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UH Hilo faculty awarded $700,000 NSF grant

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Date: Thursday, August 5, 2010
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

A trio of educators from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to promote development of secondary mathematics teachers.

The grant, entitled “Hawaiʻi Noyce Teacher Scholarship” (HINTS), is funded through the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program. The five-year award totaling $769, 711 takes effect September 1, 2010.

“This award is a significant windfall for UH Hilo as well as our local intermediate schools and high schools,” said Associate Education Professor and Principal Investigator Diane Barrett. “HINTS not only strives to train quality mathematics teachers, but it also provides them with materials and support. As a result, we are hoping that this program and its scholarship opportunities will encourage more students to consider a career in the teaching profession, especially in the much needed area of mathematics.”

HINTS will provide three-year scholarships and education technology to 10 UH Hilo undergraduates preparing to become secondary mathematics teachers while establishing a robust support structure of ongoing professional development and collaboration in mathematics education. Project activities will include summer internships at a math camp, summer workshops, mentoring and the provision of math coaches for the new teachers.

Among the unique features of the program is its focus on designing and implementing pedagogical models to meet the specific needs relating to Hawaiʻi’s vast cultural and economic diversity.

“The HINTS project is very exciting as it is the first NSF Noyce Grant funded in Hawai'i so we will be blazing new ground working with the Hawai'i Department of Education and community colleges on the islands of Hawai'i, Maui, Molokai and Lanai,” said Darius Kalvaitis, assistant education professor and co-principal investigator. “The scholarships and support provided will allow local students to gain Secondary Mathematics Teacher Licensure at UH Hilo and then return to their home communities to teach.”

The Hawaiʻi project will also unify the educational efforts and resources of UH Hilo, Hawaiʻi and Maui Community College and several state Department of Education complexes throughout Hawaiʻi and Maui.

“This collaboration among the participating institutions is critical to the success of this project,” said fellow Co-Principal Investigator and Assistant Mathematics Professor Roberto Pelayo. “Involvement of so many crucial educational partners will allow us to construct and maintain a robust source of future highly qualified master teachers.”

By expanding on the present partnerships, HINTS will seek to establish a permanent pipeline to draw talented mathematics majors from community colleges and lower-level UH Hilo mathematics courses, assist them through teacher certification and licensure and into their first several years of teaching in high-need DOE secondary schools.

For more information, contact Diane Barrett at or (808) 974-7583.

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