Reflecting on a Fulfilling 2023 for the Oceanit Ohana

Events, Oceanit Ohana

We are grateful for another amazing year in which Oceanit forged new relationships and strengthened our ties with our communities through numerous outreach endeavors. Oceanit is proud to have supported people and organizations in Hawai’i in times of need, providing donations, mentoring, and volunteering services. We are committed to fostering an innovation-centric future in the islands. Recognizing students as the key to this future, we launched several educational programs in STEM and engaged in career outreach. Through these initiatives, we aim to cultivate innovation and imagination in students for years to come.

Resilient and Sustainable Coastlines

To further nurture STEM interest in 2023, Oceanit initiated several community projects focused on students. First, our Resilient and Sustainable Engineering team collaborated with the Hawai’i Department of Transportation (HDOT) and Waianae High School on a project at Oahu’s Makaha Beach Park. The multi-month beach study taught students to fly drones, use surveying methods, and taught stakeholder engagement as they monitored beach erosion, weather and climate patterns, and coastal resilience. The Makaha Beach project not only enhanced students’ practical experience in environmental surveying and data analysis but also contributed significantly to the sustainability of Oahu’s coastlines and infrastructure. With the student data, HDOT will be able to make better decisions on future road works near the beach. Watch our video here: https://youtu.be/XN90yHELHNM?si=dl9sAdWTtqcCEN6Z

Another project launched in 2023 is enabling students’ hands-on education in coastal engineering to build a Climate Change Toolkit. Hawaii recognizes climate change as one of the most significant factors for coastal erosion – and it is fast becoming a huge problem for the next generation. Oceanit mentors are providing students on Maui with knowledge, skills, and community engagement experience to address climate change. At the Mantokuji temple on Maui, land is slowly being lost due to beach erosion. Oceanit and a group of student mentees combine education with real-world problem-solving as we seek to address erosion with practical, resilient, and responsible solutions. You can learn more about this project from our new video: https://youtube.com/shorts/l5vVNRllft0?si=4h62LEkDhxXUHkhB

Also, in 2023, Oceanit became a proud partner of the Trust for Public Land and the first organization to join TPL’s Corporate ‘Ohana program.’ The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national organization that works on conservation and public access projects throughout the United States. They believe in creating parks and protecting land for all people to ensure healthy, livable communities for generations to come – a vision that Oceanit shares. Oceanit employees volunteered at TPL’s annual community workday, which is held each year on Earth Day in April. Our team traveled to Kahuku Point (Kahuku Kawela) on O’ahu’s North Shore to help conserve 630 acres of coastal area surrounding Turtle Bay Resort. Read more about our sponsorship here: https://www.oceanit.com/news/oceanit-becomes-a-sponsor-of-the-trust-for-public-land/

STEM Engagement

In addition to our coastal projects, Oceanit employees actively engage with students throughout the year to deepen their understanding of innovation, science, and technology. Throughout 2023, Oceanit hosted students ranging from elementary schools to grad and Ph.D. candidates. We welcomed classes from Arizona State University, SEEQS Honolulu (School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability), the University of Hawaii’s Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship Program (NHSEMP), and more at our Honolulu HQ. Oceanit staff provided immersive experiences through lab tours, virtual reality demonstrations, our technology petting zoo, and live project pitches. Our partnership with SEEQS extended to participating in their Clean Energy School Fair, where we had the privilege of being guests of honor to provide feedback on their exhibition.

Beyond our in-house engagement, Oceanit participated in STEM events around Oahu. This summer, Oceanit scientists and engineers visited the north shore to participate in STEM days at the Hawaii Girl Scout campus. We also helped to celebrate the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center’s 25th anniversary during their Family 25 Days of Play. Oceanit hosted several demo booths where children could run hands-on experiments, fostering their curiosity and excitement about innovation.

Oceanit remained committed to local recruiting and career development, attending many University of Hawaii career fairs, from engineering to IT and cybersecurity. We promoted the diverse opportunities in STEM careers here at Oceanit, part of our broader goal to showcase the wide array of professional paths available within our islands.

Giving in 2023

Our staff’s commitment to giving back to the community has been further exemplified through our active participation in fundraising events. This year’s silent auction, organized by our summer interns, successfully raised over $1200 for the Kapiolani Health Foundation and Kapiolani Women’s & Children’s Cancer Center. The interns took an innovative approach by building an internal bidding website from scratch, selling over 75 unique items gathered for the auction. They fostered community spirit and substantial support for our community members undergoing cancer treatment.

This winter, Oceanit partnered with Youth Outreach (YO!) to gift supplies to around 150 runaways, homeless, and street-identified youths up to 22 years of age. To provide a better future for these youths, our employees donated more than $800 and bags full of essentials, including clothes, hygiene products, and food. Oceanit also gathered donations for Toys for Tots, donating children’s toys for parents who cannot afford to buy children gifts for Christmas.

2023 also brought unexpected challenges, such as the historic Lahaina fire in Maui. As critical organizations began the process of responding to needs for health, housing, and hygiene, Oceanit looked at ways we could support the community. With a surge in COVID cases observed in shelters set up for fire survivors, Oceanit donated ASSURE-100 Rapid COVID-19 tests at the ‘Hawak Kamay’ Resource Fair. This gesture underscored our commitment to aiding those in crisis and reinforced our dedication to standing with the Hawaiian community through all challenges.

Looking Ahead to 2024

Oceanit’s endeavors in 2023 have been a testament to our employees’ dedication to their community welfare, education, health, and beyond. From STEM initiatives to emergency response, we have strived to make a meaningful impact this year, nurturing the next generation of innovators and supporting our local communities. The Oceanit Ohana’s efforts reflect a deep-seated belief in the transformative power of education, innovation, and community support as we continue to build a brighter, more resilient future for Hawai’i.