design Process
- Mathematics – Using Mathematics Analysis Skills in Solving Design Challenges
- Service-Learning Education including Assessing Community Needs, Cultural Understanding & Responsiveness, and Equity
- Introduction to Service-Learning Method
- Assessing Community Needs and Social Context
- Cultural Understanding & Responsiveness
- Professional Skills
- Project Management
- Communication (written and oral)
- Teamwork and Leadership
- Ethics and Professional Responsibility
- Career Exploration Skills and Internships
The comprehensive STEMworks program covers the following areas:
- Professional Development
- Software training
- Curriculum development and implementation
- Industry Day
- Hawaii STEM Conference
Unlike any other class in Hawaii’s middle and high school curriculum, WIT’s STEMworks is a multi-faceted, hands-on program where students get to use the most current, high-end technologies in actual community service learning projects. While working on a specific project, students have to the opportunity to acquire the latest tech skills from animation and CAD to engineering design and GPS, GIS. They get to work with local industry partners, gaining the satisfaction of knowing their efforts are contributing toward improving life on their respective islands. During the STEMworks™ process, students learn how to develop an industry partner relationship, provide an actual deliverable, and maintain an ongoing solution for the future.