Hawaii Space Grant


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Fellowships  and  Traineeships


    The Hawai‘i Space Grant Consortium expands educational opportunities for University of Hawai‘i undergraduates by awarding fellowships and traineeships in fields that are relevant to NASA's goals. Two levels of support, fellowship or traineeship, are offered depending on the skill, knowledge level, and time commitment of the student. Inquires to our office may also be made for information about the Master's Apprenticeship program for graduate students at the University of Hawai‘i. We support the national Space Grant agenda to help prepare the future generation of space scientists and engineers, and to increase the understanding and development of space. U.S. citizenship is required for consideration as a fellow, trainee, apprentice, or intern.
    Fields relevant to NASA's goals are mainly those in science, technology, and education that are focused on understanding the Earth, exploring the Solar System and the universe beyond, understanding the origin and evolution of life, understanding how life responds to space, creating a more secure, efficient, and environmentally friendly air transportation system, inspiring students to pursue careers in science, technology, and mathematics, and engaging the public in shaping and sharing the experience of exploration and discovery.
    Fellows and trainees work under the guidance of mentors who are normally faculty members. Women, under-represented minorities (specifically Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanics), and physically challenged students who have interest in space-related fields are particularly encouraged to apply.

Undergraduate APPLICATION DEADLINES are: June 15 for fall semester projects and December 1 for spring semester projects.

We have arranged the information on this page for:
      *  RockSat Traineeship Program
      Prospective Applicants
      Current Fellows and Trainees
      Former Fellows and Trainees

For Prospective Applicants

All full-time undergraduates enrolled at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, one of the University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges or University of Hawai‘i Maui College who have declared a major are eligible to apply for Fellowships. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and must be sponsored by a mentor who is willing to guide the student for the duration of the award. Fellows are expected to work between six to 15 hours a week depending on their project. Financial support includes a stipend between $2000 and $4000 per semester (amount subject to change under the discretion of the Associate Director based on the proposed project). Fellows may be eligible for up to $500 additional funds for supplies and/or travel pertinent to their projects.

All full-time undergraduates enrolled at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, one of the University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges or University of Hawai‘i Maui College are eligible to apply for Traineeships. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and must be sponsored by a mentor who is willing to guide the student for the duration of the award. Trainees enrolled at the Manoa or Hilo campuses are expected to work at least 5 to 10 hours a week depending on their project, and receive a stipend of $1500 for a semester. Trainees enrolled at one of the University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges or University of Hawai‘i Maui College receive a stipend between $1200 and $1500 for working at least 5 hours per week during the semester. Traineeships are awarded for one semester but may be renewed for a second.

NASA funding of fellows and trainees requires U.S. citizenship. Applicants must complete a formal application, submit transcripts and a letter of support from the prospective mentor.

Undergraduate application deadlines are: June 15 for fall semester and December 1 for spring semester.

Information and Applications
These pdf forms are fillable on your computer. Additional signatures are required prior to submission.

Application for Undergraduate Fellowship at Manoa and Hilo.

Application for Undergraduate Fellowship at Community Colleges and Maui College.

University of Hawai‘i WH-1 Statement of Citizenship and Federal Tax Status.

Application for Undergraduate Traineeship at Manoa and Hilo.

Application for Undergraduate Traineeship at Community Colleges and Maui College.

University of Hawai‘i WH-1 Statement of Citizenship and Federal Tax Status.

Applications are also available from Space Grant offices at Manoa (POST building room 501) or Hilo campuses, Community College campuses, and Maui College. You may call the Manoa office for more information at (808) 956-3138 or email Dr. Ed Scott at escott@higp.hawaii.edu.

Additional Information
Current NASA Strategic Plan (68-page .pdf document released in 2014.)

Listing of mentors at U.H. Manoa seeking Fellows or Trainees.

Listing of NASA and space-related resources

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at the University of Hawai‘i

Undergraduate RockSat Traineeship Program

This program is open to undergraduates at Honolulu, Kapi‘olani, Kaua‘i, and Windward Community Colleges. The traineeships are part of Project Imua, a joint faculty-student enterprise for fabricating and testing CubeSat satellite payloads.
Application deadlines are: September 30 for fall semester and December 1 for spring semester. See application for complete details.

Current Fellows and Trainees

The Spring 2015 Fellowship & Traineeship Symposium
The symposium was held Saturday, April 25, 2015 from 8am to 1:00pm at U. H. Manoa.
  [ Click to see the Agenda ]

Did you know? UH Manoa undergraduates are eligible for research grants and travel grants from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). See the UH UROP website for details and deadlines.


Spring 2015 Undergraduate Fellowships

University of Hawai‘i at Manoa:

  • James Bynes III, a senior in Electrical Engineering with previous trainee (2012) and fellowship (2013) experience, is working with mentor Dr. Gary Varner of the Department of Physics on a fiber-optic data network for a multi-institution, particle detector mission. In his project titled, "RF Over Optical Fiber Design and Implementation for the ExaVolt Antenna," James is focusing on the design and implementation of a radio frequency over fiber system to be used for data transmission in a scaled prototype of the ExaVolt balloon-embedded antenna.
  • Kathryn Hu, a senior in Mechanical Engineering, is combining her interests in engineering and chemistry working with mentor Dr. Mehrdad Ghasemi Nejhad of the Department of Mechanical Engineering to improve the efficiency of fuel cells in space applications. In her project titled, "Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube Nanoforests as Gas Diffusion Layers for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells," Kathryn is growing carbon nanotube nanoforests by a chemical vapor deposition process and evaluating their performance in the fuel cells under different operating conditions.
  • Logan Magad-Weiss, a junior in Geology and Geophysics, will work with mentor Dr. Ryan Ogliore of the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology on a cosmochemistry project involving micron-scale particles. The title of his project is "Development of Sample Mounting for Stardust Interstellar Candidates." Using test analog grains, Logan is helping to develop techniques and protocols that could be used to prepare and analyze the oxygen isotopic compositions of dust grains, returned by NASA's Stardust Mission, that are suspected to come from the contemporary interstellar dust stream.
  • Kimberly Teehera, a sophomore in Biochemistry with previous trainee experience (2014) studying lava tubes will work with mentor Dr. Norbert Schörghofer of the Institute for Astronomy and co-mentor Myriam Telus of the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology on a project titled "Secondary Minerals in Lava Tubes on Mauna Loa." Kimberly will use a variety of analysis techniques to identify minerals and chemical processes from a collection of water and rock samples. Studies of terrestrial ice-filled lava tubes are relevant to the fields of astrobiology and climate of Mars.
  • Brian Yamashiro, a senior in Physics will continue to work with mentor Dr. Veronica Bindi of the Department of Physics and Astronomy on a high energy physics project, focusing on solar energetic particles. Utilizing data from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer installed on the International Space Station, Brian's project, "Study of the Most Harmful Solar Energetic Particle for Shielding Next Human Space Flights," supports NASA's efforts to improve the prediction of large solar storms.

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo:

  • Christina Cauley, a senior in Geology and Anthropology, is continuing to work on a project titled "Remote Sensing and Geologic Map of Chegem Caldera, Russia." Using geospatial software for image processing and mapping, Christina is digitizing and registering old geologic field maps onto accurate topographic maps based on Space Shuttle–Digital Elevation Model data. She will also use the collected field data and new remote sensing data to improve the accuracy of the geologic details on the final map. Dr. Ken Hon of the Department of Geology is serving as mentor.
  • Casey Jones, a junior in Physics, will continue working with data from the UH 2.2m telescope on Mauna Kea of star-forming regions in 20 different galaxies. In his project titled, "Correcting Spectral Data from Extragalactic Star Forming Regions for Atmospheric Dispersion," Casey is working with mentor Dr. Marianne Takamiya of the Department of Physics and Astronomy to code solutions to calculate the atmospheric dispersion corrections for 33,000 spectra, apply the corrections, and rebuild the database. The corrected data allow for calculations of star formation rates.
  • Robert Ponga, a senior in Astronomy and Physics, is continuing to work with mentor Dr. Kathy Cooksey of the Department of Physics and Astronomy to characterize the highly enriched gas surrounding distant galaxies. In his project titled, "Analysis of Strong Triply Ionized Carbon Systems in Galaxy Halos," Robert is using a suite of software programs to model spectral data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, looking in particular for heavy-element enrichment of the gas.
  • Jasmin Silva, a sophomore in Astronomy and Physics, will combine her interests in astronomy, physics, and math to study the gaseous structure surrounding galaxies and its evolution with time. In her project titled, "Understanding Galactic Evolution through Absorption," Jasmin is using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to construct and analyze composite absorption-line spectra of the cosmic web. Dr. Kathy Cooksey of the Department of Astronomy and Physics is serving as mentor.

Spring 2015 Undergraduate Trainees

University of Hawai‘i at Manoa:

  • Rachel Chang, a senior in Global Environmental Science, will work on a project titled "Investigating Sea-Level Rise and Shoreline Change with Satellites" with mentor Dr. Peter Mouginis-Mark of the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. Rachel will gain experience with coastal geomorphology, tide data, and remote sensing data relevant to shoreline change for areas vulnerable to reshaping and flooding caused by rise in sea levels.

Imua RockSat Trainees:
Working together on "UHCC Collaborative Approach to Designing, Fabricating, Assembling, and Testing a Scientific Payload for Launch Onboard RockSat-X"

  • From Honolulu CC: Matthew Mau, Debora Pei, Suraj Mehta
  • From Kapi'olani CC: Kalaimoana Garcia, Mitch Mikami, Jackson Pascablo
  • From Kaua‘i CC: Nicholas Herrman, Marcus Yamaguchi, Amber Mokelke, Eric Rita, Brennen Sprenger
  • From Windward CC: Elena Barbour, Kalanikapu Copp, Keith Nakamatsu, Cale Mechler, Madori Rumpungworn

Kapi‘olani Community College:

  • Matthew Domenichelli, Joshua Faumuina, Erin Hashimoto, Vincent Nguyen, Bryson Racoma, and Po‘okela Stillman Reyes are working on a CanSat team with mentor Dr. Hervé Collin of the Math and Sciences Department.

Kaua‘i Community College:

  • Steven Westerman is working on a project titled, "Operation and Maintenance of Kaua‘ CC's Ground Facility."

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Former Fellows and Trainees


Archive of Former Undergraduate Fellows and Trainees
Fall 2014 | Spring 2014 | Fall 2013 | Spring 2013 | Fall 2012 | Spring 2012 | Fall 2011 | Spring 2011 | Fall 2010 | Spring 2010 | Fall 2009 | Spring 2009 | Fall 2008 | Spring 2008 | Fall 2007 | Spring 2007 | Fall 2006 | Spring 2006 | Fall 2005 | Spring 2005 | Fall 2004 | Spring 2004 | Fall 2003 | Spring 2003 | Fall 2002 | Spring 2002 | Fall 2001 | Spring 2001 | Fall 2000 | Spring 2000 | Fall 1999 | Spring 1999 | Fall 1998 | Spring 1998 | Fall 1997 | Spring 1997 | Fall 1996 | Spring 1996 | Fall 1995 | Spring 1995 | Fall 1994 | Spring 1994 | Fall 1993 | Spring 1993 | Fall 1992 | Spring 1992 | Fall 1991 | Spring 1991 | Fall 1990 |

For Mentors

General Guidelines
    Serving as a mentor for an undergraduate Space Grant fellow is one of the most effective educational activities a researcher or faculty member can do. Mentoring a student in his or her research project can provide that extra spark that makes a dramatic difference in the life of a young person and in their approach to learning. The research experience also enhances a student's education and shows how science and engineering are really done, much more than class and laboratory assignments can ever do.

    To help prospective and existing mentors with this important job, the Hawai‘i Space Grant Consortium offers these guidelines.

Research Ohana. If you have a large research group, feel free to share mentoring responsibilities with graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Much science is done by groups, so this adds to the research experience, as long as the undergraduate fellow has his or her own, identifiable project. It is also acceptable for a postdoc, research associate, or specialist to be a mentor. If a mentor has two or more fellows, be sure that each has an identifiable project, even if the projects are related. For example, one student could develop hardware, the other software on an engineering design project.

Space Connection. Space Grant is a NASA-funded project, and everything it does must have a clear connection to space science or aerospace engineering. Thus, mentors must be sure that their students remember to discuss the link with space science or aerospace engineering, especially when writing proposals and requests for renewals, giving talks at our undergraduate fellowship symposium, and preparing their final reports.

Student's time commitment. Please remember that our fellows are undergraduates, not graduate students. They are full-time students, usually taking five courses. Consequently, they should not be expected to work more than about 15 hours per week. Sometimes a key challenge for a mentor is to be sure their fellow does not neglect his or her other school work as they become engrossed in their research project!

Laboratory duties. Our fellows are doing research projects. They are not student employees hired to clean the lab, run the copy machine, or do clerical work. Of course, everyone working in a laboratory is expected to do his or her share of laboratory maintenance, but we want to be sure that space grant fellows are treated as researchers, not non-technical employees.

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Hawaii Space Grant homepage link

Communications: Linda Martel
Updated: April 27, 2015.