Pre-College Programs

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Hawai'i Program Overview

Preserving Hawaiian Ecology and Culture for High School Students

Kilauea Iki hike in Volcanoes National Park

Kilauea Iki hike,
Volcanoes National Park

This spring, the Brown Leadership Institute will return to Hawai'i to study its environment and culture. Brown, with support from its affiliate, The Kohala Center,  offers this intensive program for exceptionally motivated and mature high school students with interests in environmental studies, leadership, and cultural studies. The Kohala Center assists in identifying a diverse network of Island-based resources with expertise in natural science, cultural studies, and history. Brown University and The Kohala Center are committed to helping students learn how Hawai'i residents are working to preserve and enhance the intellectual, cultural, and natural assets of the Island.

We will cover many subjects and issues during the program while forming a tight-knit learning community. Students can expect to discuss the challenges and possibilities of sustainability both in Hawaii and in their home communities.

Our program focuses on the interdependence of land, sea, and the life systems they support. Students will study the island's biological, ecological and cultural diversity through a core curriculum of marine science, volcanology and Hawaiian culture. The first half of this course will take place in Volcanoes National Park*, where students will explore the dynamic geological processes which continue to shape the island. Since June 2014, there has been a slow active flow which does not pose a safety risk to park visitors. For more detailed information and a map that shows the path of the flow, please visit

The second part of the program is based on the shoreline in South Kona providing the perfect site for investigating marine science.

In this course, students will:

Explore Science

Rainbow (Waiānuenue) Falls, Hilo, Hawai'i

Students conducting field work.

Develop Leadership Skills

Appreciate Culture and History

A sea urchin or wana (in Hawaiian) is examined during a marine lesson

A sea urchin or wana
(in Hawaiian) is examined
during a marine lesson

*Please be aware that due to the island’s active volcano, high concentrations of volcanic gas and ash, known as VOG, can be found in certain areas of the island. Those with asthma or other types of respiratory illnesses are advised to consult with a physician regarding their program participation and follow physician recommendations.  If applicable, please come prepared with appropriate medications.

Additional information about these environmental conditions, can be found at

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