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
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
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.
Fall 2014 Undergraduate Fellowships
University of Hawaii at Manoa:
- Steven Ewers, a senior in Electrical Engineering, will research microwave technology for wireless power transmission and with mentor Dr. David Garmire of the Department of Electrical Engineering. In his project titled, "Wireless Power Transfer System by Means of Microwaves," Steven will focus on designing, running simulation models, and constructing a system utilizing the 2.4 and 5.8GHz frequencies to efficiently transmit power over a range of at least 10 feet.
- Sterling Gascon, a senior in Mechanical Engineering, will put his design and manufacturing skills to work for space technology in his project titled, "Mechanical Performance of Carbon Nanotubes Nanoforests in Hierarchical Nanocomposites for Space Applications." Sterling's work on the mechanical performance of polymer/carbon nanocomposites is relevant to high-performance structures required in aeronautics, space, and robotics applications. Serving as mentor is Dr. Mehrdad Ghasemi Nejhad of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
- Kathryn Hu, a senior in Mechanical Engineering, will combine her interests in engineering and chemistry to work with mentor Dr. Mehrdad Ghasemi Nejhad of the Department of Mechanical Engineering to improve the efficiency of fuel cells in space applications by utilizing carbon nanotubes. In her project titled, "Gas Diffusion Layers for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells using Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes Nanoforests," Kathryn will process carbon nanotubes nanoforests by a chemical vapor deposition process and evaluate their performance in the fuel cells under different operating conditions.
- Arvin Niro, a senior in Mechanical Engineering, will continue working with mentor Dr. Aaron Hanai of the Kapiolani Community College Math and Sciences Department on an autonomous rover. Arvin's work includes the design and construction of an efficient suspension system in his project, titled "Design and Development of a Suspension System used in Rough-Terrain Vehicle Control for Vibration Suppression in Planetary Exploration."
- Roberto Ramilio Jr., a junior in Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science, will continue to work on "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.
- Brian Yamashiro, a senior in Physics will 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 Hawaii at Hilo:
- Christina Cauley, a senior in Geology and Anthropology, will work on a project covering "Digital Imagery and Geologic Map of Chegem Caldera, Russia." Using geospatial software for image processing and mapping, Christina will be registering and re-projecting 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. Dr. Ken Hon of the Department of Geology is serving as mentor.
- Casey Jones, a junior in Physics, will work 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 will work 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.
- Robert Ponga, a senior in Astronomy and Physics, will 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 will be 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.
Fall 2014 Undergraduate Trainees
University of Hawaii at Manoa:
- Brian Chan, a junior in Electrical Engineering, will continue working on a project titled "Orthorectification of Infrared Images" with mentors Dr. Norbert Schörghofer of the Institute for Astronomy and Dr. Brendan Hermalyn of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. This project involves geometric image manipulation 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 senior in Geology and Geophysics, will continue working with mentor Dr. Michael Garcia of the Department of Geology and Geophysics on "Submarine Lavas Discovered off Diamond Head—New Honolulu Volcano?" Lauren is investigating the mineralogy and trace element chemistry of rocks 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.
- Kihaakeanu Sai, a junior in Sociology, will continue working with satellite remote sensing data and learning image processing techniques in his project titled "Geology of Moons of Jupiter and Saturn." This semester he is studying radar images in preparation for studying Europa and Titan. Serving as mentor for this work is Dr. Peter Mouginis-Mark of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.
- Kimberly Teehera, a sophomore in Pre-Psychology, will continue her project titled "Lava Tube Microclimates on Mauna Loa" with mentor Dr. Norbert Schörghofer of the Institute for Astronomy. Kimberly is gaining experience with data analysis techniques as well as with cave science. Studies of these terrestrial ice-filled lava tubes are relevant to the fields of astrobiology and climate of Mars.
University of Hawaii at Hilo:
- William Barden, sophomore in Astronomy, will work with mentor Dr. Kathy Cooksey of the Department of Physics and Astronomy on his project titled, "Precious Metals in SDSS Quasar Spectra: Mapping Galactic Gaseous Halos." William will gain experience with IDL programming and statistics using absorption-line spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Kapiolani Community College:
- Vincent Nguyen, Bryson Racoma, and Pookela Stillman Reyes are working on a "Mini CanSat" project with mentor Dr. Hervé Collin of the Math and Sciences Department.
UH Maui College:
- Blayne Morton is working with mentor Dr. Jung Won Park of the Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology Department on a project titled "Maui Irradiance Forecasting Through Sky Imaging."
Windward Community College:
- Nick Herrera, Gavin Nall, and Cale Melcher are working on "ARLISS: A Rocket Launch for International Student Satellites" project with mentor Dr. Jacob Hudson of the Department of Natural Sciences.
Windward Community College Intern:
- Kyle Chia Twogood is working as an Imaginarium intern with mentor Dr. Joseph Ciotti of the Department of Natural Sciences.
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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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