P.I.E.F.E.S.T. (Pacific Islanders Encouraging Fun Engineering Science & Technology)

P.I.E.F.E.S.T. (Pacific Islanders Encouraging Fun Engineering Science & Technology)

P.I.E.F.E.S.T. (Pacific Islanders Encouraging Fun Engineering Science & Technology) is improving the representation of Pacific Islanders and increasing access to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) related careers. We engage Pacific Islander students in grades K-5 with culturally relevant STEM learning experiences to spark curiosity and inspire positive STEM identities. P.I.E.F.E.S.T.

P.I.E.F.E.S.T. (Pacific Islanders Encouraging Fun Engineering Science & Technology)

P.I.E.F.E.S.T. (Pacific Islanders Encouraging Fun Engineering Science & Technology) is improving the representation of Pacific Islanders and increasing access to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) related careers. We engage Pacific Islander students in grades K-5 with culturally relevant STEM learning experiences to spark curiosity and inspire positive STEM identities. P.I.E.F.E.S.T. is empowering the next generation of Pacific Islander leaders in STEM and will contribute to the diversification of the broader STEM ecosystem.

About the Organization:

P.I.E.F.E.S.T. (Pacific Islanders Encouraging Fun Engineering Science & Technology) is improving the representation of Pacific Islanders and increasing access to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) related careers. We engage Pacific Islander students in grades K-5 with culturally relevant STEM learning experiences to spark curiosity and inspire positive STEM identities. P.I.E.F.E.S.T. is empowering the next generation of Pacific Islander leaders in STEM and will contribute to the diversification of the broader STEM ecosystem.

organizational budget

$50,000 - $100,000

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

Kentucky

organizational budget

$50,000 - $100,000

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

Kentucky

The Issue:

P.I.E.F.E.S.T. understands, views, and regards the Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander (NHPI) community in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties with respect, appreciation, and empowerment. We recognize that NHPIs are a diverse and vibrant group of people with rich cultural traditions and values, but they also face significant disparities and barriers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and careers. According to US Census Bureau data from 2022, the NHPI alone population of Santa Mateo County is only 1.4% of the overall population, and in Santa Clara County it is only 0.5%. This low visibility often leads to NHPIs being overlooked for basic human services and access to resources. Moreover, when data on Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) students is aggregated, it masks the wide gaps in STEM achievement and outcomes between NHPIs and other groups. For example, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress results from 2022 show that while 80.67% of Asian students are proficient in Math, only 19.05% of NHPI have proficiency. In Science, the disaggregated data reveals that 59.47% of Asian students are proficient compared to only 20.69% of NHPI students. These gaps affect NHPI students’ graduation rates, college readiness, and career options in STEM fields.

The Solution:

P.I.E.F.E.S.T. aims to serve over 1,000 NHPI students in grades K-5 and their families from San Mateo and Santa Clara counties each year through our innovative and culturally responsive STEM programs. Our team consists of NHPI staff and board members who have lived experience in the community and are passionate about inspiring the next generation of NHPI leaders in STEM. We will collaborate with local NHPI organizations, local public schools, and churches to conduct needs assessments and community engagement activities to ensure that our programs are relevant, accessible, and impactful for our target audience. To make STEM learning fun and engaging, we’ve designed programs that remove as many barriers to entry as possible. This includes offering free food, drink, and participation, as well as providing in-person programming in the cities where large numbers of NHPI citizens reside. Additionally, to improve NHPI representation within STEM, P.I.E.F.E.S.T. employs a team of NHPI-named robot characters to host workshops/programs, uses age-appropriate STEM terminology, and involves STEM concepts that are embedded within NHPI cultural traditions. Through our programs, we have seen positive outcomes and impacts for the NHPI community in accessing STEM learning opportunities. For example, NHPI families report that they are enrolling their children in local STEM programs that they learned about by attending a P.I.E.F.E.S.T. program. Also, after volunteering at our programs, college students have shared a desire to shift their intended major to one that’s STEM-related. Lastly, we have strengthened the sense of community and belonging among NHPI families by creating opportunities for them to learn together, celebrate their culture, and support each other’s goals. A testament to the relationship we have with NHPI communities in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, P.I.E.F.E.S.T. was awarded the “Education Activist Award” at the annual Bay Area Polynesian Heritage Awards in 2022 & 2023.

Get Updates about the Gold Futures Challenge

Join our email list to receive challenge updates!