Categorized | Education, News

Kohala Center scholarship honors Bakken


The Board of Directors of The Kohala Center celebrated Earl E. Bakken’s 85th birthday Jan. 10 by establishing a science and engineering scholarship program for Hawaii Island high school students.

The Earl E. Bakken Science and Engineering Scholarship Award for gifted Big Island youth will be used to support students who attend high school science, engineering, and mathematics programs at universities affiliated with The Kohala Center, such as Brown University and Cornell University.

“This scholarship award allows talented Hawaii Island youth to learn with others from a select pool of young leaders in the national and international arena,” said Matt Hamabata, executive director of The Kohala Center. “The Kohala Center currently sends Hawaii Island high school students to summer engineering and environmental studies programs at Brown and Cornell; and we are negotiating with other universities for more world-class opportunities for Hawaii’s youth.”

Bakken, a noted philanthropist who supports education and healthcare on the Big Island, led island visionaries in 2001 to create The Kohala Center, an independent academic institute with a focus on research and education that engages the Big Island as a research and learning laboratory for the environment.

“Bakken has been enormously generous to island communities, and we want to extend that generosity by supporting his interest in recognizing excellence among our high school students, especially in the sciences,” said Roberta Fujimoto Chu, president of The Kohala Center’s Board of Directors.

Scholarship opportunities are available through regular application processes for programs that The Kohala Center offers with its university partners.

For more information about scholarship opportunities, contact Samantha Birch at or call 808-887-6411.

In its daily work, The Kohala Center builds teaching and research programs that help communities on Hawaii Island, in the Pacific, and around the world to thrive—ecologically, economically, socially, and culturally. The Kohala Center ensures that all Western teaching and research programs it sponsors are oriented to the spiritual and cultural landscape of Hawaii Island.

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