The HI STAR program is an immersive astronomy camp for highly motivated students and teachers that are interested in learning new skills associated with astronomy research.
In 2018, HI STAR was a week-long overnight "camp", where selected students were paired with proposed research projects of graduate students and/or faculty from the Institute for Astronomy. Students conducted research with their paired mentor(s) for several hours every day of the week which culminated with presentations on the final day. Due to the large time commitment, all students participating in the program are offered overnight arrangements at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa dorms, which was doubly important since some students came from other islands. During the 2018 camp, I stayed with the students on campus as their resident assistant/camp counselor, but more importantly, to be available for them as a near-peer mentor.
Over the past several years, HI STAR alumni have collected many accolades, including over $400,000 in scholarships and awards at state science fairs. In fact, recent stellar alumna, Stephanie Yoshida, made it all the way to the Intel International Science and Engineering fair, the world's largest international pre-college science competition, where she placed second in the physics and astronomy category from the millions of candidates. Remarkably, Yoshida published her work in the Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society while still in high school, the work which began during the 2018 HI STAR camp. More recently, she started as an undergraduate student at Harvard, continuing to follow her passion for astronomy by pursuing a degree in Astrophysics.