Imagine you are trapped on Mars with only scant materials available to you to figure out a way
home. Engineers face these kinds of seemingly impossible tasks on a daily basis. For 44 high school students, including two from American Samoa, this was a scenario they had to figure out during a 6-week course at Honolulu Community College that finished up on July 15.
The Summer Engineering Academy is designed to engage high school students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers. This is the fourth year Honolulu CC has offered this program that was initially funded by Hawai‘i P-20. This year funding came from Representative Mark Nakashima’s Work Force Development Advisory Committee on STEM in partnership with the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR). Additional funding came from the Fujio Matsuda Technology fund.
“We are so pleased to partner with Honolulu Community College in giving high school students a hands-on practical way to gain engineering and computer programming skills,” says DLIR Director, Linda Chu Takayama. “The problem-solving approach used in this project can be applied to any job because it fosters hard work, initiative, and teamwork, which are valued by all employers. This project also helps students define their educational and career goals, which make a smoother transition from school to work.”
Students learned the basics of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer programming, including electronics, prototyping and writing code. In addition, they were introduced to college study skills, learned about the college admissions and financial aid process, and gained advanced math and science skills.
Throughout the summer experience, students met with project engineers during a field trip to the HART Waipahu Transit Center, and heard from organizations such as the Board of Water Supply, Bowers and Kubota, Community Planning and Engineering, Inc., and the University of Hawai‘i School of Architecture.
“The summer engineering program was designed to help the students choose a career path in a engineering discipline they enjoy. With practical hands on experiences students get a first hand taste of the type of work involved in various engineering careers,” shares Norman Takeya, Assistant Professor and coordinator of the Summer Engineering Academy.
Honolulu Community College is committed to providing opportunities for students to learn more about STEM career fields.
View more pictures at the Honolulu CC Flickr Gallery.