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. Most mentors are faculty at the University but senior researchers or other qualified personnel at UH or elsewhere are eligible. Fellows are expected to work between six and 15 hours a week during the semester 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 email@example.com.
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
Application deadlines are: September 30 for fall semester and December 1 for spring semester. See application for complete details.
Undergraduate RockSat Traineeship Program
This program is open to undergraduates at Honolulu, Kapiolani, Kauai, and Windward Community Colleges. The traineeships are part of Project Imua, a joint faculty-student enterprise for fabricating and testing CubeSat satellite payloads.
Current Fellows and Trainees
The Fall 2016 Fellowship & Traineeship Symposium
The symposium will be held on Saturday, November 19, 2016.
Fall 2016 Undergraduate Fellowships
University of Hawaii at Manoa:
- Yosef Ben Gershom, a junior in Mechanical Engineering, is working with mentor Dr. Weilin Qu of the Department of Mechanical Engineering on a project to improve spacecraft thermal control that includes Fellow Brialyn Onodera and builds on work by former Space Grant Fellows. Yosef plans to design and build a new dynamic testing apparatus as part of his project, "Simulation of Microgravity Conditions through Dynamic Testing of a Two-Phase Microchannel Heat Sink Cooling Loop for Spacecraft Thermal Control."
- Kaimi Kahihikolo, a sophomore Astrophysics and Mathematics double major, is working with mentor Dr. Geoffrey Mathews of the Department of Physics and Astronomy on a project titled "Thieving Stars Caught by Kepler: A Search for Intermittent Accretors in Kepler Binary Systems." Kaimi will use data from the 2.0m Faulkes telescope on Haleakala to study three binary star systems to test his hypothesis that brightening events detected by the Kepler telescope are due to two stars accreting. This work supports efforts to better understand mechansims of Type Ia supernovae and the theory of dark energy accelerating the expansion of the universe.
- Lauren Mathews, a senior in Global Environmental Science, continues to 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 "Nutrition and Elemental Stoichiometry of Zooplankton Life Stages in Warming Tropical Oceans" is relevant to future modeling of oceanic carbon storage and carbon exchange among the ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere.
- Brialyn Onodera, a junior in Mechanical Engineering, is working on the "Construction and Implementation of a Two-Phase Microchannel Heat Sink in a Cooling Loop for Spacecraft Thermal Control." This study is in partnership with Fellow Yosef Ben Gershom and builds on work by former Space Grant Fellows under the mentorship of Dr. Weilin Qu of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Brialyn aims to improve the design and test the components of a prototype cooling loop for maximum efficiency.
- Heather Situ, a junior in Electrical Engineering, is working on the "Investigation of Ultralight Carbon Nanomaterials for Space-Related Applications." Her mentors are Dr. Klaus Sattler of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Dr. Murli Manghnani of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP). Heather is investigating the physical and chemical properties of synthesized carbon nanofoams using Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometry.
- Bryan Yamashiro, a senior in Physics, is working with mentor Dr. Philip von Doetinchem of the Department of Physics and Astronomy on a project modeling cosmic-ray trajectories through Earth's magnetic field. Utilizing data from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer installed on the International Space Station, Brian's project, "Improving the Geomagnetic Cutoff Modeling for Cosmic-Ray Research," supports NASA's efforts to better understand the high-energy universe.
University of Hawaii at Hilo:
- Alexander Hedglen, a senior Astronomy and Physics double major, is working with mentor Dr. Mark Chun of the Institute for Astronomy on "Designing and Implementing an Adaptive Optics Demonstrator." Following his previous Traineeships learning astronomical data reduction and processing, Alexander is now working on the opto-mechanical design and software applications for the 0.7-meter-telescope adaptive optics system in the new UH Hilo Hoku Kea Observatory.
- Nicolette Thomas, a junior Biology and Astrophysics double major, is working with mentor Dr. Michael Shintaku of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management on a plant study relevant to habitability and in-situ resource utilization on Mars. Nicolette is conducting transgenic plant work as part of her project "Metabolic Engineering of Plants for Detoxification of Martian Regolithic Perchlorate."
- Travis Thieme, a junior Astronomy and Physics double major, is researching "Small-Scale Physical Properties of Nebulae in Nearby Disk Galaxies" with mentor Dr. R. Pierre Martin of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Travis is using data from an imaging spectrometer at the 3.6-meter Canada-France-Hawaii telescope on Maunakea to study emission lines to better understand massive star formation and chemical enrichment processes in spirals.
Fall 2016 Undergraduate Trainees
University of Hawaii at Manoa:
- Brandon Watson, a junior in Mechanical Engineering, is working with mentor Dr. Robert Jedicke of the Institute for Astronomy on a project using automated telescopic surveys to discover and characterize near-Earth asteroids. In his project, "Finding the Ideal Asteroid for In Situ Resource Utilization and Human Missions," Brandon will gain experience with the moving object processing system of the Pan-STARRS telescope on Haleakala.
University of Hawaii at Hilo:
- Darly Albano, a junior in Computer Science, is working with mentor John Hamilton of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Darly's project "Programming, Communications, and Robot Autonomy" is in support of the mining robot being constructed for a NASA competition at the Kennedy Space Center that fosters innovative robotic excavation concepts for future missions.
- Callie Crowder, a senior Astronomy and Physics double major, is working with mentor Dr. R. Pierre Martin of the Department of Physics and Astronomy on a project titled "Integration and Commissioning of the new UH Hilo Hoku Kea Observatory." Callie is working on the integration of software and hardware components of the new 0.7-meter telescope that will be used for education and outreach.
- Carli Hand, a senior in Mathematics, is working on the "Electrical Setup and Control of a Mining Robot" with mentor Marc Roberts of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Carli's work on the electro-mechanical and communications systems supports UH Hilo's entry in NASA's robotic mining competition.
- Chantelle Kiessner, a sophomore Astronomy and Physics double major, is working with mentor Dr. Kathy Cooksey of the Department of Physics and Astronomy on "Profile Fitting Absorption-Line Spectra of Circumgalactic Gaseous Structure." Chantelle will gain experience with the specialized software and programming needed to analyze spectra to characterize the extended gaseous halos of distant galaxies.
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Former Fellows and Trainees
Archive of Former Undergraduate Fellows and Trainees and their Final Reports
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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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