Sixth grader, Jonathan Young examines his own DNA.

Homeschooling is a growing national trend. Two million students nationally are home schooled*, and an estimated 5,907 of Hawaii’s keiki were homeschooled during 2010-2011. Education in the STEM disciplines is often one of the hardest subject areas for even the most committed parent or homeschooling network to address, with few parents having access to fully equipped science labs and expensive equipment. Homeschoolers from a Makiki-based science class, put together by Nicole Guiles, a member of New Hope Homeschool Co-op, were invited to Chaminade University’s state of the art biology labs. The University’s successful “I Am a Scientist” STEM outreach program has now been extended from its service to public and private elementary schools into the homeschooling community

On February 21, under the supervision of faculty, research associates, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows from Chaminade’s Health Disparities research laboratories, 26 students (and their parents) participated in our “Gene Genius” genetics module where they extracted and collected their own DNA and took it home in a little glass vial, learned about the genetic code and the future of genomics in medicine and forensic science.  “As well as gaining hands-on science skills in a modern lab environment” explained Chaminade’s dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Dr. Helen Turner. ” We feel it is important for the homeschoolers to be exposed to the role models of our science undergraduates, students pursuing their PhD and researchers who are devoting their careers to studying health issues in Hawaii such as obesity.”

The “I am a scientist” program is available to come to a school near you. Funded by the National Science Foundation, and the Air Force Research Laboratory, and under the direction of Chaminade researcher Lori Shimoda (, the program is available to deliver classroom or assembly style programs at no cost to the host school or community group.

*National Home Education Research Institute

**The Hawaii Independent


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   Media Contact: Kapono Ryan
HONOLULU—February 26, 2013       Office (808) 735-4797