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National Science Foundation funds $5M scholarship for Pacific Island students

Cory Lum
Civil Beat

The U.S. National Science Foundation awarded $5 million to support Pacific Islander students studying marine and environmental science.

According to the University of Hawaiʻi, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are highly underrepresented in STEM disciplines.

The scholarship program will allow funding to be made available to students attending UH Mānoa, Palau Community College, American Samoa Community College, the College of Micronesia FSM, the College of the Marshall Islands and Northern Marianas College.

Noelani Puniwai is an associate professor at the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at UH. She’s co-leading the program with several experts in the field.

“Providing scholarships for students who are from Hawaiʻi and from the Pacific to stay and work and be connected is a huge investment into the future of the Pacific and this is where we should be putting our efforts into," she said.

Guidance on STEM career development and navigating academic success will also be offered to the students, according to UH.

“The project addresses a primary cause of low enrollment of island-based students in STEM: financial challenges and the associated need to work while also attending classes,” said Bob Richmond, director of the UH Mānoa Kewalo Marine Laboratory, in a press release.

The grant will be distributed over five years and will help more than 200 scholars.

For more information, click here.

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