Tara O'Neill
STEMS² Director Tara O’Neill

The College of Education STEMS² Program, in the Department of Curriculum Studies (EDCS), was issued a proclamation honoring the accomplishments of the program’s framework, symposium, master’s concentration and network from the Office of Governor David Ige on June 28, 2022.

A reconceptualized form of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in which social sciences and a sense of place are integrated with the traditional STEM construct, the STEMS² program is designed for educators who want to be transformative, connect with community, and engage students in place and experiential learning.

“This recognition from the governor’s office is a powerful reminder of the value of the STEMS² framework that I created 11 years ago as well as the voice and partnerships that informed its initial development and continued evolution,” said STEMS² Director and EDCS Professor Tara O’Neill. “The list of our accomplishments is a great reminder of the strength of the network and value of this master’s program.”

The proclamation was presented at the 4th Annual STEMS² symposium during the opening session at Waikalua Loko Iʻa (fishpond). The morning included a presentation by Executive Director of the Pacific American Foundation Herb Lee, Jr. on the history and future goals of the fishpond. Participants, including community partners, students, alumni, and others from across the state of Hawai‛i as well as Alaska, engaged in a service learning experience by helping to finish a walking path along a rock wall.

“When you are engaged in the work, it is hard to see what is being accomplished,” concluded O’Neill. “Looking at this document makes us proud of what the STEMS² program has done, and we are inspired to continue to build.”

From the Proclamation:

Whereas, the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Social Sciences and Sense of Place (STEMS2, pronounced “STEMS squared”) framework was developed in connection with the educational mission and values of the Mālāma Honua Worldwide Voyage of Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, beginning in the planning stages of the voyage in 2011; and

Whereas, STEMS2 integrates transdisciplinary knowledge, cultural knowledge, and indigenous knowledge to address issues that face local communities such as climate change, food sustainability, housing, and other issues of equity and access; and

Whereas, in 2015 the framework was formalized as STEMS2 and used in the design and implementation of the STEMS2 Master’s of Education program in Curriculum Studies  at the University of Hawai‘i – Mānoa, College of Education; and

Whereas, since 2015 there have been 116 educators from across the Hawaiian Islnds and the continental United States participating in the program with a 95% graduation rate; and

Whereas, the STEMS2 network continues to expand, having built national and international collaborations and partnerships, such as the partnership with the University of Tsukuba (Japan), launched the annual STEMS2 Symposium in 2018 to bring together innovative researchers, educators, policymakers, cultural practitioners and community partners and  business leaders; and

Whereas, this year marks the 11th anniversary of the development of the STEMS2 framework, the 7th graduating cohort of the resulting STEMS2 Master’s of Education program in Curriculum Studies at the University of Hawai‘i – Mānoa, College of Education, and the 4th annual International STEMS2 Symposium;

THEREFORE I, David Y. IGE, Governor of the State of Hawai‘i, do hereby recognize the development, growth and accomplishments of the STEMS2 Framework, Master’s Program and Network and ask citizens of the Aloha State to join us in recognizing and paying tribute to the significant role of STEMS2 in our communities by supporting school and community partnerships, taking time to explore our own sense of place and embracing multiple sources of knowledge for real-world problem-solving.

Done at the State Capitol in the Executive Chambers, Honolulu, State of Hawai‘i, this twenty-eighth day of June 2022.

Stay Connected

Receive a monthly newsletter covering COE news, events, and announcements

Sign Up