In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

TMT’s THINK Fund invests in education for Hawaii Island students

Sponsored by the nonprofit partnership of the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) supports a number of educational initiatives to help prepare Hawaii Island students for science and technology careers. Through the THINK Fund (The Hawaii Island New Knowledge), TMT has made a commitment to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education on Hawaii Island. It hopes education will strengthen the island’s workforce and economy so that families and communities thrive.

TMT created the THINK Fund after listening to the Hawaii Island community and hearing their concerns about future jobs on the island. Two prominent and well-respected Hawaii foundations, the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) and Pauahi Foundation, were selected by TMT to administer the THINK Fund monies in scholarship and grant making platforms.

The STEM programs that TMT is helping to fund help get students interested and involved in STEM at a young age. The purpose of the THINK Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation is to improve educational opportunities for Hawaii Island students that serve to prepare them to become the workforce for the science and technology economy of the 21st century Hawaii. Teachers, non-profits and schools can apply for STEM-related grants and students are invited to apply for scholarships to further their goals to complete a STEM college degree. The focus of the THINK Fund at Pauahi Foundation is to provide scholarships to native Hawaiian students.

Through its THINK Fund, TMT has helped with the island-wide growth of scholastic robotics on Hawaii Island through sponsoring schools as well as leagues and tournaments. The program reaches all geographic points of the island from Naalehu to Kohala, from Hilo to Kona, from Puna to Waikoloa.

STEM education is a good start. Through this and other programs, TMT and the astronomy industry is creating a pipeline to train and groom the local STEM students for STEM-related jobs in Hawaii.

Innovation and exploration have been characteristics of Hawaii throughout history. The first Polynesians who populated these islands were at the forefront of science and technology during their time, designing and sailing canoes and navigating by the stars in search of new land and new opportunities. TMT’s recent and future endeavors promoting a fertile environment for science and technology represent continuations of this long tradition.

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