The Hawaii Space Grant Consortium expands educational opportunities for University of Hawaii 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 Hawaii. 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.
For Prospective Applicants
All full-time undergraduates enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Hawaii at Hilo, one of the University of Hawaii Community Colleges or University of Hawaii 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 Hawaii at Manoa, University of Hawaii at Hilo, one of the University of Hawaii Community Colleges or University of Hawaii 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 Hawaii Community Colleges or University of Hawaii 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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Hawaii
Current Fellows and Trainees
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 2014 Undergraduate Fellowships
University of Hawaii at Manoa:
- Eric Caldwell, a senior in Mechanical Engineering, will continue working with mentor Dr. Aaron Hanai of the Kapi'olani Community College Math and Sciences Department and Fellows Lee Do and Arvin Niro on an autonomous rover. Eric's work includes the design and construction of the rover as well as electrical circuit modeling in his project, titled "Design, Analysis, and Manufacturing of a Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) Simulation for the Modeling of an Autonomous Traction Control Apparatus."
- Lee Do, a junior in Mechanical Engineering, will continue working with mentor Dr. Aaron Hanai of the Kapi'olani Community College Math and Sciences Department and Fellows Eric Caldwell and Arvin Niro on an autonomous rover. Lee's project, "Design, Analysis, and Manufacture of an Active Control Panel with Vibration Suppression on an Autonomous Interplanetary Rover" focuses on reducing vibrations between the rover chassis and electronics board for optimal performance.
- Steven Ewers, a senior in Electrical Engineering, will lead the design of the electrical and power-monitoring systems for the Kapiolani Community College's rover entry to NASA's international Robotics Mining Competition at Kennedy Space Center. Steven will conduct his project titled, "Robotics for the Design of a Competition Mining Robot with the Purpose of Excavating Simulated Martian Regloith" with mentor Dr. Hervé Collin of the Kapiolani Community College Math and Sciences Department.
- Jessica Lee, a junior in Computer Science and Korean, will continue working on her project titled "Tools for Infrared Imaging on Mauna Kea" with mentor Dr. Norbert Schorghofer of the Institute for Astronomy. Jessica's project combines programming and instrument building as part of an infrared remote sensing project on microclimates and permafrost in cinder cones near the summit of Mauna Kea. The Hawaiian sites may serve as terrestrial microclimate analogs for Mars.
- Liem Nguyen, a senior in Physics, will lead the mechanical design of a regolith collection, storage, and deposit system for the Kapiolani Community College's rover entry to NASA's international Lunabotics Mining Competition at Kennedy Space Center. Liem is conducting his project titled, "Design of a Regolith Collection-Storage-Deposit System for Hawaii Lunabot" with mentor Dr. Hervé Collin of the Kapiolani Community College Math and Sciences Department.
- Arvin Niro, a junior in Mechanical Engineering, will be working with mentor Dr. Aaron Hanai of the Kapiolani Community College Math and Sciences Department and Fellows Eric Caldwell and Lee Do on an autonomous rover. Arvin's work will include the design and construction of an efficient suspension system in his project, titled "Design and Development of a Suspension System used in Rough-Terrain Vechicle Control for Vibration Suppression in Planetary Exploration."
- Melissa Onishi, a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering, will continue to work with mentor Dr. Dilmurat Azimov of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. With the aim of increasing the landing accuracy of robotic rovers on planetary surfaces, Melissa is writing and testing algorithms to simulate landing trajectories for autonomous, powered descent that is as fuel-efficient and precise as possible. Her project is titled, "Analysis of Landing Trajectory Using Backward Propagation."
- Roberto Ramilo Jr., a junior in Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science, will work on a project titled "The Estimation of Daytime Sleepiness for Astronauts" with mentor Dr. Hervé Collin of the Kapiolani Community College Math and Sciences Department. By combining qualitative data with his new approach of measuring fluctuations of pupil diameter, Roberto is collecting quantitative data from student test subjects to establish benchmarks for problematic sleepiness, which could someday be applied to fitness assessments of astronauts on duty.
University of Hawaii at Hilo:
- Andrew McNichols, a senior in Physics and Astronomy, will continue working with his mentor Dr. Jesse Goldman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Fellow Robert Pipes on a detector of elementary subatomic particles. Andrew is using it to measure the energy and angular dependence of cosmic-ray muons on the slopes of Mauna Kea. The title of his project is "Variable Altitude Muon Detection and Energy Dependence of Cosmic-Ray Muons."
- Robert Pipes, a senior in Physics and Astronomy, has set up and calibrated a muon detection system and will continue to use it to investigate the angular dependence of cosmic-ray muon lifetimes as a function of altitudes between sea level and the top of Mauna Kea. Working with mentor Dr. Jesse Goldman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Fellow Andrew McNichols, Robert's project is titled "Variable Altitude Muon Detection and Angular Dependence of Cosmic Ray Muon Lifetime at Medium Altitude."
- Geoffrey Rehders, a senior in Geology, will continue working on a project titled "Hyperspectral Mapping of Alteration in Halemaumau Crater and Kilauea Caldera" using data from airborne and portable field instruments to characterize the spatial distribution of alteration minerals. Building on previous fellows' projects, this work is relevant to hypotheses on the possible ways sulfates and associated alteration deposits formed on Mars. Serving as mentor for this work is Dr. Kenneth Hon of the Department of Geology.
Spring 2014 Undergraduate Trainees
University of Hawaii at Manoa:
- Brian Chan, a sophomore in Electrical Engineering, will work on a project titled "Orthorectification of Infrared Images" with mentors Dr. Norbert Schörghofer of the Institute for Astronomy and Dr. Brendan Hermalyn of the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. This project involves geometric image mainipulation and processing of remote sensing infrared data aimed at understanding the microclimates in craters on Mauna Kea, which may be analogous to craters on Mars.
- Lauren Froberg, a junior in Geology and Geophysics, will work with mentor Dr. Michael Garcia of the Department of Geology and Geophysics on her project titled, "Submarine Lavas Discovered off Diamond Head—New Honolulu Volcano?" Lauren will investigate the mineralogy and trace element chemistry of rock samples to help determine if these are from a known or previously unidentified eruption. This work contributes to NASA's goals of characterizing the dynamics of Earth's surface and interior and forming the scientific basis for the assessment and mitigation of natural hazards.
- Jamal Garcia, a sophomore in Physics, will learn to operate the Terra X-ray diffraction & X-ray fluorescence instrument and investigate the mineralogy and chemical composition of core samples taken from the shore of a pond in Antarctica. Jamal's project, "Don Juan Pond: A Terrestrial Study of Mars Analogs" will help to evaluate hypotheses of how this pond formed, which may lead to further insights to water action on Mars. Dr. Peter Englert of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology serves as mentor.
- Kihaakeanu Sai, a sophomore in Sociology, will gain experience with satellite remote sensing data and image processing techniques in his project titled "Geology of Moons of Jupiter and Saturn." Serving as mentor for this work is Dr. Peter Mouginis-Mark of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.
- Kimberly Teehera, a freshman in Pre-Psychology, will work on a project titled "Lava Tube Microclimates on Mauna Loa" with mentor Dr. Norbert Schörghofer of the Institute for Astronomy. Kimberly will gain experience with basic data analysis techniques as well as with cave science. Studies of these ice-filled lava tubes are relevant to the fields of astrobiology and climate of Mars.
Kapiolani and Leeward Community Colleges:
- The Kapiolani Cansat team consists of William Kaeo, Michael Lee, Mitch Mikami, Robert Landgraf, Shane Spencer, Lundy Wyre, and Benjamin Barker (LCC), Brandon Fukada (LCC). The mentor is Dr. Hervé Collin of the Math and Science Department and KCC STEM Program.
Kauai Community College:
- Bransen Agu, Dominique Boeder, and Kepa Fernandes "Designing a High-Speed Data Collection System with Application to Spectrographic Neutron Detection."
- Marcus Yamaguchi, "Modification of UV Spectrometer into a Neutron Detector Using Neutron-Sensitive Scintillating Material."
Mentors for the Kauai CC students are Dr. Georgeanne Friend and Mr. Michael Hannawald of the Electronics Technology Department.
Windward Community College:
- The NASA Student Launch Project (ARLISS) team consists of Lyra Hancock, Gavin Nall, Nick Herrera, Kevin Lee, and Kristin Schupp, Ada Garcia, and Cale Mechler. Mentors are Drs. Jacob Hudson and Joe Ciotti of Windward Community College.
- Kalanikapu Copp, trainee with Dr. Mary Beth Laychak of the Natural Science Department.
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Former Fellows and Trainees
Archive of Former Undergraduate Fellows and Trainees
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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 Hawaii 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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