A living, breathing classroom. That is what
HPU students experience when working or taking classes at Oceanic
Institute at Makapu‘u.
Some natural science majors are taking advantage of opportunities
to incorporate research studies at the institute with their usual
course load. “There’s a much greater connection with
the environment than in the average classroom for the students,” said
Dr. Chris Winn, director of the marine environmental science
programs at HPU.
I chose to attend HPU because the natural sciences programs allowed
me to focus on what interested me,” said Maile Waiwaiole,
an HPU senior and 2003 Pearl City graduate. “It is also
important to me that HPU offers smaller class sizes so I can
work closely with my teachers.”
Dr. Winn points out that in the classroom and research activities
at OI, HPU students are able to integrate fieldwork, experiments,
and lab analysis into their undergraduate educational activities
while working with professional scientists on a variety of cutting
edge research projects.
Marine biology sophomore Ben Moorman and marine biology freshman
Hendry Sukendy are earning course credit for working with nutrition
research scientist Dr. Ian Forster and nutrition department director
Dr. Warren Dominy in the OI feeds program to improve and develop
feeds for the growing global aquaculture industry. These students
are therefore not only getting a strong education in the science
of the sea, but are working with professionals on the cutting
edge of aquaculture science.
The affiliation between HPU and OI is providing HPU students
with internships and practical experiences that allow them to
pursue a variety of careers in ocean science.
One of the real advantages is that laboratory practicum courses
are being taught by OI scientists who are folding HPU students
into their research projects,” added Winn. “This
is an incredible opportunity to introduce the real-life aspect
to our students.”
Marine biology senior Brandi Kivi is working with associate chemistry
professor Dr. David Horgen, testing marine organisms for substances
that may lead to the development of powerful new drugs to treat
brain injury patients. Horgen’s team is culturing algae,
sponges, mollusks, sea squirts, and marine bacteria and fungi
to see if they may contain new compounds that protect human cells
The work we’re doing has the potential to lead to new drugs,
or help other researchers investigate how cells work. We are
never sure exactly where it will lead, but we know we’re
adding to the scientific body of knowledge,” said Horgen.
Educational activities at OI are also providing unique opportunities
for HPU students. Blade Shepherd-Jones, B.S. in marine biology
2006, and current Master of Education in secondary education
student at HPU, taught the oceanography course offered this past
summer at Oceanic Institute through the Johns Hopkins University
Center for Talented Youth (CTY) program. Based in part on his
experience teaching science to the CTY students, Shepherd-Jones
is now working at Kailua High School.
These practical and hands-on experiences help HPU science students
earn positions with organizations all over the world, including
Bishop Museum, U.S. Coast Guard, Sea Life Park, Oceanic Institute,
and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
For more information on HPU programs offered, call 236-5853.