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 2021 HSGC URI Research Students
Michael ItoUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Chinenye NdiliUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Lynzee HoeggerUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Alayna EspesethUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Samuel DobryUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Andrew BaileyUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Tyler BagnallUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Michael Ito, a junior in Math/Computer Science, is working with mentor Dr. Peter Sadowski, Department of Information and Computer Science on the project titled “A Deep Learning Approach to the Stoke’s Inversion Problem”. “Recently, the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) began producing unprecedented spectropolarimetric observations of the sun with extreme accuracy and
resolution. In comparison to traditional methods, convolutional neural networks can
quickly and more accurately make predictions. Here, we explore a number of additions
to the model that could improve performance.”
Chinenye Ndili, a sophomore in Computer Science, is working with mentor Peter Sadowski, Department of Computer Science on a project on “Detecting Ocean Phenomena from Satellites with AI”. He plans to improve upon an existing ML (Machine Learning) model in order to detect ocean images displaying phenomena. The detection of oceanic and atmospheric phenomena in Satellite Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery has many applications in fields such as remote sensing and oceanography. This project uses deep convolutional neural networks to improve upon existing methods in order to automatically detect and classify phenomena present within SAR images.
Lynzee Hoegger, a junior in Astrophysics, is working with mentor Dr. Duncan Farrah, Department of Physics and Astronomy on a project to compare the classical black hole model, based on research from the 1960s, compared with the GEODE (Generic Objects of Dark Energy) models, based on the findings of the 2019 research done at the University of Hawai’i. The aim of this project is to determine the accuracy of the classical black hole model, based on research from the 1960s, compared to one of the GeODE ( Generic Objects of Dark Energy) models, based on the findings of the 2019 research done at the University of
Alayna Espeseth, a senior in Environmental Earth Science, is working with mentor Dr. Qi Chen, Department of Geography and Geophysics on a project to evaluate the differences between the elevation data of Oahu obtained from the GEDI and the ground elevation derived from airborne lidar data, examine how terrain and canopy properties affect these differences and investigate how GEDI data is used for measuring ground elevation in tropical environments. It is expected that the proposed research project will result in improved applications of current GEDI data for terrain elevation and canopy vertical height estimation in the tropics.
Sam Dobry, a senior in Mechanical Engineering, is working with mentor Dr. Mehrdad Nejhad, Department of Engineering on a project that utilizes a commercial Liquid Deposition Modeling Machine and modifies its components to successfully Additively Manufacture ceramic nanocomposites employing our Ceramic Nano-Paste. Furthermore, research with the Hawaii Nanotechnology Laboratory will be conducted to modify the composition of our Ceramic Nano-Paste to be better suited for the liquid deposition process.
Andrew Bailey, a senior in Astrophysics, is working with mentor Dr. Peter Englert, Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology on a project evaluating the formation of Don Quixote Pond. Spectroscopic analysis of seasonal ponds in this region, such as Don Quixote Pond, increases our understanding of data collected by NASA on the red planet.
Tyler Bagnall, a Senior in Mechanical Engineering, is working with Dr. Mehrdad Nejhad of the Department of Engineering on a project to develop Continuous Fiber Ceramic Nanocomposites with the inclusion of Nanoforest I and nano-particles in a preceramic polymer to develop low-weight, low-cost, high-performance ceramic nanocomposites for the design and manufacturing of a 12U CubeSat Housing Structure.
Spring 2021 HSGC URI Trainee Students
Evan TakushiUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Blake SturgesUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Kalila PhillipsUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Evan Takushi, a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering, is working with mentor Frances Zhu, Department of Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, on a project focused on surveying and designing open-source cube satellite structures. The overall goal of the project is to research and document open-source cube satellite structures in order to optimize and design a structure for the Artemis CubeSat kit. There will be metrics involved for determining the design such as structural integrity, mass, modularity/adaptability, affordability, replicability, etc.
Blake Sturges, a sophomore in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, is working with mentor Miguel A. Nunes, Department of Geography and Geophysics to perform attitude testing and verification for a 6U Cubesat Misson. His goal is to demonstrate a way to study Earth’s properties in Long-Wave Infrared (LWIR). To do this, he plans to test the attitude determination and control systems (ADCS). The ADCS for spacecraft are responsible for maintaining the correct attitude while traveling through space. This research project verifies that these critical systems function properly.
Kalila Phillips, a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering, is working with Frances Zhu, Department of Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, on a project focused on integrating hands-on satellite lab modules for a space mission design course in the public domain. The main objective of this project is to develop an open-source textbook that revolves around a low-cost spaceflight-ready CubeSat kit. I helped develop digital lab modules by documenting the process and creating project-based learning activities and labs that are based on the Artemis CubeSat kit, a Hawai’i Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL) project to go alongside the space mission design open-source textbook.
Fall 2021 HSGC URI Community College Trainees
Cameron Hoffman, a sophomore in Natural Science Engineering, is working with mentor Shidong Kan, Department of Physics and Astronomy, on a project involving the successful launch of a rocket at the 2021 Spaceport America Cup: SDL Payload Challenge. He plans to utilize his knowledge of programming and safety checks to contribute to the success of the launch.
Megan Li, a sophomore in Electrical Engineering, is working with Radovan Milincic, Department of Physics on a project titled “Galaxies Density Profile Around Supermassive Black Hole: Holmberg 15A By Using HEASARC Data Archive”. She will investigate the difference in galactic density profile for two main morphological types (elliptical and spiral) around the supermassive black hole NGC 3842 (distance 325 million light-years and mass of ten billion solar masses) and Holmberg 15A . In order to progress with this project, her objective is to calculate the density of the different types of galaxies as the distance from the black hole increases. Her primary source to compute our data will be from The High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC).
Spring 2021 NGSG Fellows
Jonelle Sayama, a master’s student in environmental science, is working with Dr. Romina King, from the Micronesian Area Research Center, on a project titled “Mapping the Effects of Sea Level Rise on Guam’s Mangrove Forests”. This project is an exploratory study on the mangrove forests in Guam. An unmanned aerial vehicle will be deployed to create 3D maps of the study areas. Additionally, information on carbon sequestration will be collected. The main purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of Guam’s mangroves
James Pangelinan, a graduate student studying environmental science at UOG, is working with Dr. Chris Yeo, from the Water & Environmental Research Institute, on a project titled “Statistical Modeling of Extreme Precipitation Processes on Pacific Islands”. General Climate Models (GCMs) have been commonly used to assess these impacts since these models could describe reasonably well the main features of the distribution of basic climate parameters at a global scale. However, outputs from these models are usually at resolutions that are too spatially and temporally coarse, and thus are not suitable for many hydrological impact studies at the regional or local scale. Hence, there is a great need to develop tools for linking the GCM outputs to local/regional extreme precipitation processes for hydrological impact studies.
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 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.