PBCTE-Secondary “Grow Our Own” Student

Tiffany Ing

“The Grow Our Own stipend translates to hard work and support from legislators who pushed for a way to equip our schools with teachers from Hawaiʻi.”


Mānoa, HI


School of Teacher Education - Secondary

Related Degrees

  • Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Secondary Education (PBCTE, Secondary)

Where do you work?
I work at Hālau Kū Māna New Century Public Charter School.

How did you become interested in the field of secondary education?
Students in middle and high school have the entire world in front of them. I appreciate the opportunity to open their minds to four-year and graduate degrees and a career.

Briefly describe your road to college.
My parents made sure that we went to college. My mother, who at the time was an educator, helped me complete college and financial aid applications. When I completed my undergraduate degree, my mom then suggested graduate school because she had earned a master’s degree. I firmly believe that our students will have a greater chance at success in college when their parents value a college education.

In the last semester of my master’s program, my Kamehameha Schools Financial Aid counselor Moana Balaz asked me, “What about a PhD? We need more Hawaiians with PhDs.” That’s all it took. I graduated with an MA in English from UHM in May and then went right into the PhD program in August. I am so grateful to say that I am a Hawaiian with a PhD! Mahalo to my parents, Moana Balaz, Kamehameha Schools, Pauahi Foundation, and everyone who supported and guided me.

Why did you select the UHM COE?
It offers a comprehensive, professional program that will prepare me to become the kind of educator my students need in order to be successful.

What does the Grow Our Own initiative and stipend mean to you?
The Grow Our Own stipend translates to hard work and support from legislators who pushed for a way to arm our schools with teachers from Hawaiʻi. I could not afford to pay the tuition for the program, so I really appreciate the hope and faith that were paired with the stipend. My family and I are grateful for this special opportunity.

Is there anyone in particular who inspired/inspires you to pursue teaching as a career?
My mother taught social studies/history at Kailua High School for 20 years. She often brought home students who needed to know that they were loved and supported. Sometimes they would stay for a night or two. My mom gravitated toward helping students from Waimānalo. She loved the Hawaiian families there. While at Kailua High, my mom observed that girls with babies were not graduating. She started a program for young mothers so they could bring their babies to school and attend classes so they could graduate. That program is now statewide.

What are your plans after graduation?
Teach at Hālau Kū Māna and enjoy time with my children!


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