Students work in the new science labs at Hawaii C C

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $1,099,959 to the University of Hawaiʻi to support the advancement of women and minorities in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at its seven community colleges.

A partnership between UH Community Colleges and UH Hilo, the project will use virtual tools to connect remote island campus locations in mentoring and coaching trainings for administrators and senior faculty. The program will also implement a mentoring and coaching program for women STEM faculty of diverse race and ethnic backgrounds.

“The UH Community Colleges system is grateful for this important federal funding,” said Suzette Robinson, director of academic programs for UH Community Colleges.“Providing greater resources to train UH women faculty in STEM disciplines will further advance our commitment to building a cadre of strong, diverse role models who will serve as mentors to help develop our future STEM leaders.”

While STEM educations and careers often lead to higher paying job opportunities, it is currently predicted there will be a job shortage in STEM-related fields. The project seeks to identify and address challenges to the retention and career progress of STEM women faculty of diversity.

“Developing a strong, diverse STEM workforce is critical to Hawaiʻi’s future economic viability and our nation’s long-term competitiveness on the global stage,” said Senator Hirono in a news release announcing the NSF grant. “By supporting STEM women and minority faculty, this funding will promote a more diverse faculty on Hawaiʻi’s college campuses and in turn will create a greater more encouraging learning environment for all of our students—strengthening our STEM workforce pipeline.”

For more information, read Senator Hirono’s news release.