“Informally, I tell anyone who asks how awesome it was and how it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Also, I wrote about my experience in my college application essays and it must have impressed someone because I ended up getting into all the schools of my dreams.” -Rachel Lum Ho, Stanford University, Ho’oulu Participant, 2004
From 2004 – 2010, PAʻI Foundation partnered with Harvard Medical School, Kamehameha Schools, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and Papa Ola Lōkahi and sent 45 Native Hawaiian high school sophomores and juniors to Harvard Medical School for a three-week summer program to study substance and drug abuse.Background History
In the summer of 2003, selected Native communities and schools established a partnership with Harvard University under the auspices of the Harvard University Native American Program and Harvard Medical School (HMS) to create a pilot summer program, “Opening the Biomedical Pipeline for Native High Schools.” In 2004, Native Hawaiians were privileged to be one of only four groups invited to participate in this program.
The goals of the program were to: (1) to improve the opportunity for Native American high school students to engage in science education and pursue careers in the biomedical sciences at leading institutions and (2) to provide training to their teachers in the content and pedagogical methods of biomedical sciences.
To address the first major goal, the program familiarized students with life at a large urban university (demystify higher education); enhanced the students’ knowledge of biomedical science through lectures, similar to those they would encounter in college, and through Case-Based Learning (CBL), which demonstrates the relevance of biomedical science to real-life problems; helped students improve their learning skills; challenged students to think explicitly about their future plans, and to raise their sights; and facilitated students’ later attendance at a leading university. In addition, students prepared individual study projects, which they presented to invited professors and Harvard students at a Final-Day Symposium. Over the years, Native Hawaiian students prepared power point presentations, websites, poster campaigns and a magazines.
To address the second major goal, the program aimed to enhance teachers’ knowledge base in biomedical science; trained teachers in designing and implementing CBL in their classrooms; helped teachers analyze their pedagogical methods and incorporate new ones. The topic for all summers was substance and drug abuse.
“The Harvard experience was nothing short of amazing and inspirational. Because of this program I decided to take a chance and apply to “big schools” like Harvard and Stanford. Although I didn’t get into Harvard, I did get in to Stanford, which I personally feel is a much better fit. However, I still feel like Ho’oulu gave me the confidence to do so. Lastly, it encouraged my desire to be in the medical field.” -Mililani Trask-Batti, Stanford University, Ho‘oulu Participant, 2004