BY KAYLA VALERA | STAFF WRITER
For budding engineers looking to gain experience and receive calculus credit, the Pre-engineering Education Collaborative II (PEEC II) grant seeks out students who are of Native Hawaiian ancestry as well as other underrepresented minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for their two summer programs: The Hawaiʻi Calculus Academy and The Mānoa Design Clinic.
The Hawai’i Calculus Academy is offered at all six of the PEEC II U.H. campuses: Kapiʻolani Community College, Honolulu Community College, Leeward Community College, Windward Community College, University of Hawaiʻi Maui College, and University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa. In comparison, the Mānoa Design Clinic is exclusively for incoming U.H. Mānoa students and takes place at Mānoa’s engineering facility.
For the Hawai’i Calculus Academy Program, the students selected must be eligible to enroll in either calculus I, II, or III (in which the program will cover the tuition cost of this six-week summer course), and will have to go through an engineering research course following the students’ calculus class.
To insure the success of these pre-engineering students, the Hawaiʻi Calculus Academy supplies peer mentors to tutor calculus throughout the full six weeks. In addition to this, the peer mentors, who have a background in STEM, will also help students with their research experience.
The research experience varies for each campus’ program, but this year’s KCC research project is focused on the study of phytoplankton and using engineering techniques for the water collection containing this species. Students are tasked with developing a mechanism attached onto a Underwater Remote Operated Vehicle (UROV) that will pick up water samples with phytoplankton as it skims across the ocean surface. This type of project allows for students to gain firsthand experience at solving real-world engineering problems.
Working engineers in fields such as mechanical, civil, or electrical will also give presentations to the students as they share the assignments given at their occupation and how they got to where they are. Some of those who present were also veterans of the Hawaiʻi Calculus Academy summer bridge and can share how the program has helped them prepare for their careers in engineering.
Ultimately, this summer program aims to assist students in community colleges with their completion of an Associate in Science in Natural Science (ASNS) degree in pre-engineering, allowing for a more seamless transition to U.H. Mānoa’s engineering program thereafter. This effort is especially directed toward Native Hawaiians and other underrepresented students in order to cultivate more engineers from this particular demographic.
Drew Watanabe, an ongoing third-year student at KCC, said the following in an email: “The program was a fantastic learning experience and had allowed me to explore my interest in engineering with other future engineers.”
Hawaiʻi Calculus Academy runs during the Summer Session I term: only 10 applicants will be accepted. Recruiting for next year’s program will be in January 8—the deadline to apply for next year’s program is March 5. Recipients of this grant will also have covered meal stipends for lunch.
Pre-engineering students that have already obtained an ASNS degree and meet the same criteria for the Hawaiʻi Calculus Academy can look toward the proceeding summer program, U.H. Mānoa’s Design Clinic. Those who qualify for this Summer Session must be entering calculus IV in their math as well as an incoming student for the UH Mānoa College of Engineering in the fall.
The benefits of this program are similar to that of the Hawaiʻi Calculus Academy, where the tuition for the calculus course is covered under the grant. However, the U.H. Mānoa Design Clinic is 10-weeks long and is more geared toward conducting Vertically Integrated Projects (VIPs) and undergraduate research that will go toward students’ academic credit at UH Mānoa.
After the completion of all summer bridge programs covered under the PEEC II grant, there will be a public symposium where students will present the research of each campus’ projects. This year’s annual symposium is titled “ʻAʻohe Pau Ka ‘Ike I Ka Hālau Hoʻokahi,” which means “all knowledge is not taught in the same school.” The event will take place at KCC’sʻ Ōhiʻa Cafeteria from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, August 11.
If you are interested in applying for the next summer bridge program in either the Hawai’i Calculus Academy or the U.H. Mānoa Design Clinic, contact the PEEC II Coordinator for KCC, Li-Anne Delavega, at her email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 808-734-9440.