The inaugural STEM Week Awards were given out last week, celebrating the achievements of 14 high and middle schools in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). For the first time, diverse fields like VEX Robotics, FIRST Robotics, Science Olympiad, the Hawai‘i State Science & Engineering Fair, and CyberPatriot were recognized in a single awards ceremony. On hand was Hawaii's senior Senator, Daniel K. Inouye. In his keynote address, Senator Inouye recognized the importance of STEM and its contribution to the competitiveness of Hawaii’s students. He reflected on his humble public school upbringing and how, only in America, he could fight the stereotype of a Japanese-American during WWII to achieve his current position as the President pro tempore of the Senate. Inouye said in a statement: “I arrived home to Hawai‘i last night and was pleased that my first event was to participate in the STEM Week Awards Lunch. It warmed my heart to see bright young students and their committed teachers and principals. Hawai‘i has much to be proud of and to be hopeful about. We should not sell ourselves short. Our future is in good hands.” The inaugural STEM Week Awards also featured the first Daniel K. Inouye Award for Commitment to STEM Education, which went to Hawaiian Electric Company. The award is given to an individual or organization that demonstrated leadership in Hawaii's STEM educational initiatives by ensuring continued access to STEM programs statewide. As a bonus feature Doug Matsuoka caught me at the entrance to the STEM Week Luncheon and reversed the roles on me by asking me a few questions about this event.