stars student looking through a microscope
stars students at work coding on a laptop
stars students under starry sky at hi-seas habitat on Mauna Loa
stars students planting trees

Exploring Space & Science Careers

We’ve been coordinating the summer STARS (STEM Aerospace Research Scholars) program for seven years and helping high school women find out what STEM careers really look like and how to succeed in them. Participants meet outstanding women who can serve as role models including scientists, engineers, leaders, and entrepreneurs. This workshop includes presentations, hands-on activities, and behind-the-scenes tours at STEM facilities. Students learn, have fun, and meet new friends and mentors to fuel their inspiration. Most importantly, they walk away with a memorable experience that supports and informs their goals for the future.

STARS students on Mauna Loa

Next STARS program

Sadly, the 2023 STARS program has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. We sincerely apologize for the cancellation and hope you will apply to attend our next program.


  • Program dates: TBA
  • Location: Big Island of Hawaiʻi
  • Eligibility: Hawaiʻi high school girls, ages 14 +
  • Cost: Free to attend, spaces are limited
  • Applications open: March 15


  • Presentations by women in STEM
  • Technology workshops
  • Astronomy talks and tour
  • Maunakea summit visit
  • Exploration of HI-SEAS
  • Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory visit
  • Exploration of local internship opportunities 
robotics student in STARS program

The STARS Mission

Women make up half of Hawaiʻi’s population, but only 25% work in STEM fields. According to a report by Million Women Mentors: “Women have lower self-confidence in their STEM abilities than men do, even when they perform at the same achievement levels as men. This lack of confidence can undermine their performance and their interest in pursuing STEM careers.”

Since 2014, STARS has sought to address this disparity by providing resources, inspiration, and mentorship to encourage young women in STEM-related careers. The program also strives to improve overall gender equity and economic opportunities for young women in Hawaiʻi.

STARS was originally inspired by NASA’s successful summer programs for young women and has grown with support and participation by local nonprofits, STEM organizations, and multinational companies.


What Students Say

“I had astronomy as an un-achievable dream beforehand and now it seems attainable.”

“STARS really opened my eyes to how amazing certain careers I had previously overlooked can be.”

“STARS exposed me to many different STEM fields, especially on our island. I had so much fun and loved hearing from so many knowledgeable people.”

“I already was sure I was going into science, but the STARS Program boosted my confidence and excitement tremendously. It also gave me a more focused direction on where I want to be and how to get there.”

“STARS validated my feelings about going into aeronautics and becoming a pilot. It opened my mind to how much of a difference I can make in this world.”