East Hawaii News

TMT Board Plans Support of Native Hawaiian Students

June 15, 2015, 10:12 AM HST
* Updated June 15, 10:18 AM
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Through an extension of international partnerships and the Thirty Meter Telescope, Native Hawaiian students will see an increase in academic support, according to the Chair of the TMT International Observatory Board, Henry Yang.

“… It is with enthusiasm and excitement that we announce the intent of our partner universities to establish scholarships, summer internships, graduate program fellowships, and research assistantships in the areas of science and technology for Hawai’i’s students,” said Yang.

The changes follow Governor David Ige’s May 26 speech that placed weight on the important of science and technology to the State of Hawai’i’s economy and education system. It was in his speech that Governor Ige asked TMT to increase its support for Native Hawaiian students who are interested in science and technology. The governor proposed that the increased support should come in the form of admission and scholarships at TMT’s partner institutions.

Yang said that Caltech and the University of Chinese Academy of Science have already pledged their support, while the Department of Astronomy at the University of Tokyo and the Department of Astronomical Science at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies, an affiliate of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, are encouraging the applications of Hawai’i students for graduate studies.

“More of our partner universities are considering establishing similar programs to host Native Hawaiian students from Hawai’i Island and elsewhere in the state…NAOJ’s Subaru Telescope has been offering job and internship opportunities to UH students in its various activities and has agreed to collaborate with UH-Hilo on its graduate program in astronomy,” Yang said. “Additional frameworks will be explored to strengthen these ties in conjunction with TMT as well.”

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According to Yang, the board hopes to see an influx in the number of Native Hawaiians that are gaining educational experiences at prominent universities, but who “also return to Hawai’i to carry on the Hawaiian tradition of scientific exploration, technological innovation and environmental sustainability for the betterment of Hawai’i and all of humanity on Earth.”

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TMT is a collaboration of Caltech, University of California, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy, and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India.

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