A $49,000 donation from the GIFT Foundation of Hawaii is helping Chaminade University expand its I Am A Scientist STEM outreach program to additional public schools, including those on the Neighbor Islands. The donation also helps the program pursue its long-term goal of securing federal support and developing a self-sustainable funding model.
“We did not know the amount of the award until they gave us the envelope, so it was a huge surprise,” said Research Associate Lori Shimoda, who founded and directs I Am A Scientist STEM. “It was exciting, and extremely humbling to feel the extent of their support for our program. It got pretty emotional as hugs, tears and laughter were shared.”
The GIFT Foundation, which encourages young people to participate in philanthropic giving, collected the donations at its annual fundraiser, a “Miami Vices & Vixens” costume party.
Also receiving donations were the Alliance for Drama Education’s T-Shirt Theatre program, a Kalihi-based performance group for middle and high school students; and HUGS, which provides financial and emotional support to families with seriously ill children.
I Am A Scientist STEM, an initiative of Chaminade University’s Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, provides free outreach activities to Hawaii public schools. Volunteering to conduct the program are researchers, faculty and postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate students. Since its founding in 2009, the program has encouraged more than 13,000 K-12 students to learn more about science and mathematics.