By sharing their knowledge and love of science, two teams of Chaminade University students encouraged children to pursue STEM educations and careers at the “2017 Astronaut Lacy Veach Day of Discovery.”
Held Oct. 28 at Punahou School, this 16th annual event honored the life and legacy of NASA astronaut Charles Lacy Veach, who flew on Space Shuttle missions in 1991 and 1992 and developed robotics for the International Space Station. The Punahou alumnus and U.S. Air Force Academy graduate died of cancer in 1995 at the age of 51.
One team of Chaminade students conducted a workshop on the tiny opae`ula Hawaiian red shrimp and the ecologically fragile anchialine pools where they live. Anchialine pools are enclosed bodies of water with underground connections to the ocean.
“The kids we worked with made a habitat for the shrimp and were really excited to take them home,” said English major Kalei Ehlers from the Hogan Entrepreneurs Program. “Kids are excited by science and I had a blast teaching them something new.”
Also conducting the workshop were students Aulani Oka, Martina Segura, Tara Supit and Luwella Leonardi.
A team of students from the “I Am A Scientist” mobile outreach program showed children how to dust and “lift” latent fingerprints.
“We got to educate kids and parents about the different characteristics in fingerprints that are unique to the individual person,” said Nursing major Heather Carvalho. “We also taught them that fingerprints are how they catch criminals.”
Carvalho said she enjoyed encouraging parents and children “to engage in science education together as a family.”
“It was an awesome way to get the kids outdoors,” she said, “instead of in front of the television and internet devices.”
Forensic Science major Kaitlyn Castillo said she initially thought young children “wouldn’t really think about doing science-related things.”
“After this event, I know that I was wrong and that some kids really do enjoy science so much,” Castillo said. “A few parents I talked to said they had bought their kids fingerprint kits and they would be dusting for prints all over the house.
“I liked knowing there were kids that got interested in forensic science by actually doing things related to forensic science,” Castillo added, “rather than from a TV show.”
Working with Carvalho and Castillo at the fingerprint booth were students John Aiwohi, Chante Carter, Doris Sanborn and Samantha Williams, along with alumna Cassandra Song and biology lecturer Dr. Eric Umemoto.