A gift from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is helping to support the Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship Program (NHSEMP) and its goal of increasing the number of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields through the creation of the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander STEM Consortium.
The program — with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Engineering serving as the lead in a partnership with the University of Guam and College of the Marshall islands — received $250,000 in funding from the Sloan Foundation. The funding was part of 20 grants totaling nearly $5 million aimed at building equitable pathways into STEM graduate study for indigenous students.
“This is an exciting new chapter in the Sloan Foundation’s long history of supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sciences and engineering,” said Sloan President Adam F. Falk.
The grant allows NHSEMP, under Director Kelli Ching, to establish undergraduate research experiences, a professional development series for undergraduate students to assist with inquiry about and transition into graduate studies, and develop a graduate peer mentorship program to cultivate community, training and undergraduate mentorship opportunities, and open dialog for shared experiences and support.
Additionally, the program coordinates a summer program for students from the three schools, hosts an indigenous faculty spotlight series, and promotes faculty collaboration across the three institutions.
“We are so grateful for this gift from the Sloan Foundation,” said Ching. “Increasing the number of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students in graduate STEM programs will aid in building a cohort of indigenous scientists equipped to address the challenges faced by Pacific island nations and contribute to the skills needed to develop their own solutions from within their own communities.”
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The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations. uhfoundation.org