The NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site Earth Science on Volcanic Islands (ESVI) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) aims to support the education, training, and professional development of thirty emerging science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate students from across the nation. The ESVI REU Site provides a place-based learning and research environment supported by field excursions, thematic workshops and seminars, and research projects that target the significance of Earth science on volcanic islands. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a 10-week internship and conduct independent research on environmental, (bio)geochemical, geophysical, and oceanographic topics. Hawai‘i’s rich geologic setting allows students to explore geologic and environmental challenges of interest to society, including coastal erosion, sea level rise, landslides, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, and drought compounded by urban stresses. Recruitment will focus on engaging a diverse cohort of students, including students who are from historically underrepresented groups, such as Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) and students who are attending institutions that are STEM-limited. The goal of this REU is to provide students with a first-time exposure to field work and research, that will encourage them to consider future career opportunities in the geosciences.

Emphasizing the unique place-based learning opportunities that the Hawaiian Islands provide, the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site Earth Science on Volcanic Islands (ESVI) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) is structured around a wide range of environmental, (bio)geochemical, geophysical, and oceanographic research. The objectives of the ESVI REU Site are to provide cutting-edge STEM research and professional development opportunities that will (1) Promote an increased participation of underrepresented groups, including NHPI students, as well as those from STEM-limited institutions, in the geosciences; (2) Expose students to extraordinary field excursions that illuminate the pioneering efforts of geoscientists studying Earth science on volcanic islands; (3) Strengthen students’ writing and presentation skills; (4) Foster a supportive, collegial, and connected relationship to enable long-term tracking of our REU students and follow their progress through graduate school and beyond. To meet these objectives, the ESVI REU Site requires a broad range of programmatic elements: (1) Maintenance of a strong REU site presence online and via social media that promotes the solicitation of applications from students with diverse backgrounds and levels of experience; (2) Collection of geophysical and geological data on a multi-day marine research expedition aboard the R/V Kilo Moana and organization of a multi-day field trip to Hawai‘i Island to observe active or very recent volcanism; (3) Provision of writing workshops and mentoring to assist with the development of oral/poster presentations and research reports; and (4) Facilitation of team-building activities throughout the REU program to promote a healthy, collegial, connected, and motivated cohort. Anticipated outcomes are a diverse cohort of students that will gain invaluable exposure to geoscience research and career opportunities, receive personal mentoring and skillset development on scientific writing and presentation delivery, perceive a beneficial and collegial association with the ESVI ‘ohana (family), and remain socially active with the ESVI program for many years to come.

This project is jointly funded by the Education and Human Resources Program in the Division of Earth Sciences, the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), and the Ocean Education Program in the Division of Ocean Sciences.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Earth Sciences (EAR)
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Aisha Morris
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University of Hawaii
United States
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