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 to promote science literacy and inclusivity in classrooms. About 80 astronomers, scientists, engineers and educators visit local classrooms during the week-long event to share educational, fun activities and demonstrations.

PISCES was among the many organizations who volunteered for JTTU. Director Rodrigo Romo and Geology Tech Kyla Edison shared their enthusiasm and knowledge on the physics of flight and Earth’s geological history with grade schoolers in Kaumana and Waiākea.

The Big Island is one of 10 locations designated as a JTTU site nationwide. Throughout the year, the program puts on the StarLab Portable Planetarium show for K through 1st graders, as well as career panel presentations for high school students. It also provides 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-Waiākea and Kaʻū-Keaʻau-Pāhoa 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.”