‘Ike Wai Mentoring Cascade

Program Goals and Details

An educational ʻauwai: In Hawaiian culture an ʻauwai is a water pathway designed to divert water for agricultural irrigation. We use this concept to represent the multiple pathways we will use to nurture, and train a diverse cohort of students and postdocs at UH Mānoa and UH Hilo, equipped with the technical and leadership skills to ensure a sustainable future for Hawaiʻi’s water supply.

All ʻIke Wai graduate students and post-doctoral fellows will engage in our layered mentoring network, or Mentoring Cascade as both mentors and mentees. Students and fellows select a mentor from a list of ʻIke Wai faculty and staff members outside their research group or field. The role of these mentors is not to advise on their research, but to use their additional experience and knowledge to provide extra resources and coach the student or fellow through an individualized professional development process (see below). Requiring the mentor to be from a different field both provides a fresh outside perspective and promotes communication and interaction among the various ʻIke Wai research groups. Future plans include expanding the mentoring cascade to include graduate students mentoring undergraduates and senior faculty mentoring new faculty members.

Individualized Development Plan (IDP)
Each graduate student and post-doctoral fellow begins the IDP process with a self-assessment of existing job-related skills and experiences to help identify which skills and experiences may need more emphasis to further their professional goals. They then create, with mentor help, a concrete IDP plan with measurable milestones and timelines to serve as an action plan. Through their ʻIke Wai years, they will pursue these milestones until they ultimately reach their professional goals.