By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer

After hearing about the Kaʻieʻie Program through a co-worker, physics professor, and from walking past the big blue banners that were posted by the ʻŌhiʻa cafeteria, former KCC student Skye Nakamura knew that she just had to find out more about this program.

Skye Nakamura is finishing her second year at UH Mānoa after transferring there through the Kaʻieʻie Program. (Photo by Lexus Yamashiro)

Nakamura joined the Kaʻieʻie Program at the beginning of her Fall 2016 semester since she knew that she wanted to transfer to UH Mānoa. She made an appointment with Jennifer Brown, the Kaʻieʻie Transfer Specialist, and after successfully completing the required documents needed in order to join the program, Nakamura is now finishing her second year at UH Mānoa and majoring in mechanical engineering.

“Getting into the program was easy with Jennifer,” Nakamura said. “ … She walked me through everything [that] I needed to do as far as the acceptance process with Mānoa, and even the follow-up advising regarding what [courses] you’re registering for.”

The deadline to apply for Kaʻieʻie is March 1 for students who are planning to attend UH Mānoa in Fall 2017 or later. Students who are interested in the program must do one of the following: attend an SOS Kaʻieʻie Workshop in the Lama library (Feb. 16 and 27 are the last two workshops available), make an appointment with Jennifer Brown or Gemma Williams, or see any other counselor in the MKC.

Nakamura said that she was pleased to hear about automatic acceptance and that the program accepted students who have a 2.0 GPA. She was able to meet all of the eligibility requirements, which involve the following:

  • Complete 24 transferable credits, or have completed 12 transferable credits and currently be enrolled in courses at KCC
  • Have at least a 2.0 GPA (international students need at least a 2.5 GPA)
  • International students must complete an ENG 100 or ESL 100 course or have valid TOEFL scores
  • Must have one more semester left to complete at KCC
  • Must declare a UH Mānoa major
  • Must be working on their first BA degree and not have a previous one from another institution
  • Must not be on probation, suspension, or dismissal from UH Mānoa

Kaʻieʻie was designed to help students have a smooth and successful transfer from KCC to the UH Mānoa. In an SOS workshop, Gemma Williams, the Kaʻieʻie Program Coordinator, explained that the term “kaʻieʻie” comes from the name of a channel that runs between Kauaʻi and Oʻahu, and that “ʻieʻie” is a native plant that softens koa wood to build canoes.

Giving the program the name “kaʻieʻie” helps to represent an agreement between UH Mānoa and KCC, therefore, shaping the purpose of the program as a transfer pathway. Williams added that the program is metaphorically designed to help students build their own canoe so that they can travel from KCC to UH Mānoa successfully.

Brynn Yorita is a student ambassador for the Kaʻieʻie Program and majoring in family resources. (Photo courtesy of Brynn Yorita)

Former KCC student Brynn Yorita is a student ambassador for the Kaʻieʻie Program and is now in her fourth year at UH Mānoa. Yorita transferred from KCC to UH through the Kaʻieʻie Program during the Fall 2015 semester, where she is currently studying family resources.

Yorita completed her first year at KCC when she decided that she wanted to transfer to UH Mānoa. She kept in close contact with her Maida Kamber Center (MKC) counselor, Stephen Harris, who she would discuss her classes with and how she would eventually transfer out of KCC.

“I actually didn’t know … the process or the different ways to transfer,” Yorita said. “… [Harris] suggested the Kaʻieʻie Program to me; … that’s actually how I found out about it.”

From there Yorita went through the process of applying for Kaʻieʻie, which she said went smoothly for her. She was glad that she not only came across a program that could help her transfer to UH Mānoa easily, but in general that she was told about a program that could get her to transfer out of KCC to a university.

Being a part of Kaʻieʻie also helped Yorita to become comfortable with the new campus. She recognized that UH Mānoa’s campus is a lot bigger compared to KCC and that there would be more students. However, through the program, she was able to seek guidance in the opportunities that UH Mānoa had to offer for her.

“Definitely pay attention to deadlines … and be open-minded,” Yorita said. “UH Mānoa has a lot of opportunities … [and] they have a lot of really encouraging and supportive professors. You want to take advantage of getting yourself out there.”

For more information contact:
Jennifer Brown at or book an appointment at
Gemma Williams at

Visit the Maida Kamber Center in ʻIlima 104 or email
Walk-in hours are on Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.