Islands of Opportunity Alliance—LSAMP

The world of Oceania is not small; it is huge and growing bigger every day. Epeli Hau‘ofa, "Our Sea of Islands."

He pūkoʻa kani ʻāina. A coral reef strengthens and grows into land. Hawaiian 'ōlelo noʻeau (proverb).

The National Science Foundation's Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation Program

Alii, iokwe, talofa lava, hafa adai, kaselehlie, mogethin, ran annim, lenwo, aloha, greetings!

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program was mandated by Congress in 1991 and was designed to facilitate historically underrepresented students pursuing baccalaureate and graduate degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Today, there are 40 LSAMP Alliances across the United States with more than 500 participating institutions throughout the country. The Islands of Opportunity–LSAMP (IOA–LSAMP) represents the only LSAMP Alliance serving the US-affiliated Pacific region.

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IOA-LSAMP is committed to increasing the number of underrepresented minority students—especially students of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander ancestry—graduating with two- and four-year degrees in STEM disciplines. The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo serves as the lead institution in an Alliance that comprises 10 partner institutions across the Pacific, including: American Samoa Community College, College of the Marshall Islands, College of Micronesia—FSM, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Guam Community College, Hawaiʻi Pacific University, Northern Marianas College, Palau Community College, University of Guam, and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Student Eligibility

  • Be an underrepresented racial/ethnic minority as defined by NSF: Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, African American, American Indian, Alaskan Native;
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident of the US or its possessions;
  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate major in a STEM discipline.

Student Spotlight: From STEM Student to Olympic Sprinter!

On July 31, 2021, IOA-LSAMP Environmental/Marine Studies student Adrian Ililau of Palau Community College competed in the 100m sprint race at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, achieving a personal best time of 11.43. Afterwards he stated, “It was a tough race, and I’m just glad I got this Olympic experience making this my Olympic debut. I’m glad to be running alongside all these great athletes” (Pacific Daily News). IOA-LSAMP recognizes with pride Adrian's accomplishment on the track as well as in the STEM lab. Just before competing in the Olympics Adrian completed the Internship and Field Studies Program at the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC). The research he produced during his internship is included in the 2021 IOA-LSAMP Student Conference.

IOA-LSAMP sends a hearty congratulations to Adrian, his mentors Victor Nestor and Vernice Yuzi, and our Palau Community College partner!

Adrian Ililau and Osisang Chilton bear the Palauan flag at the 2021 Olympic Games openingAdrian Ililau and Osisang Chilton bear the Palauan flag at the 2021 Olympic Games opening. Credit: Getty Images.

IOA Headlines & Announcements

Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence (LSMRCE) Conference

IOA-LSAMP announces the 2021 LSMRCE Virtual Conference, “Empowering Diverse STEM Innovators,” to be held October 22-24. The conference offers keynotes, breakout sessions/workshops, and networking sessions for faculty and LSAMP alliance personnel, as well as an entire track for students that includes breakout sessions, resource fair, and a competitive poster session. As part of the 3-day virtual conference, LSMRCE will host special sessions to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of NSF LSAMP! For more information, please go to 2021 LSMRCE Virtual Conference.

Inaugural IOA Data Camp

In October 2020 IOA-LSAMP and Chaminade University launched an IOA-wide online data analytics proficiency course. IOA students from Hawaiʻi and the broader Pacific participated. The Data Camp was designed to introduce students to data analytics and to start the process of upskilling or reskilling participants through a set of curated hands-on, mentored learning modules. For more on this exciting story, go to "Inaugural online DataCamp launches first Pacific-wide STEM learning community"