$1M Grant Funds UH Maui College STEM Scholarships

March 2, 2019, 12:00 PM HST · Updated March 2, 9:11 AM
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Incoming and current students at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics may now qualify for three or four-year scholarships. The scholarships are available through the Project Kaihuwaʻa program, which recently received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. 

The program aims to promote academic success among talented students in need of financial assistance, as well as improve overall retention, graduation, and transfer rates. Program faculty will select 24 qualified students to join their cohort through an application process and interviews. Students enrolled in Engineering Technology, Electronic, and Computer Engineering Technology, and Natural Sciences are eligible to apply. In addition to the scholarship, the first Project Kaihuwaʻa cohort will receive faculty mentoring, access to leadership and research opportunities, and attend a recognition banquet.

“This innovative program is centered in promoting culturally appropriate learning in the development of our future STEM leaders,” associate professor of chemistry Michael Ferguson said. “Kaihuwaʻa is the Native Hawaiian word for canoe hull, which represents the leading voyaging vessel to build institutional capacity to better serve low-income STEM students.”

Ferguson said the grant directly removes the financial barrier students face and will fill the gaps in STEM-related jobs in Hawaiʻiʻs workforce.

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According to the university, the grant was made possible with the help of Sen. Mazie Hirono, who convened experts from the NSF, the Small Business Administration, and the Office of Naval Research for a US Senate Small Business Committee field hearing at Maui High School in 2016.

In a release announcing the grant, Hirono said Project Kaihuwaʻa was, “just the kind of initiative that I’ve been advocating for in Congress to help give our local students the opportunities and support they need to get into and stay in the STEM pipeline, earn their degree, and go on to fill existing STEM jobs or create new innovative businesses in Hawaiʻi.”

Students interested in joining the program and enrolling in STEM-related courses at the UH Maui College may apply on the Project Kaihuwaʻa webpage

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