Hawaii Space Grant


*Workforce Development Program

*Internships in Hawai'i

*Higher Education


*Remote Sensing

*K-12 Education

*Future Flight HI

*Public Outreach

*External Relations





*Hawai‘i EPSCoR


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
      Fellows/Trainees Final Reports

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


Spring 2016 Undergraduate Fellowships

University of Hawai‘i at Manoa:

  • Aleca Borsuk, a senior in Mechanical Engineering, will work with mentor Dr. Kent Kobayashi of the Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences on a project titled "Spatial Optimization of Artificial Lighting for Space Grown Amaranthus Caudatus." Aleca is researching the effects of different artificial lighting schemes on crop yield in a controlled laboratory setting as it relates to optimal horticultural practices for growing food for astronauts during long duration missions.
  • Ryan Hendrix, a senior in Geology and Geophysics, will be working on an operational prototype of a planetary rover-mounted X-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument with mentor Dr. Przemyslaw Dera of the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. In his project, titled "Development of Terra-Hybrid: A New Generation of X-ray Diffraction Instrument for Mineralogy Research in Planetary Exploration," Ryan is helping to optimize the instrument and sample platforms, and collect XRD data from meteorites.
  • Kaimi Kahihikolo, a freshman in Astrophysics and Mathematics, will be working with mentor Dr. Hsin-Yi Shis of the Gemini Observatory on a project titled "Impacts of Radio-jet-driven Outflows on Host Galaxy Evolution." Kaimi will analyze astronomical data collected on Maunakea of three young radio galaxies in an effort to determine how the local gas clouds interact with radio jets, the mass outflow rate from the host galaxy, and the heavy element abundance of the outflowing gas.
  • Lauren Mathews, a senior in Global Environmental Science, will work with mentor Dr. Craig Nelson of the Department of Oceanography on laboratory experiments to study the interacting effects of changes in water temperature and food nutrient-quality on zooplankton growth, survival, grazing rate, and stoichiometry over a whole life cycle. Lauren's project "Tropical Zooplankton Nutrition and Stoichiometry in Response to Temperature" is relevant to future modelling of oceanic carbon storage and carbon exchange among the ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere.
  • Warren McKenzie, a senior in Geology and Geophysics, will work on a project titled, "Lava Flow Behavior on the Southeastern Flank of Elysium Mons via a Graben Cross-section" with mentor Dr. Scott Rowland of the Department of Geology and Geophysics. Using high-resolution images, topographic data, and thermal emission data of Mars obtained from orbiting NASA spacecraft, Warren will map lava flows in an effort to better understand shield volcanism on Mars.
  • Kimberly Teehera, a junior in Biochemistry with previous fellowship experience in 2015 studying the geochemistry of lava tubes on Mauna Loa, will work with mentor Dr. Norbert Schörghofer of the Institute for Astronomy on a project titled "Microbial Habitats in High-Altitude Lava Tubes." Kimberly is using a variety of analysis techniques to identify microbes or biominerals 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.
  • Matthew Yee, a senior in Computer Engineering, will work with mentor Mr. Jeremy Chan of the Hawai‘i Space Flight Laboratory on a project titled "Designing an ECU for Radiation Evironment." Matthew plans to design and test an electronic control unit and field-programmable gate array-based CPU suitable for use on planetary rovers exposed to high or variable radiation environments.

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo:

  • Kyla Defore, a senior in Geology, will continue researching the "Formation Processes of Martian Gully Systems" with mentor Dr. Jene Michaud of the Department of Geology. Kyla uses NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE images and CRISM visible and near infrared spectral data to study the location, orientation, size, and morphology of gullies. She is comparing these data with seasonal variations in Sun exposure and local environmental conditions to learn more about gully formation processes.
  • Derek Hand, a senior in Astronomy and Physics, will continue researching "Molecular Gas in Merging Galaxies" with mentor Dr. Andreea Petric of the Gemini Observatory. Derek uses multiple data sets to study the properties of the molecular gas in Luminous Infrared Galaxies. This work will test theoretical predictions of changes in the molecular gas due to merging galaxies and to activity related to super massive black holes.
  • Nicolette Thomas, a sophomore in Astronomy and Biology, is studying the "Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains" with mentor Dr. John Hamilton of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Nicolette is collecting rock samples for DNA extraction and amplification to analyze microbial populations. This Hawai‘i-based field project is an analog astrobiology investigation applicable to studies of the volcanic plains and past habitable environments on Mars.

Spring 2016 Undergraduate Trainees

University of Hawai‘i at Manoa:

  • Amber Mokelke, a junior in Electrical Engineering, is working with mentor Dr. Jeffrey Gillis-Davis of the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology in the laser space weathering laboratory. In her project, "Modeling Micrometeorite Impacts," Amber is using a spectrometer to collect data from samples under vacuum conditions that are subjected to simulated micrometeorite bombardment and space weathering.
  • Tayler Pave, a junior in Computer Engineering, is studying "Real-time Measurements using a Graphical User Interface in Correspondice to Wirelessly Transmitted Data" with mentor Dr. Trevor Sorensen of the Hawai‘i Space Flight Laboratory. Tayler will write software for a ground control station to interpret incoming telemetry from a descending payload, in support of a current CanSat project.

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo:

  • Alexander Hedglen, a junior in Astronomy and Physics, will continue working with mentor Dr. Kathy Cooksey of the Department of Physics and Astronomy on astronomical data reduction. Using his IDL and C programming skills, Alexander is processing raw images and calibration files of galaxies in optical and ultraviolet spectroscopic data in his project, "Learning Data Reduction of Astronomical Spectra."

Project 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: Kala‘imoana Garcia, Jarren Endrina, Yu Gong, and Cody Shinsato
  • From Kaua‘i CC: Nicholas Herrmann, Kaina Allard-Mahoney, Ryan Uyesono, and Brennen Sprenger
  • From Windward CC: Elena Barbour, Kalanikapu Copp, Keith Nakamatsu, Cale Mechler, Madori Rumpungworn

Hawai‘i Space Flight Laboratory—HSFL Trainees:

  • Glenn Galvizo, Christianne Izumigawa, Tina Li, Andrew Nguyen, Adrianna Saymo, and Chase Yasunaga are working on the New Mexico Sounding Rocket Team of the CubeSat Research and Development Project.

  • Aaron Nagamine and Grant Takara are working on a project titled "Development of the Next Generation of Electromagnetic Torque Rods to Control a Small Satellite."

[Top of page]

Former Fellows and Trainees


Archive of Former Undergraduate Fellows and Trainees and their Final Reports
Fall 2015 | Spring 2015 | 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.

[Top of page]

Hawaii Space Grant homepage link

Communications: Linda Martel
Updated: February 5, 2016.