Quality Time with Kawananakoa

The University of Hawaii College of Engineering got to spend some quality time with students from Kawananakoa Middle School in three separate events. At each event, students learned what engineering is, found out what engineers do, and discovered how fun engineering can be.

Career Fair

In January of this year, the College of Engineering participated in the annual Kawananakoa Middle School Career Fair. Engineers representing the College shared the spotlight with members of the Fire Department, Police Department, Coast Guard, and more.

The College of Engineering had two classrooms to showcase the field of engineering. In one classroom, civil engineering instructor, Randy Akiona, gave a demonstration about how bridges work by having students construct a three-truss bridge and then test it by having students cross the bridge. He also talked about how engineers make things, like buildings and cars, better and safer for society.

In another classroom, University of Hawaii civil engineering graduate, Kevin Ho from the engineering firm Sato & Associates gave a presentation about how cool engineering can be. He talked about what engineering is, how engineers influence everything around us, the different areas in engineering, and what it takes to become an engineer.

Dr. Robertson showing how materials are tested.

Over 100 students got to find out why engineering is one of the hottest careers around. Many of them were very interested in engineering and asked many questions like, "How much do engineers make?", "What kind of clothes do engineers wear to work?" and "How much school do you need to become an engineer?"

Introduce a Girl To Engineering

On February 20th, the College of Engineering co-sponsored an event with the Maui Economic Development Board's Women in Technology Project and the Hawaii Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers to celebrate Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.

Nineteen girls from Kawananakoa Middle School participated in the event. They were dropped off at the College of Engineering and each student was matched with a working engineer from various companies on Oahu. Each engineer took the student under their wing and showed them what a typical workday for an engineer is like. Some of them were taken to engineering offices, while others went to various work sites.

It was a great experience for all the girls who participated. Each of them got to see first hand how exciting it is to be an engineer.

Career Shadowing Program

At the end of February, the College of Engineering participated in the Kawananakoa Middle School Career Shadowing Program. Seventeen eighth graders from Kawananakoa got the see first hand what the College does to help society through engineering.

Clyde Campos helps two Kawananakoa students design their birdhouse.

The first stop for these students was the Donald Kim Multimedia Computer Laboratory in the Pacific Ocean and Science Technology Building (POST). In the lab, electrical engineering assistant professor, Dr. Nancy Reed, gave the students a short presentation about engineering. After her presentation, mechanical engineering students, Clyde Campos and Westin Fujii, introduced students to AutoCad, which is a design program used by engineers. They were then split up into groups and given the task of designing birdhouses.

They then headed up to the fourth floor of the POST Building, where they were taken to the Optical Communications Lab. There they were shown the marvels of lasers. Electrical engineering assistant professor, Audra Bullock, along with graduate students Ed Yamamoto and Eric Young, demonstrated how lasers are used for communications.

Next, the students were taken to the Structures Lab on the first floor of Holmes Hall. Civil engineering associate professor, Dr. Ian Robertson gave a demonstration on how concrete is constructed and tested. He also showed how shake tables are used in the construction of buildings.

Finally, they were taken to the Dean's Office conference room, where Electrical Engineering chair and professor, Dr. Todd Reed, answered any questions the students had.

In the end, all the students from Kawananakoa had a lot of fun. After learning a lot about what engineers do and how great it is to be an engineer, perhaps some of them will become engineers in the future.


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