Hawai‘i Community College Student Receives Conference Award

Hawaiʻi Community College
Doodie Downs, 808 974-7611
Information Center
Posted: Mar 31, 2008

Eric J. Dela Rosa, a student in Hawaiʻi Community College‘s Information Technology Program, has won the award for Best Poster Presentation in Computer Science at the national SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) Conference. It was held in October 2007, in Kansas City, Missouri, where over 600 college and university students presented results from science projects. Dela Rosa was the only community college student among the 22 participants in the computer science category.

In May 2007, Dela Rosa was accepted as a student intern in the Akamai Program which is led by the Center for Adaptive Optics. The Akamai Program prepares local students for the scientific and technical workforce in Hawaiʻi. This program partners with Hawaii Community College, Keck Observatory, UH Hilo and Mauna Kea observatories. There is also a similar program that partners with Maui Community College, Maui Economic Development Board, the UH Institute for Astronomy and Maui high tech companies.

From May to August 2007, Dela Rosa interned at the Canada France Hawaiʻi Telescope under the supervision of Gregory Barrick and Sarah Gajadhar, and worked on a project to create a user interface for a high-resolution spectropolarimeter instrument used at the observatory, which measures the magnetic polarization of a star using the full color spectrum. Dela Rosa‘s conference report was based on his work during this internship. He received a travel scholarship to the conference from Google and was offered a possible scholarship for graduate school and commitment to work for them for two years after graduation.

While completing his Associate of Science degree from Hawaiʻi CC, Dela Rosa is currently employed as a College Assistant-Systems Administrator at the W.M. Keck Observatory. He hopes to continue his education in computer science at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo after completing his AS degree.