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A team from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa hosted the annual Be a Scientist Night for children at the Institute for Human Services (IHS) women’s shelter on December 7.

This event featured interactive stations for virtual reality, robotics and more, exposing children at the shelter to different STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related activities and careers.

Girl controlling small robots with a tablet, click for larger image

Mathematics Professor Monique Chyba has organized the event for the past eight years and sees it as a big opportunity for her students, some of whom will go on to educate others.

“A lot of them who are here tonight are going to be future teachers,” said Chyba. “And being here really like enforces the idea that this is meaningful and this is important.”

UH Mānoa student Nicole Trube was one of the event’s volunteers. “I really want to help out and give them a chance to feel involved in a community and get to learn some really amazing things here,” she said.

IHS staff say the event gives the children a chance to participate in things they would not otherwise experience.

“I feel like that will pretty much interest our children to become more engaged and be more hungry for more learning,” said Amber Leon Guerrero, IHS Children’s Program manager.

A number of students from UH also visit the shelter weekly to help provide tutoring for science and math.

Be a Scientist Night is hosted by faculty and students from the College of Natural Sciences, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and College of Engineering.

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