KapCC STEM: A Family Affair

Former KapCC STEM Students Carin Jaber and Josh Tamayo and their two children at the UH Mānoa Commencement.

In Fall 2012, three months after giving birth to her second child, Carin Jaber started as a student at Kapiʻolani Community College. Her induction into the KAPCC STEM Program was a no-brainer. At the time, the father of her children, Josh Tamayo was starting his sophomore year at KAPCC following the Pre-Engineering STEM pathway. Josh was a peer mentor for the program and Carin would often bring her two children to the STEM Center to visit their father. After “a year or so” Carin decided to enroll as a STEM student at KAPCC.

Cairns educational path was no easy feat. As the first in her family to enter college, Carin was surprised at the lack of support she received while pursuing her education. And with both Carin and Josh in school full-time their two young children, were at the mercy of the college campus. “Our kids were practically raised in the STEM Center. Our daughter was a baby when we were in school. So Josh and I would schedule our classes so that we could literally hand-off the kids,” Carin says.

Josh is a KAPCC STEM Program success story all his own. Entering the Program via KAPCC STEM Summer Bridge program straight out of Kailua High School and excelling in his Pre-Engineering courses so much so that he became a peer mentor and secured an internship with Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO). Josh was a NASA rock star too. Josh and fellow KAPCC students: McClyde Gaborno, Kelsey Kawaguchi, Taylor Vit, Logan Tamayo, Rae-Zan Belen and Diamond Tachera, brought home the 1st place award in the 2013 NASA CanSat Competition. After graduating with his ASNS Degree from KAPCC, Josh transferred to UH Mānoa and continued juggling his internship, rigorous school schedule and family life.

Carin Jaber, Josh Tamayo and family.

Carin had aspirations too. “I wasn’t nurtured to value education, a lot of kids aren’t. I wanted my children to know a different truth.” Carin too became a peer mentor for the STEM Program, jumping at every opportunity to further her education and career goals. One of the most valuable experiences Carin jumped at during her time at KAPCC was the Native Hawaiian Student Pathway to Medicine Program (NHSPM) offered by the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence (NHCOE). The program guides Native Hawaiian students on their path to becoming health professionals. With workshops and individualized advising sessions, NHSPM scholars gain the skills and experience to showcase their best self.

“The program is bigger than Med School” Carin says, “(NHSPM) teaches you about yourself, how to reshape yourself so that you put your best foot forward no matter what venture you take on. It strengthens you as a person, it’s a launching point.”

The Native Hawaiian Student Pathway to Medicine Program (NHSPM) is currently accepting applications for the upcoming Fall 2017-2018 year. Students interested in applying should visit the NHSPM page on the NHCOE website. For the NHSPM information sheet, click here. Deadline to apply is August 20th, 2017.

Take it from Carin, “Native Hawaiians aren’t raised to believe they can do anything” Carin states, “(The Native Hawaiian Student Pathway to Medicine Program) did for me what KAPCC STEM did for me: they introduced and reinforced the idea that I can do anything.”

Carin Jaber recently graduated from the University of Hawaii Mānoa with a Bachelors of Science in Biology. She is set to begin work at Diagnostic Laboratory of Hawaii this August. Josh works full-time an Engineer at Hawaiian Electric Company. Carin and Josh are engaged to-be-married in 2018.