More than 8,000 students in North and East Hawaii were visited by scientists and educators for hands-on science presentations during the 15th annual Journey Through the Universe (JTTU) program held March 2 to 9. JTTU is one of Hawaii’s leading education and outreach programs and aims to promote science literacy and inclusivity in classrooms. The program brings about 80 astronomers, scientists, engineers and educators to local classrooms to present fun-filled activities and demonstrations.

The PISCES team was among the many classroom volunteers to engage students. Director Rodrigo Romo and Geology Tech Kyla Edison share their enthusiasm and knowledge behind the physics of flight and Earth’s geological history, respectively, with grade schoolers in Kaumana and Waiakea.

The Big Island is one of 10 locations in the country that are designated JTTU sites. Throughout the year, JTTU puts on the StarLab Portable Planetarium show for K through 1st graders, as well as career panel presentations for high school students. It also includes educator workshops, family science events and public presentations.

“The Journey Through the Universe STEM initiative is a stellar partnership between the Department of Education, business organizations, and community,” said Chad Farias, Hilo-Waiakea and Kaʻu-Keaʻau-Pahoa complex area superintendent. “Our complex areas appreciate and acknowledge the enthusiasm and energy this initiative has generated for our schools, students, teachers, administrators and families. This concerted effort has made this grassroots program a sustaining reality.”