Categorized | Education

Hawaii to get ARRA funds for Science and Engineering Fair


Announcement comes as Hawai‘i’s top engineering and science students prepare for international competition in California

HONOLULU – Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. today announced $425,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds will go to the Hawai‘i State Science and Engineering Fair (HSSEF) to continue the annual event, expand teacher training programs and provide support for the Neighbor Islands to assist students and teachers to attend the state and international events annually.

The funding is being made available under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, Part B as part of the ARRA that was passed by Congress in February. Hawai‘i received a total of approximately $35 million in Part B funds. Governors have discretion over how to use these funds. The Lingle-Aiona Administration has elected to dedicate all of the Part B funds toward improving the quality of public education, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The Lt. Governor also congratulated the HSSEF student finalists who will be competing in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, in San Jose, CA from May 9-14.

“The science fair is a unique education event that brings together scientists, teachers, parents and students in the common cause of scientific exploration,” said Lt. Governor Aiona. “We must continue to support programs that promote STEM education and provide the skills needed for high paying jobs in our global economy.”

The HSSEF, sponsored by the Hawai‘i Academy of Science (HAS), provides 6-12th grade students the opportunity to conduct scientific research and present their work in a professional setting evaluated by scientists. Nearly 7,000 students participate each year; 500 attend and participate in the State Science Fair; and 20 finalists compete in the international science fair.

“It has been a pleasure to have Lt. Governor Aiona’s support over the years, especially as a science fair celebrity judge,” said Dr. Gareth Wynn-Williams, president of Hawai‘i Academy of Science. “These funds will go a long way in extending our efforts to bring more science education to our communities.”

Since 1991, the Legislature annually funded the HSEEF through a Grants-in-Aid (GIA) appropriation. In 2009, the Legislature ended funding and this year’s HSSEF had to use left over funds from prior GIAs and raised $55,000 in private donations, including $10,000 from Queens Medical Center. The Part B State Fiscal Stabilization Funds will allow this program to continue serving students while longer-term private financial support is solidified.

The HAS is a private, nonprofit, professional society whose mission is to promote scientific research and science education in Hawai‘i and the Pacific region. Founded in 1925, HAS is an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The membership is comprised primarily of working scientists but is open to anyone with an interest in furthering STEM education.

“We have some of the best and brightest minds right here in Hawai‘i,” said Lt. Governor Aiona. “Our long-term economic diversity and growth will depend in part on our ability to transform Hawai‘i into an economy based on knowledge and innovation.”

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