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DBEDT NEWS RELEASE: PISCES STARS program receives $5,000 from HTDC

Posted on Mar 21, 2017 in Latest Department News


Hawaii High School Women’s STEM Workshop Will be Held in July

HILO – The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems’ (PISCES) 2017 STARS (STEM Aerospace Research Scholars) Program, a summer workshop for high school women exploring space exploration, astronomy and engineering, will receive a $5,000 sponsorship from the High Technology Development Corp. (HTDC).

“We’re very grateful for this generous award from HTDC,” said Rodrigo Romo, PISCES program manager. “The STARS Program is a great way for young women to learn what kind of careers are possible by pursuing STEM. Thanks to HTDC’s sponsorship, we can expand the 2017 STARS activities and continue offering it to students for free.”

STARS is a week-long, summer educational experience designed to encourage participants to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Participants engage in hands-on activities and presentations conducted by local experts, spanning the dawn of celestial navigation techniques by Polynesian voyagers to the future of human space colonization. The workshop also includes presentations and tours at Hawaii’s world-class astronomy facilities, and a mock lunar mission with PISCES’ planetary rover. In addition, participants are introduced to space mining, aerospace engineering and the future of manned spaceflights to Mars.

“HTDC is proud to support the STARS Program to help inspire Hawaii’s young women to get involved in science and technology,” said Robbie Melton, HTDC CEO and executive director. “The program also supports HTDC’s 80/80 Initiative to increase the number of well-paying high tech jobs in Hawaii, and aligns with other key programs like TechHire Hawaii and the Neighbor Island Innovation Initiative (NI3).”

PISCES launched STARS in 2014, offering the program every summer with a growing number of participants. The program aims to address the existing gender gap in science and engineering-related career fields, while growing Hawaii’s technology and innovation sector by inspiring local youth to pursue related careers.

In addition to HTDC’s support, the 2017 STARS Program will be made possible through partnerships with the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, Subaru Telescope and the Pacific Aviation Museum.

Applications for the Summer 2017 STARS Program, scheduled in late June, will open in May.

For more information visit PISCES online at

PISCES is a state-funded aerospace center under the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT). PISCES is working to position Hawaii as a leader in space exploration while developing sustainable products and technologies to benefit the Islands. Three core initiatives are at the heart of PISCES’ work: Applied Research, Workforce Development, and Long-Term Business and Economic Development. These mutually supportive efforts provide real-life, hands-on experience to Hawai’i’s future scientists and engineers, preparing them to meet the demands of a highly competitive industry while improving the local economy through job diversification and new industries.

About HTDC (High Technology Development Corporation)

HTDC is a state agency, attached to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT).  HTDC’s mission is to facilitate the development and growth of Hawaii’s high technology industry.  HTDC is providing  capital, building infrastructure and developing talent to foster innovation and diversify Hawaii’s economy. HTDC’s 80/80 Initiative is to create 80,000 new tech and innovation jobs that will provide high paying jobs for Hawaii residents.

ABOUT DBEDT (Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

Media Contacts: 

Chris Yoakum
Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems
Phone (808) 935-8270

Mobile: (808) 333-6905
Email: [email protected]


Christine Hirasa

Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism

Phone: (808) 587-9006

Mobile: (808) 286-9017

Email: [email protected]



Note: For STARS program photos please contact Chris Yoakum.