Native Hawaiian students at any of the University of Hawaiʻi’s 10 campuses may apply for scholarship funding through a $1.1-million grant provided by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) and administered by the UH Mānoa Native Hawaiian Science and Engineering Mentorship Program (NHSEMP).
Applications from current and potential students seeking a degree or enrolled in a vocational program will be accepted via the online UH System Common Scholarship Application from October 1, 2020 to March 1, 2021.
The grant aims to increase the number of Native Hawaiian students who graduate with an undergraduate degree or higher, or who earn a vocational education certificate. The program has two priority areas: to support scholarships for Native Hawaiians who plan to pursue vocational certificates, undergraduate and graduate degrees; and to provide wrap-around services for Native Hawaiian students in order to help them complete a post-secondary degree or vocational or technical education.
Each scholarship recipient will be matched with an on-campus coordinator and will need to attend a scholarship orientation at their respective campus. The program will provide scholarship recipients with advising and mentoring, professional and leadership development, cultural-based workshops and student community.
NHSEMP Director Kelli Ching believes access to these resources can be a game changer for students.
“Providing educational funding and wrap-around services to Native Hawaiian students across the 10 UH campuses not only improves access to higher education, but also allows students to continue pursuing their academic and professional goals, build working relationships, contribute to their community and enhance individual well-being,” Ching said.
Dionne Sesepasara, a current student in UH Mānoa master’s in animal science and a program participant, experienced the scholarship’s benefits.
“This program has opened up networks that later form career opportunities and connections with the lāhui. In addition, the UH–OHA scholarship reinforces the internal belief that we are not alone in this journey for a higher education and a better life,” Sesepasara said.
More about NHSEMP
OHA selected NHSEMP to administer the grant for higher education scholarships in December 2019 and the scholarship program began in late April 2020.
NHSEMP, which began in 2001 as a joint initiative between UH Mānoa’s College of Engineering and Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, strives to increase the advancement of underserved students in STEM fields by providing assistance, opportunities and a sense of community. In particular, NHSEMP serves Native Hawaiian, Polynesian, Alaska Native and Native American pre-college, community college, undergraduate and graduate students. Comprehensive support involving outreach, recruitment, retention and placement strategies aims to increase the number of qualified individuals on a successful path to leadership in community, industry and academia.