Monsanto Hawaii Promotes STEM Education at the 2017 Science Symposium for Girls

Monsanto Hawaii believes in fostering the next generation of Hawaii innovators by supporting educational programs in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

On Feb. 18, three Monsanto Hawaii employees volunteered their time to teach fun STEM-based workshops to 345 girls from various local public and private schools at the 2017 Science Symposium for Girls presented by Sacred Hearts Academy.

The annual symposium featured 18 workshops with 49 presenters on a wide range of topics, including veterinary medicine, robotics, marine biology, aviation, geology and much more.

“Monsanto Hawaii was a hit at this year’s Science Symposium for Girls,” said Betty White, head of school at Sacred Hearts Academy. “Besides sponsoring the event, the presenters created much enthusiasm for the students with their hands-on activities.”

Krishna Bayyareddy, an entomologist with Monsanto Hawaii, took students on an interactive “tour” of the insect world where students could play with live insects, learn the difference between “good bugs” and “bad bugs”, and understand the value of beneficial insects to the environment. 

“It’s always wonderful to witness the next generation of young scientists learn about the importance of beneficial insects and their role in sustainable agriculture,” said Bayyareddy. “I am very grateful to be part of a team that makes it a priority to give back to the community and inspire students to pursue their dreams in the field of science and technology.”

Sarah Sterling, seed production lead, and Brianna Thompson, research associate at Monsanto Hawaii, hosted another workshop focusing on soil erosion and its impact on our daily lives. Soil erosion can be caused by heavy rainfall, runoff and wind. When soil erosion occurs, it increases a farm’s operation costs, and in turn, raises the cost of food products. During the workshop, students were able to design their own soil erosion prevention system using soil, water and flowers.

“It was very rewarding to see the girls dive in to the erosion kits we put together,” said Sterling. “Rather than lecture, we let them experiment with different methods of erosion prevention to discover the best solution in their small groups.  The activity spurred a lot of great discussion and ideas surrounding farming practices, soil conservation, and the challenges we face on our planet.” 

Since 2010, Monsanto Hawaii and its employees have donated more than $300,000 to various community organizations and approximately 7,000 volunteer hours over the past year for various causes including health and human services, disaster relief, historic preservation, education and environmental protection.

To learn more about Monsanto Hawaii’s commitment to education and the community, visit http://www.monsantohawaii.com/about-monsanto-hawaii/our-commitments/community/