STEM scholarships benefit Leeward students
Students at Leeward Community College pursuing studies or a teaching degree in the science, technology, engineering or math fields now have an even greater opportunity to obtain scholarships towards their education thanks to a $75,000 pledge from North Star Scientific to support scholarships for full-time and part-time students.
This new gift from the Kapolei-based company builds on its $30,000 gift in 2009 that established the North Star Scientific Scholarship.
To date, this scholarship has benefited 26 students, many of whom were graduates of Leeward-area high schools including ʻAiea High School, Campbell High School, Kamehameha Schools, McKinley High School, Mililani High School, Moanalua High School, Pearl City High School, Waiʻanae High School and Waipahu High School.
“I see so many students struggling to pay their tuition,” said Aileen Lum-Akana, who has served as Leeward’s financial aid director for the past 10 years. “We are sincerely thankful to North Star Scientific for reaching out and providing our STEM students with much needed financial support.”
North Star Scientific was started by James Stamm and University of Hawaiʻi alumni Robert and Sharmaine Swisher in 2001. It designs, develops, tests and flight qualifies high performance electronics for land-based, ship-based and airborne Department of Defense applications.
“We at North Star Scientific are honored to have the opportunity to share our blessings and support individuals in our community who are furthering their career paths through education,” said Stamm, president and CEO. “At the same time, we are seeding the future local workforce with the technical skills we will need to grow our staff and the high tech industry in general.”
Robert Swisher graduated with his associate degree from Leeward in 1993 and went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1997 and a master’s degree in engineering in 1999, both from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Sharmaine Swisher graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UH Mānoa in 2001.
“Sharmaine and Robert Swisher are wonderful examples of alumni who truly believe in giving back,” said Leeward Community College Chancellor Manny Cabral.
Read the Midweek West Oʻahu cover story to learn more about the donation.
— Adapted from a University of Hawaiʻi Foundation news release