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Many programs and departments at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa organize tours and site visits for elementary and secondary students to welcome and wow them about what their hometown flagship campus has to offer. The Department of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) has increased its efforts to showcase its STEM opportunities to Hawaiʻi keiki, with a particular focus on those who may not otherwise have access to higher education.

people sitting in a classroom

In April, ICS students and faculty welcomed haumāna (students) from Farrington High School’s computer science club to the Mānoa campus. Farrington is a Title I school meaning that the campus provides additional academic support and learning opportunities for their students due to its high percentage of socioeconomically disadvantaged children. Organizers of the visit said many of the students are first generation, and they wanted to show them that college is an option for everyone.

“At most field trips I have had at UH, I have had students who decide to major in computer science,” said Farrington High School club advisor Joshua Dimaya. “Some students, who had chosen not to go into college education, now are excited and motivated to go to school and start to work with our college counselor to apply for schools. Having presentations on TIDES and other support systems at UH Mānoa also helps our students know that there are places to help them financially and emotionally when going to school, easing their decisions to go to UH Mānoa.”

More than 1s and 0s

During the visit, the Farrington students met with Game Dev, an ICS student organization for gaming and game development. They also got a chance to visit Campus Center, Warrior Recreation Center, IT Center and the Office of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED).

Jaira Pader, a computer science student and Farrington alumna, joined the tour as one of the leaders. Dimaya was Pader’s computer science teacher during her senior year.

“His class, by far, made a huge impact on my decision to major in computer science after learning about the potential careers I could get into and because of his passionate teaching,” Pader said. “Although I couldn’t get the same experience because of post-COVID regulations, I’m happy that he shows his students the opportunities they could have at Mānoa as computer scientists. It was great talking to a former teacher of mine and seeing the fascination these high schoolers have on the field.”

Over the past several months, ICS also welcomed Liholiho Elementary, ʻAiea High, Hanalani Schools and Maryknoll School.

The ICS advising team, led by Kenny Kaʻaiakamanu-Quibilan and Marilou Matsuura, welcomes school teachers and staff with an interest in taking their students on a tour of ICS to contact: icsadvis@hawaii.edu.

“On behalf of the ICS advising team, we are excited to have hosted several Hawaiʻi K–12 schools on campus!” Kaʻaiakamanu-Quibilan said. “It is our mission to inspire local talent and recruit underrepresented populations into the ICS field. More importantly, we hope these outreach events show students that college is possible and that there are people here to support them in their educational endeavors. We also want to say a mahalo nui loa to our campus student services like Warrior Recreation Center, SEED, TRIO Mānoa, TIDES and iLab for collaborating with us.”

The Department of Information and Computer Sciences is housed in UH Mānoa’s College of Natural Sciences.

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