Kanu a Kupu logo

Aloha and Welcome!

Kanu a Kupu is a summer bridge program designed for incoming students in the College of Natural and Health Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

The Hawaiian phrase Kanu a Kupu may be translated “to plant and sprout.” This name reflects our mission to give students tools to thrive at UH-Hilo. To accomplish this goal we provide incoming students with a unique opportunity to prepare for STEM majors through engaging, hands-on science experiences led by professional scientists.

Program Dates: Monday and Tuesday, August 19-20, 2024 (two days before New Student Orientation). You can see a tentative schedule here.

Program Topic: Non-biodegradable waste, such as plastics, contribute to marine debris that threaten sea life. Using simple chemical tests, the laboratory project will lead the students to characterize the identity of plastics collected from the beach.

Food & Lodging: Students who plan to live on campus in the fall may check into their dorm rooms between 8:00 and 10:00 am on Monday (a day before other incoming students). Students not living on campus may commute to this program. All food, from lunch on Monday to dinner on Tuesday, will be provided for all participants.

Who Should Apply?

All incoming UH-Hilo students are encouraged to apply, but we prioritize applicants who:

Why Join Us?

Application Details

Application Deadline: July 15, 2024.

Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to kickstart your journey in STEM at UH-Hilo!

Applying is easy; just answer a few brief questions about yourself.

Space is limited, so the earlier you apply, the better your chances of being selected.

Click below to secure your spot in Kanu a Kupu.

Apply Now

For more information, contact Chester Dabalos.


Meet the Team

Design Team Lead:

Jocelyn Macho, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher at the J. Craig Venter Institute, California

Team Participants:

Erin Garza, PhD, Staff Scientist at the J. Craig Venter Institute

Haley Halasz, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz

UH-Hilo Coordinators:

Chester Dabalos, PhD, Instructor of Chemistry

Aaron Tresham, ThD, Instructor of Mathematics

Heather Kaluna, PhD, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators Coordinator:

Candice Brown Pacheco, PhD, Assistant Director, ISEE


Kanu a Kupu is a joint project of the University of Hawaii at Hilo and the Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators.