Individual Research projects
Student projects will focus on using systems biology research to solve issues identified by the community within Kailua, work on fishery science, sustainable agriculture systems, ecological restoration, invasive species science and management, and disease ecology. Student participants will engage community members, stakeholders, and landowners as they conduct cutting-edge science.
Student Faculty Match-up
Based on the interests of each student and the information provided by the recommendations from their home institutions, the selection committee will match each of the selected interns to the most suitable available faculty mentor. We try to put only a single new intern into any one lab each year. Not all listed mentors are available to accept interns every year, as some are traveling during some summers.
Selecting your Research Topic
Once you have been introduced to the broader range of issues and opportunities available in their mentor’s lab via the initial orientation series, you will begin to work with your chosen mentor to select an individual research project. In-lab training is the responsibility of entire lab groups, led by the faculty mentor, and includes all aspects of research, including choosing projects, developing hypotheses, selecting experimental methods, collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative information, and preparing written research reports. The Hawaii REU program emphasizes the importance of each student’s “ownership” of their research, and thus interns are never simply “handed a project,” but are provided with several general areas – often presented as specific research questions – appropriate to the laboratory and among which they can choose. Together, the intern and the faculty member develop a research plan that they will present to the community in the second week of the program that includes testable hypotheses, methods, potential results (e.g., what kinds of data will emerge and how will they be analyzed?), and what finishing the project will entail. There is reciprocal kuleana for both the faculty mentor and the intern, and both are accountable to the moʻokuauhau (genealogy) of the ʻike (knowledge) being perpetuated.
A typical week for an intern:
- Service Learning, Lecture Discussions & Professional Development – Mondays @ Kauluakalana
- Organized Field Research Days – Tuesdays or Thursdays @ Kauluakalana to make field work field work easier for both students and community (transportation from UH Dorms to Kauluakalana is provided).
- SURE Professional development – Thursdays on campus by the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience office at UH Mānoa
- Individual Research – The remainder of each week will typically be spent in the lab doing research and interacting with other undergraduate students, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. All mentors typically have an “open door” policy in which the interns can come to them almost anytime. Most lab groups have weekly meetings in which all participants present their week’s work, including any successes and problems encountered, and the groups, as a whole, discuss them. The REU interns will become regular participants in these weekly meetings.
- Homework – Weekly reflection journals are due every Friday evening. There are five environmental biology lecture modules that we will complete over the first half of the program. Drafts of presentations and papers due.
- Weekends are generally reserved for free time and planned social events to increase bonds among the interns and between the interns and their mentors. However, some interns may find it necessary to go their labs on occasional weekends to take measurements, feed their experimental animals, etc. Some students also participate in service learning experiences at other sites.
REU Completion Requirements
Aʻo aku, Aʻo mai: Lectures & Discussion
Prior to our gatherings each Monday please watch the lectures for that week and take notes. Formatted blank note sheets will be provided for each lecture to help you organize your thoughts and highlight the most important concepts in 1) Biodiversity & Biogeography, 2) Evolution, 3) Adaptation, 4) Community Ecology and 5) Sustainability. Be prepared to discuss how these topics may relate to your work and the ʻāina of Kailua.
Nūnē Maila: Weekly reflection journal – due by end of day each Friday:
Each individual is responsible for submitting a weekly reflection journal via google forms. The form should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and is designed to allow you to step back from your learning experience, help you to develop critical thinking skills and improve on your future performance by analyzing what you have learned and how far youʻve come. Completed forms will be shared with your mentor. The act of reflection and contemplation aligns with ancestral processes utilized to make meaning of knowledge and skills being learned.
Hoʻike Palapala: Scientific Research Paper
An important product from the summer internship is the scientific paper. This paper should be written in the style of a manuscript in a professional journal – presenting the background for your project, the questions/hypotheses addressed, the methods used, the results, and a discussion of the results in the light of previously published research on the topic and the significance of the work. This paper must be completed, approved by your mentor, and submitted to Kumu Matt and Kumu Kiana in order to recieve your final stipend check.
Haʻiʻōlelo: Oral Presentation
You will give an 8 minute oral report on your project to all of the other interns, mentors, collaborators and community partners on site at Ulupō heiau during our Hoʻike (celebration of knowledge). You will be trained to effectively communicate your work using PowerPoint and have the opportunity to answer questions from the audience. We will have at least two practice sessions as a cohort prior to the final presentation.
Together we will work to produce short, accessible (and fun) outreach videos for Kauluakalana to highlight your individual research projects and their impact for Kailua.