August 24, 2017

Nearly $1 Million Awarded to Improve Computer Science Education in Hawaii Classrooms

Supports Greater STEM Opportunities for Underrepresented High School Students

HONOLULU - Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced that University of Hawaii Maui College (UHMC) will receive $999,239 to improve diversity in computer science education for secondary schools in Hawaii.

“Supporting a strong, diverse computer science education for our youth is critical to ensuring that Hawaii’s students have the tools they need to succeed in today’s global economy,” said Senator Hirono. “By removing current barriers confronting our underrepresented groups, we can help our students enter into higher paying jobs and strengthen Hawaii’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce pipeline.” 

A collaboration with University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Department of Education, the CSP4Hawaii project will identify and address barriers to participation in the computer sciences by underrepresented high school students. In addition, it will provide training opportunities for high school teachers with the skills and strategies needed to improve recruitment and engagement of underrepresented students throughout the state.

“Computers, phones and apps are popular with students of all ages, but formal education in computer science lags behind in Hawaii schools,” said Dr. Debasis Bhattacharya, faculty at UHMC. “This award from the National Science Foundation and Computer Science for All program allows the University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Department of Education to accelerate the adoption of computer science principles among teachers and students in Hawaii.”

Senator Hirono has continued to advocate for federal funding to support programs that promote a strong STEM pipeline, and earlier this year reintroduced her plan to improve diversity and competitiveness, and broaden participation among women and underrepresented minorities, in the STEM fields. As part of this effort, she convened a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee field hearing of national and local stakeholders last year at Maui High School, where NSF and others discussed the importance of promoting more women and minorities in the STEM workforce. More recently, Senator Hirono reintroduced legislation to establish a Science Laureate of the United States to promote scientific feats and accomplishments in our country.

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