September, 2006 Vol. 31 No. 3
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Travel study

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Published September 2006

Summer Fun

Summer break meant beach time, trips, earning money and learning new skills in these University of Hawaiʻi programs

Making a major decision

students receiving instruction in xeriscape garden
Undergraduates from across the UH System explored geologic sites on Oʻahu and the Big Island, including Halawa Shaft at the Honolulu Board of Water Supply’s Xeriscape Garden

The purpose of Ka ʻImi ʻIke–Exploring the Geosciences isn’t to teach science, but to let students experience the careers and other opportunities available to graduates in weather, earth and water disciplines. In summer 2006, 11 incoming University of Hawaiʻi freshmen and sophomores from Mānoa, Hilo and UH community colleges who haven’t declared science majors met local scientists in fields from hydrology to volcanology.

Often discussion took place on site, from a talk on beach erosion at the edge of Kailua Bay to a look at geologic and cultural artifacts in Kahana Valley. Science was linked with culture, community and concerns for resource management. Mini research projects provided hands-on activities.

Barbara Gibson, an assistant researcher in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center, secured a National Science foundation grant to encourage Hawaiian and Pacific islands students to consider science studies. The grant covered boarding, meals, a stipend toward future educational expenses and costs of a Big Island field trip, where stops included tide pool systems, Kīlauea volcano and Mauna Loa weather and solar stations.

Ka ʻImi ʻIke also provides scholarships, posts job opportunities and collaborates with UH Hilo’s Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Sciences.

Visit the Ka ʻImi ʻIke website.


In the footsteps of Kalākaua

group shot in front of an interesting building
Mānoa undergraduates at Shibusawa Eiichi’s villa in Tokyo, where Kalākaua dined.

In 1881 King Kalākaua became the first monarch to circumnavigate the globe. In 2006 10 Mānoa undergraduates discovered traces of his journey in Asia.

They visited the sites of Tokyo and Bangkok guest houses where the monarch stayed and remnants of fortifications he passed while sailing into Northern China. They viewed the medal he presented to Sultan Abu Bakar in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and period Hawaiian memorabilia in a transplanted church in Inuyama, Japan.

The six-nation three-and-a-half-week tour was sponsored by the Freeman Foundation. "One of the themes was to get a sense of how the nations ʻremember’ their past," says Associate Professor of Asian Studies Lonny Carlile.

Students observed Bangkok’s preparations for the Thai king’s 60th anniversary on the throne, visited the ultra-modern Tianjin Museum, walked the site of the seclusion-era Chinese factory in Nagasaki and celebrated the first anniversary of Singapore’s Malay Heritage Center. They also presented findings from individual field work.

"The tour gave the students a deeper understanding of how modernity and nationhood arrived in each country and the consequences in contemporary Asian societies," Carlile says. Kalākaua’s own efforts to modernize the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi while fostering a sense of national identity paralleled and often antedated those of key modernizing monarchs in Asia, he says.

In 2005 undergraduates followed the Mekong River from Jinghong, China, to Saigon. They visited Yunnan Ethnic Park in China, Thailand’s Opium Museum and Cambodia’s Killing Fields and considered the economic and environmental impact of dams. "A highlight was wading through waist-deep water to reach Hat Bai village in upcountry Thailand. The group was treated to Chiangrai cuisine, traditional dances and the village temple’s pet monkey," recalls Kapiʻolani Associate Professor Carl Hefner.

Visit the Asian Studies Program website.


Practicing environmental science

students clearning brush from fish pond
Windward environmental science students clear a fishpond

Snorkeling is a great opportunity…to collect coral mucus. Back in the lab at Windward Community College, 28 teen scientists extracted, replicated and identified bacterial DNA. A few learned that experiments don’t always work.

"Some students want to be marine biologists, but they’re unsure what that life is like. We expose students to long hours, data collection, fieldwork, writing reports, presenting information," says Manning Taite, one of the program coordinators.

"You see scientists on the news and wonder how people get that way. Now we know," confirms Alohilani Loretero, a Waimānalo participant who’d like to become a scientist.

Two entities seeking to promote science careers and environmental stewards combined to offer the five-week enrichment program—Windward’s Pacific Center for Environmental Studies, funded by a Harold K. L. Castle Foundation grant, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Bay Watershed Education and Training program at Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology.

High school participants received a $500 stipend and four college biology credits. A private donation funded stipends for four Waimānalo Intermediate students and their teacher.

Students learned to use global positioning and geographic information systems, map ocean currents and profile beaches. They conducted research and presented findings on topics such as metal and organic concentrations in an urban stream and the quantity of bacteria found in sand versus ocean water.

"Hands on is more interesting than reading a book," says Macey Mendes, a Myron B. Thompson Academy student from Kahaluʻu.

Visit the PaCES website.


Building robots and computers

student testing robot in pool
A student tests his robotic creation in the pool

In Kapiʻolani Community College’s four-week Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Summer Bridge program, 23 high school students learned that math isn’t boring when it forms the basis for using AutoCAD design software or building your own computer. "Summer Bridge allows students to revisit their math skills while having fun and doing exciting projects," says John Rand, project coordinator. Funded by the National Science Foundation, it gives students the skills and confidence they need to tackle college coursework and increase the number and diversity of students pursuing STEM careers.

Community members described occupations available in science and technical fields, and students honed math skills with an online instruction program. In conjunction with UH’s Sea Grant College Program, Summer Bridge challenged students to apply principles of propulsion and buoyancy in creating Sea Perch underwater robots. What better way to conclude a summer program than a visit to Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park for a little friendly competition in underwater robotic mission.

Visit the Summer Bridge Program website.


High-tech boot camp

group gathered around an electron microscope
A student–teacher team at the electron microscope

A research institution has sophisticated laboratory equipment other campuses only dream about. So for the second summer in 2006, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and Leeward Community College hosted the three-week Advances in Bioscience Education for five faculty-student teams from UH community colleges and Hawaiʻi Pacific University.

"We’re not making molecular scientists in four weeks," says Kabi Neupane, a Leeward assistant professor and program co-coordinator. But the participants are encouraged to continue projects at their home campuses. "We can do pretty cutting edge work," he says.

The National Science Foundation–funded program is also about building confidence. Financial and family constraints can keep students from reaching their potential, but individual attention and the chance to rub shoulders with graduate students just a few years older boosts self-esteem, says CTAHR Professor David Christopher. And seeing faculty struggle with a problem or technique teaches that difficult doesn’t mean impossible.

Former student participants are working as laboratory technicians and pursuing graduate studies in microbiology.

Visit the Advances in Bioscience Education website.


Japan tour demonstrates that animation isn’t just kids’ stuff

group shot in Japan
Students learn about anime in Japan

A 15-day tour to Japan, the animation capitol of the world, in May 2006 offered an alternative to typical art study tours to Italy and New York.

"It’s the first program of its kind, and I’m really excited that we can offer it at Hawaiʻi CC," says organizer Violet Murakami, assistant professor at Kapiʻolani and Hawaiʻi Community Colleges.

Participants included 12 students from digital arts and animation programs at Mānoa, Hilo, Leeward, Kapiʻolani and Hawaiʻi who are interested in fine art animation for feature films, television programs and video games.

The tour opened with a visit to Joshibi University of Art and Design. Hawaiʻi students met the teachers, sat in on software design classes and attended a lecture by Pokémon cartoon technical director Ken Anjyo on 2-D and 3-D animation. They collaborated with Japanese students on claymation projects using English and Japanese versions of Claytown computer software. Their work was presented and critiqued.

"Working with the other students was amazing. They were fun to talk to—lots of hand gestures," recalls Mānoa liberal arts sophomore Roxanne Dubois. "The fun part was just being around them and learning about their culture and language," adds Jackie Johns, a junior in digital media arts at Hawaiʻi.

The students also shared work with peers at Osaka Designer’s College. They visited Ghibli Museum, which celebrates highly acclaimed Hayao Miazaki films including Oscar-winner Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle, and met master animator/director Satoshi Kon (Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress and TV series Paranoia Agent) at Madhouse studio. They toured Feel Plus video game design studio Toei Animation Gallery and Osaka Castle.

"Japanese animation studios were fantastic," Johns says. "I learned so much from the animators and the way the studios were set up." She describes shopping in Akihabara, the anime and electronics district of Tokyo, as "the most wild and crazy thing."

"There’s so much going on for animation. You can keep going back to see new things. It’s a whole world of pop culture, anime, manga and gaming," Murakami says. She’s planning another trip, and she’d like more students to prepare portfolios for international critique. For information, contact Murakami or 808-974-7533.


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