Kapi`olani CC Receives Two NSF Awards

Kapiʻolani Community College
Louise Yamamoto, (808) 734-9513
Director, College Relations, Office for College and Community Relations
Posted: Sep 22, 2016

HONOLULU - Kapi‛olani Community College has received two federal awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF) worth nearly $4,000,000 to provide support for Native Hawaiian and other students from underrepresented populations. The first of these awards provides $1,000,000 to Kapi`olani CC to support the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Program in recruitment of Native Hawaiian students for its Associates in Science and Natural Sciences degree. The second grant, for nearly $3,000,000, supports the education of Native Hawaiian pre-engineering students at Kapi`olani, Windward, Leeward and Honolulu Community Colleges and Maui College, with the goal of transferring to University of Hawai‛i at Mānoa College of Engineering and to careers in the workforce.

Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

The Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) award funded by NSF will provide $1,000,000 for a total of 110 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 goal is to develop financial and programmatic supports primarily targeted for talented, low income Native Hawaiian and other underrepresented students to complete the College's two-year Associate in Science and Natural Sciences (ASNS) degree, successfully transfer and persist in their junior year and senior years.These students are intended to complete a four-year baccalaureate degree at the University of Hawai‛i and other research institutions.

The S-STEM award builds on the success of Kapi‛olani CC's first S-STEM project led by Dr. Robert Moeng, Professor of Biology, who served as the Principal Investigator for the project. Under Dr. Moeng's leadership, a total of 105 STEM majors received scholarships, and 70 successfully completed an ASNS degree or transferred to a STEM-related baccalaureate degree program. "Students who received scholarships funded by our prior S-STEM grant demonstrated improved success, persistence and graduation/transfer rates," explained Dr. 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, "Hawai‛i PEEC II" to build capacity at Native-Hawaiian-serving insitutions to prepare students for baccalaureate degrees in engineering, and entry into the STEM workforce. Kapi‛olani CC will lead a six-campus consortium of University of Hawai‛i campuses, which includes the University of Hawai‛i at Mānoa College of Engineering, Maui College, and Honolulu, Leeward and Windward Community Colleges.

Hawai‛i 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. Hawai‛i PEEC II extends the success of the initial PEEC project, which saw the development of a core pre-engineering curriculum and a dynamic community of practice in Engineering, engaging Native Hawaiian students in Summer Bridge programs, Undergraduate Research Experiences and Mentoring activities within the UH system and with community partners. The focus of the project was to support students through a rigorous program while making the learning relevant to Native Hawaiian cultural values and practices. The PEEC efforts supported 109 participants in Summer Bridge programs and 131 participants in Undergraduate Research Experiences and Mentoring activities. In addition, 110 students completed a two-year degree, 121 completed the Pre-Engineering core curriulum, and 60 obtrained a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the UHM College of Engineering.

About the Kapi‛olani Community College STEM Program

The STEM Program received nearly $11 million in federal grant funding from the National Science Foundation since 2006 to build infrastructure for STEM education, undergraduate research experiences, peer mentoring, and scholarships for STEM majors. These grants help the STEM Program support Native Hawaiian and other underrepresented students to pursue an ASNS degree and transfer to a STEM four-year degree program.