Kapi'olani CC expo brings students, employers together

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The STEM Program's Internship Expo at Kapi‘olani Community College on Nov. 30 brought more than 150 students together with representatives from 18 companies. Click here to see more pictures from the event.

In an effort to leverage its business relationships to benefit students, Kap‘iolani Community College (KapCC) hosted its first Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Program Internship Expo on Nov. 30 outside the Koki‘o building, home of the STEM Center.

“The STEM Internship Expo was a great success,” said John Rand, PhD, KapCC professor and STEM Program director. “Through the event, we were able to reach more than 150 students and offer them opportunities from 18 different organizations.”

STEM Program faculty and staff devised the Expo in response to an ongoing trend they observed, in which students are unable to find internship positions and companies are having trouble filling them. Hoping to remedy this disconnect, they thought it would be beneficial to both students and recruiters to bring them all together at one event.

The Internship Expo was intentionally scheduled at a time of year when deadlines for many summer internship programs are approaching. This encourages students to apply early so they have a higher likelihood of being accepted into their desired positions.

“We hope to make this an annual event that will not only help to guide our students into successful career paths, but also to positively impact Hawaii’s STEM workforce by educating students about the opportunities available in Hawai‘i,” said Rand.

With more than 500 students in the KapCC STEM Program, and campus enrollment approaching 10,000, the potential for KapCC students to positively impact the future of Hawai‘i’s science, technology, engineering and math workforces is considerable. The program is already working.


FlyCopter: a tool for education and research, based on a small flying multi-rotor platform. Team Members: David Hummer, Elizabeth Gregory, Jeremy Chan, Michael Menendez, Miguel Nunes, Reid Yamura, Zachary Lee-Ho. Photo courtesy of the Shidler College of Business.


On Nov. 18, former KapCC STEM student Jeremy Chan was part of a team that won first place for its FlyCopter entry in the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE): Breakthrough Innovation Challenge, a joint venture of the Shidler College of Business, the College of Engineering and the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH Mānoa.

Chan first came into contact with the STEM Program in a sociology class about six years ago. As part of the service-learning portion of the curriculum, he worked at Palolo Elementary School on the weekends. He then became involved with many other STEM Program activities that enhanced his education. Chan worked his way up from pre-college level courses at KapCC to earning his BS in electrical engineering from UH Mānoa in 2009, to now attending graduate school. Recently he has been a research student at the Physiological Signals and Sleep Lab at UH Mānoa and is an active member of the UH Mānoa Electrical Engineering Club. 

The goal of the STEM Program is to improve the overall quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education through various outreach programs, including the Summer Bridge Program, undergraduate research projects and traditional instructional classes. Established in 2005 with a $1.25 million Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the program aims to increase the number of STEM students transferring into 4-year degree programs. One of the goals of the TCUP grant program is to increase student diversity, with a special emphasis on Native Hawaiian students, for students majoring in STEM disciplines. For more information about the STEM program, visit stem.kcc.hawaii.edu.