PBRC is an active sponsor of research-based training programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and community college levels. PBRC faculty members serve as PI’s and research mentors in these programs, which have trained over 100 students during the past four years alone.
Undergraduate & Graduate Training Programs
Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU): Environmental Biology for Pacific Islanders
This REU Site award to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa supports the training of students for 10 weeks during the summer. Recruitment in this program focuses on native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders from Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Sāmoa, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Students learn to conduct biological research that confronts challenges facing Pacific Island communities, and return this knowledge to their home islands.
The overarching goal of this REU-SITE program is to develop a cohort of culturally-connected Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders who are well-trained in the conduct of scientific research, the engagement of indigenous communities throughout the scientific process, and in disciplines of greatest importance to their islands and their future, including ecology, environmental biology, and conservation science.
Community College Training Programs
Advanced Technical Education (ATE)
The NSF-funded ATE program “Partnership for Advanced Marine and Environmental Training for Pacific Islanders” supports the development and improvement of critical degree programs in the marine and environmental sciences at a consortium of community colleges located throughout the Pacific Region (including American Samoa, Palau, Marshall Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and Micronesia), each of which serves an under-represented minority population. PBRC (Robert Richmond, P.I., Kewalo Marine Lab) serves as the administrative home for this program, and the Palau International Coral Reef Center serves as a key training facility.
The ATE program has facilitated development of degree programs at the community college level in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines throughout the Pacific Islands. The minority-serving institutions participating in the ATE program serve as the primary gateway for students to enter the work force with requisite technical skills or to pursue four-year and graduate degrees in STEM. Most of the students enrolled in the marine and environmental sciences programs at the participating community colleges are the first generation to pursue higher education, and the ATE program has been instrumental in producing the first cohorts of local scientists, technicians and experts. As identifying, documenting and addressing the challenges and impacts of problems such as climate change, overfishing and development have become more urgent for these island nations, the programs developed and supported by ATE have and will continue to become even more important for the future of the communities served by the program. Over 500 students from under-represented communities have benefited directly from the PBRC administered ATE program. Moreover, the number of marine and environmental science majors at each of the participating community colleges has increased dramatically over the past five year. These experiences have and will continue to develop students’ passion for and self-confidence in the STEM disciplines, and cement their desire to pursue careers in areas considered non-traditional in these minority communities.