Nakupuna Foundation funds STEM2 education training for kumu at Native Hawaiian schools

$140,000 educational gift provides supplemental STEM-based education

Aug. 2, 2021


HONOLULU, HI (August 2, 2021) – By summer 2022, seven kumu will have completed a 13-month STEMS2 Master’s Track program to bolster more culturally applicable contexts for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-based learning at Native Hawaiian schools, thanks to a $140,000 educational gift from the Nakupuna Foundation, facilitated by the Pauahi Foundation. The MEd CS STEMS2 program is designed for educators who want to be transformative, connect with community, and engage students in place and experiential learning – an endeavor that greatly benefits educators across the Hawaiian Islands.

“Teachers are caretakers of our future, shaping and nurturing the potential of every student who passes through their classrooms. We see the STEMS2 program as a way for educators to continue their own professional journeys while advancing place- and culture-based teaching in schools,” said Executive Director of Nakupuna Foundation Lindsay Ah Loo.

The four kumu from Kamehameha Schools campuses and three from Native Hawaiian-focused charter schools and the Hawai‘i State Department of Education will experience a program that focuses on teaching real-world problem solving via project- and place-based learning within a social context that integrates science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and social sciences, while focusing on youths’ development in relation to their sense of self as local and global citizens.

Executive Director of the Pauahi Foundation Pono Ma‘a sees the STEMS2 program as a positive and essential development in elevating education across Native Hawaiian schools, and an opportunity perfectly aligned with Nakupuna Foundation’s purpose – to support Native Hawaiians through targeted investments in STEM.

“Our haumāna are unlike any in the world, guided academically and spiritually in ways unique to our lāhui,” Ma‘a said. “The foundations of STEMS2 learning are taught elsewhere, but what gives our students the greatest advantage is education rooted in our sense of place and our kuleana as the heirs of Princess Pauahi’s legacy. This gift from Nakupuna Foundation better equips our kumu to enrich our students with that learning experience.”

The program is a 30-credit track that appeals to educators who wish to transcend disciplinary boundaries and gain leadership skills that emphasize respect and collaboration. The seven selected kumu will comprise the seventh cohort to enroll in this program, which intends to help teachers consider and reconstruct traditional educational programs to contexts better understood and experienced by students and Native Hawaiian schools.


About the Nakupuna Foundation

The Nakupuna Foundation is a non-profit Native Hawaiian Organization with a mission to support the economic advancement of the Native Hawaiian community. The Foundation promotes increased Native Hawaiian representation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) industries through investments in culturally centered STEM programs and other initiatives. Named in honor of the late Warren Nakupuna Ah Loo, the Nakupuna Foundation owns the Nakupuna Companies, a family of businesses that specialize in providing services to government clients. Proceeds from the Nakupuna Companies directly support the Nakupuna Foundation’s mission. For more information, visit 

About Pauahi Foundation

Established in 1995 by the trustees of Kamehameha Schools as the fundraising arm of the organization, the Pauahi Foundation’s purpose is to create educational opportunities that transform lives within the Hawaiian community. To further broaden the reach of Kamehameha Schools and in its pursuit of 20-year vision of a thriving lāhui, the foundation is now managed under the umbrella of Kamehameha Schools Office of Advancement. 100% of funds donated to the Pauahi Foundation directly support the program. For more information, please visit