Pacific Islands Region
PIR Hosts Three Hollings Scholars and Two UH Maui College Interns
The Hollings Scholar Program in NOAA's Office of Education has provided the Pacific Islands Region (PIR) with several outstanding students over the past few years, and 2013 is no exception. The PIR is hosting three interns, two at the Maui site, and one on Oahu at the Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology.
Ariana Meltvedt-Snow is spending her summer on Oahu working at the University of Hawai'i's Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology (HIMB). The Oregon State University senior works alongside graduate students and postdocs as she mentors young students who are participating in a summer research training program. In addition, Ariana is also investigating genetic differences between generations of captive Hawaiian snapper (opakapaka). She plans to graduate with an Honors Bachelors in marine biology with a minor in chemistry.
Alexandra (Sasha) Giametti is a junior at Eckerd College in Florida, and plans to major in Marine Science. Sasha's summer work focuses on the KŌ'ie'ie Fishpond, which is adjacent to the sanctuary offices on Maui. She is investigating the habitats inside and outside the fishpond by sampling and analyzing the water quality, the plankton, and the fauna. Her results will provide a snapshot of the biological impacts that the fishpond has on the local shoreline, and could inform management decisions that the sanctuary will make during its management plan review.
Erika Euker, a junior at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, plans to complete her degree in biology, with an emphasis on marine biology. She is assisting the site designing and producing a new activity book for children that focuses on the Kīhei sanctuary site and the adjacent marine environment. The book will feature information linked to creative activities that will engage and instruct young users. The resulting booklet will be used in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center as a complimentary resource.
University of Hawai'i Interns
The PIR is hosting two summer interns from the University of Hawai'i Maui College (UHMC), Wakea Po (who has a stipend from PIR) and David Lima. "Wakea and David are the first of what I hope will be many students who have the opportunity to do an internship with the Sanctuary office here in Kihei. I think that NOAA and the Sanctuary program provide a number of great venues that can be launching pads for the next generation of home grown scientists", says Allen Tom, Regional Director the PIR (based in Kihei). "My goal is to not only offer this internship on an annual basis, but have students like Wakea and David can come back home after their studies and become part of the local scientific community", continued Tom.
Wakea Po, a junior at the University of Hawaii Maui College (UHMC) majoring in marine science, will be working with NOAA scientist Dr. Cheryl Woodley, who will be visiting Maui this summer to conduct water quality tests on Maui's shoreline. In addition, Wakea will use his new skills to work with Damian Cie from UHMC conducting testing on the waters of the Ko'ie'ie Fishpond, which is adjacent to the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
Dr. Meagan Jones, Ocean Studies Education Specialist at UHMC said, "This is a wonderful opportunity for Wakea, and we look forward to working with the sanctuary to develop more programs that will benefit our students." Wakea graduated from Maui's Kihei Charter School with enough college credits to enable him to declare as a sopohomore his first year at UHMC. He plans to transfer to UH Hilo to complete his marine science degree.
When David Lima looked back on his 10-year career as an air traffic controller, he decided that he didn't want to do that anymore and took a huge leap of faith. The father of five quit his job and went back to school to become a marine biologist. Now a sophomore at the University of Hawaii Maui College (UHMC), David has no regrets. He is majoring in Hawaiian Studies, is enrolled in the Marine Options Program, and is currently doing a summer internship sponsored by UHMC and supported in kind by the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Pacific Islands Region.
Once he completes his AA degree (which is all that UHMC now offers in marine science), he will transfer to UH Hilo for a BS in Marine Science. Then David, an Army veteran who served as an air traffic controller in Georgia, Alaska and Iraq, plans to complete a Masters in Education. The Molokai native's goal is to "give back" to his community. David graduated from Moanalua High School on Oahu.
"Maui provides a unique atmosphere where students can learn science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the context of Hawaiian culture", said Damien Cie, Director for the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope Mitigation Initiative.