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A First-Year Experience support program designed to equip Leeward Community College’s first-year students with navigating through their freshman year with a sense of purpose, sense of belonging, and sense of self-efficacy and all necessary components to academic success. ​

This program’s goal is to help students set a firm foundation for academic excellence, graduating from Leeward CC with an associate’s degree and eventually transferring to a 4-year University to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

Program benefits include course sequencing, holistic support, peer mentorship, financial aid, scholarship assistance, and academic achievement award, aspirational goal setting that is culturally compatible, and growth-mindset skills.


Kaimana Namihira
Cultural Engagement & Hawaiian Language Specialist (Lauhoe)

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Kahua Hoʻomau Ola

closeup of cluster of smooth stones

Kahua Hoʻomau Ola, 13th Year UH System Initiative, provides an opportunity for Native Hawaiian adults, who never attended college to attend Leeward CC, and give college a try. Our goal is to reduce barriers to college for students, and we understand that finances are sometimes a major obstacle. With that being said, if a student is accepted into our scholarship program, we will pay for tuition, books, and fees for his/her first year at Leeward Community College.

Priority consideration is given to applicants who have no previous college experience or intend to enroll in college; who are of Hawaiian ancestry; who demonstrate in the application that there are financial and other barriers to enrolling in college; and who demonstrate in the application that they would not be able to attend college without support of the program.


D. Leilani Puchalski
Kahua Hoʻomau Ola 13th Year Specialist
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Ke Ala ʻAnuʻu

closeup of ohia lehua flower

Ke Ala ʻAnuʻu (KAʻA), STEM Bridge program is a 5-year grant initiative that serves Native Hawaiian students pursuing degrees in STEM pathways at both Leeward Community College and the University of Hawai'i-West Oʻahu. Eligible participants are provided academic support and social-emotional and financial literacy training and Hawaiian culture-based education for 4 years.

Students receive guidance and support from both institutions that include personnel from the Kīpuka, Native Hawaiian Center at Puʻuloa at Leeward CC and staff from the University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu. They include a Project Coordinator, support staff from UHWO, Retention Specialists and peer mentors. Participants are surrounded by a supportive environment that builds and maintains a well-rounded cultural and academic foundation from which to serve their family and community.


Puaonaona Stibbard
Ke Ala ʻAnuʻu Project Coordinator
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Ke Ala ʻIke

Launched in 2009, the Ke Ala ʻIke Scholars Program seeks to inspire all Leeward CC students to hāpai (carry, fulfill) their kuleana (responsibilities) in academics and Hawaiian culture while focused on excellence and achievement on the way toward earning any Associate degree or certificate.

Scholars engage in a one-year program with requirements to earn a place in the Ke Ala ʻIke Scholars graduating class and are granted the privilege of wearing a kīhei (mantle of accomplishment) at Leeward Community College’s Commencement Exercises.


Momi Kamahele
Professor (Hawaiian Studies and History), Native Hawaiian Student Support Coordinator
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Melissa Tupa
Native Hawaiian Student Support Specialist
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