PISCES STEM Program Receives Funding To Encourage Young Women

Posted on Jun 25, 2019 in News

Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems
For Immediate Release: June 25, 2019


HILO—The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems’ (PISCES) Women’s STARS (STEM Aerospace Research Scholars) Program has received $15,000 in supplemental funding awards to encourage and support Hawaii’s young women in STEM this summer.

Major heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. donated $10,000 to the week-long space and science camp and Hawaii Community Foundation’s Career Connected Learning Program awarded a $5,000 grant.

The funding will provide a more in-depth and enriching learning experience to participating students, adding an additional day to the week-long workshop and covering costs associated with transportation, meals and overnight accommodations.

“The STARS Program is an important and necessary workforce development initiative to encourage and support our young women and cultivate a stronger STEM and high technology sector in the state,” said Mike McCartney, Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

“Motivating young women to pursue careers in STEM is an important endeavor and we’re very thankful to have the generous support of our sponsors this year, Caterpillar and Hawaii Community Foundation,” said Rodrigo Romo, PISCES Program Director. “With a fully funded program, we have all the resources necessary to give our students a valuable learning experience that we hope will benefit them for years to come.”

“It is incredibly important that we inspire students and help them develop an interest in science and technology at a young age,” said Anthony McNealy, Caterpillar Engineering Manager. “These young women are the innovators of the future. Programs like this help grow the next generation of engineers and scientists we hope will one day want to work at Caterpillar.”

To help manage the program’s funding, PISCES has partnered with the Hawaii Science and Technology Museum (HSTM), a Hawaii Island nonprofit dedicated to STEM outreach and education. As fiscal sponsor, HSTM has been instrumental in managing and dispersing the sponsorship and grant funding to cover necessary expenses, as well as helping coordinate transportation and accommodation arrangements.

Now moving into its sixth year, the PISCES STARS Program offers an immersive, hands-on learning experience to Hawaii high school girls interested in STEM. STARS incorporates engaging presentations, behind-the-scenes tours at Hawaii’s world-class research facilities, hands-on workshops and opportunities for networking and mentoring. Though primarily focused on aerospace and astronomy in years past, this year’s program has expanded to include a wider range of natural sciences including marine biology, conservation biology and geology.

PISCES is a state-funded Hawaii aerospace center under the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT). The Hilo-based agency is working to position the state as a leader in space exploration while developing sustainable products and technologies that benefit the Islands. Through initiatives in Economic Development, Workforce Development and Applied Research, PISCES provides hands-on work experience to Hawaii’s future scientists and engineers, preparing them to meet the demands of a highly competitive industry while improving the local economy through job diversification, innovative products and new industries.

About the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

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Media Contacts:
Chris Yoakum
Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES)
Phone: (808) 935-8270
Mobile: (808) 333-6905
Website: pisces.hawaii.gov

Charlene Chan
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
Phone: (808) 587-9006
Website: dbedt.hawaii.gov