STEPUP: Science Talent Expansion Program in Urban Polynesia

For this NSF-STEP project, Kapiolani Community College (the College) envisions a coherent implementation and management plan integrating high school student recruitment and intensive Summer Bridge preparation; intrusive advising, supplemental instruction by peer mentors and undergraduate research in the College’s evolving STEM Learning Center; faculty-student engagement in web-based course strategies and community-based research and service; and e-portfolio and resume development. The College is strongly committed to preparing our diverse island students for transfer to and graduation from four-year institutions and success in STEM Careers.

The projected outcome of the STEP-UP Grant is a diverse, internationally competitive and globally-engaged workforce of scientists, engineers and well-prepared citizens.

Intellectual Merit: The proposed project implements a comprehensive strategy that adapts and integrates research-based best practices with successful campus-based innovations. From 2003 to the present, STEM faculty leaders conducted 17 ethnographic site visits to campuses with strong STEM innovations, researched the STEM minority participation literature, completed Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) training, and participated in AAC&U’s Consortium for Quality Education and NSF-SENCER institutes (See “Site Visits” in Supplementary Document A). From this research-based foundation we intend to advance knowledge on effective high school recruitment and Summer Bridge preparation; effective, multiple uses of an evolving STEM Learning Center and web-based course strategies. Two campus-based innovations will support the implementation and evaluation of these research-based best practices. First, the College’s nationally recognized service-learning program will provide additional opportunities for civically engaged research in diverse schools, communities, and ecosystems. Second, the College’s e-portfolio system will provide assessment data on student outcomes and provide a platform for STEM student degree and career exploration and resume development. The project also builds on and extends successful STEM strategies to high achieving students, especially those of Pacific and Filipino ancestry who are under-represented in STEM fields.

Broader Impact: Recruitment and summer bridge programs extend STEM opportunities to students at six major feeder high schools. The College is establishing an Associate in Science degree with concentrations in Life Science and Physical Science which can be adopted and adapted by other two-year campuses in the University of Hawaii system and have statewide impact in producing additional STEM majors and degree completers. STEM undergraduate research pathways will connect students to UH baccalaureate campuses, national research labs and careers in STEM industries. Existing service-learning partnerships will enable students to complete STEM-related research projects that positively impact schools, communities, and ecosystems. Regionally, successful STEM strategies will be shared through faculty and student conference and web-based presentations with 13 other Pacific island colleges through the “Islands of Opportunity: Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP)” grant recently funded by NSF. Nationally, we will share successful STEM strategies, pathways, and degrees through faculty and student presentations at conferences of the League for Innovation in the Community Colleges, the American Society of Electrical Engineers in Honolulu in June 2007, the regional Hawaii Space Grant Consortium and Campus Compact and others. The College also provides STEM-related civic engagement training and technical assistance for colleges and universities in ten states per year through Campus Compact.