Keiki and Scientists at IHS be a Scientist Night

Highlights of STEM Activities and Programs

Programs for Undergraduate & Graduate Students

The Learning Emporium

The College of Natural Sciences Learning Emporium is a one-stop resource center for assistance in introductory level courses in the fields of mathematics, chemistry, information & computer sciences, and physics. These courses are foundational to most STEM degrees on the UH Mānoa campus. Students join a community of learners and engage in conversations to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the material covered in the first two years of the STEM curriculum. The Learning Emporium is staffed by undergraduate and graduate tutors and volunteer faculty.

College of Natural Sciences Student Academic Success Center

Office for advising in the College of Natural Sciences. Important information for prospective students, incoming, current students, and alumni. The website provides events, key dates, and ways to get involved with student organizations, study abroad, and internship and research opportunities.

UHM STEM Teacher Recruitment Events

Informational sessions on becoming a K-12 teacher are conducted on a bi-annual basis in partnership with the UHM College of Education (COE) and the Hawaiʻi Department of Education (HIDOE). Guest speakers include HIDOE administrators, HIDOE science specialists, HIDOE teachers, COE faculty and academic advisors, and CNS faculty.

UH Mānoa Math Boot Camps

The UH Manoa Department of Mathematics will conduct intensive non-credit courses for students who want to review the algebra and trigonometry concepts covered in the math placement exam. The goal is for students who attend the Boot Camp(s) to strengthen their math skills through short lectures, group work, and practice problems. These Boot Camp courses are designed for students who want to bridge their high school and college math courses with a review, want to revisit math concepts prior to taking the math placement exam, or who have already taken the math placement exam but want to place higher on the exam by reviewing concepts and taking the placement exam again. For more info, please go to

NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site

The at Mānoa received a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Through this award, undergraduates will use high-throughput DNA sequencing, phylogenetic methods and bioinformatics to study microbiomes and the identities and origins of Hawaii’s endemic, native and introduced organisms, under the mentorship of faculty from the departments of Botany, Biology, and Microbiology, the Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute, and Kapi‘olani Community College. A total of 30 students, primarily from schools with limited research opportunities, or those with limited higher-level biology background or no research experience, will be trained in ten-week summer sessions in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Longitudinal Assessment: Our Project in Hawaiʻi’s Intertidal (OPIHI)

Our Project In Hawaiʻi's Intertidal (OPIHI) immerses undergraduate students in the research process by involving them in authentic, place-based ecological research—a longitudinal assessment of the Hawaiian intertidal—to describe changes in community-level patterns both temporally and spatially. Collaboration between UHM College of Education (Curriculum Research and Development Center – CRDG), UHM Biology, and Marine Option Program.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

CNS faculty serve as research mentors to high school students and undergraduates. This occurs through venues such as the State Science Fair, through directed reading/research courses, or through opportunities such as Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium fellowships, grants through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, and the Honors Program. CNS faculty have served as faculty mentors in the McNair Student Achievement Program and MARC U*STAR programs.

- Undergraduate student helps discover new bacterium on way to Marine Biology degree
- Translating Oral Traditions into a Modern, Immersive, Interactive Virtual Reality Experience

GenCyber Hawaiʻi Program

The GenCyber Hawaiʻi Program is a summer cybersecurity camp targeting high school students and K-12 level teachers. The goals of the program are to help all students understand correct and safe on-line behavior, increase diversity and interest in cybersecurity and to encourage the students to consider careers in the cybersecurity. In addition, the camp provides teachers with methods for delivering cybersecurity content in K-12 computer science curricula.

The GenCyber program also addresses the shortfall of skilled cybersecurity professionals and encourages high school students to direct their talents in this area that is critical to the future of our national and economic security, especially when we have become reliant on technology in our daily lives.

This program is a collaboration between the UH Mānoa Department of Information and Computer Sciences, the Pacific Center for Advanced Technology Training (PCATT), UH-Honolulu Community College, and UH Information and Technology Services Funding is provided jointly by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation.

ReaDch Program

A faculty member in the Department of Chemistry developed this program to assist UH-Mānoa and UH-West Oʻahu students from disadvantaged backgrounds with improving their reading skills in a supportive environment. Students and mentors read from science-based based books to build interest in STEM fields. This program was funded by a UHM Student Equity Excellence and Diversity grant.

Kukui Cup Project

The Kukui Cup Project ( an advanced energy challenge that combines real-time energy feedback, energy education, multiple forms of incentives, and gamification techniques to support positive changes in energy behavior. The inaugural Kukui Cup was held in Fall, 2011 for over 1,000 first year students living in the Hale Aloha residence halls at the University of Hawaiʻi. Primary support for the Kukui Cup project came from a grant by the National Science Foundation. Additional support was provided from UH Housing, the Center for Renewable Energy and Island Sustainability, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, and other sources.

Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Certificate in Mathematical Biology

Many modern advances in the life sciences, for example the Human Genome Project, medical imaging, modeling cancer growth and wound healing, require advanced mathematical methods. Advanced mathematics has become an essential component of biological training, and biological problems are replacing physical problems as the driving force behind innovation and development in mathematics. It is important for biological scientists and mathematicians to be trained to be able to work together. This Certificate and the courses associated with it were created by the joint efforts of members of the UH Mānoa Mathematics and Biology departments. The overall Mathematical Biology program also involves faculty in Microbiology, PBRC, HIMB and the College of Engineering. The purpose of the certificate is to induce students to pursue the interdisciplinary study of Biology and Mathematics together with research. As a part of the requirements for the certificate, students complete a substantial amount of research in addition to the coursework. Unlike for a minor or double-major, the majority of the coursework for the Certificate is interdisciplinary. Students having the skills to combine disciplines are especially attractive to good graduate programs.

Albert L. Tester Memorial Symposium:

Annual symposium of undergraduate and graduate student research papers in the Sciences every Spring semester. Organized by graduate students and faculty of the Department of Biology. Income from contributions to the Albert L. Tester Memorial Fund of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is used to provide prizes for the 3 best graduate student and the best undergraduate student presentations, as well as best graduate and undergraduate posters. Judges include faculty members and previous year’s student award winners as well as a distinguished scholar from another university or research institution. Testing a microbial-association-distribution hypothesis to explain spatial distributions and species co-existence in a community of epiphytic plants: Summer workshops on applied biological statistics, for University of Costa Rica graduate students in biological sciences. Funded by the National Science Foundation.

K-12 Outreach

Math Teachers' Circle Hawaiʻi (MaTCH)

This program is part of the National Math Teachers’ Circle Network. Michelle Manes (Department of Mathematics) collaborates with Linda Venenciano (College of Education / CRDG) and Sean Yagi (CRDG) to lead monthly content-based professional development workshops for K-12 mathematics teachers throughout the State of Hawaiʻi.

The mission of the national MTC network is "to support teachers as mathematicians, to connect mathematics professors with K-12 education, and to build a K-20 community of mathematics professionals." Their aim is for every mathematics teacher in the country to have access to a math teachers' circle, primarily through developing regional networks. MaTCH is one of the most successful MTC's in the country; fifty or more teachers participate in monthly Saturday morning workshops. 

The program has been written up numerous times in the MTCircular (the newsletter of Math Teachers' Circles). Dr. Manes has traveled to Colorado and New Mexico to work with MTCs in those cities, and she has been invited to speak at both regional and national conferences about her work with MaTCH. She is now an official MTC mentor, helping faculty across the country start and grow new circles. In addition to growing MaTCH in Honolulu, we plan to collaborate with mathematicians at other UH institutions to establish active circles throughout the state, to help make Hawaiʻi a leader in mathematics and mathematics education. This is already underway, with a circle at UHWO planned for Spring 2017. MaTCH started in 2011, with startup funding from Dr. Manes’s National Science Foundation grant. Continued funding through the statewide ESEA Title IIA ("Improving Teacher Quality") program has helped MaTCH continue and grow each year. Funding covers faculty release time and a consultant (John Rader from the Kapiʻolani Community College, Department of Mathematics) who runs simultaneous virtual workshops on Google Hangouts for neighbor island teachers, and teacher stipends.

The Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program (STOMP- Hawaiʻi)

STOMP Hawaiʻi is an effort started by Dr. Monique Chyba (Department of Mathematics) in order to provide children a direct hands-on learning opportunity and a chance to delve into the world of autonomous robotics. This outreach program focuses on developing children's creativity in problem solving. The program makes use of various robotics platform (including Lego's educational Mindstorm and Makeblock kits) creating a flexible means of building robots in a relatively quick and free manner. Targeted towards students in grades of K-8, this program brings together graduate students, undergraduate students and teachers in the classroom as well as Saturday workshops and summer camps at the University of Hawaiʻi. It is designed to introduce topics from computer science, engineering, mathematics and autonomous control to students using an exciting approach. Mentors are highly motivated undergraduate students at the college level who enjoy working with elementary and middle school age children, work alongside the classroom teacher, assist with the presentations and develop new lessons plans. The program has served hundreds of children over the last 10 years, few dozen of teachers and has helped developed robotics program at various middle schools. Funding for this program has been provided from Dr. Chyba’s research grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), UH Mānoa Student Equity, Excellence & Diversity grants, and Dr. Chyba’s NSF Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) grant.

The School and University Partnership for Educational Renewal in Mathematics project (SUPER-M)

SUPER-M aims to forge partnerships between UH Mānoa graduate students from the Department of Mathematics and K-12 teachers to design innovative, developmentally appropriate, and engaging activities for K-12 students. It brings the knowledge and expertise of research mathematicians into K-12 classrooms, making an important contribution to improving school mathematics in Hawaiʻi. The project provides K-12 students with an enriching learning environment where mathematics is interesting and dynamic, it also contributes to the formation of a cadre of highly qualified teachers, bringing new mathematics expertise to schools throughout the State of Hawaiʻi and helping to sustain the program. Over seven years, more than 30 graduate students in mathematics have been hired as fellows for this program to partner with K-12 schools on Oʻahu, the Big Island, Kauaʻi, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Maui. Fellows design and lead workshops for K-12 teachers arising from their areas of research, they create and lead mathematics activities for K-12 students and implement them in the classroom alongside their teachers. SUPER-M will provide K-12 students with a solid grounding in mathematics, increasing their opportunities to pursue careers in STEM disciplines. It serves under-represented populations by placing a special emphasis on developing lesson plans anchored in Native Hawaiian culture. It has reached thousands of K-12 students, hundreds of K-12 teachers and has also profoundly impacted the community at large through special events such as summer camps, public outreach events (the last one brought 600 participants to the ballroom campus at UH Mānoa), and family math days. It also partnered with the Honolulu Museum of Arts, Spaulding House for their "Finding X" Exhibition in 2013 and with the Bishop Museum, as well as the Institute of Human Services.

SUPER-M is a program within the Department of Mathematics at UH Mānoa and is funded by the National Science Foundation, Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program awarded to Dr. Monique Chyba (ca. 1.7 million). The Department of Mathematics currently has funding from UH Mānoa administration to continue three graduate students per year to continue this program but is in the last year of funding.

Department of Physics and Astronomy Open House

The annual Physics and Astronomy Open House is oriented toward high school physics students and features presentations about current physics and astronomy research as well as applications. The presentations are by UH faculty and students at different sites in Watanabe Hall. The Society of Physics Students also participates.


This project is housed in the Department of Physics and aims to increase knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of physics and astrophysics. The target audience is high school teachers and middle through high school students. Themed events include Quarknet Masterclass: Hands on Participle Physics; Cosmic Ray Day; and Expanding Your Horizons Hawaiʻi. Three high school teachers from Hawaiʻi have been nationally selected by the Quarknet Project to participate at the Fermilab Data Camp in Illinois, and the CERN ISE workshop in Greece in July 2016. Funded by the University of Notre Dame.

Physics Olympics

The annual Physics Olympics, a program for high school students, is comprised of five hands-on events involving applications of physics. Faculty and students from institutions across Oʻahu design and build the events and judge them on the day of the competition. The event alternates between Kapiʻolani Community College and UH Mānoa.

Physics Outreach program at Nānākuli High School

Dr. Philip von Doetinchem (Department of Physics & Astronomy) started the new “HIGGS - HIgh school students in proGramminG and Sciences” outreach program at Nānākuli High School in cooperation with the Office for Student Equity, Excellence & Diversity (SEED) at UH Mānoa. During the first pilot run, Doetinchem worked closely with the students on Nānākuli campus where they learned how to use highly versatile and affordable Raspberry Pi computers. Starting from the bare computer CPU board, students built up a system with multiple sensors and devices and wrote the corresponding computer code to control them. In an entirely hands-on approach they worked with cameras, read out temperature and humidity sensors, and measured natural radioactivity levels with Geiger counters controlled by the computer. On the last day, students received a tour with UH Mānoa Institute for Astronomy Director Dr. Guenther Hasinger, toured the Mānoa campus and attended a physics class.

The program is supported by the UH Mānoa Office for Student Equity, Excellence & Diversity and Doetinchem’s National Science Foundation CAREER award.

Hawaiʻi State Science Olympiad comes to the Mānoa campus

The College of Natural Sciences hosted the inaugural UHM Regional Tournament of the Hawaiʻi State Science Olympiad. Five newly-formed high school teams participated in the event. Senator Brian Taniguchi and Representative Isaac Choy assisted in celebrating the next generation of STEM scholars. The 2016 regional tournament was hosted by the College of Engineering.

Cultural-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (C-STEM) Project

The Hawaiʻi Coral Reef Initiative (HCRI), lead by Dr. Mike Hamnett, has a long tradition of working to bridge science and our local communities' needs, leading to the 2007 creation of the Reef Pulse curriculum in use in many Oʻahu public schools. Dr. Celia Smith, a faculty member in the Department of Botany, was a member of the HCRI management committee and helped anchor the curriculum with a native plant focus for field and classroom activities. In the Fall of 2011, Smith began teaching traditional, sustainable knowledge using western science explanations, through a marine and watershed-based curriculum in the Hawaiian Studies classroom at Jefferson Elementary. In August 2012, the “Limu Lab” partnered with Bay Watershed Education and Training (BWET) to work with the Roosevelt High School's Marine Biology teacher, Steven Mun-Takata, and the Kaiser High School's Pacific Voyaging teacher, Michelle Kapana-Baird, to design field-based lab exercises to teach high school students the effects of invasive species on native ecosystems. These early partnerships provided the opportunity to work alongside dedicated teachers, understand CORE curriculum, gain insight into the effectiveness of our marine and watershed-based lesson plans, and build C-STEM.

The Cultural-based Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math program (C-STEM) is a new BWET award to stimulate culture- and science-based inquiry. Our goal is to provide new material to existing Department of Education (DOE) Hawaiian Studies Programs as well as new STEM activities for Title 1 public schools initially in the Waikīkī area. C-STEM will serve as a platform for kūpuna to blend culture and STEM in K-12 classrooms in a manner that is effective with the support of grant partners including the DOE, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, UH Mānoa, HCRI, Waikīkī Aquarium, and Aqua Hotels and Resorts.

Big Island Invasive Species Committee: Building Teacher Capacity in Hands-On, Inquiry Based Science Using Existing Hawaiʻi-Based Curricula

Teacher training in utilizing conservation and invasive species concepts to create place-based and hands-on activities in the secondary science classroom. Funded by Hawaiʻi non-profit – Hawaiʻi Community Foundation.

ʻImi Pono no ka ʻĀina: Forest Guardians

Develop and implement a joint environmental stewardship and cultural education program called "Forest Guardians," for K-12 school children on Hawaiʻi island. Funded by Hawaiʻi non-profit – Hawaiian Silversword Foundation.

ʻImi Pono no ka ʻĀina: Environmental Education and Outreach Program for the Three Mountain Alliance Watershed Partnership

Supporting outreach and education programs for Hawaiʻi Island teachers and students through the Three Mountain Alliance Watershed Partnership.

Community Outreach

Educational Program at the Institute for Human Services

Since 2011, Dr. Monique Chyba (Department of Mathematics) has been working in partnership with the Institute for Human Services in Iwilei. She has developed an educational program for the children from the Institute to expose them to hands-on and exciting mathematics activities as well as to received individual tutoring. The educational program takes place twice a week at the shelter from 2-4pm, with undergraduate and graduate students from the department of Mathematics. This year the department is donating school supplies (including 30 backpacks) as well as 20 laptops for the children activities and the staff of the Institute. It is also the first year that the UHM Department of Second Language Studies will join the partnership to provide tutors and activities in language arts. Every December, Dr. Chyba coordinates “Be a Scientist Tonight”. The event features hands-on learning activities in robotics, fly genetics, optimal navigation through a maze, and other activities created by members of the Student Teaching Outreach Mentoring Program (STOMP), School and University Partnership for Educational Renewal in Mathematics (SUPER-M), Graduate Women in Science (GWIS), faculty, as well as graduate and undergraduate students from the colleges of Natural Science and Engineering at UH Mānoa. Children and families at the Institute for Human Services have the opportunity to become mathematicians, engineers, robotic specialists, computer scientists and zoologists. To date, funding for this initiative has come from Dr. Chyba's various NSF grants, and it is now transitioning into a volunteer-base scheme to develop a sustainable model.

Partnership to Facilitate Education/Outreach and Natural Resource Conservation Goals of the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry (IPIF)/Hawaiʻi Experimental Tropical Forest (HETF)

Engage in a variety of education, training, and outreach opportunities in support of the Hawaiʻi Experimental Tropical Forest, Hawaiʻi Island. Funded by US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

Natural Area Reserves Management

Add and continue education and outreach component of existing Natural Area Reserves ecosystem research and management project. Research and manage endangered species in their protective habitats in the state's natural area reserves with a focus on the native ecosystem and species diversity. Funded by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife Hawaiʻi.

Create Educational Opportunities with Natural History Collections

This multi-phased agreement addresses the National Park Service’s responsibility to better curate its natural history collections at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (HAVO), while simultaneously drawing upon collections identification and curation expertise at the University of Hawaiʻi. This agreement will provide students at the University with real world training and experience working with National Park collections. Phase I will focus on the HAVO herbarium and general Natural History collection, which has approximately 300 Natural History Accession Records that need updating, and associated catalogue records that need to be reviewed and updated through the NPS computer program system. Phase II will focus on the Zoology collection at the park. In both Phases, specific collections will be annotated, taxonomic nomenclature reviewed, and electronic data records updated. Students currently enrolled in school, or graduates with the required background, will work with the collections. Other management tasks related to these collections also will be included as part of the students’ educational experience. Funded by The Department of Interior, National Park Service.

Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance Environmental Education Program

Build an outreach and education program that provides opportunities for students of all ages to interact with the Mauna Kea landscape and its native forest ecosystem. Funded by Hawaiʻi non-profit – Big Island Resource Conservation and Development Council Inc.

Three Mountain Alliance: Koa Canoe Forest Education and Management

Protect and sustainably manage a Koa Canoe Forest within Kaʻu Forest Reserve for conservation, education, and cultural practices. Funded by Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Natural Area Reserve Management: Education & Outreach

Provide environmental education and outreach services to support the State's overall Information and Education Program, addressing efforts in conservation and natural resource management. Funded by Department of Land and Natural Resources, Forest.

Supporting Invasive Species Outreach Efforts: Consolidated Online Public Pest Reporting, Improved Interagency Communication & Enhanced Web Content

Support and enhance invasive species public outreach through web content. Funded by Department of Land and Natural Resources, Forest.

Core Funding for the Hawaiʻi Biodiversity Information Network: Providing Key Technical Services and Supporting an Integrated Approach to Pest Reporting

Support and enhance invasive species public outreach through web content. Funded by Department of Land and Natural Resources, Forest.

Voluntary Public Access Program: Education and Outreach, Habitat Improvement and Access

Conduct education and outreach regarding voluntary access program for landowners bordering forest reserves, and prepare for fencing and other border improvements. Funded by Department of Land and Natural Resources, Forest.

Support of Invasive Species Public Outreach Efforts in Hawaiʻi

Educate public and private sector about invasive species in conjunction with the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project. Funded by Department of Land and Natural Resources, Forest.

Koloa Recovery Information, Education, and Outreach

Conduct outreach to educate public on the necessity of removing mallard and mallard hybrid ducks for the protection of native Koloa Maoli ducks on Kauaʻi. Funded by Department of Land and Natural Resources, Forest.

ʻAlalā Outreach and Education Program

Conduct outreach and coordinate with stakeholders to gain support for the release of Hawaiian crow into wild habitat. Funded by Department of Land and Natural Resources, Forest.

ʻAhihi-Kinaʻu Natural Area Reserve Management of Human Impacts through Education, Outreach and Volunteer Coordination

Managing human impacts on ʻAhihi-Kinaʻu Natural Area Reserve through education, outreach and volunteer coordination. Funded by Department of Land and Natural Resources, Forest.

Control of Little Fire and Emerging Pest Ant Species in Hawaiʻi

Eradicate Little Fire Ants from Kailua-Kona, Maui and Kauaʻi, and provide training and education to businesses, homeowners and invasive species groups. Funded by Department of Land and Natural Resources, Forest.

Kaʻū Education and Outreach

Create an outreach and education program to assist in gaining community support for planned forest management activities in Kʻaū on the Island of Hawaiʻi. Funded by Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry & Wildlife-HI.

Kanakaleonui Bird Corridor

Continue reforestation of native forests on Department of Hawaiian Homeland lands on the island of Hawaiʻi, and build community support through education and outreach. Funded by Hawaiʻi non-profit – Hawaiian Silversword Foundation.

STEM Education-Related Research

Collaborative Research: Teaching Strategic, Operational and Defensive Cyber Security to the Next Generation: From Sea to Shining Sea

The University of Hawaiʻi and the University of Washington propose to make available George Washington University's unique educational perspective - combining traditional CSIA education with the view from within the federal government - via its signature Seminar program to GW's partner institutions and establish a framework to make them broadly available to other Scholarship for Services (SFS) institutions and beyond. Funded by the National Science Foundation.

Enhancement of Fisheries Management Through Information, Education, and Outreach

Conduct research to assess DAR's outreach needs on Oʻahu and develop tools to enhance DAR's outreach capacity. Funded by Department of Land and Natural Resources, Aquatics.

Online Q&A in STEM Education: Curating the Wisdom of the Crowd

This project will explore how both formal and informal information literacy can be effectively integrated into STEM education. In partnership with Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, the three-year project will investigate how combining crowdsourced information with the quality assessment standards of librarians and other information professionals can enhance the experience of students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. The project is funded by an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant.