Ten Hawaii High School Women Embark on Space Workshop Adventure

June 24, 2015

Today is the first day of PISCES’ 2015 STARS (STem Aerospace Research Scholars) program.  The second-annual, five-day workshop is engaging 10 Hawai`i high school women in an exciting, hands-on, space learning experience to fuel their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) related career fields.

Photo: HI-SEAS.

The HI-SEAS Mars-simulation habitat sits at 9,000 feet on the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. Photo: HI-SEAS.

The “STARS” will be immersed in guided exercises and presentations from experts in the field of aerospace and astronomy.  Their adventure will include a mock robotic mission to the Moon, a test drive of PISCES’ Helelani planetary rover, a summit sunset tour spanning several Mauna Kea observatories, and more.  For the grand finale, the students will spend a night on the “Red Planet” via the HI-SEAS (Hawai`i Space Exploration and Analog Simulation) Mars-simulation habitat on Mauna Loa.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, “women are underrepresented both in STEM jobs and STEM undergraduate degrees.”  Reports show that women account for less than 25% of STEM jobs nationwide.   PISCES launched the STARS program in 2014 with the hope of changing this.  STARS is designed to inspire Hawai`i’s young women in STEM-related studies and careers, demonstrating that a space career is not a far-fetched science-fiction dream, but a fun reality that anyone can pursue.

“Having these experiences, not only on this trip, but with doing the workshop with PISCES, it really helps you understand just how the science is done… and that’s something I’ve always loved,” said Catherine Cauley, a Hilo High school student and participant in last year’s STARS workshop.