Skip to content

Pasifika Scholars Institute

The Pasifika Scholars Institute at the University of Utah is an intensive 5-day bridge program to support and further the education of Pacific Islander (PI) students interested in higher education. We connect PI students with resources, mentors, and programs geared towards their interests. Come with a desire to learn and leave with a better understanding of who you are and how you can serve your PI community through higher education.  
The Pasifika Scholars Institute is a collaboration with the University of Utah’s School of Transform, other Pacific Islander (PI) faculty and staff members from different departments, and local PI community leaders. The program was designed by College of Education faculty member, Dr. Kēhaulani Natsuko Vaughn. She has a long history of deep engagement with the PI community and was passionate about bringing PI students to the campus in a way that ensures their success.   
The Pasifika Scholars Institute is an intensive bridge program that aims to 1) increase retention of PI students, 2) connect PI students with resources and PI faculty, staff, and student peers on campus, and 3) develop PI students’ confidence and self-awareness. The Institute centers PI cultural knowledge to help students develop leadership knowledge and skills for success. 
Salt Lake City has the largest Tongan population of any city in the United States and West Valley City has the second. The Guamanians/Chamorros population in Utah increased 157% between 2000 and 2010; the Fijian population by 96%; and the Samoan population by 85%. That’s a lot of PI potential, and our Pasifika Scholars Institute is here to help PI students succeed and make a difference in their communities.

Learn More



Kēhaulani Natsuko Vaughn

Assistant Professor, Education, Culture & Society

Send an email


Share this article:


Last Updated: 12/12/23