Education and Workforce Goals

We currently lack the workforce necessary to ensure a sustainable future for Hawai‘i’s water supply. We will recruit new faculty with expertise in hydrology, data analytics, and the social sciences that emphasize diversity to advance academic water research.  We will develop a layered mentoring network with a professional development program to support success, persistence and retention in faculty and students, particularly those from backgrounds that have been underrepresented in STEM fields.  All efforts to develop Hawai‘i’s hydrology and data science workforce will  involve engaging Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, as well as other underrepresented minorities who represent 24% and 30% of Hawaii’s state population, respectively.  This project will employ a three pronged approach to achieve our goals: 

Provide an academic-year undergraduate research and training through the 'Ike Wai Scholars program.

The ‘Ike Wai Scholars program will develop a cohort of diverse researchers and scholars. It is based on local and national models that increase recruitment and retention of Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) and other underrepresented minorities (URMs) . Participants will be recruited from UH Mānoa, UH Hilo, Chaminade and UH Community Colleges. Research experiences will be offered at three levels: trainees (group projects only), interns (individual & group projects), and fellows (team-lead on group projects). By participating in the program for multiple years, students can rise through the ranks and follow this pathway toward graduation and beyond.

Provide summer bridge programs for rising college first years and sophomores.

We propose to offer two ‘Ike Wai summer bridge programs at UHH and KCC for rising freshman and sophomores. Students will be recruited from UHH, UHM, CU, KCC, and HCC. At KCC, we will partner with the existing Hā Kilo summer bridge program.

Mornings will be spent on online, self-paced, credit-bearing math classes. Afternoons will be spent on ‘Ike Wai research projects, field trips and career exposure. We will partner with Hā Kilo by incorporating a 1-2 week module on water science. This effort will be led by Dr. Bruno, who has three years’ experience of incorporating science modules into Hā Kilo. At UHH, we will develop a new five-week summer bridge based on the Hā Kilo model. This effort will be led by Dr. Pelayo, who has significant experience with implementing computer-based mathematics curricula and bridge programs. In both programs, students will work alongside ‘Ike Wai scientists in the field (e.g., testing sensors, monitoring wells, collecting samples) and in data analysis. The final day of each bridge will be a networking mixer, where participants will gain exposure to a range of careers by interacting with scientists in the private, public and academic sectors.

Emphasizing diversity through graduate and post-doctoral professional development.

The over-arching goals for these trainees are that they emerge from their ‘Ike Wai training experience competitive, interdisciplinary, facile in diversity and culturally adept and comprehensively networked with stakeholders and career development opportunities.   Each graduate student and postdoc will develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP) that will outline research and professional development objectives, and each objective will be accompanied by milestones and timelines to track progress.