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:

"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

"Protecting the World's Oceans"- Koh Rong Samleom Island, Cambodia, Eri Tamura, 2013

"Reshaping Suburbia Into Healthy Communities"- Portland, OR, Leia Marasovich, 2013

"Sustainability and Education in Haiti and Dominican Republic"- Haiti and Dominican Republic, Rohan Narahimsan and Jennifer Hayashi, 2013

"Permaculture at Rancho Mastatal"- Costa Rica, Corina Velasquez and Elias Zelger, 2012

"Ecological Impacts of the Non-native Three Spot Gourami in Peru"- Peru, Nate Maynard, 2011

"Social Sustainability in Costa Rica"- Costa Rica, Devan Torbert, Jennifer Hayashi, and Leia Marasovich, 2011


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:

Conservation of California Wildlands, Soka University, 2017

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

Disasters and Emergency Management, Soka University, 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 

Campus Sustainability, Soka University, 2014

Alien Species in the Peruvian Amazon, Iquitos, Peru, 2014

Costs and Benefits of High Speed-Rail: The Acela Corridor, East Coast-USA, 2014

Costa Rica Humanitarian Foundation, Costa Rica, 2014

Sustainable Housing and Urban Development in Argentina, Argentina, 2013, 2014

Education and Community: Development of "Backward" Communities in India, Auroville- India, 2013

Power in Movement: Mass Transit in Comparative Context, Canada & West Coast-USA, 2013

Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening, Soka University, 2012, 2013

Environmental Rights in Guatemala; Mining and Deforestation, Guatemala, 2012

Exotic Species in Freshwater Ecosystems of Cambodia, Cambodia, 2012

Advocating Sustainable Environmental Issues in Panama through Collaboration with NGO/NPOs, Panama, 2012

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 Uganda Village Project, Uganda
Orange Coast Watershed, CA Project Bona Fide, Nicaragua
Journey Eco-Literacy via Earthroots Field School, CA Foundation for Sustainable Development, India
Create Common Good, ID Raxa Collective, India
Savannah's Organic Ranch, CA Cerro Seco, Ecuador
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.