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Robotics Activities Come to University of Hawaiʻi at Mânoa

Yet another attempt to encourage underprivileged students to become involved in applied mathematics and sciences is on the cards.

Students from University of Hawaiʻi at Mânoa will host the “Be A Scientist Tonight” at the Institute for Human Services on Friday, December 10, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.  The event will offer hands-on activities such as robotics, fly genetics, origami and other activities and will engage some 100 children and their families.

The activities are designed by members of the Student Teaching Outreach Mentoring Program (STOMP) at the campus.

The outreach program was initiated by Mathematics Associate Professor Monique Chyba, who leads Mânoa undergraduate and graduate students teaching in local public elementary and middle schools. The program provides students in grades K-12 direct hands-on learning experiences through the use of Lego educational Mindstorm kits and corresponding Robolab software. Students are thereby encourages to become involved in the world of autonomous robotics.

Chyba notes that the IHS experience has been transformative for the STOMP students. “You can see in their faces, how it has made a big difference in their lives,” she says. “The Fall semester has been a proving ground that our students want to engage in our communities, and that they can make a difference.”

The faculty and staff in the Mathematics Department, Office of Student Equity Excellence and Diversity (SEED), and Graduate Professional Access (GPA) program have combined efforts to support six students for the past year to work in the public schools with enrichment activities that boost interest in math and science.

SEED is particularly involved in increasing the number of students from underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Its emphasis is on creating awareness about the fact that social stratifications might marginalize certain groups and inequities exist. SEED aims to increase student participation in social activism.


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