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Kapi'olani Community College

The goal of the KapCC Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program is to enhance the quality of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics instructional and outreach programs at KapCC, as well as to increase the number of STEM students transferring to four-year degree programs as they prepare for careers in the STEM disciplines.

The program was started in August 2005 with a $1.25 million Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the development and implementation of the STEM program. Since that initial grant, additional grants have been awarded to the STEM Program, such as the $500,000 Science Talent Enrichment Program (STEP) grant in 2007. These grants help the STEM Program to support students interested in pursuing degrees and careers in math and science. 

With the support of CCURI, the KapCC STEM Program is moving to institutionalize its current Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) beginning with two primary initiatives.  The first is to establish a "research intensive" or RI designation for STEM courses to be listed in the catalog and on student transcripts. The second is to develop an undergraduate research course to be cross-listed across multiple disciplines. These initiatives help to better compensate faculty for their participation in UREs and allow students to receive course credit and provides evidence of their research experiences on their academic transcripts.  The expected date for the RI designation and research courses to be offered is Fall 2013.

For more information on the KapCC STEM Program, please visit our website at:


The most vital part of a URE is the development of fundamental skills for success in the sciences.  Hallmarks of the URE Program include application of the scientific method, formulation of a hypothesis, design of methods to test a hypothesis, collection and analysis of data as appropriate, and to document and formally present results.  

In addition to research, the KapCC STEM encourages and supports URE participants to present at conferences and symposiums.  These conferences build presentation/communication skills and allow students to network with professionals and peers in their field of interest.


Congratulations to KapCC URE student Micon Garvilles and her faculty mentor, Dr. Matthew Tuthill for placing first in the undergraduate student poster division for the biological sciences at the 2012 Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference!

Former KapCC STEM Program students win the Shidler College of Business UH Business Plan Competition

Christian Daoud, Leon Santinizio, and Huilin Xie, won first place with their Unique Lite Design unit load device. Christian Daoud was also interviewed by Howard Dicus on Hawaii News Now. Justin Carland, also a former KapCC STEM student, was a member of the second place team with the Surgical Lighting Solutions 


Each Fall, the KapCC STEM Program hosts the STEM Opportunity Expo which promotes career, degree, service, and internship opportunities available locally for students interested in STEM fields.  Professional organizations set up displays and give presentations with useful information for student success, transfer, and internship programs. To see more pictures from this year's Expo on the STEM Facebook Page, click here.

KapCC STEM also hosts an annual STEM Undergraduate Research Fair (SURF) each Spring semester. The SURF event was created in order to showcase the undergraduate research work of STEM Program students. Student researchers present on projects from a wide variety of STEM disciplines. The event is a great practice opportunity for students who will be presenting their findings at national conferences, such as the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at the University of Montana. The SURF also gives other students on campus the chance to learn about undergraduate research and the STEM program, as well as the opportunity to interact with current STEM students and faculty/staff. Pictures from this year's event can be found on our Facebook page.

Undergraduate Research Experience (URE)

The KapCC STEM URE program provides students with numerous opportunities to participate in faculty mentored research projects.  STEM URE engages students early in their academic career in research that they will encounter later in related STEM fields.  URE participants gain hands-on experience, valuable insight into the research and professional workplace, while developing the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to succeed in the STEM field.  Students conduct research alongside STEM faculty in independent, group, or competition team projects.   URE students can apply for research stipends each semester.

Students may enter the URE Program in one of three major categories: Traineeship, Fellowship, or Private/Professional Internship.

Students who are new to the sciences may begin at the Traineeship level and work closely with a mentor on a meaningful research topic, doing literature reviews and gathering background information. Trainees focus on experimental design and familiarize themselves with technology and analysis tools relevant to their area of study.  Students with previous research and/or technical experience may participate as URE Fellows.  Fellows work under the guidance of a faculty mentor on hypothesis-driven research projects or are eligible to lead an engineering project team.  Students are also encouraged to apply for a number of private and professional internships.  KapCC STEM has partnered with a number of organizations such as the NASA Hawai'i Space Grant Consortium (HSGC) and NSF Experimental Programs to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Hawai'i to provide direct funding for external internships or URE at KapCC.


Vision and Change Implementation


Integrate Core Concepts and Competencies throughout the Curriculum

  • Introduce the scientific process to students early, and integrate it into all undergraduate biology courses

  • Relate abstract concepts in biology to real ­world examples on a regular basis, and make biology content relevant by presenting problems in a real ­life context 

  • Stimulate the curiosity students have for learning about the natural world

  • Define learning goals so that they focus on teaching students core concepts, and aligh assessments so that they assess the students' understanding of the concepts


Focus on Student ­Centered Learning

  • Engage students as active participants, not passive recipients, in all undergraduate biology courses

  • Use multiple modes of instruction in addition to the traditional lecture

  • Introduce research experiences as an integral component of biology education for all students, regardless of their major

  • Ensure that undergraduate biology courses are active, inquiry driven and relevant


Promote a Campus wide Commitment to Change

  • Mobilize all stakeholders, from students to administrators, to commit to improving the quality of undergraduate biology education

  • Advocate for increased status, recognition, and rewards for innovation in teaching, student success, and other educational outcome


Engage the Biology Community in the Implementation of Change

  • Create active ­learning environments for all students, even those in first ­year biology courses

High Impact Practices Implementation

First-Year Seminars and Experiences

Learning Communities

Writing-Intensive Courses

Undergraduate Research

Service Learning

Community-Based Learning


Capstone Courses and Projects

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