The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund has awarded college scholarships totaling $1,050,000 to 116 local Hawaii Island students over the past 4 years and an additional $2 plus million to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) pursuits.
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) initiated the THINK Fund prior to the start of construction with a commitment of $1 million per year for Hawaii Island STEM endeavors. The Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) and the Pauahi Foundation administer the THINK Fund with scholarship, classroom, student and STEM programming initiatives. The THINK Fund at Pauahi Foundation focuses its scholarship programs on Native Hawaiian recipients.
In addition to providing scholarships to local Hawaii Island students, the THINK Fund supports STEM Learning Grants (Career Connected Learning) to programs that demonstrate success in recruiting and addressing the needs of groups underrepresented in STEM fields, including students in rural communities, Native Hawaiians and those disengaged in school. The THINK Fund also supports classroom grants through DonorsChoose.org. Thirty nine of the 55 public and public charter schools on Hawaii Island have received grants with high need students receiving 78% of the funding.
To date, TMT has funded $4 million to the THINK Fund benefiting Hawaii Island students and teachers with $900,000 in an endowment to fund STEM education on Hawaii Island far into the future.
THINK Fund at Pauahi Foundation
THINK Fund at Pauahi Foundation has awarded college scholarships totaling $568,000 to 33 local Native Hawaiian students. It is Pauahi Foundation's policy to give preference to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law.
THINK Fund at Pauahi Foundation scholarships are awarded for the student's entire academic career under specified program requirements. THINK Fund at Pauahi Foundation plans to award an additional 15 college scholarships totaling over $200,000 in 2018.
THINK Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation
THINK Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation has awarded college scholarships totaling $482,000 to 83 local students from 19 different Hawaii high schools pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) endeavors. THINK Fund at HCF scholarships are renewable as long as the students continue their STEM studies.
Hawaii Community Foundation Vice President, Foundation & Corporate Partnerships Lydia K. Clements stated, "With growing opportunities for our local students with STEM skills to move into meaningful careers, the significant commitment by TMT over the past 4 years is timely. TMT's leadership and Hawaii Island volunteers have been extraordinary community partners in providing scholarships, classroom supplies and hands-on learning for over 17,000 Hawaii Island students and 900 of their teachers."
These high school students are pursuing STEM disciplines including Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Environmental Science, Medicine, Biology, Marine Science, Aeronautical Aerospace Engineering Technology, Mathematics, Nursing, Pharmacy, Forensics, Forestry, Physics, Nutrition, Biomedical, Astronomy, Neuroscience, Biomed Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Health Engineer, Aerospace Engineer and Pre-Med Sciences.
THINK Fund Scholarship Recipient Accomplished Educational Goals
Over the past 12 years, Waiakea High School graduate Steven Nozaki's STEM journey has taken him from Hawaii to Ohio and now to Pennsylvania in his educational quest.
Nozaki earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering in 2010 and 2012 respectively, and completed a Ph.D. degree in STEM Education in the spring of 2017, all at The Ohio State University.
In the fall of 2017, Nozaki was hired as an Assistant Teaching Professor at Pennsylvania State University-Behrend College in Erie, Pennsylvania. His appointment is in the Mechanical Engineering Technology Department in the School of Engineering.
Nozaki was a THINK Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation scholarship recipient in 2015 and 2016. He noted that the financial support from THINK Fund were momentously helpful.
"Scholarship support allowed me to focus on studying and commit more time to academics--especially in grad school. The financial support, as well as working part-time, allowed me to put more emphasis on interests important to advancing my studies. I had opportunities to pursue supplementary activities related to my studies, such as workshops, national conferences and travel. I can honestly say that the generosity and philanthropic support that I received really helped me to accomplish my educational goals," said Dr. Steven Nozaki.
Nozaki added that a long-term goal after gaining work experience is to return to Hawaii to live and work. "Because of the support that organizations like HCF and TMT's THINK Fund, I have been able to achieve many of my goals, and am in a better place to one day be able to help others in Hawaii."
TMT invests in STEM education and learning opportunities by involving others in the community, including Hawaii Community Foundation and Pauahi Foundation, providing vital financial support and creating momentum to help the community move toward building a 21st century high tech workforce in Hawaii.