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

A Space & Science Summer Adventure for Hawaiʻi High School Women

You are invited to embark on a memorable journey of discovery this summer! STARS is a multi-day STEM experience for high school women who are interested in science and engineering, with a special focus on the captivating realm of space exploration. The program includes behind-the-scenes tours of science facilities, hands-on workshops, and inspirational talks by remarkable women working in STEM. Students make new friends with shared interests, learn about STEM subjects and careers, and have fun in the process! STARS blends education with adventure, fostering a community of empowered young women who are ready to make their mark.

STARS students on Mauna Loa

2024 STARS Program – Apply now!

Applications are now open for the 2024 STARS program! Visit the link below to complete and submit your application. Note that you will need to include a personal essay and letter of recommendation. See application for details.

Program details:

  • Dates: July 15 – 19, 2024
  • Location: Big Island of Hawaiʻi
  • Housing, meals, and on-island transportation provided (Note: Airfare for outer-island students not included)
  • Eligibility: Hawaiʻi high school girls, ages 14 +
  • Cost: Free to attend, spaces are limited


  • Exploration of astronomy, space exploration, geology, robotics, & marine science
  • Presentations & talks led by women in STEM
  • Hands-0n robotics workshops
  • Planetarium show & presentation at ʻImiloa Astronomy Center
  • PISCES lunar rover mission
  • Tour of Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope HQ & summit observatory 
  • Guided night-time stargazing at Onizuka Center for International Astronomy
  • Geology activities with USGS & UH Hilo Geology Department
  • Group project: plan a space mission!
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 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.”