UH Hilo graduate student wins award for her research using unmanned aerial systems

Rose Hart, a second-year graduate student at UH Hilo was recognized for her research using small unmanned aerial systems to map shoreline change at Hapuna State Beach Park.

By Susan Enright.

Rose holding UAV.
Graduate student and researcher Rose Hart holds an unmanned aerial vehicle used to survey coastal areas. Photo by Zoe Coffman.

Rose Hart, a second-year graduate student in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) program at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, has won a prestigious award for her research using unmanned aerial systems.

Students stands, guiding UAV up in the air.
Rose Hart guides an unmanned aerial vehicle. Courtesy photo from Rose Hart. Click to enlarge.

Hart received an Excellent Award at the 2017 Forum Math-for-Industry conference held Oct. 23-26 at UH Mānoa. This year’s theme “Responding to the Challenges of Climate Change: Exploiting, Harnessing and Enhancing the Opportunities of Clean Energy” was inspired by the alarming trend of climate change and its effect on the life on Earth. The conference examined the associated growing world-wide initiatives in renewable energy, as well as the priority for the state of Hawaiʻi to eliminate its dependence on fossil fuel.

Hart’s poster presentation was entitled, “Using small unmanned aerial systems to map shoreline change at Hapuna State Beach Park.”

The overall goal of Hart’s research is to try to make accurate predictions on how the rise in sea level will affect the coast and what that entails for communities and the county in regard to planning. For example, setback regulations from the coastline may need to be adjusted. How the community will respond to the rising sea level is an important factor to consider especially in the long-term sense—things will be dramatically different in the next 50 to 100 years.

Hart is from Los Angeles, CA, and began attending UH Hilo after high school for her undergraduate degree in 2012. She graduated last year with a bachelor of science in environmental science with a minor in marine science and a certificate in planning.

“I didn’t think I would be doing this while I was getting my undergrad (degree),” she says. “It all just fell into place when I realized my senior year in Dr. (Ryan) Perroy’s field methods class that I could use this application of UAVs that could support policies that regulate how we use the shoreline and it took off from there.”

The award includes a fully paid two-week research trip to the Institute of Mathematics for Industry at Kyushu University, Japan.


About the writer of this story: Susan Enright is a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.