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Lupita R

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at Stanford University


marine biology, environmental science, ecology


I am passionate about science because I love being in nature; more precisely I am a marine biologist by training because I love the ocean. I am a firm believer in the value of research experiences as a way to develop scientific skills that ultimately enable us to take care of our planet and each other. It was in Hawaii that my passion for marine biodiversity, which I first cultivated while living in Italy during study abroad in high school, really took off. As an undergraduate I did summer research projects in the coral reefs around Hawaii. I wanted to continue my studies of the ocean and biology and decided to go graduate school to do just that. I received my PhD in Biology from Stanford University and my research focused on how corals respond to environmental stress. Currently I am researching Hawaiian fishponds on Oahu and the environmental conditions they have to better support community efforts of restoration.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Learn about the underlying biology of a specific topic.

The Freshman in my course How Does Your Brain Work? learn how different parts of their brain interact to create their experience of the world around them. Students would select a topic in Biology they are curious to learn more about. For example, how does our body recognize novel viruses or what happens in the brain when someone is addicted to a drug or how does cancer spread throughout the human body. This type of project would involve learning how to navigate scholarly work online, how to explore online research databases, and how to communicate scientific concepts. Possible final projects include a podcast telling the story of what goes on in the body or a review paper of important research in the field. This type of project would be great for a student that wants to tackle a complex biological topic and get a deeper understanding than what is presented in a college introductory biology textbook.

Explore your curiosity

I am happy to mentor students that are curious to learn more about specific biological concepts, that want to learn about experimental design, or that want to take an interdisciplinary approach to investigating a topic they are passionate about. I encourage all my students to think about the output or final project of their investigation. Examples of final projects my students have done include podcasts, Op-Eds, scientific articles, and infographics. Above are a couple ideas, which can also be used as a springboard for tailored ideas that students are particularly passionate or curious about.

Coding skills

R, python

Languages I know


Teaching experience

Currently I am a junior assistant professor of environmental science at Chaminade University of Honolulu. I engage in marine science field research in local coral reefs and participate in Hawaiian fishpond restoration collaborations. From 2016-2020 I taught Freshman at Stanford University in courses focused on thinking critically in the sciences. The courses I taught there include: Sustainability, The Cancer Problem, How Does Your Brain Work?, and Living With Viruses.


Work experience

Stanford University (2016 - 2020)
Lecturer in Thinking Matters Program


Chaminade University of Honolulu
BS Bachelor of Science (2009)
Environmental Studies
Stanford University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy (2016)

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