SURF logo with the acronym, a curled wave, and elements from PI-CASC and Hawaiʻi Sea Grant logosSUMMER UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP

The PI-CASC track of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program is designed to provide promising undergraduates the opportunity to gain valuable research experience, improve their skills in climate science, and expand their knowledge of environmental issues in Hawaiʻi and Guam, working with a mentor on a climate-related research project aligned with the mission of the PI-CASC University Consortium. That mission aims to provide the best science available on climate change and other landscape-scale stressors that are impacting natural and cultural resources across the Pacific Basin.

Four students wearing lei pose by PI-CASC banner
2023 SURF cohort have a last photo together after their Final SURF Symposium.

Research project topics that PI-CASC has funded stretch from the mountains to the sea, from forests to fishponds, from rainfall to streamflow, from shorelines to sea levels. The Center also supports building capacity for the future, creating opportunities for students from all ethnic and academic backgrounds to gain important tools for conducting science and knowledge co-production for future research, management, and/or policymaking.

Depending on their location, students who are accepted will be paired with either a faculty researcher or extension agent at the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) at Mānoa, UH Hilo, or the University of Guam (UOG), or a mentor from a federal research enter (e.g., USGS, NOAA, EPA) whose field of expertise and ongoing research in climate science and/or adaptation complements the expressed interests of the student, to the extent possible.

In all its programs, PI-CASC endorses a diverse workforce in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific and embraces individuals of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, disabilities, cultures, religions, citizenship types, marital statuses, job classifications, veteran status types, and income and socioeconomic status types and intersectionalities.

Student Eligibility for Surf

This fellowship is open to any undergraduate currently enrolled at any of the UH system campuses or UOG, or currently enrolled at another accredited two- or four-year institution but attended a high school in Hawaiʻi or Guam. All are encouraged to apply.

Program Details and Expectations for Students

Five students pose against work area
2022 SURFers pose after a fulfilling morning of community weeding at Lyon Arboretum.
  • The 2024 SURF Program will run for 10 weeks from June 3, 2024 to August 9, 2024.
  • Fellows must commit to working full-time (40 hours per week) for the entire program.
  • Fellows must attend a half-day orientation on June 3, 2024, and 2 professional development workshops (dates TBD).
  • Fellows are required to present their research at a final SURF Symposium on August 8, 2024.
  • Fellows are required to write a short reflection on their summer accomplishments and experiences.
  • A stipend of $7000 ($17.50/hr) will be provided in support of 10 weeks of summer research training.

Application Process for Students

To apply for this opportunity, please collect the following information and submit through the eSeaGrant platform by 5 pm, February 29, 2024:

  • Name, email, address (campus, summer, or permanent), phone number
  • Two identified areas of interest from a supplied list of PI-CASC-relevant topics
  • Current resume
  • Unofficial college transcript (If freshman, please supply an unofficial high school transcript.)
  • 500-word essay on the following topic:
    • What inspired your interest in climate science and adaptation? How would this research fellowship contribute to your current major or planned field of study?
  • Letter of recommendation from a faculty member or mentor familiar with your abilities. (This will be submitted separately and directly from the recommender.)

For more detailed instructions on submitting through eSeaGrant, see page three of the Student Details Info Sheet (above right).

Virtual Information Session

SURF organizers hosted a virtual information session at 2 pm on January 26, 2024 to reiterate details of the program, introduce the eSeaGrant platform, and answer questions from prospective students and mentors. Watch a recording of the information portion at our YouTube channel.

Contact & Notification

For any questions not covered in the SURF FAQ, please contact Dr. Rachel Lentz at Notification of acceptance and student/mentor pairing will be emailed by about April 15, 2024.




Dr. Rachel Lentz
Undergraduate Research Coordinator