problem solving

PATRICK SULLIVAN
Professional Problem Solver

By Liberty Peralta, PBS Hawaiʻi

 

Patrick Sullivan, Professional Problem Solver

Inset image, left: Sullivan as a University of Hawai‘i doctoral candidate in Engineering. Genie, right, is an Oceanit robotics and artificial intelligence project with two brains, eyes, ears and a mouth that is capable of tracking faces and specific expressions.

 

Patrick Sullivan Lifelong Problem Solver Tuesday, August 20 at 7:30 pm Professional Problem Solver Tuesday, August 27 at 7:30 pm Both program will be available online at pbshawaii.orgIt seems there’s no problem too big or too small for Patrick Sullivan of Kailua, Windward O‘ahu.

 

He wanted a car, so at age 13, he started working in food service jobs, saved up and bought a car at age 16.

 

He wanted to go to college, so at age 17, he applied for student loans, grants, and work study … and started a landscaping business to earn the money.

 

He visited the Islands during a college break, so to pay for his lodging, he cobbled together home improvement jobs for some people he met on the plane ride to O‘ahu.

 

So it seems natural that Sullivan is now in the business of problem solving. He’s the founder and chairman of Oceanit, a Honolulu-based company that uses science and innovation to create solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. One of the many projects that Oceanit is working on is a rapid-response solution to help an elderly person after a fall. Sullivan explains that an “inexpensive but effective robotic assistant” can help save a life.

 

This wall at Oceanit headquarters attracts visitor attention. Inset image: Deep-dive helmets, above, are being redesigned to reduce noise that causes hearing loss while maintaining the ability to communicate.

This wall at Oceanit headquarters attracts visitor attention. Inset image: Deep-dive helmets, above, are being redesigned to reduce noise that causes hearing loss while maintaining the ability to communicate.

 

The name “Oceanit” comes from a Greek and Latin term for “ocean dweller.” It’s an apt description for Sullivan, who gets in the water four to five times a week. It’s a tradition that started when his son Matthew and daughter Tarah were children. “Surfing is a way to reconnect to the world,” he says.

 

As Sullivan explains it, “Oceanit” is also an apt company name. “The ocean is a teacher in so many ways,” he says. “It covers everything from physics, chemistry, biology, hydromechanics, so [the ocean] is probably the biggest mashup of all science.”

 

Oceanit employs about 160 scientists and engineers and has raised more than $475 million in research and development funds. Its national and international client list includes governments, universities, organizations and businesses.

 

It’s no accident that Oceanit is based in Hawai‘i, and Sullivan credits it as a strength. “Innovation comes from differences, not sameness,” he says. “I think in the culture of Hawai‘i is innovation. The Native Hawaiians that came to Hawai‘i, they innovated to get here, and they innovated when they got here. They were not afraid of technology, afraid of change; they embraced it.”

 

Sullivan is familiar with constant change. Born in California, Sullivan spent his early years in Los Angeles. His family moved to Seattle after his father Thomas was hired as an aircraft mechanic for Boeing, a job that would end during a mass layoff. Sullivan’s family then moved multiple times to Texas, Wyoming and Arizona, before settling down in Colorado.

 

“I went to four different high schools, which brings its own challenges,” Sullivan says. “[My parents] tried to keep everything together, but it was just really hard.”

 

His parents, whose families moved West after the Great Depression, lacked the means to pursue an education, and had five children to care for. “That’s why an education was so important [to me],” he says.

 

With the rapid pace of technology replacing lowerwage service jobs, Sullivan underscores the importance of education.

 

“Adults need to consider lifelong learning,” he says. “That needs to be part of the culture, where we get comfortable with that, and it needs to be more available and affordable.”

 

Sullivan stresses that getting an education for the sake of education isn’t the point, but to build one’s “durability” as industries continue to evolve. It’s the kind of durability that’s helped Sullivan navigate change and tackle life’s challenges.

 

And with the business of problem solving, it seems there’s no end in sight.

 

 

 

The Evolution of HIKI NŌ

 

COVER STORY: The Evolution of HIKI NŌ by Robert Pennybacker - Director, Learning Initiatives, PBS Hawaiʻi

 

Students from O‘ahu’s Ka‘ala Elementary School in Wahiawā

Students from O‘ahu’s Ka‘ala Elementary School

 

Launching a New Season
Thursday, February 7, 7:30 pm

 

When HIKI NŌ premiered on February 28, 2011, the HIKI NŌ students from Ka‘ala Elementary School who grace the cover of this program guide were toddlers. The Maui Waena Intermediate School students who hosted that first episode are now seniors in college. If the students have matured over the eight years HIKI NŌ has been on the air, so has the program.

 

Eight years ago, a weekly half-hour show in which middle and high school students write, report, shoot and edit PBS-quality news features on topics that they selected was inconceivable. Before going on the air, the premise of HIKI NŌ (which means “Can Do” in the Hawaiian language) was based on the supposition that the same professional quality found in news stories already being created at Wai‘anae High School’s Searider media program could be duplicated in other schools across the islands. Nobody knew if this grand experiment would work.

 

Not only did it work – it flourished beyond expectations and spread to 90 public, charter, and private schools throughout state – including four elementary schools!

 

Clockwise from top left: Students from Maui’s Seabury Hall School, A student from O‘ahu’s Aliamanu Middle School with Pearl Harbor attack witness Jimmy Lee at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Students from Maui's Lahaina Intermediate School, Students from Kauaʻi's Kapaʻa Middle School

Clockwise from top left: Students from Maui’s Seabury Hall School, A student from O‘ahu’s  Aliamanu Middle School with Pearl Harbor attack witness Jimmy Lee at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Students from Maui’s Lahaina Intermediate School, Students from Kauaʻi’s Kapaʻa Middle School

 

HIKI NŌ has thrived because of its unique intersection of two distinct worlds: The education world and the real-life world of a public television station that must uphold the standards of its broadcast and online content.

 

The rigorous experience of refining their stories to meet PBS national standards has helped HIKI NŌ students to dominate national digital media competitions. At the Student Television Network’s 2018 Fall Challenge, Hawai‘i’s HIKI NŌ schools garnered 33% of the awards given out for that competition. Hawai‘i took home the most awards of any state (13), followed by California (10) and Florida (5).

 

After the launch of the program, teachers and others from the education world began to notice that the HIKI NŌ experience taught students much more than how to tell stories with pictures and sound. It helped them to develop the basic skills needed to survive in the new, global economy: critical thinking, creative problem solving, adaptability, collaboration, teamwork and entrepreneurialism. The recognition that these skills are essential to students’ success in college and beyond has led to dynamic partnerships between HIKI NŌ/PBS Hawai‘i and the state’s Early College and P-20 programs.

 

A core group of HIKI NŌ teachers informally known as Hawai‘i Creative Media proved to be the most effective trainers of other HIKI NŌ teachers and their students. Their importance to the process became so evident that they organized themselves as a nonprofit organization – the Hawai‘i Creative Media Foundation – whose mission is to provide students and teachers across the state with training in basic digital media skills.

 

The state’s CTE (Career Technology Education) program and the Department of Education have recognized the importance of this training and are making plans to fund the Hawai‘i Creative Media-led teacher/student workshops. Up until now these workshops have been paid for by PBS Hawai‘i. This shift toward the educational institutions funding the training of its teachers and students represents a sea change for HIKI NŌ. It acknowledges that the educators are equal partners in the HIKI NŌ process and brings into focus the distinct roles that the two worlds must play: Hawai‘i’s educators teach Hawai‘i’s students, while PBS Hawai‘i provides them with the real-world, professional experience, plus statewide (broadcast) and worldwide (online) platforms for their voices to be heard.

 

 

 

NOVA
The Impossible Flight

 

Follow two intrepid pilots as they take on the greatest aviation adventure of our time, overcoming countless challenges as they construct and fly the first solar-powered airplane around the world.

 

 

Curious George 3:
Back to the Jungle

 

Presenting a feature-length movie for the very young set – with an early-morning time that works for them! Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle is an adventure-filled movie that has our favorite monkey taking part in a space mission. A little “monkeying around” causes him to crash-land in Africa. While a worried Man with the Yellow Hat searches for him, George bravely explores the jungle and makes new animal friends along the way. Reunited at last, the two best pals share adventures with their new friends. This show, like other PBS children’s programming, is curriculum-based and educational.

 

The Cat in the Hat

 

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!TM is designed to spark a love of learning and an interest in science in preschool-aged children.

 

Based on Random House’s best-selling Beginner Book collection “The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library™,” the TV series and online resources are designed to cultivate positive views about science and scientists among the next generation—the children who will become tomorrow’s citizens and innovators—and help families and teachers build communities of science explorers

 

In each program, the Cat in the Hat and his friends Sally and Nick go on a science adventure such as shrinking to bee-size to explore a hive and discover how honey is made; flying with birds to discover how and why they migrate; diving inside flowers to find out more about the animals that depend on them to live; or taking a snowcat to the Arctic to explore freezing and melting. Guided by the Cat, the children figure things out by engaging in science inquiry. They ask questions, make observations, make predictions, plan investigations, collect data, make discoveries, and generate and discuss ideas about how the world works.

 

Each half-hour television episode consists of two 11-minute animated adventures, along with corresponding short animated clips. Each adventure revolves around a specific science concept such as bird migration or animal camouflage. The animated clips feature songs and rhymes, interesting science facts, humorous science explorations by Thing One and Thing Two, and interviews of animals by Sally and Nick.

 

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!™ is voiced by award-winning actor Martin Short and produced by Portfolio Entertainment Inc. and Collingwood O’Hare Productions, in association with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Random House Children’s Entertainment, Treehouse, and PBS KIDS.

 

Sid the Science Kid

 

Sid the Science Kid is an award-winning educational animated television series that uses comedy and music to promote exploration, discovery and science readiness among preschoolers. This landmark production of 66 half-hour episodes, produced by The Jim Henson Company for PBS KIDS®, debuted on September 1, 2008, and has since been honored with five EMMY nominations and multiple prestigious awards (most recently the CINE Golden Eagle Award). Sid the Science Kid features a practical in-school science curriculum and celebrates children’s natural curiosity about science in everyday life. The energetic and inquisitive Sid starts each episode with a new question (“Why are my shoes shrinking?” “Why do bananas get mushy?”) and embarks on a fun-filled day of finding answers with the help of family and friends. Each episode of “Sid the Science Kid” focuses on a single scientific concept that is presented using Preschool Pathways to Science (PrePS©), a practical science readiness curriculum used in preschool classrooms that was created by cognitive researchers and preschool educators, incorporating lessons learned from developmental research as well as classroom experience.

 

The main goals of Sid the Science Kid are:

 

  • To encourage children to think, talk and work the way scientists do by building on preschoolers’ natural curiosity about the world.
  • To show that science is all around us – we all interact with and are capable of learning about scientific concepts.
  • To contribute to school readiness by fostering children’s intellectual skills, motivation to learn, and confidence in themselves as learners.
  • To support children’s learning by partnering with parents and teachers to create a “climate of curiosity” for children.

 

Each day, Sid, his friends, and our viewers practice doing what scientists do:

 

  • Observing objects, events, and people
  • Asking questions
  • Finding words to describe observations and to communicate ideas
  • Exploring and investigating to try to answer questions
  • Using science tools to observe and measure
  • Recording observations using simple drawings and basic charts
  • Using what they have observed, measured, and recorded to predict what might happen next and to ask more questions