Hawaii Summer Science Program

Hawaii Science Camp 2019

Wells International School’s
Hawai’i Summer Science Program 2019

At University of Hawai’i at Manoa

shaved ice

This past summer, high school students from Wells International School once again participated in the Hawai’i Summer Science Program, a joint-venture between Wells and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), University of Hawai’i at Manoa (UH). During the 6-week program, twelve students were given a unique opportunity to work with professors and graduate students in different research labs, in various science fields ranging from entomology, virology, horticulture, bioengineering, food science and nutrition, phylogenetics and nematology. This was a wonderful chance for students to experience real-world, professional research and to develop the skills required to become a successful scientist.

In addition to their work in the labs, students were also immersed in an American college-life experience, where they shared rooms with peers in the dormitory, dined at the university cafeteria and took advantage of membership in the on-campus athletic and fitness facilities. On the weekends, our chaperones organized outdoor activities, including hiking scenic trails, snorkeling, and relaxing beach trips, as well as visiting historic sites such as Pearl Harbor and the Dole Pineapple Plantation.

This year marks the sixth consecutive year Wells and UH have offered this program, with over 60 student participants since 2014. Many of the program’s alumni are now pursuing degrees in the sciences and technology at some of the top universities around the world, including Caltech (Arlindo, Wells ℅ 2016), Georgia Tech (Namo, Wells ℅ 2016), New York University (Mona, Wells ℅ 2017), Hong Kong University (Sami, Wells ℅ 2017) and UC Berkeley (Puru, Wells ℅ 2018).

Overall, this program has not only been opening doors into the world of science at the professional level, but also has been providing a glimpse of the often complex life skills, responsibilities and independence required of students living away from their home countries.

The following are reflections from this year’s cohort as they convey their personal thoughts about their summer experience.

Sapal Chapagain, Wells Class of 2020

SapalHawaiiLab01This was my second summer in Hawaii and its fair to say, this year was just as amazing as last year. During my six weeks of lab work, I was able to conduct a bio fungicide application research on Plumeria Rust. This is a disease that takes place in the ornamental flower Plumeria and severely weakens the plant, hence making it loose its ornamental value. This disease has been around Oahu for the past twenty years and chemical treatments have been found to be the most effective in treating the rust. For this reason, in my project, I tested the application for bio fungicides as compared to the commonly known chemical treatment named Heritage. I was able to finish off the lab trails during my stay however the field trials were to be conducted for a month more. From the lab trials, it was concluded that a bio fungicide named Howler at high rates efficacy was just as high as that of Heritage.

Outside of the lab was also very interesting experience and one that a high school student can definitely benefit from. Having independence and being responsible for my own matters from managing my spendings to doing my laundry was extremely helpful. For me, it felt like having a preview of what to expect after high school.

Collaboration skills are also, needless to say, very important. Having to communicate with peers help build friendships that I would not have expected but am truly grateful for, and communicating with lab mates was essential for the success of the ongoing project. Learning a lot from them would be an understatement.

Parina Sirisachadecha, Wells Class of 2020

Hawaii Summer Science camp wasn’t only a science camp where we work on labs everyday, but it was a challenging life experience. Science wasn’t the only knowledge we obtained from this camp, but it’s how we solve our life problems as a person. We had to fix our own beds, do our laundry, be on time for lab, and mainly how to survive 6 weeks of Hawaii with our friends. This experience requires us to have disciplines and responsibilities on everything we do, including managing our time wisely. One of my biggest fear when I was a kid was to go off to University, knowing that I’ll have to be all alone in a whole new level of gaining knowledge, but this camp had taught me how to be more independent and mature from what I used to be. This camp reflects on how University life would be in the future, it’s like a preparation for us before heading to the reality of life, where we would face many circumstances of life that we have to learn how to overcome it. 

Hearing that I would have to work with a freshmen going to be a sophomore, scares me. Firstly, I’ve never learn, work or even talk to my partner, Kendrick. Which working with someone new always frighten me up, knowing that they might not like it if we fail the experiment, knowing that we’re on fault. Going to lab with him on the first day tightened us up, which made the rest of the 6 weeks more comfortable being with him. The first few weeks of lab taught us a lot of content about RNA extraction on Chicken’s tonsil, which was our experiment. We had learned how to pipette, because we’ve done a lot of pipetting in our experiment. We had to pipette the TRIzol and mix it with our sample which is the Chicken’s tonsil, in order to mix it and extract the RNA from the chicken’s tissue’s sample we got. In addition, we had helped other people’s lab including Zarina’s lab, where we had to cut out branches and roots in order to separate them to be able to continue their experiment, and we also helped Sapal’s lab, where I collected data for his leaf, to check the spores on it. 

Apart from the science part of the trip, we had tons of activities that we did as a whole. Going to different beaches amazed me from how clear the water glows and how shiny the sun was. This is not an exaggeration, but it really did amaze me. Going on different hikes every week made me more fit than I thought I could be, it really motivates people to exercise and actually go open a whole new world. Seeing a double rainbow for the first time astonished me from how beautiful it was, and that was one of the best hikes, which was the pillbox hike. One of the most exhausting and back-breaking hikes was the Koko Head hike, I accept that it was very tiring but the view up there really worth the hard work we had to climb up. So “Hard work paid off!” Finally, I would like to thank Mr. Ray for giving such great opportunities for kids to learn how to live their life and thanks to all the chaperones for taking care of us for 6 weeks!

Kendrick Acda, Wells Class of 2022

Not only was my first visit to the University of Hawaii’s Science Summer Camp academically rewarding, but these six weeks have also pushed me to become more independent and socially confident. Being the only freshman traveling with an entire batch of sophomores and seniors, I felt rather anxious about fitting in and whether my lack of prior internship experience would put me at a disadvantage. However, my mentors’ and peers’ enthusiasm and friendliness allowed me to overcome the awkward barrier and I eventually grew comfortable conversing with my seniors and mentors which turned my trip into an even more enjoyable experience.

During the weekends, the science group would visit the beautiful scenery around the island. My favorite hiking trail was Koko head and Lanikai Pillbox because it allowed me to freely improve on my athletic abilities. In addition, the beautiful beaches were relaxing and enjoyable where we went snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and Cliff jumping at Waimea Bay which gave a fun new experience that would not be forgotten.

Together with my lab partner, Parina, we worked in Dr. Mishra’s and Dr. Jha’s poultry lab with his team of grad students, Sanjeev and Savrina, during the weekdays. We delved into chickens’ digestive, reproductive, and immune systems in detail, were taught the protocol for gel electrophoresis and the basics of PCR, and even got to isolate RNA from fresh digestive tissue ready for the grad students’ projects. During my free time, I lent a hand at David’s entomology lab by sampling coffee borer beetles (Hypothenemus hampei) around the campus grounds and learned about the importance of incorporating predator-prey models in pest management by pairing these beetles with insects like wasps. Despite the initial confusion in the first few weeks, this exposure to university and grad student life has allowed me to climb out of comfort zone and explore new fields that will allow me to discover my passion in the sciences.

Riddhi Tandon, Wells Class of 2021

Hawaii Summer Science ProgramTravelling to the University of Hawai’i was unlike any experience I have ever had. Beginning with the 11 hour layover we went through at the Shanghai Airport, to the numerous trails we hiked, and beautiful beaches we visited. The six long weeks spent at the university, is a time I will cherish as it holds some of the most extraordinary memories I have. This was my first time away from home for such a long period of time, as well as my first time travelling outside of Asia, because of which I was especially nervous as to how this trip would turn out. As a whole, the trip was partially a vacation, an insight to college life, an opportunity to work with university professors on their research, and a way to explore/learn about the culture and practices of a wonderful place.

Together with another student from Wells, as well as a few other graduate students, I worked under Dr. Mohammad Arif, in the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Services, at the St. John’s Plant Science Building. I mostly worked with Dr. Shefali, an outstanding mentor who dedicated her time teaching us different procedures such as multiplex PCR, and LAMP reactions. I didn’t have a research topic assigned to me, but I helped Dr. Shefali with her research regarding 2 types of bacteria and trying to integrate a fluorescent gene into their DNA. Although, sometimes we would be called by our graduate students to help them with their research, so we could learn a variety of different things, and make the most of our time at the lab. 

Apart from the lab, there were many other places we visited, such as the hike to Koko Head, snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, and taco Tuesday at Dave and Busters! Lastly, this trip to Hawai’i was one that I am extremely grateful to have been able to go to because of the people I met, the beautiful island, and the opportunity to work in an amazing lab. It is a trip I will never forget:)

Gia Karamchandani, Wells Class of 2021

Hawaii Summer Science ProgramI can say without a doubt in mind that the summer I spent in Hawai’i is the best summer I’ve experienced. During those six weeks, I got the chance to interact with so many different people as well as expand my knowledge of science while in the lab. Dr. Mezler’s lab is not only one of the largest labs in the St.John’s building, but is also one of the most diverse and complex ones. This lab consists of 9 members including the professor. I got the chance to work with almost all of the members and assist them with their work. Throughout the six weeks, my mind has been exposed to everything from plant viruses to invasive species to fieldwork. Due to the varied topics presented by each of the Master and Ph.D. students, I was able to obtain insight concerning a vast array of scientific fields. The experience I gained while at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa lab is a once in a lifetime type of experience for me.

For the first few days of lab, I would often spend my time watching and learning. If not, I would be doing the basic work such as gel electrophoresis or PCR with my graduate student. Soon enough, I was doing lab work independently. The feeling I received after conducting and completing a scientific test on my own for the first time was one of the greatest feelings of my life. Unfortunately, the test didn’t go as planned. In fact, the test failed multiple times. Although this made me feel dejected, I knew that I couldn’t give up. Instead, I used my graduate student’s help to find out the reason the results didn’t come out as desired. We made many adjustments such as creating new buffers for the test, changing the measurements and quantities, preparing new samples, and much more. Sadly, even after the numerous changes and extra precautions taken to avoid any chance of cross-contamination, the test still wouldn’t work 100% of the time, which is what is required. Waiting for the results of the experiment would be one of the most nerve-racking feelings. Even though I saw a lot of failed results, I never got used to the feeling, I would always get a little sorrowful every time I saw that the test I conducted failed. Nonetheless, I learned that this is what science is, you can’t expect to always get what you want. Moving on, as mentioned above, I was opened to so many different areas of science. I did something new almost every day: collecting mites from leaf samples, tissue culture, using a kit to extract DNA from the mycelium of grown fungi, planting hibiscus seeds, extracting TNA using CTAB, DNA cloning, creating a master mix for cDNA synthesis, maintaining colonies of Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles, going to the magoon, collecting samples from the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and much more. 

Apart from my lab experience, living in Hawai’i has given me so many memories that I will cherish forever and stories that I will talk about and laugh at. I remember going up the Koko Head hike and being exhausted but listening to the people coming down saying “it’s worth it!” It definitely was. My favorite hike would have to be Lanikai Pillbox Hike and Pu’u Ma’eli’eli simply because it felt the most natural. As for the beaches, it is too hard to pick, all were beautiful. Another aspect of living in Hawai’i is the independent feeling. It was my responsibility to be at a place on time. The lifestyle that I created in Hawai’i for myself compared to how I live in Bangkok, differ greatly. The six weeks in Hawai’i required a lot more of personal responsibility. I had a specific time I had to be at the lab by and I had a time interval that I had to reach lunch by. I used to be apart of quite a few time-sensitive experiments which required me to be back in time after my lunch break to proceed with the next step. Hawaii has improved my time management skills which is going to be very helpful as I begin the IB course. 

This summer science course allowed for personal growth and I’m extremely grateful to everyone who was a part of it and for my graduate student who not only taught me about his work, but also how to succeed in a lab. Finally, I would like to say thank you to everyone that volunteered their time to help make this trip possible because it was truly the best trip I’ve been a part of. 

Hrithi Bhattacharya, Wells Class of 2021

Hawaii Summer Science ProgramBefore getting on the plane to Hawaii, I was anxious as to what the six weeks there would shape out to become. As expected, the six weeks I spent at the University of Hawaii at Manoa were the best of my life. This summer had a variety of different activities which allowed for it to become one of the most eventful summer vacations I have ever experienced. Our activities ranged from going to the lab every weekday, all the way to the hiking and touring of the city, and it most certainly gave us an opportunity to do extensive research, experience the university lifestyle, as well as vacation at one of the planet’s most popular tourist locations. 

During my six weeks spent at UH, I was assisting Dr. Orville Baldos and his grad students with their research in his Ornamental Horticulture Lab in the St. John’s Plant Science building. I did not have a specific research question so I spent my time learning the skills and practices which were to be followed in the lab alongside his grad student, Christyn. Christyn is in the journey of doing her Master’s on the collection, selection, and evaluation of the Hawaiian Peperomia plant species (‘ala ‘ala wai nui) for ornamental use. She is focused on the development of tissue cultures and its different techniques for the species. With Christyn, I learnt to perform plant propagation to several of the Peperomia plant species. We would work in the lab and we’d do weekly changes of the hydroponic systems and we would also pot several plants and I would primarily learn skills on maintenance and the collection of data. Aside from work in the lab, I would also visit the Magoon Research Station for the University of Hawaii, at least twice in one week. There, I learnt the importance of sustainability. Dr. Baldos would grow several species of plants and we would dedicate one day to weed those plants in order to maintain them. We would also plant and take back samples to the lab for propagation. 

After working in the lab, we would take the weekends to explore the city by visiting the many splendid vacations and hiking on a variety of beautiful trails. The beaches were breathtaking and it was relaxing to feel the Hawaiian sun whilst watching the waves crash onto the beach. My personal favorites were Lanikai beach and Hanauma Bay. Hanauma bay gave us the opportunity to go snorkeling to witness the beauty of the ocean and its aquatic life. On the other hand, hiking experiences, especially the Kokohead Trail, really tested our physical stamina and strength. Albeit tiring, the view at the top of the hikes were always more than worth the struggle of the journey. 

What I loved about this trip was that it gave me a sense of independence. I learnt that there’s so much you can learn when you’re away from your routine and the million hands of help you have available at home. Living without my mom was difficult at first, but I realized that this would be the perfect opportunity to develop life skills such as doing my own laundry and getting places on my own. I would never trade these outcomes for anything else, because I grew as a person and I appreciate that. Thank you to all the teachers that made this trip possible, there’s nowhere else I would rather have been during my summer break.

Yash Bhora, Wells Class of 2020

Hawaii Summer Science ProgramComing out of IB Y1, I needed a break. I was sure that by joining the Summer Science Camp Program would fulfill that desire. I got a lot more than just a break.

Hawaii is truly a place of paradise. The beaches, hikes, and the city make it the perfect destination. When I left my dorm and headed to my lab at St. Johns’ for the first time, it was phenomenal. The different colored trees and the buildings were all very aesthetic. I remember everything so vividly. For the next 6 weeks I would always look forward to this blissful stroll.

Lab was intense. My lab partner and I were assigned a project funded by our professors which I had to simultaneously do alongside my biology extended essay. At times, I used to come back from the lab as late as 6:30 in the evening. Not only that, during the last three weeks of the camp, we had to take daily trips to a Research Station that was approximately a 45 minute drive from the university, including weekends. We spent hours in extreme heat shoot-bagging and cross-pollinating plants. Nonetheless, the view there kept me going!

Do I regret choosing the Maize Lab? Absolutely not. If anything, I’m glad I made the decision. The knowledge, the experience, and the insight I gained during my time there is invaluable. My professors were so passionate about everything they did. Who would’ve ever thought that corn is so fascinating? 

I met all kinds of people who specialized in different fields and were paramount to my projects. The skills I acquired there included using image-analysis techniques and software, coding statistical tests, crafting objects using 3D parts, and molecular analysis. I want to thank Dr. Michael Muszynski and Dr. Angel Del Valle Echevarria for all they’ve done for me. The experiences and memories I made in Hawaii will forever be cherished.

Zarina Sirisachadecha, Wells Class of 2020

ZarinaFirst of all, I am very thankful for receiving a chance to attend to the science program for the second time. Last year, I literally fell in love with Hawai’i, the environment, people, and traditions. Since it’s my last summer in between wells school year, I decided to spend it with my close friends, finding my identity and passion in Hawai’i. In which, throughout the six weeks in the science program made me realize that I want to become a researcher. This is because I really do enjoy doing lab work everyday, analyzing and researching new information. 

At the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, I got to work in the pope’s lab, with Dr. Daniel Owens. However, the lab involves a huge amount of people, therefore, I mainly worked with a PhD student, Joey K. Ooka, and an upcoming undergrad student, Skylar Hara. Which was aimed to see the effects of allelopathic plants towards monocots (lettuce seeds) and dicots (green onion) by screening native and non-native Hawaiian plants. We would roam around the campus, hunting for different types of plant leaves, refill liquid nitrogen, extract the leaves, and plate them in wells every week. 

Personally, I really enjoyed the second year in Hawai’i because I was familiar with the streets and people, which made me really confident in front of new people in the lab, and in the volleyball camp. Throughout the six weeks, I got really close with my lab people, they were giving advice about high school, relationships, education, and university. Which made me open my mind towards attending university abroad and expanding my major. 

Other than the lab, It was really convenient transporting from one place to the other, living in the sophomore dorms, and dining at the cafeteria. During the weekend, Ms. Katherine, Ms.Chawisa, and Amber took us to different beaches, hikes, community service, malls, and dole plantation. Another new exciting experience is that we got to spend time with #olinadafrenchie on the lighthouse hike. Attending to different activities helped us to relax and bond with not only with the science kids, but with the volleyball and tennis guys too. It really taught us to suck it up and be flexible in life, because not everything will go your way, and certainly, there will be some type of people you wouldn’t want to hangout with. Life is short, so might as well make the best out of it, rather than complaining about the things that could have been better.

 Lastly, I would like to say thank you to the school, professors and students at the University of Hawai’i, and Chaperones for making this once-in-a-life-time trip possible for highschool students. Mahalo.

Lucy Lee, Wells Class of 2020

Hawaii Summer Science ProgramSpending my last highschool summer break in the University of Hawaii for Summer Science Camp was an eye-opening experience, yet it was the most meaningful one. Not only did I get an opportunity to experience college life, get involved in experiments, but also learned how to adapt in a new environment and reflect on myself.

During the six week camp, I worked with Dr. Kacie Ho, where I worked in the field of biochemistry and food science. My professor had offered me a new project that I could work on, which was conducting research on the carotenoid content in different mangoes. I got an opportunity to design, conduct, collect data and make a research paper for my experiment. I got an opportunity to work with graduate students, and observe how they conduct their experiment, and how rigorous the whole research is. Hence, I attained the ability to communicate with surroundings with academic background, and also perform the experiment in a more professional manner.

Weekend activities such as Diamond Head, Koko Head Hike, and beach outings has changed myself to being more athletic. These experiences have encouraged me to push myself out of my comfort zone, to be more risk-taking. The main takeaway I had from my experience at Hawaii is to learn from my mistakes. I made small mistakes throughout the experiments, which sometimes ruined my experiment so I had to redo the whole procedure again. However, these small or big mistakes had definitely guided me to understand what I’m researching, and also make me more responsible. Since this was an experiment that I had to conduct on myself, so it depended on me, whether I could initiate the whole process without any mistakes. 

Thus, I learned to project ideas, get along with my classmates, and how to be independent. This was the most drastic change in myself, because I was a dependent person throughout my life. 

Peter Schroder, Wells Class of 2021

Hawaii Summer Science ProgramThe six weeks I spent in Hawai’i and being part of the UH Summer Science Camp was a truly breathtaking experience, not just on an academic level, but it also affected my lifestyle. Being able to live like a college student for six weeks gave me a glimpse of what I could expect in two years time. Surrounded by professors, postdoctoral researchers, and grad students, I was able to expand my knowledge and love for science. 

One of the most exciting parts of my research topic was being able to work in multiple different projects. I was able to interact with a lot of people I have never met before, which was a great experience for me. I worked in two different laboratories, as well as being able to go to a research station towards the north of Oahu on a weekly basis. The main project was about biofumigation, where I had to find out how the quality of the soil was affected by different methods of biofumigation that was implemented on lettuce.  By being able to communicate with a wide range of people, I was able to contribute towards the projects that my professor had set up. One of the best feelings I had was towards the end of the trip, where I was able to present my research and the project I had been working on for the previous 5 weeks to 30 high school students that came for an exhibition at the research station.

During my time outside of the lab, I got experience things I’ve never seen before such as going to beautiful beaches and hiking through trails like Koko Head and Diamond Head. Living in a dormitory made me realise the responsibilities needed to be able to take care of yourself. This is by far the best school endorsed trip that I have ever been a part of, and I am forever grateful to have such an awesome experience with a great group of friends.

Soumili Kar, Wells Class of 2021

soumiliThe 6 weeks spent in Hawaii this summer felt like a dream. It was a summer filled with invaluable lessons and experiences that will not only aid my future career choice but also help me deal with the practicality and surprises that come with life. Initially I remember getting hit with feelings of anxiety and nervousness thinking about little things such as meeting my professors, not being able to wake up on time, fear of losing my passport and most importantly working in an actual university setting. However all my nervousness flew out the window the first time when I met my professors and graduate students, immediately feeling their genuine kindness and passion for everything and everyone around them. Aside from the positive ambiance of my lab, the beaches, views from the hikes, people, and food were things that I absolutely fell in love with. In these 6 weeks I was given a chance to work in a university setting and gave me a head start on what to expect once I graduate.which helped foster life-long skills of discipline, time management, and gave me a taste of independence. 

Before this camp I had several ideas of what major/career path I wanted to pursue, but I wasn’t really set on one particular one. However, this summer working in my lab, I have become more aware and sure in pursuing a career in microbiology. Over the span of 6 weeks, my lab partner and I worked in Dr. Arif’s lab alongside him, Dr.Shefali and 3 other graduate students to focus on the diagnosis of various plant pathogens. In my lab, I primarily assisted Dr. Shefali in completing multiple rounds of PCR (polymerase-chain reaction), and gel electrophoresis to identify whether different strains of bacteria found in native Hawaii plants are disease causing agents. In addition to conducting rounds of PCR, my lab duties also comprised of helping our graduate students with bacterial isolation from numerous sample of native Hawaiian grass. In our last few weeks my lab partner and I also briefly worked with Dr. Arif to work on locating specific sequences from a bacterial gene that is only common to that one type of bacteria, in order to help design primers that can be used to conduct PCR.

Alongside spending concentrated moments in lab, in our down time after lab and during the weekends we spent our time going on various hikes, beaches, to the gym and did a lot of shopping. 

In the end, this science camp was an extremely valuable experience in helping fixate on a specific career choice together with foster life-long skills of discipline, time management, and gave me a taste of independence. I am extremely grateful to be given this opportunity and know that it’s one that I’ll always remember.

Lina Puthengot, Wells Class of 2020

Not many people around me can say that they had been in Hawaii for six long weeks. It was a rare opportunity that I was lucky enough to grab and experience. The trip has given me more than enough memories that could last a lifetime. 

I distinctly remember on the plane ride to Hawaii, Sapal had told me that six weeks would pass by in a blink of an eye, and before I know it, I would be on the plane ride back home. Before the trip, I thought forty-five days was a long time, but the relativity of time became evident as what Sapal had said became a reality. Six weeks flew by like six days, and I was not ready to go back to Thailand when the day came. My Visa was also coming to an end, so I  had to come back, whether I liked it or not. 

A part of me knew that I was not the same person I was six weeks ago. Dorm life was an extreme shift from the life that I had always lived. I could no longer be dependent on the adults around me as I felt like I was one of the adults. It was a sudden gain of independence, and it took quite a while to register. However, week by week, I experienced things that made me realize that I had to rely on myself before anyone else. This was a lesson that I took with me back to Thailand. 

Responsibility was never my forte, but with independence comes responsibility. I was suddenly put in a position where I was forced to act responsibly, and this has helped me transform into the person I have always wanted to be. Being irresponsible was a limitation that often held me back from opportunities. This trip, however, changed that because I was no longer working for myself, but I was also working with someone who had trusted me with her life’s work. 

I worked with a graduate student during my stay at UH. She worked with transgenic basil leaves and ways of tackling the disease Basil Downy Mildew. Her work revolves around molecular biology, which was something that I had always been passionate about. She had given me the job of being a lab assistant. This meant that I had to aid her in all her tasks, whilst also doing my own project. Every task that I was given to do, I had to perform them more than adequately, and I had to make sure my results were accurate and viable. This required a lot of discipline. I had to be in the lab at a certain time to make sure I could get the day’s work done. I had to be patient with my trials until I got a string of accurate results. It was tedious work, but it was also immensely enjoyable. My graduate taught me so much in the span of six weeks, and I am forever grateful for the experience that she has given me.  

Alongside laboratory work, we also had sufficient time to explore Oahu. Our weekly hikes and beach days helped us unwind and appreciate the beauty of the protected Hawaiian nature and wildlife. The lack of pollution and the beautiful greenery will always be missed, as it was so different from how Bangkok is. I fell in love with Oahu and I do wish I could go back one day. 

Towards the end of the trip, I had made a lot of friends. A group of soon-to-be freshmen in college became a good group of people I could learn a lot from. They had a strong sense of love towards their culture, and that was quite refreshing to see. They taught me Hawaiian slang and one night they made me a maile leaf headband which I kept as a souvenir. When I said goodbye to them, a part of me knew that I would never see any of them again, my lab mates and graduate student included. It was a bittersweet farewell to an unforgettable trip that has given me so much. 

I am very grateful for Ms.Chawisa, Ms.Katherine, Justin and Amber, and Mr.Ray for how much they have helped throughout this trip. Hopefully, if I work hard enough, I could one day go back and climb Koko Head without wanting to faint. Mahalo nui loa! 

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