First Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Education Summit a Success - Hilo Hosted High School Students from China, Japan, India, Canada and Hawaii Island
The first Pacific Astronomy and Engineering Education Summit, sponsored by TMT and the County of Hawaii, and hosted at the Imiloa Astronomy Center and the University of Hawaii at Hilo, brought together high school students and educators from China, Japan, India, Canada and the Big Island for four days of intense learning and interaction.
Workshops included CCD Technology (Dr. JJ Armstrong, Institute for Astronomy), Adaptive Optics (Peter Michaud, Gemini Observatory), Polarization of Light (Dr. Saeko Hayashi, Subaru Telescope), Planetary Remote Sensing (Dr. Rob Wright, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology), The Sun (Dr. Paul Coleman, Institute for Astronomy), Light Spectroscopy (Dale Olive, Waiakea High School), Orientation to Mauna Kea (Stephanie Nagata, Office of Mauna Kea Management), and an Overview of the Hawaii Volcanoes (Janet Babb, USGS, Hawaii Volcanoes).
Team design briefs included Mars Robotics (Dale Olive and Tom Murphy, Waiakea High Robotics) and Asteroid Drilling (Christian Andersen, PISCES). Keynote speakers included Dr. Ravinder Bhatia (Thirty Meter Telescope), Krystal Schelchter (University Astrophysics Club at UH Hilo), and Dr. Paul Coleman. Lt Governor Shan Tsutsui welcomed the conference participants and Representatives Mark Nakashima, Cliff Tsuji and Richard Onishi presented House certificates to each participant.
Students presented science projects and shared a cultural presentation. Field trips included sunset viewing and star gazing at Hale Pohaku and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Out of state school students were provided with an additional home stay experiences after the summit by Waiakea and Hilo High School families.
Big Island schools participating included: Hilo High School, Connections Public Charter School, Honokaa High School, and Waiakea High School. Thirty Meter Telescope partner countries were represented by the Shri Ram School, Aravali, India; Shawnigan Lake School, British Columbia, Canada; the High School affiliated with Beihang University, Beijing, China; Ritsumeikan High School, Kyoto, Japan; and Senri High School, Osaka, Japan.
Connections Public Charter School student Clara Cellini said, "I think international conferences are very beneficial to students because we are put in new situations with new people. Bringing people of different cultures together to focus on a single goal creates a sense of unity. Every student should have the opportunity to experience this."
Ritsumeikan High School Principal Hiroshi, Tanaka who first hosted the Japan Super Science Fair 10 years ago in Kyoto, after which the Hawaii summit is modeled, said "International cooperation is really necessary for young scientists. I believe participants broadened their horizons and constructed a global network. I am most grateful to all who supported this Summit."