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by Jessica S. McDunn, University Relations


HPU again participated in the prestigious Center for Talented Youth (CTY) summer education program sponsored by Johns Hopkins University. HPU was the sole Pacific site to host the residential program, which invited about 200 exceptionally gifted 12- to 16-year-olds from here and countries around the globe.

This year’s CTY program, again held at HPU’s oceanfront Oceanic Institute campus, offered two courses introduced in 2006: Oceanography: The Hawaiian Pacific and The Life Cycle of an Island: Hawai‘i. The small classes—five to 18 students—along with an instructor and teaching assistant, gave the students the one-on-one attention the CTY program values.

“ We have been working with CTY since 2005 to develop a summer oceanography curriculum unlike any other across the country,” said Dr. Jeffrey Philpott, HPU vice president of student affairs. He explained that over the two three-week sessions, up to five sections of the oceanography class were taught and students had hands-on experience aboard the HPU/OI research vessel, RV Kaholo, collecting data in Kane‘ohe Bay, and analyzing NASA satellite observations and field samples at OI’s research laboratories. Portions of the course were taughts by Dr. Chris Winn, HPU director of marine sciences and associate professor of oceanography; Gary Karr, OI director of communications and education; and Monica Traub, OI marine science education specialist.

The oceanography class, modeled on first-year college oceanography courses, allowed students to explore the physical, chemical, geological, and biological features of the waters of the world’s oceans. Students examined the structure, formation, and features of the ocean basins and of currents, tides, and waves. They investigated the biochemical cycles that affect seawater and the ocean-atmosphere interactions that account for Hawai‘i’s climate. From the shorelines to the coral reefs to the deep ocean, students explored the unique marine life and marine ecosystems of Hawai‘i while learning how local residents struggle to balance economic and environmental concerns. Activities included field work at Kane‘ohe Bay and Makapu‘u Point.

The lifecycle class introduced principles of geology, ecology, and evolutionary biology through the lens of the unique natural history of the Hawaiian Islands, the most isolated chain on Earth, home to many unique ecological communities whose physical features, flora, and fauna emerged and changed through the interaction of natural and, more recently, human processes. Students explored island geological features, climatic regions, vegetation, insects, and animals through field trips to various locations on O‘ahu. They learned about the geologic formation of the island chain—how the islands were created through volcanic action and shaped by weather and erosion—and how organisms crossed thousands of miles of ocean to colonize the islands, evolving into unique native species as they adapted to a new environment.

The course concluded with students analyzing the effects of the arrival of humans, first the Polynesians and later the Europeans, as well as the future of the islands.





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