Hawaiians and STEM education subject of discussion

Damien K. Cie, program director for University of Hawaii Maui College’s Ka Hikina O Ka La program, will speak at the general meeting of the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu.

Ka Hikina O Ka La is a collaborative program between the Native Hawaiian community, UH-MC and the National Science Foundation. It combines modern scientific technology and instruction with cultural knowledge and practices to increase Native Hawaiian participation in higher education in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. The program is funded by the NSF in response to the application to build the Daniel K. Inouye (formerly known as the Advanced Technology) Solar Telescope on the summit of Haleakala.

Cie will attend the general meeting via teleconference due to his travel schedule; however, he has assembled a live panel to assist him with the discussion. In addition to networking, the event includes a buffet dinner. Cost is $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers. To make reservations, visit www.mnhcoc.org or call 874-2426.

Cie was born and raised in Keanae until he entered 7th grade, when his family moved to Southern California. After attending various community colleges, he earned his associate degree and became a firefighter for the California Department of Forestry. Later he served four years in the Army and then returned to school. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in marine ecology from San Diego State University. Later he pursued a joint doctoral degree at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego. He was a recipient of a prestigious National Science Foundation grant and the first Tribal Membership Scholarship for Native Americans, Alaskans and Hawaiians, awarded by UCSD’s Office of Graduate Studies. Last year, UH-MC recruited Cie to return home to Maui to head the Ka Hikina O Ka La program

MNHCoC’s mission is “to promote and sustain Hawaiian values and culture, and enhance the socioeconomic status of Native Hawaiians in business and as individuals.” Membership is open to anyone with an interest in perpetuating the spirit of aloha through commerce, culture and community.