Precursors

The Hawaiian Medical Society was founded in 1895; The Hawaiian Engineering Association ' Association in 1902; The Hawaiian Entomological Society and The Hawaiian Section of the American Chemical Society in 1923; and The Hawaiian Botanical Society in 1924.   In 1925 representatives from these organizations met to establish the Hawaiian Academy of Science (the name was later changed to the "Hawaii Academy of Science).
 

Annual Meetings

The Academy held its first annual meeting at the Bishop Museum in May 1926. Members presented their research and abstracts were published in the Proceedings of the Hawaiian Academy of Science.   The first Proceedings included such topics as "Interracial Marriages in Hawaii," "The Viscosity of Lava," and "An Analysis of Samoan Land Snails."  Except for a brief hiatus during WWII, the Academy held annual meetings each year through 1967.  Members prepared and delivered scientific papers at these meetings.  However, by 1967 air travel had become readily accessible and it was more prestigious to present scientific papers at professional meetings on the mainland --- and the HAS annual research meetings went the way of the Dodo Bird.  Since then the meetings consist primarily of a business meeting at which the new officers are installed.
 

Science Fair and its Venue

The Academy sponsored the first Science Fair in Hawaii in 1958.  Students conduct scientific research, prepare a display board explaining the research, and defend it to individual scientists at the Science Fair.  Competition begins at the school level; the better projects advance to the District Science Fairs; the better district fair projects advance to the State Science Fair; and the best projects at State advance to the International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) on the mainland in May of each year.

From 1958-1968 the Academy held the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair (HSSEF) at the Kaiser Dome on the grounds of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.    From 1969-2009 the venue shifted to the Honolulu International Center (HIC), whose name was subsequently changed to the "Neal S. Blaisdell Center" in honor of the Mayor of Honolulu who oversaw the construction of the center.  In 2010 the fair was shifted to its current venue, the Hawaii Convention Center.

The Pacific Symposium for Science & Sustainability began in 1975 as the Student Symposium on Marine Affairs.  In recognition of the fact that Hawaii is an island state, the Academy began sponsoring a symposium that focused upon island issues. Students conduct scientific research, write it up, and submit it to the Academy for review.  If accepted, the student is invited to the symposium where, instead of making a display board and explaining it to individual judges, her or she makes a public presentation of their research.  Students from American Samoa and Pohnpei also attend.  In 1996 the Academy of Applied Science in Concord, New Hampshire, offered to include us in the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (they give us $25,000 a year) if we expanded the topics to include all sciences, not just marine topics.  The winners in Hawaii win cash prizes provided by Academy of Applied Science and are invited to an expense-paid trip to compete in the National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium on the mainland.  Our symposium is usually held in January each year.

The Honolulu Science Cafe is a grass roots international movement to bring science to the street.  A Science Cafes take place in casual settings such as pubs and restaurants, is open to the public, and features an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic.   In Honolulu the Science Cafe currently meets the third Tuesday of each month at JJ's Bistro in Kaimuki.   There is no admission charge, but patrons are encouraged to buy a drink, a meal, or a snack from the restaurant that hosts us.  It provides the community an opportunity to meet and talk with some of the leading scientists in Hawaii.
 

Science Fair Leadership

In the early years the fair was conducted entirely by volunteers with the director changing every year.  Robert Campbell, a science education professor at the University of Hawaii, broke that trend, serving for 13 years.  When he retired in 1988 Campbell had greatly increased community financial support; established a broad-based volunteer system with 16 committees; enticed UHM Work Study students to provide clerical support; and convinced the dean of the College of Education to provide office space with mailing, duplicating, telephone, and other logistical support.  Campbell was followed by Katherine Aratani, Donna de Haan, Shiyana Thenabadu, Christine Trusty, Carolyn Kaichi, and Sara Tamayose, each of who has left their mark on the fair.

In 1987 Irv King replaced Campbell as the College of Education representative on the HAS Board of Directors, a position he held until 2011.  At that time the Academy adopted a new set of By-Laws that called for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  Kerry Kakazu held that position for about a year, but due to financial difficulties, a decision was made to eliminate the CEO position in 2012.
 

Growth of Science Fair Enterprise in Hawaii

Since its inception in 1958 the State Science Fair was affiliated with the International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF), and as such it could send two students each year to the ISEF competition on the mainland.   To become affiliated, a science fair needed to have at least 50 students and at least 5 high schools participating in the fair.  Since all of the district science fairs met these criteria, in the mid-1980s district fairs in Hawaii began affiliating with ISEF.  This enabled Hawaii to send many more students to compete in in the International Fair.  The better projects from the district fairs still advanced to the State Fair, and the State Science Fair staff assisted and monitored the participation of the various district fairs.  Hence, the task of coordinating all the pieces was becoming too large for a volunteer director.
 

Funding and Legislative Support

From 1958 through 1988 volunteers ran the Science Fair, and funds were raised from the community for operating expenses and student awards.  In 1988 it became obvious that a salaried staff was needed to run the Science Fairs in Hawaii.   Academy of Science President Lorenz Maagard approached the Hawaii State Legislature with a request for funding for personnel to conduct the Fair.  Funding was awarded to the Academy as a grant-in-aid that was channeled through the Hawaii State Department of Education.  The Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii was contracted to handle our personnel matters, a service they still perform.   From 1988 to 2006 funding from the DOE continued each year, with an average of about $100,000 per year being appropriated.

In 2007 the DOE decided to terminate funding for the Science Fair.  We were told that the funds previously slated for the Science Fair were being diverted to Act 51 that gave increased funds to low-achieving schools.

However, the DOE was always about 6 months behind in sending funds to the Academy, and there was an accumulation of about $88,000 left in the already authorized DOE funds.  The Academy requested and received a "no cost extension" of the program and these funds were used for the 2007 science fair.  In spite of this, the future looked gloomy for the continuation of the science fair.
 

Professional Fund Raising

The Academy had a rainy-day fund of about $85,000, and these funds were used to hire Myerberg Shain & Associates to raise funds for the Academy.  The fund-raising was of mixed success.  With the assistance of Myerberg Shain, the Academy staff submitted a request for a new grant-in-aid from the Legislature, for only one year, and it was funded.  This got us through the 2008 Science Fair.  Myerberg Shain also initiated an effort to contact previous science fair participants.  This led to the involvement of several former science fair students, among them Neal Atebara.   These people added renewed vitality to our fund raising efforts, and funds were raised for the 2009 and 2010 science fairs.  Without their efforts the science fair would have probably died.

Unfortunately, Myerberg Shain & Associates were unable to obtain any sizable funds for the Academy and, after expending our $85,000 rainy day fund, the relationship was terminated.

 

Composition of the Board of Directors

For the past several decades the membership of the Hawaii Academy of Science board of directors consisted primarily of university people.   Their contribution to the Science Fair was to attend a board meeting from time to time and to serve as judges at the science fair.  The new reality was that the HAS needed a more active board with a business-like approach.  To this end a new constitution and By-Laws were written and approved by the membership.  Since then the members of the board have been a diverse group, including a practicing physician, a business entrepreneur, an employee of the Department of Health, a school principal, a certified public accountant, an attorney, a director of Clinical Research at Queen's Medical Center, an educational entrepreneur, a Vice President for Community Development with Queen's Medical Center, a Chief Operating Officer of a Federal Agency, a Chief Technology Officer with a major defense and aerospace company, and a Corporate Development Planner with the Queen’s Health Systems.

Many of these individuals serve on other Boards of Directors.  Thanks to the dedication of these new board members, the science fair in Hawaii continues.