University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa student-volunteers brings IHS participants and the community exciting STEM activities (2011 Be a Scientist Night photo courtesy of the UH Mānoa Department of Mathematics)

On Friday November 30, a team of 50 University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa students will volunteer with the Institute of Human Services, the UH Mānoa Department of Mathematics and the Graduate Women in Science for Be a Scientist Night. The event takes place at 6 p.m. at 546 Kaʻaahi Street, Honolulu and is open to the general public.

Be a Scientist Night provides IHS participants and the community with engaging activities based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The activities, designed for K–12 students, are organized and lead by UH Mānoa students interested in or majoring in education, engineering, physics, mathematics and various other degree fields.

“Be a Scientist Night offers our keiki the opportunity to thrive through educational exploration,” says Angela Dumais, the IHS children’s program coordinator. “Through care and education, we can help this generation of keiki strive to reach for the summit rather than become a product of their environment. This plays a major role in ending homelessness. They deserve every opportunity to succeed in life.”

According to the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education’s 2012 Adequate Yearly Progress Report, only 51 percent of “disadvantaged students” in the state of Hawaiʻi meet proficiency in mathematics.

“Raising STEM interest and math proficiency within the state certainly is a responsible goal,” said Monique Chyba, UH Mānoa professor of mathematics and organizer of Be a Scientist Night. “But we cannot forget the economically disadvantaged. To be exposed to math and science through such an engaging and exciting spectacle shows them that avenues for success exist.”

Be a Scientist Night is part of a larger effort from the University of Hawaiʻi. Since Fall 2010, the UH Mānoa Department of Mathematics has worked in association with Angela Dumais and IHS to provide homeless children with weekly educational programs. Sessions on robotics, rocketry and mathematics are taught by undergraduate and graduate students from various departments at UH Mānoa.

The program welcomes donations such as diapers, wet/disinfectant wipes, clothing and puzzles. For more information, please contact Robert Young, SUPER-M Special Events Coordinator, at (808) 956-4669 or email the program.

Adapted from a UH Mānoa news release