East Hawaii News

KS Hawaiʻi Student Selected to Participate in MIT Summer Workshop

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A Big Island student has been selected to take part in a summer workshop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and she’s hoping her community will help to get her there.

Ciana-Lei Bence, a rising senior at the Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi campus in Keaʻau, was chosen as one of 18 students from throughout the United States to participate in the Cambridge, Mass., university’s Lincoln Laboratory Radar Introduction for Student Engineers program.

During the two week program, which starts June 28, Bence will create a radar from scratch using 3-D printing and engineering. Although the program is free, travel costs, especially with such short notice, are expensive. So she Bence launched a GoFundMe campaign to lighten the burden on her family of getting her to the East Coast.

Bence has always been interested in science of every type, an email from Nicole Santos, GoFundMe spokesperson and West Coast regional manager, said. But until recently, she didn’t think she had what it takes to pursue a science career. She plans to study either astrophysics or engineering in college.


“Though I’ve always excelled in math and science, I found that the lack of Native Hawaiian and other ethnic representation in the field of (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subconsciously deterred me from the idea,” Bence said on her GoFundMe fundraising page. “However, in the past couple of years, I have found a true passion for STEM-related activity and hope to learn all that I can about as many fields of study as possible.”

For more information or to help get Bence to the MIT summer radar workshop, click here.

“Thank you so much for your kōkua! I hope to make you all proud of my accomplishments in the near future!” Bence said on her GoFundMe fundraising page.



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