Broadening Participation of Native Hawaiians for Engineering Faculty Careers

  • Francis, Oceana O. (PI)
  • Kaakua, Joshua J.K. (CoPI)
  • Nguyen, Thanh Truc T.T.T. (CoPI)
  • Miller, Scott (CoPI)
  • Li, Jingjing (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project is focused on developing an integrated educational model that will motivate Native Hawaiian graduate students to seek academic careers. Native Hawaiians are significantly underrepresented in the STEM workforce, even more so that other racial and ethnic minorities. Native Hawaiians comprise 23% of the state's population, but only 12.8% of the student body and 3.8% of the faculty. More compelling is that of the 1500+ STEM faculty, only 4 are Native Hawaiian. To encourage more Native Hawaiian students to pursue engineering and other STEM fields, role models have a highly visible role, particularly within the educational environment. A diverse faculty provides a rich learning experience for the student as well as significantly enhancing the research enterprise through diversity of thoughts and ideas.

This project will gather information from the Native Hawaiian students and community, utilizing surveys and interviews to research and understand why students are not likely to pursue engineering graduate studies. Using the results, the team will develop a model to provide teaching and research experiences as a pathway to an academic career. The research projects will be focused on the Pacific region, thus enhancing their relevance to the students. A mentoring program will be implemented utilizing engineering faculty and a virtual network that evolves from the establishment of a national Society for Native Hawaiians Engineers. The intellectual merit of this activity is the identification of what might be responsible for impeding the enrollment of Native Hawaiians in engineering graduate studies and their academic/professional careers. The results will enable the development and implementation of interventions that will increase the numbers of Native Hawaiians in all academic levels of engineering. The broader impact of the project is the formation of a national Society for Native Hawaiian Engineers, which will be instrumental in disseminating the results of the efforts.

Effective start/end date11/1/1510/31/19


  • National Science Foundation: $666,720.00


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