STEMS2 cohort 7 at the Kānewai Loʻi
STEMS² Cohort 7 on a learning journey at Kānewai Loʻi

The College of Education MEd Curriculum Studies STEMS², is grateful to be entering into a second year of partnership with Nakupuna Foundation and Kamehameha Schools. Last year (2021-2022) the program received a $140,000 funding gift from the Nakupuna Foundation in collaboration with Kamehameha Schools. The funding provided tuition stipends to members of Cohort 7 kumu (teachers) to complete the 13-month STEMS² Master’s Program in which they learned to create more culturally applicable contexts for STEM-based learning in Hawaii’s schools. This year the partnership will provide $250,000 to support tuition stipends to members of Cohort 8 and research projects studying the impact STEMS² alumni are having in their schools and larger communities. Students selected to receive tuition stipends represent one of three categories of funding: Individuals who are, 1) of Native Hawaiian descent, 2) teach at Native Hawaiian-focused schools (i.e., Hawaiian immersion, Hawaiian culture-based schools), or 3) teach in DOE public schools serving high numbers of Native Hawaiian students.

“A major equity issue in graduate education is financial access,” shared Dr. Tara O’Neill, STEMS² Co-Founder and Program Director. “This gift provides dedicated educators access to an educational experience that may have otherwise been unattainable. The long-term impact will be felt for generations as the recipients become part of a growing network of transformative STEM educators.”

The Nakupuna Foundation is a non-profit Native Hawaiian Organization whose mission is to support the economic advancement of the Native Hawaiian community. The Foundation promotes increased Native Hawaiian representation in STEM industries through investments in culturally-centered programs and other initiatives.

“Dr. O’Neill and her team have found a way to elevate the value of ‘ike Hawai‘i through transformative educational experiences, and, in turn, help illuminate new STEM career paths for our haumāna,” stated Executive Director of Nakapuna Foundation Lindsay Ahloo. “We see the STEMS² Program as a way for educators to continue their own professional journeys while advancing place- and culture-based teaching in schools.”

Cohort 7 will complete their 13-month journey in July 2022. Cohort 8 begins their journey June 2022. Mahalo piha to Lindsay Ahloo of Nakupuna Foundation and  Lihla Noori and Waiʻaleʻale Sarsona of Kamehameha Schools for your support, vision and passion. It is an honor to have you as part of the STEMS² ohana.

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