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ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike ka hālau hoʻokahi. One learns from many sources.” — from the UH Hilo Mission Statement

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) and administered through the Department of Anthropology, SHARP supports all under-represented students, and particularly Native Hawaiians and Pacific islanders, at UH Hilo to develop interest and competence in biomedical and behavioral sciences research to help them advance to PhD studies.


To increase the number of individuals from under-represented groups that will ultimately obtain their bachelors and PhD degrees from UHH in biomedical and behavioral sciences.


Our 3 objectives in fulfilling our overall goal of advancing SHARP students into biomedical doctoral programs:

  1. To increase the number of UR students graduating with a PhD by improving the pipeline from undergraduate studies to completing a PhD. This will be accomplished by providing a student research program for training future scientists that will increase student retention, and by providing a PhD program into which students can transition.
  2. To train underrepresented undergraduate students that will be competitive for entering a PhD program within 3 years of graduation. The goal is to place at least 50% of those UR students that receive their baccalaureate degrees [under SHARP] into a PhD program in the biomedical or behavioral sciences.
  3. To graduate at least 80% of the SHARP students entering the DKICP PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences program.

Program Strategies

Aim 1: Cultivate the development of undergraduate and graduate scientific researchers.

  • Mentoring: For many people who have pursued a career in professional science, their decision followed from a hands-on experience in a college research lab under the mentorship of one of their professors [(Auchincloss et al. 2014)]. Underrepresented undergraduates coming into SHARP from RISE-relevant departments will be partnered with a mentor based on the student’s research interests selected from a list of on-going research projects.
  • Research Assistance: Students will work in their mentor’s lab approximately 15 hrs/wk during the academic year and full-time during the summer. PhD students participate in SHARP activities and will be doing research throughout the program.
  • Relevance: Cultural relevance and sensitivity will be achieved by interaction with faculty in the Hawaiian culture program.
  • Conference Participation: Both undergraduates and PhD students will present their research results at national and international meetings and publish in scientific journals. SHARP research projects will be performed at the UHH campus.
  • Networking: Visits to laboratories at the UH Mānoa campus and UH Cancer Center will provide motivation and create networking connections to developing careers in the biomedical sciences for the SHARP students.

Aim 2. Design and coordinate a scientific learning community.

Enhancements will be made to the existing scientific learning environment to provide for better academic and social integration.

  • Introduction to Research: This course provides a foundation of proper scientific behavior, ethics, safety training, and fundamentals of research.
  • Research Seminar: This course meets weekly for students to develop their critical thinking and presentation skills, furthering their skills base, increasing their motivation, and providing greater social integration through peer-to-peer interaction.
  • Speaker Series:  As part of the Research Seminar course, the research scholars will provide inspiration for students through a formal scientific seminar and interactions with SHARP students in an informal setting.
  • Symposium: The SHARP Symposium will allow students to present their work to the campus and community.
  • Future Planning:  Students will be supported in planning their undergraduate careers, prepare their curricula vitae, to provide them mentoring, tutoring, GRE exam preparation, and graduate school applications. […]

Aim 3. Create a family and community link.

Student retention will be increased by getting parents involved.

  • Open House: At the end of the semester, the SHARP students will create an open house exhibit for the parents and community.
  • Progress: If possible, faculty mentors will meet with the parents to discuss the student’s progress.
  • Engagement: The SHARP Director and Coordinator, on an alternating basis, will meet with the parents of all incoming students as well as at the end of each semester of participation in the SHARP program. For parents that are off-island, these meetings will take place using Skype or Facetime.

Aim 4. Direct graduation with DKICP PhD degree.

A direct conduit to research careers will be provided through the Conquering Cancer and Infectious Disease PhD training program within the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP).

The goal of the program is for 50% of the undergraduate participants to move on to a BBS graduate program and 80% of the PhD participants to complete their PhD degrees. […]