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.
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.
Spring 2022 HSGC URI Research Students
Aláine LeeUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Alan McFallUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Ashten AkemotoUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Bret WittUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Hershel WeinerUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Johnny ParkeUniversity of Guam
University Rover Challenge GroupUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
VIA-SEES GroupUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Aláine Lee, a sophomore in Astrophysics, is working with mentor Dr. Eugene Magnier of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawai'i. Her work focuses on compiling data that quantify satellite streak artifacts in Pan STARRS images. The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan STARRS), is an astronomical imaging system that protects life on Earth by discovering hazardous asteroids. Her data aims to improve the efficacy of Pan STAARS.
Alan McFall, a senior in Earth Sciences, is working with mentor Dr. Przemyslaw Dera, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics & Planetology. His work analyzes sediments from Kaneohe Bay, in order to characterize amorphous minerals on the Martian surface.
Ashten Akemoto, a sophomore in computer engineering, is working with mentor Dr. Frances Zhu of the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. His work focuses on improving Gaussian Process Active (GPAL) algorithms by determining parsimonious models with the highest fit kernel for any given surface. GPAL aids autonomous robots to quickly and accurately model an unknown planetary surface.
Bret Witt, a sophomore in Computer Science, is working with mentor Dr. Frances Zhu of the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. His work aims to design a Neural Network-based system that allows rovers to utilize sensor data to identify the characteristics of terrain. More specifically, this system analyzes how soil interacts with the wheels of the rover, to make conclusions about its properties.
Hershel Weiner, a sophomore in Astrophysics, is working with mentor Philip von Doetinchem, Department of Physics and Astronomy. His work studies secondary particle fluxes created by the collisions of cosmic rays in the General AntiParticle Spectrometer (GAPS). The GAPS is scheduled to 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.
Johnny Parke, a senior in Computer Science, is working with mentor Dr. Leslie J. Aquino, College of Natural & Applied Sciences at the University of Guam. His work involves artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, which will be applied to a program that predicts the price of Bitcoin. He hopes that the cryptocurrency technology can serve as a model for supply chains in space applications.
University Rover Challenge Group
The RoSE team (Robotic Space Exploration) is developing an integrated suite of life-detection instruments featuring a multiplexed microfluidic platform, a high-resolution geological camera, and a custom Raman spectrometer to investigate in-situ mineralogical and geological sites for the presence of extant or extinct life in a simulated Martian environment for the University Rover Challenge.
Mackenzie Cammack – Senior – Mechanical Engineering
Lynzee Hoegger – Senior – Astophysics
Morgan Misra – Sophomore – Earth Science
Faith Rolark – Senior – Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Tayro Acosta-Maeda, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology
Project VIA-SEES intends to utilize one 3U CubeSat in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to measure the direct correlation between Solar Energetic Electrons (SEEs) and the variability in total reactive Nitrogen Oxides (NOy) and Ozone (O3) concentration in the mesosphere.
Leonard Matthew - Sophomore - Aerospace
Kenny Son – Junior – Mechanical Engineering
Katlynn Vicuna – Junior –Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Peter Englert, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology
Spring 2022 HSGC URI Trainee Students
Alyson WirtzKapi‘olani Community College
Ian PadgettUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Panopticon TeamUniversity of Hawai'i Maui
Project Imua TeamWindward Community College
RockSAT-X 2022 TeamHonolulu Community College
Alyson Wirtz, a sophomore in Astronomy, is working with mentor Dr. Radovan Milincic, Department of Math & Sciences, Kapiolani Community College. Her work analyzes the densities of galaxies around the galaxy cluster MS 0735.6+7421 to determine the density of one of the largest black holes in the known universe. She hopes this project will serve as a model to determine the densities of other massive black-holes.
Ian Padgett, a junior in astrophysics, is working with mentor Dr. Eugune Magnier, Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawai'i. His work focuses on assessing and improving the image stacking algorithm for the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope, which minimizes and eliminates areas of detection error from saturation effects and instrumental artifacts.
Dominic Manzano - Engineering Technology
Reinhard Salacup - Engineering Technology
Mentor: Dr. Jung Park, Dept. of Science, Tech, Electronics, and Mathematics
The team aims to help support the design, build, and test phases of a novel space surveillance system. More specifically, (1) compare and contrast different power supply options to enable remote control, (2) develop a robust leveling system, and (3) investigate VPN configurations with virtual machines to mitigate failure modes related to autonomous operations. This also includes developing a temperature sensor consisting of a custom (1) small form factor, printed circuit board, (2) 3Dprinted weatherized enclosure, and (3) and program that records and organizes data autonomously.
Project Imua Team
From Left to Right: Dr. Joseph Ciotti, Jared Estrada, Nikki Arakawa, Dr. Jacob Hudson, Quinn Patrick O'Malley
Project Imua Mission 10: The Sublimation Rocket ScubeR
The team will research the feasibility of using a sublimation–fueled motor for providing low-power vernier thrust. Cameras will record the sublimation rocket's travel distance after it is deployed from a sounding rocket at apogee. The camera data will then be used to determine the specific impulse of the sublimation fuel, Camphor.
RockSAT-X 2022 Team
RockSAT-X 2022 - IMU & Camera System
Frank Bolanos - Physics
D'Elle Martin - Environmental Design/Architecture
Caleb Yuen - Aerospace Engineering
Mentor: Dr. Shidong Kan, Department of Science
RockSat-X is an annual sounding rocket launch put on by the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. There are five full payload sections available for Universities and Community Colleges to submit their proposals. After being selected, Honolulu Community College (HonCC) in collaboration with Windward Community College (WinCC) went through a series of monthly presentations working up to the launch of our payload in August 2022 at Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia. Honolulu Community College has been working on two cameras to take videos and photos of WinCC’s Super Simple Sublimation Rocket (ScubeR). The HCC team has also been working on a Data Controller, which includes an IMU and accelerometer. IMU and the accelerometer’s measurements are used to measure the electronic payload deck, while the cameras are used to analyze the acceleration of the ScubeR.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Undergraduate application deadlines: June 15 for fall semester and December 1 for spring semester.
HSGC URI Research and Trainee Applications
Important Forms for Current Students
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:
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 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!
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.
Important Forms for Prospective Mentors
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.
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.
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 email@example.com with a Subject Line of "Success Story."
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.