HIMB MakerLab

HIMB MakerLab is a makerspace type learning environment designed to engage college students and science teachers in research experiences that are learner-driven, creative, and synergistically integrated with community education and engagement. This flexible laboratory allows students to explore scientific research in a less structured and more collaborative format than conventional research laboratories or internships. An artist-in-residence collaboration is integrating science and art to enhance creative thinking about science. A new NSF EAGER award will help us test this new model for training undergraduate STEM Education majors with the UH Manoa Institute for Teacher Education program.

Student Internships
Undergraduate and graduate students interested in working with Dr. Lemus in MakerLab or other projects that integrate science research and education can send inquiries and concept ideas to Dr. Lemus.

Loko I‘a iPhone App

Created as an educational product of the Laulima A ‘Ike Pono internship program, the Loko I‘a app is an innovative way to engage a broader community in learning about scientific research, environmental stewardship, Hawaiian culture, and community restoration occurring at He‘eia Fishpond in Kaneohe Bay on Oahu. The app accomplishes this by creating a user experience that includes interactive tours, science, photo galleries, and audio about He‘eia Fishpond.


seaHarmony is an online collaboration network connecting ocean scientists interested in outreach activities and educators and organizations who want to bring science to their students and communities.  Initially launched in Hawaii, seaHarmony now has the capability of connecting scientists, educators, managers, and others interested in the ocean with potential collaborators across the country.   Video interview with Dr. Lemus for COSEE Ocean Systems graduate course at

COSEE Island Earth

COSEE Island Earth is an NSF-funded collaborative initiative among university, government, research, and community partners to improve connections between scientists and educators, inform ocean science educational practices, and enhance ocean literacy in Hawaii.  Dr. Lemus serves as the director and lead principle investigator of COSEE-IE, working with co-investigators and colleagues from UH and partner institutions.

Connecting community college students with research technologies

A current project underway at HIMB is a plan to give community college students and faculty access to HIMB research technologies such as the confocal microscope and genetics core laboratories.  Funded by an NSF Field Stations and Marine Labs grant, his project will provide remote computer stations at three community colleges that will be able to connect and “drive” with the HIMB Confocal Microscope [], as well as genomic sequence research-based activities data of marine organisms from the Genetics Core Facility [].

Building networks and study systems to advance research on the biology of Pacific corals

The NSF EAGER project developed an international team of scientists, educators and students in the US, Taiwan and China to examine coral biology and the environmental threats to coral health, emphasizing basic reproductive biology, and the genetic capacity of corals to survive increasing seawater temperatures.  This multi-institutional project led by Dr. Virginia Weis (Oregon State University), with collaborators at HIMB (Judy Lemus and Ruth Gates), CSUN (Peter Edmunds), and Vassar College (Jodi Schwarz) provided unique and varied opportunities for young and established scholars to build networks and collaborations in coral reef biology. Online learning and networking events, as well as informal workshops during site visits, helped further participant professional development by increasing cultural sensitivity and awareness.

Past Projects

Climate Science Teacher Institutes

Funded through the NSF Pacific Islands Climate Education Partnership (PCEP) to Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL), the Climate Science Teacher Institutes developed a climate change workshop curriculum for middle and high school level science teachers on Pacific Islands that emphasized the teaching of climate science to students through inquiry-driven field and classroom activities. Introducing topics such as climate systems dynamics, weather, paleoclimate data, modeling, ecological interactions and impacts, human dimensions and traditional knowledge, these summer workshops served over 70 teachers in Hawaiʻi, the Marshall Islands, and American Samoa.

Laulima A ‘Ike Pono

Through a grant from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Lemus lead a program that partnered the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and Department of Oceanography at UH with Paepae o He‘eia to offer paid research internships at He‘eia fishpond in Kaneohe. During this 3 year program, research focused on the biological and geological processes in the fishpond studied by UH graduate students in the labs of Drs. Flo ThomasMegan Donahue and Kathleen Ruttenberg, and integrated that research with eco-cultural knowledge and practices to provide interns with a holistic learning experience.

Community Education in He‘eia Wetland

Collaborating with Drs. Flo Thomas and Kathleen Ruttenberg on a grant from the Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative, Dr. Lemus worked with the community group Kako‘o ‘Oiwi in their efforts to restore the wetland area of He‘eia ahupua‘a. This work examined how restoration efforts may affect three primary functions of coastal wetlands: the transport of nutrients, sediments, and water through the system. Additionally, changes in species diversity and wildlife habitat, two other primary wetland functions, were also documented. To help sustain the impact of the research, we developed an instructional regime for training community volunteers in the monitoring techniques and data collection, and initiated logistical planning for a formalized citizen science program within the wetland.