Like us on Facebook      Follow us on Twitter                                                                                        June 5, 2013
Hawaii Island Students Earn National  
and International Distinction 

Critics of astronomy often complain that the discoveries made on Mauna Kea only benefit a few select scientists. Proponents of astronomy, on the other hand, often cite its benefits to our community in economic terms. Both arguments fail to appreciate the growing influence that science plays on the quality of education available to our youth.


For example, Waiakea Intermediate School seventh grader Anne Nakamoto's science fair project set on Mauna Kea captured first place honors at the State Science and Technology Fair on Oahu in April. Anne had received the support of former MKMB member Ron Terry, Mauna Kea entomology specialist Dr. Jesse Eiben, and OMKM Natural Resources Program Manager Fritz Klasner.


Shortly after that, UH Hilo physics and astronomy students Robert Pipes and Jordan Bledsoe were selected to participate in prestigious national internships. Robert was awarded the National Undergraduate Fellowship through the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). Jordan was chosen to participate in a 10-week summer internship at the Maria Mitchell Observatory in Nantucket, Mass.  




Team Poliahu Wins 2013 U.S. Imagine Cup

Headed to Worldwide Finals in Russia 



Most recently, a student team from UH Hilo beat out finalists from Virginia, Colorado, Arkansas, Chicago, Florida State, Harvard, Rice and Boston universities to win the 2013 U.S. Imagine Cup. The Imagine Cup, sponsored by Microsoft Corp., is considered the world's premier student technology competition.


Team Poliahu
2013 U.S. Imagine Cup Winning Team Poli'ahu
Mike Purvis, Ryder Donahue, Kayton Summers and Wallace Hamada

The winning Hawaii project began as a concept developed by UHH's Dr. Don Thomas, who serves on OMKM's Environment Committee, and OMKM's Fritz Klasner. They proposed developing a software app that could track native and invasive plant species using smart phones and GPS functionality. Don made contact with the UHH computer class taught by Keith Edwards, where a team of students comprised of Mike Purvis, Ryder Donahue, Kayton Summers and Wallace Hamada chose OMKM as their "client" for the class competition.  


poliahu screen shot

Dubbing themselves Team Poliahu, the students then decided to develop their class project into an Imagine Cup submission. Working very hard, they transformed the software application into a disaster response app that they renamed HelpMeHelp, which allows users to share photos and information about hazards they may encounter in emergencies such as fires, floods, earthquakes or hurricanes.


Team Poliahu will represent the United States in the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in July.


Not only do these shining examples speak to the academic excellence of our youth, but they also help to refute claims that the science that takes place on Mauna Kea does not affect people's daily lives. Here we can see how motivated youngsters can in fact contribute to the health and well-being of society-not just here in Hawaii, but around the world.




    The Office of Mauna Kea Management

is charged with day-to-day management of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve as prescribed in the Master Plan. The adoption of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master Plan by the University of  Hawaii Board of Regents in June 2000 marked a critical milestone in the management of Mauna Kea.


Meetings and public hearings spanning a period of nearly two years went into the formulation of the Master Plan, which established management guidelines for the next 20 years. The Master Plan reflected the community's deeply rooted concerns over the use of Mauna Kea, including respect for Hawaiian cultural beliefs, protection of environmentally sensitive habitat, recreational use of the mountain, and astronomy research.


It places the focus of responsibility with the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH). The UH-Hilo Chancellor established the Office of Mauna Kea Management and the Board of Regents established the Mauna Kea Management Board in the fall of 2000. The Mauna Kea Management Board in turn formed Kahu Ku Mauna, a council comprised of Hawaiian cultural resource persons to serve as advisors.

mauna kea OMKM Mission

To achieve harmony, balance and trust in the sustainable management and stewardship of Mauna Kea Science Reserve through community involvement and programs that protect, preserve and enhance the natural, cultural and recreational resources of Mauna Kea while providing a world-class center dedicated to education, research and astronomy.