The Hawai‘i Space Grant Consortium expands educational opportunities for University of Hawai‘i System undergraduates by awarding University Research Internships, HSGC URI, (formerly known as Fellowship and Traineeship Program) in fields that are relevant to NASA's goals. Two levels of support, research or trainee, are offered depending on the skill, knowledge level, and time commitment of the student. 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.

Fields relevant to NASA's goals are defined in its current Strategic Plan. These fields are mainly those in science, technology, and education that are focused on understanding the Earth, exploring the Solar System and the universe beyond, creating more secure, efficient, and environmentally friendly air transportation systems, inspiring students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and engaging the public in shaping and sharing the experience of exploration and discovery.

HSGC University Research Internship students work under the guidance of mentors who are usually 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.

Prospective Applicants title.

HSGC URI Research Internship

All full-time undergraduates enrolled at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Hilo, Maui College, one of the University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges, and University of Guam who have declared a major are eligible to apply for HSGC URI Research Internships. 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. HSGC URI Research Internship students are expected to work between 10 and 15 hours a week during the semester depending on their project. Financial support includes a one-semester stipend of $4000, renewable for a second semester for a total of $8000 per academic year. A travel and supply budget of $500 per semester will be available for each student.

HSGC URI Trainee Internship

All full-time undergraduates enrolled at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Hilo, Maui College, one of the University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges, and University of Guam are eligible to apply for HSGC URI Trainee Internships. 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. HSGC URI Trainee Internship students are expected to work between 5 and 10 hours a week during the semester depending on their project. Financial support includes a one-semester stipend of $1500, renewable for a second semester for a total of $3000 per academic year. Or a one-semester Trainee Internship at $1500 can be extended into a second semester Research Internship at $4000 for a total award of $5500 per academic year. A travel and supply budget of $250 per semester is available for Trainee Internships and $500 per semester is available for Research Internships.

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Fall 2022 HSGC URI Research Students

Aláine  Lee

Aláine Lee

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Project Title: “Simulating the recovery of starburst and AGN parameters in the far-infrared with SPICE (Space Interferometer for Cosmic Evolution)”
Mentor: Dr. Duncan Farrah, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Aláine Lee, a sophomore studying Astrophysics, is researching the SPICE mission’s capacity to recover starburst and AGN parameters, including luminosities, star formation rates, and black hole accretion rates within infrared-luminous galaxies. SPICE (Space Interferometer for Cosmic Evolution) is a NASA space-based far-infrared mission that aims to improve prior far-infrared observatories.

Ashten Akemoto

Ashten Akemoto

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Project Title: Multi-Agent Transfer Learning using Visual Teach and Repeat”
Mentor: Dr. Frances Zhu, Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology

Ashten Akemoto, a junior in Computer Engineering, is continuing his research on developing visual teach and repeat (VTR) algorithms. These algorithms provide significant navigation capabilities for robotics systems and future space missions regarding the maintenance and development of lunar bases.

Bret Witt

Bret Witt

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Title: “A Comprehensive Terramechanics System Identification Method, Model, and Simulation”
Mentor: Dr. Frances Zhu, Hawaiʻi Flight Space Laboratory

Bret Witt, a junior studying Computer Science, is continuing his work to design a Neural Network-based system. This system allows rovers to utilize sensor data to identify terrain characteristics. More specifically, this system analyzes how soil interacts with the rover’s wheels to make conclusions about its properties.

Hershel Weiner

Hershel Weiner

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Project Title: “Simulation of the Influence of Structural Materials on the GAPS Antinuclei Identification”
Mentor: Dr. Philip von Doetinchem, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Hershel Weiner, a junior studying Astrophysics, is continuing his research on secondary particle fluxes created by the collisions of cosmic rays in the General AntiParticle Spectrometer (GAPS). The GAPS should launch in late 2022 to probe an unknown detection channel of dark matter. His studies aim to aid the GAPS in its analysis of the unexplored area.

Matthew Leonard

Matthew Leonard

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Project Title: “Development of a Space-based Spectrometer to study the Sun’s Corona”
Mentor: Dr. Miguel Nunes, Hawaiʻi Flight Space Laboratory

Matthew Leonard, a junior studying Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Aerospace, is contributing to developing a space-based coronagraph. This device will help analyze the behavior of the Sun’s corona. The corona consists of constantly changing plasma or hot ionized gas. His main work as a software engineer is to assist in the calibration of instruments and sourcing of material.

Matthew Madayag

Matthew Madayag

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Project Title: “Development of a Space-based Spectrometer to study the Sun’s Corona”
Mentor: Dr. Miguel Nunes, Hawaiʻi Flight Space Laboratory

Matthew Madayag, a junior studying Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Aerospace, is contributing to developing a space-based coronagraph. This device will help analyze the behavior of the Sun’s corona. The corona consists of constantly changing plasma or hot ionized gas. His work will focus on developing the mechanical aspects of the coronagraph.

Matthew Paulino

Matthew Paulino

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Title:  “Development of a Space-based Spectrometer to study the Sun’s Corona”
Mentor: Dr. Miguel Nunes, Hawaiʻi Flight Space Laboratory

Matthew Paulino, a junior studying Mechanical Engineering, is contributing to developing a space-based coronagraph. This device will help study the behavior of the Sun’s corona. The corona consists of constantly changing plasma or hot ionized gas. His work involves mechanical and software development of the coronagraph. He also assists with lab tests and supports field testing for this instrument.

Applications & Important Forms Title

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

Use the application for your current campus you are enrolled at. The application forms, for HSGC URI Research or Trainee awards, are fillable PDFs to be completed digitally and printed. Signatures are required prior to submission.

Applications are also available from Space Grant offices at Mānoa (POST building room 501) or Hilo campuses, Maui College, and the Community College campuses. You may call the Mānoa office for more information at (808) 956-3138 or refer to the HSGC Personnel page, or email hsgc@spacegrant.hawaii.edu.

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

Additional Information from NASA

Mentors title.

General Guidelines

Serving as a mentor for an undergraduate HSGC URI student is one of the most effective educational activities a researcher or faculty member can do. Mentoring a student in his or her research or trainee 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 HSGC URI 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 student 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 HSGC URI students, 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 extending projects, giving talks at our undergraduate symposium, and preparing their final reports.

Student's Time Commitment 

Please remember that our HSGC URI students 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 the undergraduate student does not neglect his or her other school work as they become engrossed in their research project!

Laboratory Duties

HSGC URI students are doing research or trainee 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 HSGC URI students are treated as researchers, not non-technical employees.

Former Fellows and Trainees title.

Looking for Past Participant Information?

Information about our previous participants have been archived! Click the button below to view our entire listing of former undergraduate fellows, trainees, and interns.

Forms

Required: LTS Tracking Form (fillable online)

NASA requires that we gather data on the education and employment history of current and former participants in our HSGC URI programs. Your help will enable us to improve our programs and assists us in seeking new funding to continue our operations to support student research and to conduct additional programs. The information that you provide here will be kept private and not shared with anyone except NASA, our sponsor.

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Share Your Success Story!

Have a Story to Share?

If you are a past participant and have an interest in sharing how our Space Grant program has benefited you, we would love to hear from you. By doing so, you can help spread the word to others how NASA's efforts in promoting education have made an impact on all our participants - like you! If interested, please contact us at hsgc@spacegrant.hawaii.edu with a Subject Line of "Success Story."

Fellow Jeff Kleyner.

Previous Final Reports

Final Reports written by Space Grant's participants (2005 - 2014) are available online for viewing on ScholarSpace. Click the button to view their work in booklets, released by year.