Maui Economic Development Board’s Ke Alahele Education Fund supports STEM studies

Maui Economic Development Board‘s Ke Alahele Education Fund Benefit Dinner and Auction grossed $331,800 to advance STEM education in Maui County. The event, held Aug. 20 at the Fairmont Kea Lani, celebrated the Fund’s 10th year with 550 attendees including U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui and Mayor Alan Arakawa.

The second place award went to Evelyn Haase for developing a pH sensor using a Raspberry Pi to monitor ocean acidification. Haase, a sophomore at Molokai High, invented a pH sensor that can measure accurate data detecting the tiniest changes to the ocean pH due to environmental fluctuations. Not only does it improve accuracy, but is offers a huge cost savings compared to the current systems available to marine scientists. Estimates are that her device is 1/42 of the price (which is about $200 to compared to $11,000 for today’s technology costs) and requires half the maintenance of the current system. Haase will receive $2,000 to further her scientific research and educational pursuits and Molokai High School will receive $3,300 for improvements to their STEMworks lab.

“Working on my project, I now know how to do basic computer programming, how electronics work, and I have a bit more confidence going into my second year of this project as it enters the deployable stage,” said Haase. “Long-term, I want to work with students in the classrooms, show them how to program a Raspberry Pi, how to build a pH sensor, how they can monitor ocean acidification and contribute their information to further scientific studies.”

Suzanne Kayian, Maui Time, 30 August 2016. Full article.

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