Conference Tackles Real-World Problems

Punahou Communications Staff

May 10, 2016

The Global Online Academy (GOA) hosted its first annual Catalyst Conference, a student-driven online global learning experience from April 27 – May 1. During the fully online conference, over two hundred students from 61 schools who were enrolled in various classes and presented Catalyst Projects designed to spark real-world change.

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A screenshot from Audrey’s '17 informational video.

Three Punahou students participated in the conference: Audrey '17, taking a course on Gender Studies; Allison '16, iOS App Design; and Alexandra ’17, Neuropsychology.

Audrey '17 earned a GOA Citation Award for her exemplary project. She describes her experiences below.

My project was titled “A User's Guide to High School Homophobia” and categorized as “Promoting Institutional Change.” I focused on creating an accurate representation of what life is like for LGBTQ students through interviews and surveys, and also produced a rough draft of the new LGBTQ education video that will be shown in ninth-grade guidance classes next year.

The Psychosocial department gave me permission to remake the old LGBTQ video currently shown in the freshman guidance course. When it came time for my Catalyst Project, I thought it would be a good opportunity to create the video.

During the conference, it was really cool to see projects on issues important in different communities and to hear feedback from the perspective of many different people. I was thrilled to see responses to my survey or comments on my post. It was exciting to know that people were viewing the project I put hard work into.

I loved looking at the different pages and seeing what others had decided to do their projects on. All of the projects were equally fascinating, and I spent a lot of time on the website looking at the different posts!

The projects from classes like Game Theory were especially interesting because I didn't know anything about that class before reading their posts. It was awesome that they could try to catalyze change in their community through something like game theory.

While it was a lot of work, my GOA class was really rewarding and it was a great experience to converse with students online about topics that we were all interested in.

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