Hawaii Tribune-Herald Sunday, March 11, 2018 7
and Grow Together…
you’re in, whether
it’s psychology or
arts or agriculture,
we invite you to
discover the variety
UH Hilo has for you
to learn and grow
Be inspired by the knowledge of our faculty, the incredible
discoveries of our research, the enthusiasm of our students
and the cultural diversity of our environment.
EXPERIENCE From page 6
the EDXRF was acquired for the lab in
2004, including 15 students who served
as co-authors with him and Lundblad.
“You get a unique experience
here that no other place
can replicate,” Ernst said.
EDXRF technology also contributes
to monitoring Kilauea volcano’s
current eruption through a cooperative
research program between UH-Hilo
and the U.S. Geological Survey’s
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Dr. Cheryl Gansecki and student
research intern Ryan Sasaki use the
EDXRF lab to analyze samples of
active lava flows for specific trace
elements and prepare samples for
more detailed chemical analysis. Their
findings supply volcano scientists
with close to real-time information
on short- and long-term changes in
the geochemistry of Kilauea and provide
a greater understanding of how
the eruption is evolving over time.
For Sasaki, a geology major
from Kapolei, Oahu, UH-Hilo
has proven to be a good fit.
“I chose UH-Hilo because it was
close to home, and is nowhere near
as busy as Honolulu,” he said. “The
small class sizes allow me to receive
enough attention from professors.”
Meanwhile, four undergraduates
and two graduate students are using a
different cutting-edge technology to
understand the present and the future.
Dr. John Burns’ research utilizes
computer vision technology to
answer important questions about
coral reef environments, such as:
How does coral complexity affect
fish populations? How are reef habitats
altered by disturbance and coral
mortality? How are coral growth rates
affected by bleaching and disease?
And what cellular characteristics are
associated with coral diseases?
His students collect underwater
imagery, which is processed into 3-D
models to produce high-resolution
3-D reconstructions of coral reefs
that are used to analyze the biology
and ecology of these habitats.
“Each project involves all aspects
of conducting marine science research
from data collection to data processing
and analysis, and provides students
with hands-on learning skills to help
prepare them for marine science careers
or graduate studies,” Burns said.
Jessica Talbot, from Maui, is
using 3-D reconstruction tools to
determine how freshwater input
affects coral reef structure and composition
on the Hamakua Coast.
Nikola Rodriguez, who hails from
Canada, is utilizing 3-D modeling technology
to measure coral growth rates
following ecological disturbances such
as hurricanes and coral bleaching.
UH-Hilo’s Sociology Program
has two primary applied/hands-on
learning components, which deliver
different types of practical experience
that prepares students for graduate
school and the workplace.
The Research Practicum (SOC
480) typically enrolls about 20 students
once a year, who take on a
social research project involving
design and primary data collection
often at the request of agencies or
organizations in the community.
“The results of their work often
impacts policies, programs and planning,
while the students gain a deeper
understanding of how to conduct
research and how agencies and organizations
function,” said Dr. Alton
Okinaka, associate professor, sociology.
The Internship (SOC 391) customizes
an agency or organization assignment
for each student in line with their career
goals. The internships average between
15 and 17 students per semester during
the fall and spring and five to six during
the summer. Most work deals with
day-to-day operations, with an emphasis
on participating in the delivery of
services rather than observation. But
the internships can also be researchbased
to assist the agency or program,
or focused on special needs at the time.
“In each case, the experience
prepares students for the complex
challenge of putting ideas
into practice,” Okinaka said.
While most placements have
been social services oriented, placements
have also been made in K-12
schools, providing students with
early exposure to classroom and
counseling duties that prepares them
for entry into teacher education.
Students interested in these or
other applied learning opportunities
should contact the appropriate faculty
member or program department.