Student Research


Soka University of America students have diverse educational opportunities to engage in and receive funding for advanced research. Below are various examples of sustainability-related research conducted by Soka students through either the Pacific Basin Research Center, Learning Cluster, Internships, or the Capstone Research Project. 

Pacific Basin Research Center Grant

The Pacific Basin Research Center  is a unit of the university that awards grants and fellowships to investigate the humane and peaceful development of the Asia-Pacific region, including Latin American border states. Soka students received the PBRC for the following research:

"Sea-turtle Conservation: Monitoring and Protecting Sea Turtles at Every Stage in Life" - Rhea Hartwell, 2017

"Increasing Access to Finance for Women through Innovation in Siraha, Nepal" - Bikash Gupta, 2017

"Comparative Analysis of Sustainable Agriculture Worldwide and In Mukteshwar, India"- Yutong Xue, 2017

"Solid Waste Management in Nepal" - Samikchhya Bhusal, 2016

"Environmental Sustainability and Protection of the Animals and Plants in Iquitos, Peru" - Sydney Byers, 2016

"Disaster Relief Work on Leyte" - Shelsea Ramirez, 2014

"Evaluation of the Water Quality of Fish Farms and Water Sources in Iquitos, Peru" - Hiromi Hashimoto, 2014

"Management Practices of Peruvian Aquaculture Facilities" - Luisa Madrid, 2014


Learning Clusters

Learning Clusters are three-week intensive research seminars typically designed by students to bridge theory and practice. Learning Clusters provide students the opportunity to further explore a topic of their interest through direct and intimate experiences locally and abroad. Below are titles of recent sustainability-related Learning Clusters:

Human Impacts on Marine Life in Southern California, 2018

Conservation of California Wildlands, Soka University, 2017

Green SUA: Building a Certified Green Campus, Soka University, 2017, 2018

Disasters and Emergency Management, Soka University, 2016, 2017, 2018

A Tale of Two Cities Through Economic Lens, Los Angeles and China, 2016, 2017

Ishmael and the Fundamental Environmental Problem, Soka University, 2016

Housing and Weatherization in Argentina, Argentina, 2016

From Field to Cup: The Politics, Economies, and Ecologies of Sumatran Coffee, Singapore and Indonesia, 2015

Biosecurity in Aqua-structure: Parasites in Food, Iquitos, Peru, 2015 

Year-round and Summer Internships

SUA's Career Services and  the Office of Community Services and Internship help students find internships during the school-year and summer months. The Summer Internship Grant Program offers funding for students committed to an eight-week long internship. Over the past few years, Soka students have interned at the following places:

Laguna Canyon Foundation, CA Beyond Beijing Committee, Nepal
Cascadia Consulting Group, WA Cerro Seco, Ecuador
Journey Eco-Literacy via Earthroots Field School, CA Uganda Village Project, Uganda
Lost Valley Education Center, OR The Energy and Resources Institute, India
Newport Bay Conservancy, CA Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment, Vietnam
City of Aliso Viejo Planning Department/Green City Initiative, CA Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES), Japan

Student Capstone Research

The Capstone Experience is an in-depth research paper to develop close and focused knowledge of a specified topic. Below are a few of the past sustainability-related capstone topics:

"The intersection of urban agriculture, food justice, and urban planning in South Los Angeles." Kuki, Yumiko. 2018.

"Effects of sulfate and nitrate on methane production in an urban wetland." Tan, Cai. 2018.

"Solar energy potential in Malaysia." Loh, Wei Hong. 2017.

"Improving integrated waste management systems in Argentina." Maddex, Sean. 2017.

"River ecology and ecological restoration: a case study of the Los Angeles River." Witt, Zoe Stella. 2016.  

“Local-international interfaces in sustainable urban development in Latin America: complexity and discursive hegemony." Zelmar, Renae. 2016.

"Genetic Diversity of Methanogens in a Southern California Freshwater Wetland Impacted by Urban Runoff." Tran, Vinh 2015.