This high school freshman stands proudly by his Rube Goldberg project.

This high school freshman stands proudly by his Rube Goldberg project.

Sixty aspiring high school engineers showcased their skills as a part of the Summer Engineering Academy at Honolulu Community College on Friday, July 25.

Students demonstrated self-constructed sumo robots, and their Rube Goldberg creations, a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation; as well as their 3D renderings using the latest software.

“We are excited to provide high school students with this unique summer learning opportunity at Honolulu Community College,” says Karen Lee, executive director, Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education. “We are supportive of STEM initiatives that help students explore their science and math interests while exposing them to life on a college campus. Both of these components are essential to their knowledge of what it means to be college- and career-ready.”

Students range from freshman to seniors, representing schools such as ʻAiea, Campbell, Castle, Maryknoll, Farrington, Hilo, ʻIolani, Kahuku, Kailua, Kaimukī, Kaiser, Kalāheo, Kalani, Kamehameha, Kapolei, McKinley, Mililani, Moanalua, Radford, Roosevelt, Sacred Hearts Academy, Waiʻanae, Waipahu and American Samoa.

The program is designed to teach applied engineering skills that include mechatronics—a multidisciplinary field of engineering that integrates various areas to optimize a product’s functionality.

During the six-week program, students visited the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Engineering and School of Architecture and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard’s engineering department. This year students also got to experience team building and dorm life. Through these experiences many of the participants have been able to pinpoint the area of concentration they wish to pursue in a STEM field.

In addition, a section on college readiness gave students tips and guidance as they prepare for successful entry into college.

“The primary goal of the program is to give these students the opportunity for career exploration,” shares Norman Takeya, Honolulu CC assistant professor and Summer Engineering Academy coordinator.

The Summer Engineering Academy is funded by the College Access Challenge Grant, which is managed by Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education, Fujio Matsuda Technology Training and Education Center, NASA Space Grant Hawaiʻi Consortium,] and Construction Management Association of America Hawaiʻi Chapter.

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