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Engineering path at WCC is out of this world!


Not everyone is destined for rocket science, but some are. This year, five Windward Community College students will fulfill their dream of launching a rocket 100 miles into outer space with a UHCC-built payload that measures ultraviolet radiation from the Sun and analyzes its influence on climate. This study will contribute to an understanding of how solar magnetic activities and variations in UV radiation affect the earth’s ionosphere and climate.Imua team

"This is the most exciting project I can imagine," said WCC pre-engineering student Cale Mechler, student team leader for WCC.

"WCC's high-powered rocketry students are teaming together with three other UHCC campuses—Kauai, Kapiolani and Honolulu Community Colleges—on Project Imua, the NASA-funded project modeled after the Hawaiian ahupua‘a system based upon a cooperative workforce to sustain the project's goal," said Joe Ciotti, principal investigator spearheading the project.

Project Imua is funded by a two-year $500,000 NASA grant awarded through the Hawaii Space Grant Consortium.

WCC is the lead team coordinating the project and also responsible for the static and in-flight testing of the assembled payload.

The students will be engaged in the design, fabrication, assembly and testing of a scientific payload to be launched into sub-orbital flight from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in August 2015. They will receive up to $2,100 per semester for two years as Project Imua interns.

The students are (L-R) Madori Rumpungworn, Cale Mechler, Keith Nakamatsu, Elena Barbour and Kalanikapu Copp. WCC Project Imua team mentors are Jacob Hudson, Jr. and Joseph Ciotti. Photo by Jacob Hudson, Jr.

The goals of NASA's Project Imua (to move forward) are twofold:

  1. To encourage UH Community College students to explore and enter STEM-based careers by engaging in team-oriented, problem-solving activities.
  2. To test the specialized skills and strengths of each campus as a successful consortium for future satellite launches, especially in collaboration with the Hawaii Space Flight Lab.

Project Imua is just one of the many STEM opportunities at Windward Community College. To discover if engineering is for you, take a class this spring and check it out. You may find a passion for rocketry, aquaponics or chemistry by getting involved in an authentic research project.

SPRING 2015 Pre-Engineering Course (recommended)

EE 160 Computer Programming for Engineers (4 credits)
This course is a basic requirement for UH School of Engineering—students learn programming language "C" for engineering. Most modern advances in almost any field of engineering are mathematical in nature. To design and validate any innovative experiment, some sort of programming is usually behind it. This is a thorough introduction to programming and can lead to highly marketable summer internships.

Other courses that apply to the Pre-Engineering concentration of the Natural Science AS degree designed for students entering into Engineering include:

For more information about Project Imua or Pre-Engineering courses at WCC, contact Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics Professor Joe Ciotti at 236-9111 or







page last updated: November 3, 2014

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