Ho'omau Foundation's scholarship program supports Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) attending college and are active in the NHPI community, through mentorship and networking opportunities. Through our support for both academic success and the perpetuation of culture, we will help recipients succeed in their endeavors while maintaining and growing their cultural ties and identity. We aim to support their transition to college, nurture their cultural identity, and ensure they, along with more NHPIs, have opportunities and representation in prestigious fields.

We are excited to announce that we are awarding eight scholarships for the school year 2021/2022! We are renewing scholarships for three returning students and awarding five to new recipients. In total, we've awarded thirteen scholarships in two years.

Our Recipients are receiving the Kamery Lee Jr. Scholarship for demonstrating dedication to perpetuate the NHPI culture, entrepreneurship, perseverance, and aloha.

Kainoa Azama-Sophomore at University of Hawaii Manoa, O’ahu

Kainoa is studying Political Science with the intention of being an advocate, voice, and major contributor to changes in law, politics, agriculture, and the environment. Kainoa didn’t stay quiet during the pandemic, in fact, it fueled his passions and motivated him to work even harder. He formed youth organizations, joined ʻike Hawaiʻi based clubs, became a Director at the Koʻolaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club (KPHCC), and he is the unofficial volunteer-coordinator for the Koʻolau Foundation.

Hoʻohila Kawelo-Freshman at Cornell University, NY

Ho’ohila is an incoming Freshman and will study Environment and Sustainability at Cornell University. Ho’ohila plans to develop her voice in order to speak for native Hawaiian species and to preserve the biodiversity of Hawaiʻi. She hopes to disrupt environmental degradation by establishing a sustainable relationship between humans and nature. Growing up, Ho’ohila developed a great respect for natural resources through food consumption, lei-making, and learning cultural practices. She and her parents spend time together protecting, rescuing, and relocating Hawaiian snails, birds, and other wildlife.

Kilihea Kanekoa-Freshman at Southern Virginia University, VA

Kilehea will attend Southern Virginia University to study Medical Social Work and play soccer for the school. She has witnessed firsthand the importance of Medical Social Workers and recognizes the comfort, guidance, and assistance they provide to families. In addition to being an athlete, Kilihea spends time as a Youth Counselor at Kauai Resilience, sharing the importance of healthy food choices and lifestyle habits.

Ariell Siliado- Freshman at University of Hawaii, Hilo

Ariell will attend University of Hawaii, Hilo for her undergraduate studies in Biology. Her long-term goal is to become an OBGYN on her home island of Kaua’i. She feels there are not enough female doctors to support the local women and wants to bring a level of comfort to her community. Ariell has been active with many organizations including several Kamehameha Schools programs like Explorations, Ipukukui, and Kamehameha Scholars. Through her participation with Explorations, she has had opportunities to witness the rejuvenation of ancient halau and mahi ‘ai on both Kaua’i and O’ahu. Ariell has also assisted in caring for local fishponds, harvesting food at the local farms, and learning how to cultivate and use native Hawaiian remedies.

Hepua Sorensen-Freshman at Loyola Marymount University, CA

Hepua will attend Loyola Marymount University to study Theatre Arts and Screenwriting. As a Native Hawaiian born and raised in Hawaii, she understands the heart-wrenching effects of years of oppression amongst Hawaiians. This has inspired her to utilize her love for performing arts and storytelling to promote the process of healing for Native Hawaiians. Hepua is learning the Hawaiian language as a way to expand her cultural knowledge and a way to connect with her ancestors and perpetuate Hawaiian culture.

Returning Recipients

Kyla Rae Paglinawan-Sophmore at University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Oahu

Kyla Rae is doing big things! She is continuing her education in Hawaiian Studies and Sociology. Kyla Rae was an intern for an organization focusing on improving Hawaiian health and well-being. She continues her work caring for the ‘āina and becoming an expert in Hawaiian language.

Misimatoka Unutoa-Junior at University of Hawaii at Manoa, Oahu

Misimatoka is studying Mechanical Engineering with an Aerospace Engineering concentration and is focused on becoming the first American Samoan Aerospace Engineer at NASA. Misi puts his energy towards STEM programs for youth and is a member of the Native Hawaiian Science and Mentorship Program (NHSEMP) and a former mentor at Lanai High and Elementary school (LHES). Misi’s goal is to pave the way for more Pacific Islanders to take up STEM careers.

Tehani Buchanan-Sophomore at University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Oahu

Tehani is studying Business Management with aspirations of being a voice and advocate for women entrepreneurs. Her goal is to empower the younger generation, especially young women, and give them the confidence to pursue their dreams and careers. Tehani is actively learning the Hawaiian language to strengthen her cultural ties. Every chance she gets, you can find her at her family’s fish pond on Moloka’i caring for the ‘āina (land).