HONOLULU (KHON2) — A dozen high school students in Hawaii interested in marine mammal science are taking hands-on classes in the summer of 2023.
Students from Oahu, Hawaii, and Maui participate in the Summer Intensive Marine Mammal Learning Experience Program.
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A 10-day excursion on Coconut Island at full cost. It is run by her two graduate students at the University of Manoa Marine Biology Laboratory.
“SMMILE provides underrepresented high school students with free opportunities to learn about marine mammal science, marine reserves and conservation,” said a representative from the University of Hawaii.
California State University said it will prioritize Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander high school students to improve representation in the fields of STEM and marine mammalology.
The program includes:
- Participants will learn basic knowledge of marine mammals, with a focus on Hawaiian marine mammals. Skills that can be applied to study marine mammals in the field and in human shelters. Opportunity to network with undergraduate and graduate students, professionals and organizations involved in science-based conservation and learn how to understand the diversity of Hawaiian marine mammals.
- SMMILE programs focus on topics such as Acoustics/Hearing, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Tagging, Census, Photo ID, Stranding/Response, and Conservation/Management.
- The program facilitates hands-on learning opportunities throughout the week through guest lectures, hands-on training, field trips, and workshops.
- Participants will stay in a lanai suite on the island for the duration of the program.
- SMMILE is funded by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the Marine Mammal Commission, an Inclusion, Diversity, Access and Success grant from the UH Mānoa Student Equity Excellence and Diversity Office, and The Next Swell.
- The program is also funded through NOAA Gulf Basin Education and Training Grants for the next two years (2024 and 2025).
- Hawaiian Airlines also donated flight miles for high school students from neighboring islands to travel to Oahu.
- Hawaii high schools with students participating in SMMILE include Kamehameha School Kaparama, Pearl City High School, Moanalua High School, Kealakehe High School, King Kekaulike High School, Molokai High School, Kapaa High School, Waianae High School, and James B. Castle High School. . School and Waipahu High School.
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The entire program is free to students thanks to funding from NOAA and donated flight miles from Hawaiian Airlines.