The 29th Annual CTAHR/COE Student Research Symposium, held April 7–8, showcased student work in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and the College of Engineering (COE) of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
Students presented papers and posters on numerous aspects of natural resource management, agriculture and horticulture, biofuels and bioengineering, consumer sciences, entomology and virology. Highlights included nutrient management in traditional loʻi kalo, creation of a robotic leg for agricultural robots, discovery of natural chemicals leading to Alzheimer’s treatment, improved traps for invasive coconut rhinoceros beetles and striving to better understand the anti-inflammatory properties of noni juice.
“We’ve been doing this for 29 years, and it’s an opportunity for the students to present their research,” said Rachel Novotny, CTAHR interim dean. “They are really going to be the leaders of the future, so it’s exciting for us to see the ideas that they come up with.”
This annual event brings together graduate and undergraduate students to share research they are pursuing under the supervision of faculty in the two colleges. A panel of judges from the colleges scores each oral and poster presentation to determine award winners. With 133 posters and oral presentations, the CTAHR/COE Symposium is one of the largest student-exclusive conferences in higher education in Hawaiʻi. $1000 stipends will be awarded to winners, who will also be eligible to receive additional funding to present their symposium-related work at national conferences during the 2017 calendar year.
“It’s been a really good experience,” said presenter Annika Little. “I’m a little nervous, but I think it’s really preparing me for my next step. I want to go to graduate school where posters are a much bigger deal.”
The scientific exploration and engineering design conducted by students in CTAHR and COE is truly multidisciplinary, and the symposium reflects this diversity. Investigations presented range from fundamental studies to novel applications, from design and validation to field testing and adoption of new methods and technologies. Each project represents a contribution to the colleges’ missions by fostering viable communities, a diversified economy, and a healthy environment and by providing research opportunities to students and contributing to the growth of the technological workforce and technology-based industries in Hawaiʻi.