The Great Lawn at Kapiolani Community College
Kapiʻolani Community College

Kapiʻolani Community College has received two federal awards from the National Science Foundation. The awards are worth $4,000,000 and will provide student scholarships to Native Hawaiian and other students from underrepresented populations. These funds will support the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Program in recruitment of Native Hawaiian students for its Associates in Science and Natural Sciences degree.

Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

The Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) award will provide $1,000,000 for a total of 10 scholarships to annual cohorts of sophomores, transferring juniors and completing seniors for implementation of the project, “Cohorts Concentrating on Completing and Competing in the STEM Technical Workforce (C4) in Urban Polynesia.” The project’s goal is to develop financial and programmatic supports for talented, low income Native Hawaiian and other underrepresented students to complete the College’s two-year associate in science in natural sciences (ASNS) degree, successfully transfer and persist in their junior and senior years. These students are intended to complete a four-year baccalaureate degree at the University of Hawaiʻi and other research institutions.

The S-STEM award builds on the success of Kapiʻolani Community College’s S-STEM project led by Robert Moeng and Patz Yamashiro, who served as the principal investigator and the co-investigator, respectively, for this project. Under their leadership, a total of 105 STEM majors received scholarships, and 70 successfully completed an ASNS degree or transferred to a STEM-related baccalaureate degree origran, “Students who received scholarships funded by our prior S-STEM grant demonstrated improved success, persistence and graduation/transfer rates,” explained Moeng.

Pre-Engineering Education Collaboratives

The NSF pre-Engineering Education Collaboratives (PEEC) award will provide nearly $3,000,000 to fund a collaborative research project entitled, “Hawaiʻi PEEC II” to build capacity at Native Hawaiian serving institutions to prepare students for STEM degree completion, seamless transfer and entry into the STEM workforce. Kapiʻolani Community College will lead a six-campus team of University of Hawaiʻi campuses, which includes the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Engineering, Maui College, Honolulu, Leeward and Windward Community Colleges.

Hawaiʻi PEEC II’s benefits are twofold: In addition to its practical application to build capacity to improve Native Hawaiian graduation, transfer, and persistence rates, the project will provide insight through its collaborative research structure to implement, investigate and evaluate the effect of discipline-specific undergraduate research on student success.