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Students in the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College’s Project STEMulate will be featured in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 2020 STEM for All Video Showcase. This annual event will be held online May 5–12 at

The UH Maui College presentation, entitled “Problem-based Learning in STEM: Motivating High School Students,” looks at the way Project STEMulate’s industry aligned, technology rich, problem-based learning curriculum has motivated and ignited STEM interest in high school students who are Native Hawaiian, underrepresented and low-income, and may be the first in their families to go to college.

three students by the water
From left, Project STEMulate students Alfredo Gani, Rebecca Anej, Daniel Rodriguez in Hilo.
three students laughing
From left, Project STEMulate students Vincent Luu, Xyra Villanueva, Michelle Tran at Papahana Kuaola in Heʻeia, Oʻahu

Project STEMulate, with summer sessions at UH Maui College, UH Hilo and Windward Community College, was funded by a $1 million grant from the NSF in 2017.

The showcase video was made over the summer of 2019 and involved a prompt from ʻIke Wai, a cross-disciplinary UH project that aims to increase understanding of Hawaiian island hydrology to provide improved data for decision-making tools that address the challenges of water sustainability. In their video presentation, UH Maui College students discussed their experiences and how they’ve developed ownership over their learning.

“By utilizing a problem-based learning approach, Project STEMulate ignites STEM learning among students that don’t always see themselves as interested in STEM,” said Jaymee Nanasi Davis, Project STEMulate co-principal investigator and research coordinator. “At the completion of the course, it’s the students’ confidence and passion in STEM that really shines through.”

Davis said as Project STEMulate approaches its final year of funding, feedback and suggestions for the project are welcomed on its page in the STEM video showcase. Project STEMulate’s video presentation and discussion can be found on

Now in its sixth year, the annual video showcase will feature more than 170 innovative projects aimed at improving STEM learning and teaching, which have been funded by the NSF and other federal agencies. During the week-long event, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and members of the public are invited to view the short videos, discuss them with the presenters online and vote for their favorites.

—By Kelli Trifonovitch

people sitting out in a garden
Project STEMulate students at ʻIao Valley State Park on Maui.
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