Project Connect has been a part of the International Microwave Symposium (IMS) since 2014 in Tampa, Florida. The program was created by Dr. Tom Weller and was designed to increase the participation of underrepresented minority students at IMS. Each year, the program has become more and more integrated into IMS, and each conference provides different experiences for the attendees. For example, at IMS2016 in San Francisco, the heart of Silicon Valley, students attended a panel session made up of successful entrepreneurs and were able to listen to their success stories and gain inspiration for their own potential endeavors.
In 2017 we switch gears and provide a new experience for the Project Connect attendees centered around sustainability: a day at the loʻi. Wehewehe.org defines loʻi as an irrigated terrace, which in Hawaiʻi was usually reserved for taro. Taro was a staple food for Native Hawaiians before Western contact, and Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians alike enjoy it today. On the first day of the Project Connect program, Monday June 5th, students will participate in Mālama Hāloa at Ka Papa Loʻi o Kānewai, located on the campus of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Students will be immersed in all facets of the loʻi, including the sustainability practices that Native Hawaiians implemented that are still used today.
Ka Papa Loʻi o Kānewai is a culturally significant place as one moʻolelo (story) recounts the tale of Kāne and Kanaloa, two of the four most significant deities of ancient Hawaiʻi, who are credited with making freshwater appear at the loʻi, where it still flows today. Edward Cashman Jr., the director of the loʻi, has graciously opened up the site for Project Connect attendees to learn more about the traditional practices of Hawaiʻi, especially those regarding sustainability. It is our hope that participants will not only find this an enriching and memorable experience but one that will provide them with a new perspective that can be used both in their personal and professional lives.
For more information about the loʻi visit: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/hshk/ka-papa-loi-o-kanewai/
For more information on IMS2017 Project Connect visit: http://ims2017.org/students-main/project-connect/