Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Symposium inspires next generation of women in STEAM

What time is it? Participants enjoy “It’s Slime Time” by getting their hands messy. The recipe used to make the slimes included glue, contact lens solution, food coloring and shaving cream. Photo by Jenica Wong.

Earlier this month, Sacred Hearts Academy hosted its 28th annual Science Symposium, which is a way to promote “girl power,” coordinators say, while inspiring and engaging girls to pursue fields in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). 

The symposium welcomed current students in grades 5 to 9 and invited girls from the community to this free and educational event. There were many activities, including making slime, dissecting chicken wings, using math to create patterns and learning the science behind making ice cream. 

A popular station was the ice cream making station. Academy sixth grader Hayes Beissel said, while shaking a sealed plastic bag, “It’s just milk and vanilla extract in a bag, and when we put that in another bag with salt, it freezes.” 

Another display of incorporating food into science was the seminar hosted by the parent of junior Nikki Matsubara, chef Jon Matsubara. It was called “For Foodies–Food Science 101,” where he talked about how different foods’ chemical compounds created chemical reactions. Jon Matsubara demonstrated how the emulsification of certain condiments resulted in types of salad dressing. Emulsification is when two liquids that don’t usually mix together, blend to create a new liquid, such as mixing oil and water. 

The biggest group of presenters included undergraduate nursing students, with a focus on pediatrics, from Chaminade University. They were accompanied by their professor Linda Malone. They divided their course into different stations, such as one on dehydration and another about reducing stress. Participants enjoyed the hands-on activities, including checking blood pressure, learning how to use an IV and creating a balanced diet. 

Chaminade students display how to use an IV drip. They also educated participants with the variety of poster boards containing information about their respective topic. Photo by Jenica Wong.

The Academy has been the largest all-girls school in Hawaii for the past few decades. With a focus on feminist values, event coordinator Rodney Chang said, “(The Science Symposium) exposes girls to opportunities they didn’t know they had. In past events, we had presenters such as Miss America (and) college professors. But this year, most of the presenters were people found within the community.” 

After COVID, according to him, the enrollment decreased from about 400 participants to about 200 participants. 

To promote the event, Chang said, “We advertised in the newspaper and emailed the science departments at all the public Hawaii schools, but what we found to be most effective was word-of-mouth referrals.” 

One of the presenters was Rachel Alencastre Arroyo ‘06. She is now a textile designer at clothing company Tori Richard. 

She said, “In textile design, we use a lot of math when we’re creating patterns. I thought it was a nice way of teaching girls that math can be incorporated in art. It’s a cool profession to go into, and if you like art, this is a possible career for you.” 

For more details about the event, visit

About the Contributor
Jenica Wong
Jenica Wong, Reporter
Jenica Wong is a first-year Journalism student and a senior at the Academy. As a journalist, she hopes to advocate for those who want to be listened to or those who need a voice. She also wants to spread awareness about current events and introduce topics she’s passionate about with the hope of sparking that interest in readers. In her free time, she participates in school-affiliated athletics, division council and National Honor Society council and anything arts-related such as music, dance and theater/film. She also greatly appreciates STEM, which she engages in during math meets, robotics and aeronautics. One fun fact about her is that she is passionate about going green and cutting down on plastic waste. With that, she is always looking for eco-friendly alternatives and ways to recycle to save our planet. 
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