O‘ahu ‘Ike Wai Undergraduate Project Descriptions

Oahu ‘Ike Wai Undergraduate Project Descriptions

  • The goal of the community engagement and decision support initiative is to ensure that our scientific and policy research align with stakeholder interests and decision-support needs regarding Hawai‘i’s fresh water resources. We will pursue a four-level strategy of: 1) network development; 2) stakeholder alignment and establishment of strategic partnerships; 3) broad-based community engagement, communication, and education; and 4) collaborating for sustainability.

    The student will gain experience working directly with Federal, State, and County policy makers and regulators, and resource managers from both the public and private sectors, who are responsible for water issues that our research is designed to inform. They can expect to work across several levels of activity ranging from permitting to community outreach to research on water policy, community engagement, and team science.

    For more information, please contact Dr. Gregory Chun (gchun711@hawaii.edu, (808) 956-5640)

  • Students will work closely with ‘Ike Wai faculty and staff to fabricate, test, characterize, program, and deploy downwell remote operating platform (DROP) modules that gather real time data for use in ‘Ike Wai projects. In the process, students will become familiar with rapid prototyping tools (3d printing, laser cutting, circuit milling) and concepts which will enhance STEM retention from existing coursework and will give students an advantage in entering the job market. 

    Work will be done mostly in a fabrication lab, but may include some field work in deploying and troubleshooting sensor modules in the field. The successful applicant will have some knowledge of electrical and mechanical engineering principles, lab work, and competent technical writing ability. Skills in some or all of the following preferred: CAD design, crafts, PSPICE, 3d printing, circuit design and milling, and component selection.

    For more information, please contact Dr. David Garmire (garmire@hawaii.edu, (510) 708-2982)

  • How can we help undergraduates in STEM classes learn more? We are looking for 1 or 2 undergraduates to help us research effective pedagogy techniques.  Students will design and implement an experiment on teaching techniques, identify instructors to test these techniques in their classrooms, analyze data, and interpret results.

    The successful applicant will have a genuine interest in improving learning outcomes for students.  S/he will be self-motivated, extremely reliable, well-organized, data-oriented, able to work to deadline (good time management), and willing to take ownership of the project (once trained). Previous experience with data analysis/statistics is a plus, but not required; excellent writing skills preferred.

    For more information, please contact Dr. Jenny Engels or Dr. Barb Bruno (engels@hawaii.edu, barb@hawaii.edu, (808) 956-7424)

    Students engaging in active learning exercise.

  • Are you interested in groundwater, geochemistry, or groundwater geochemistry? We are looking for an undergraduate student to assist in our research efforts, which include the collection and analysis of groundwater samples from wells across our study areas. The student will assist graduate students in organizing supplies and setting up equipment, will participate in field work (which may include travel to outer islands), and will work in a laboratory analyzing samples.

    The successful applicant will have a genuine interest in expanding their knowledge about groundwater sustainability in Hawai‘i. The field work requires working outdoors in unfavorable conditions (extreme heat, torrential rain, etc.), and the ability to carry about 20-30 pounds of equipment. Laboratory safety training will be required through the University of Hawai‘i Environmental Health and Safety Office.

    For more information, please contact Dr. Nicole Lautze (lautze@hawaii.edu, (808) 956-3499)

  • UHERO’s ‘Ike Wai research will help resource managers, policy makers, and the general public understand how scarce groundwater is, and how it should be priced, pumped, and managed to achieve the objectives determined as part of a stakeholder engagement process. The successful student applicant will perform background research, literature reviews, data cleaning and analysis, and will contact state and organization officials if necessary in support of these research goals.

    Tasks may include: looking for data on water use on various islands and aquifers; calculating the cost of various water supply technologies; assessing the costs and benefits of various groundwater management options; and evaluating the link between pumping and ecological consequences, and implications for groundwater management. Applicants should have completed some economics, business, or statistics classwork, and knowledge of hydrology, groundwater management, and Hawaiian ecosystems would be helpful but is not required.

    For more information, please contact Dr. Kimberly Burnett (kburnett@hawaii.edu, (808) 956-8068)

  • Students will investigate microbial communities in groundwater aquifers as an innovative method to infer the directions of subsurface flow and to map potential sources of anthropogenic contamination. They will have opportunities to build skills in the field by participating in groundwater collection and filtration, and in the laboratory by way of microbial ecology studies. This project will familiarize students with molecular biological techniques including: sterile technique, DNA extraction, spectrophotometry, PCR, electrophoresis, qPCR, cloning and sequencing, and bioinformatics tools.

    The successful applicant will have a genuine interest in environmental microbiology. S/he will be self-motivated, extremely reliable, well-organized, data-oriented, able to work to deadline (good time management), and willing to take ownership of the project (once trained). Previous molecular laboratory experience (including superb sterile technique) and experience with data analysis/statistics is a plus, but not required; excellent writing skills preferred. Students must be able to commute to Kewalo Marine Laboratory for lab work.

    For more information, please contact Dr. Kiana Frank (klfrank@hawaii.edu, (808) 232-5064)

  • This project has the goal of integrating and collecting new geophysical data to improve hydrogeologic understanding of various study sites throughout the Hawaiian Islands. The student will help with geophysical data acquisition and data processing by organizing geophysical field gear, setting up equipment, and participating in field work (which may include travel to outer islands).

    The successful applicant will have a genuine interest in expanding their knowledge about groundwater in Hawai‘i through imaging of the subsurface. The field work requires experience in working outdoors in unfavorable conditions (extreme heat, torrential rain, etc.), and the ability to carry about 40-50 pounds of equipment.

    For more information, please contact Dr. Nicole Lautze (lautze@hawaii.edu, (808) 956-3499)

  • We are looking for an undergraduate student to assist in our research efforts, which includes the compilation of new and historical groundwater data. The student will support the ‘Ike Wai team by mining data from literature and/or a variety of databases, and organizing this data into spreadsheets. The student may also work with the cyberinfrastructure group to organize data into software platforms. The opportunity for some field work is likely, if desired.

    The successful applicant will have patience, good organizational skills, the ability to work with Microsoft Office programs, and a genuine interest in expanding their knowledge about groundwater in Hawai‘i.

    For more information, please contact Nicole Lautze (lautze@hawaii.edu, (808) 956-3499)