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Hawaii Students Create Star Wars Simulation on World’s Best Hybrid Visualization System

In honor of the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa engineering graduate student Noel Kawano and computer science student Ryan Theriot created a 3D immersive visualization project—Star Wars Squadron and Tatooine.

Developed at the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications (LAVA) by MS graduate Noel Kawano and MS candidate Ryan Theriot. “Star Wars Squadron & Tatooine” immerses users in a real-time interactive action game in the newly developed Hybrid Reality Environment, Destiny CyberCANOE.

Users can battle with lightsabers or dogfight through a universe filled with starfighters, TIE fighters and an armada of star destroyers.

The (research and fun) possibilities are endless now that UH Mānoa is home to the best hybrid visualization system in the world that combines immersive virtual reality with ultra-high-resolution display walls. The Destiny-class CyberCANOE, which stands for cyber-enabled Collaboration Analysis Navigation and Observation Environment.

“We wanted to take advantage of the [Destiny-class CyberCANOE’s] capabilities and make something really cool,” Kawano said.

CyberCANOE users can go under the sea, explore outer space and probe microscopic elements of the human body without leaving campus.

Computer and Information Sciences Professor Jason Leigh is the system’s creator. His students were deeply involved in the design and construction of the CyberCANOE with investment and partnership from the National Science Foundation and the UH Academy for Creative Media System.

With 256 megapixels, the cylindrical CyberCANOE is the ultimate tool for scientists and researchers to visualize big data at resolutions that are 100-times better than commercial 3D displays. The diameter is 16 feet, and the walls are eight-feet high.

The Destiny-class cost about $250,000 to build and is actually the seventh and best CyberCANOE Leigh has built in Hawaiʻi over the past couple of years. His Laboratory for Advanced Visualization Applications (LAVA), where the Destiny-class CyberCANOE is housed, is planning to hold an open house in August 2017.

University of Hawaii Researcher Nationally Honored as Endangered Species Recovery Champion

Nellie Sugii, manager of the UH Harold L. Lyon Arboretum’s Hawaiian Rare Plant Program, has been recognized as a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion. This highly prestigious award is given to select U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and partners whose leadership efforts are integral to the recovery of endangered and threatened species of plants and animals. Sugii’s 30 years of experience have led to the development of methods to propagate Hawaiʻi’s most endangered plants via tissue culture and other techniques, many of which may have gone extinct without her efforts.

Nellie Sugii in the Micropropagation Lab.

Although Hawaiʻi makes up only 0.2% of the land mass of the United States, more than quarter of the species on the endangered species list are found only in Hawaiʻi, and most of them are plants. Under Sugii’s leadership, the Hawaiian Rare Plant Program plays an important role in preventing the extinction of Hawaiʻi’s most critically endangered plants, using micropropagation techniques (growing tiny plants in test tubes) as well as seeds collected from these plants for banking.

Many of the plants in the lab are difficult to propagate due to the low viability of the seeds or do not produce seeds at all. The plants sheltered in the lab represent a broad range of Hawaiian species not limited to one region or area in the Hawaiian Islands. Her efforts have led to the propagation of more than 500 of the 1,300 taxa of native Hawaiian plants.

Uluhe

The Hawaiian Rare Plant Program is often the last chance for many of Hawaiʻi’s endangered endemic plants to survive.  The laboratory serves as a rescue, recovery and storage unit for the conservation of critically endangered Hawaiian plants and is the only one of its kind in Hawaiʻi. Since 1993, tens of thousands of native plants have been maintained in the lab collections. Currently, there are about 250 native species in the collection, some of which no longer occur in the wild. HRPP is recognized internationally for its research and leadership in this area.

Asplenium peruvianum var. insulare

Sugii was chosen because of her outstanding dedication to the program and numerous accomplishments. She has maintained and expanded the HRPP on highly competitive grants for nearly 20 years and is a recognized leader in the broader plant conservation community in the Hawaiʻi Rare Plant Restoration Group, Laukahi Plant Conservation Network, and in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List Specialist Group. Additionally, she mentors dozens of staff, UH students and volunteers and is known internationally for her expertise in micropropagation of rare species.

More information about this award can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website: https://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/recovery-champions/index.html.

More information about the Lyon Arboretum can be found: https://manoa.hawaii.edu/lyonarboretum/

UH Hilo Announces 2016-17 Ka Lama Ku Student Leadership Awards

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Campus Center Student Leadership Program recently presented Ka Lama Ku Student Leadership Recognition awards and certificates to individuals and student organizations for their contributions to UH Hilo and the community during the 2016-17 school year.


The Ka Lama Ku Umeke Awards and a Ka Lama Ku Plaque Award were
presented to:

  • Alaka`i Award–Leadership: Rebekah Loving (Mathematics)
  • `Ike Pāpālua Award-To Have the Gift of Vision: Elise Inouye
    (Communication and Gender and Women’s Studies)
  • Laulima Award – No Task is Too Big When Done by All: Justin Araki-Kwee (Computer Science and Japanese Studies)
  • Ka Lama Ku Koa Plaque Award: Alexandra Huizar (Business Administration)

Two student organizations were recognized with a Ka Lama Ku Leadership
Plaque for their contributions to UH Hilo and Hawai’i Island communities:

  • `Ike Pāpālua Award Plaque- To Have the Gift of Vision: Colleges Against Cancer (Alexandra Huizar, Brittney Luna, Ashley Maldonado, Sarah Kapalihiwa Bilyeu, Kash Laeda, Ali Nakata, Brooke Higa, Kimi Taguchi, Norie Anne Rosal Calit, Jade Wong, Misty Figuera, Jualin Sable Guting, Ruby Ann Sales, Ellie-Jean Kalawe, James Drescher, Sheryl Cariaga, Jayahmie Drio, Shaylyn Fujii, Erin McClure and Stacy Mae Gelacio)
  • Ka Lama Ku Hui Koa Award Plaque- Exemplifies the five values of Ka Lama Ku: Nā Haumāna Huaka`i i Kaho`olawe (Sarah Kapalihiwa Bilyeu, Sophie Kaleimomi Dolera, Joshua No`eau Kalima, Alana Kanahele, Sheena Kau`i Lopes, Aaron Kahea Morton, Isaac Ku`uiponohea Pang, Ulupuamahinamaikalani Peleiholani-Blankenfeld and Kiliona Young)

The Ka Lama Ku Certificate of Leadership was presented to individual students
and organizations in the following categories:

  • Alaka`i Certificate – Leadership: Kalaiakea Blakemore (Art)
  • Kuleana Certificate – We are Accountable and Responsible: Bennjamin P Siemers (Kinesiology Education) and the 2016-17 Psychology and Kinesiology and Exercise Science Peer Advising Team (Alia Alvarez, Cheyrub Cabarloc, Zach Gorski, Keian Shon, Julie Tom, Leahi Akao, Chelsea Mitsuda, Froile Queja, Kaylee Rapoza, Bennjamin Siemers, Roget Chan, Jamie Ouye and Gabriella Sanchez)
  • `Ike Pāpālua Certificate – To Have the Gift of Vision: Lara Hughes (Business Administration)
  • Mālama `Āina Certificate – Taking Care of the Land and Environment: Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (Erin Busch, Keolohilani H Lopes Jr., Kailey Pascoe, Rose Hart and Jessica Kirkpatrick)
  • Mālama `Ohana Certificate – Taking Care of Our Families: Kanani Daley (Art)

The Ka Lama Ku Student Leadership Recognition Awards are sponsored by the UH Hilo Campus Center Fee Board, the Ka Lama Ku Student Advisory Council, the Student Activities Council, University Radio Hilo and Vulcan Video Productions, Ke Kalahea, and the Division of Student Affairs.

UH Hilo College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s List, Spring 2017

The following students in the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Arts and Sciences received Dean’s List recognition for spring 2017:

Paige Aamoth, Eva Abraham, Jozie Acasio, Taylor Acheson, Kendra Adams, Clifford Agcaoili, Jaster Agcaoili, Keinan Agonias, Brandon Aguiar, Breanna Aguiar, Brandon Ajari, Rhonda Akano, Leahi Akao, Eric Alabanza, Jeannelle Alejo, Marife Allen, John Alokoa, Sylvia Amaral Arquitola, Brian Anderson, Kaleigh Anderson, Kinsley Anderson, Harrison Andina, Jenna Andre, Dwayne Anefal, Nicole Antonio,

Zion Apao, Ralph Aquino, Kathleen Aragon, David Arakawa, Justin Araki-Kwee, Tearina Asiata, Nicholas Asuncion, Braxston Bailey, Sharlene Bala, Kellsie Ballesteros, Sage Barcia, Kaitlin Barcoma, Ashley Barhite, Rachel Barletta, Reagan Barnhart, Joshua Bass, Natalie Baus, Crystal-lynn Baysa, Meyer Beckner, Chase Benbow, Eunice Bernal, Angelica Berson, Jahnu Best, Isabella Beuckens,

Kateleen C. Bio, Victoria Birrenbach, Kalaiakea Blakemore, Casey Blanchette, Chloe’ Blandino, Chelsea Blaquera, Zachary Block, Hannah Blue, Chad Booth, Jennifer Bragg, Andre Brouillette, Matthew Brown, Jennifer Bruce, Rachel Bruck, Kailah Buchanan, Amberly Buer, Malia Byram, Sydney Cabanas, Cheyrub Cabarloc, Jerold A. Cabel, Alexis Cabrera, Leischene Calingangan, Ryley Callaghan, Litah Campbell,

Amanda Canda, Kirsten Cannoles, Jessicamae Caravalho, Renee Carlson, Livia Carr, Nicholas Carrion, Anne Carsey, Briauna Carter, Micah Carter, Cjay Carvalho, Kyla-Jo Carvalho, Malia Case, Gisele Cassarotti Prescott, Genier M. Cayabyab, Kahana Cazimero, Talia Ceja, Allison Chai, Jennifer Chai, Justin Chandler, Andy Chang, Vincent Chang, Royce Chee, Pono Christianson, Victor Ciaramitaro, Kayla Clarke,

Ciera Cline, Ramzen Coakley, Zoe Coffman, Michael Coombs, Elyse Cote, Keri Coughlin, Monica L. Covarrubio, Seneca Cox, Brenna Cranswick, Tifaine Crivello, Trixie A. Croad, Cheyana Crossman, Angela Cruz, Kawelina Cruz, Patricia L. Cubangbang, Ramon Cubangbang, Caitlin Cullen, Claire Curley, Kendrick J. Dalmacio, Crystal Dasalla, Uilani Dasalla, Stephanie Dawrs, Tatiana De La Cruz,

Emily De Wulf, DaShon Dean, Ersa DeBrum, Kaylee Decambra, Edwina Degrood, Marissa Dellomo, Carey Demapan, Tyler DeNardo, Billi Derleth, Ileana Derouin-Loando, Ty Desa, Holly Diop, Savannah Directo, Lael Dobson, Kanoelani Dodd, Danielle Dodge, Lorelei M. Domingo, Princess Dianne Domingo, Joctan Dos Reis Lopes, Sadie Dossett, Jordan Drewer, Jennifer Eastin, Caili Ebaniz, Bryana-Marie Ebbers, Raelyn Eckert, Jamie Economy, Jon Ehrenberg, Kenji Emerson,

Kristel Emerson, Tiffany Erickson, Duke Escobar, Raynell Espaniola, Raeoirasor L. Espejo, Charlotte F. Esquida, Herbert Estes, Hannah Estrada, Starlyne Estrada, Mackay Eyster, Jade Farmer, Sheilla M. Felipe, Sarah Ferguson, Sharrylei Fernandez, Misty Figueira, David Finley, Caitlin Fisher, Rachel Fisher, Caralyn Fitzpatrick, Kelsey Foreman-Bunting, Mary Frame, Heidi Franz, Martabella Freedman, Silmai U. Fritz, Brittany Fuemmeler, Shaylyn Fujii, Maia Furer, Trent Furuta, Dylan Gable,

Alliya Gabriel, Dillon-Jon Gabriel, Maikai Gahan, Kai A. Gaitley, Nicholas Galliani, Gerenel Galvez, Cheryl L. Ganitano, April Gaoiran, Zachary Geisterfer, Jan Genovia, Noelani Gonzalez-Villanueva, Maya Goodoni, Alec Goodson, Rachel Gorenflo, Beverly A. Gorospe, Lila Gourd, Marc D. Grande, Raymond Greene, Piper Greenwood, Rachel A. Greer-Smith, Chrisovolandou Gronowski, Rihei Grothmann, Courtney Guirao,

Basu Guragain, Shirley Guzman, Ariel Halemano, Karise Hallsten, Quinn Hamamoto, Carli Hand, Koko Hanno, Ryan Hanoa, Shane Harrison, Bridge Hartman, Stephen Hasegawa, Dakota Helfrich, Tessa Henderson, Brad Higa, Brooke Higa, Kristie Hirai, Tiana Honda, Lauren Hong, Alena Hookano, Kainoa Howard, Kaitlyn Howe, Karlie Howe, Cooper Howlett, Sandra Huang, ZhiLing Huang,

Adrian Huff, Brianne Huggins, Nyree Hulme, Katya Hutchinson, Kimberly Hutchinson, Mi Huynh, Thien Huynh, Pomaikai Iaea, Laura Ibbotson, Andi Igawa, Marina Ignacio, Yukako Iha, Julia Ingledue, Austin Inouye, Elise Inouye, Courtney Ip, Joanne Isabella, Kristen Ishii, Brian Ishola, Daylen Ita, Miranda Jeffcoat, Kahele Joaquin, Beth Johnson, Cassandra Jones, Kailani Jones, Kyle Jones, Mikayla Jones,

Jamie Josephson, Kiilani Judd, Godfrey Julian, Polanimakamae Kahakalau, Kelii Kailipaka, Nainoa Kalaukoa, Brooke Kamahiai, Shaniya Kamakea-Wong, Keiki O Namahiai Kanahele-Santos, Anri Kasuga, Hokuto Kawashima, Emma Khachikian, Reyn Kihara, Mary L. Kimura, Joshua Kitagawa, Zena Kiyota, Casey Koi, Kamrie Koi, Rochelle Koi, Emilee Kojiro, Hyesun Kong, Krystle Koshiyama, Lisa Kosilla,

Britni Kualii, Kealiiahonui Kuikahi, John Kuroda, Mia Lamirand, Brandon Lau, Luana Lavatai, Joshua Lawcock, Jesse Leavitt, Laurel Ledward, Da Hai Lee, Robert Lee, John Leonard, Nathaniel Letro, Stephanie Letro, Rose Letuli, Shalyn Lewis, Braysen Libed, Cheryll Ligohr, Lee Linneman, Yan Liu, Kaila Lizama, Emerson J. Llaguno, Shaneese Longboy, Sheena Lopes, Emma Lorenz, Devynn Louie,

Kristi Lovell, Noelle Lovesy, Rebekah Loving, Jordana Lum, Brittany Luna, Susanne Lyle, Sharlene Macasieb, Omar Machado, Laurena Mack, Taylor-Keahi Macomber-Cobile, Taylor Madrid, Brandon Mahle, Jewel M. Malapitan, Ashley Maldonado, Michael Mandaquit, Elaine Manicke, Shelby Marhoefer, Danielle Marrufo, Hannah Marshal, Dario Martin, Katherine Martinez, Jaymie Masuda, Issha Mata, Abcde Matias, Kelley Matsumoto, Aspen Mauch, JoeAnna McDonald, Danielle McDowell,

Adam McGhee, Jared McLean, Heidi Medeiros, Lokella K. Medeiros, James Melcher, Luana Mendiola-Smith, Georgette Mercado, Anna B. Mikkelsen, Jordan Millwood, Zayin Minia, Jordan Mirels, Chelsea Mitsuda, James Miura, Kelsy Miyake-Kamahele, So Miyazawa, Melissa Mizuguchi, Melissa Moats, Sharyse Molina, Brendan Moore, Shawn Mori, Trevor Morison, Juliann Morris, Kialoa Mossman, Shane-Earl Naeole,

Amber Nagata, Tori Nakagawa, Blayne Nakasone Sakata, Sheena Nakata, Kirstie Naone, Brandon Neal, Christopher Nelson, Cameron Nicholson, Christine Nicolas, Crystal O’Brien, Nai‘a Odachi, Amy Odaira, Morgan Olson, Rachel Omori, Lorelei T. Padasdao, Matthew Paio, Mariah Paiste, Nathan Pallett, Isaac Pang, Maria R. Paragas, Tinzin Pasang, Shaelynn Pasco, Taylor Patrick, Tyson Pavao, Joel Paye,

Leomanaolamaikalani Peleiholani Blankenfeld, Christina Penney, Josefina M. Pereira, Douglas Phillips, Michelle Phillips, Eiesha Price, Michelle Proue, Ashley Pugh, Jasmin M. Quiamas, Natalie Quinajon, Sheri Quon, Tom C. Rafanan, Nicole Ramirez, Skye Rances, Kaydee Rapozo, James Reagan, Stacey Reed, Karl Reid, Samantha Reis, James C. Remengesau, Sharnelle Renti Cruz, Chelsea Requelman,

Manuelito K. Rey, Emily Risley, Anne Rivera, Haylee Roberts, Kyra Robinson, Saysha Rodero, Nikola Rodriguez, Ashley Romero, Norie-Anne Rosal Calit, Michaella Rosales, Nickolas Rosenberg, Hannah Rosenow, Robin Rudolph, Matthew Ruiz, David Russell, Nina Sabahi, Josiane Saccu, Melanie Sacro, Micheal A. Sagun, Michelle Sahagun, Ilysia S. Sana, Jacob Sands, Kayela Santiago, Shelbi Santiago,

Ryan T. Sasaki, Jacey Savage, Blessing Savusa, Steven Sayers, Alexa Schaefer, Kimberly Schmelz, Dehrich Schmidt-Chya, Stefanie Sciacca, Artem Sergeyev, Seth Shaikh, Ashley-Ann Shaw, Laura Shepherd, Leah Sheppard, Jessie C. E. Sheridan, Albert Shim, Jaci Shinoda, Keani Shirai, Chela Shiroma, Spencer Shiroma, Keian Shon, Sabrina Shores, Ian Shortridge, Heather Simon, Emma D. Sinclair,

Solomon Singer, Hazel F. Sivila, Alexa Smiley, Clara Smith, James Smith, Nicole Smith, Kiana Soloria, Krismon Sotiangco, Kalena Spinola, Kimberlee Staats, Ashlin Stahlberg, Edwin Stanberry, Maria Steadmon, Kyle Steckler, Angelica Steele, Phillip Steering, Justine Stensby, Marguerite Stith, Deneese Stone, Jeremiah Storie, Oliver M. Strachan, Tiffany Stranathan, Marley Strand-Nicolaisen, Jamie Sugai, Eve Sullivan, Kylee Sullivan, Tahigwa Summers, Taliesin Sumner, Tevis Swain,

Royden-Glen Tagalicud, Irie Taguchi, Ryan Taifane, Peniamina Taii, Melia Takakusagi, Nicholas Takaoka, Sophia Tang, Morgan Tate, Trent Terada, Heaven Tharp, Brittany Theilen, Avery Thompson, Kori Todd, Jodie Tokihiro, Julie Tom, Jeffrey Tomas, Kaycie Tomei, Brandon Tomota, Tiana Toyooka, Reynell Transfiguracion, Taylor Traub, Dominick Trevino, Lavin Uehara, Mary-Fem Urena,

Kyle J. Uson, Victoria Uthman, Nicolas Vanderzyl, Molly Verseput, Bernard-Benjamin Villa, Aaron Viluan, Fred Visaya, Leilani VisikoKnox-Johnson, Ashley Vongsy, Cecile Vulliet, Shayla Waiki, Amirah Waite, Jane Walsh, HeNaniNoOeKaWahineUioIkePono Wandasan, Kenton Wandasan, Vernon Warnock, Sondra Warren, Valerie K. Wasser, Tino Wells, Candace Wharton,

Zoe Whitney, Brian Wild, Jade Wong, Tiana Wong, Sarah Wottlin, Christopher Wung, Linda Xiong, Lisamarie Yagruw, Yuto Yamauchi, Jia Hao Yao, Phillip Yawata, Kanani Yockman, Kotaro Yogi, Ivana Yoon, Mari Yoshida, Deanna Young, Tyler Young, Jenna Yugawa, Adrianna Zablan, Luana Zablan, Tahiya Zaman, Turfa Zaman, Tabetha Zapata-Mitz, Kaimalie Zirker, and Gregory Zukeran.

Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke’elikolani Na Pua Lei O Ka Na’auao, Kupulau 2017 (College of Hawaiian Language Dean’s List, Spring 2017)

Ke kukala aku nei ko ke Kulanui o Hawai’i ma Hilo koleke `o Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani, i na inoa o na haumana kaha `oi no ke kau Kupulau 2017:

(The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language announces its Dean’s List for the Spring 2017 semester):

Jainine Abraham, Rhonda Akano, Destanie Alayon, Zion Apao, Joshua Bass, Laura Birse, Christopher Chow, Ramzen Coakley, Kaleimomi Dolera, Jayme Doyle, Kalamaku Freitas, Roberta Gaskin, Ezra Grace, David Griffith, Karise Hallsten, Stephen Hasegawa, Jetamio Henshaw, Kameron Ho, Pomaikai Iaea,

Alexa Iannantuano, Yukako Iha, Alana Kanahele, Mary Kealaiki, Hyesun Kong, Brittany Laddusaw, Yan Liu, Sheena Lopes, Haruka Miura, Lauren Mizuba, Ashley-Anne Morishita, Ashley Nakoa-Kawahakui, Ikaaka Pang, Moananuimaikalani Peleiholani-Blankenfeld, Sarah Rafferty, Samantha Reis, Sharnelle Renti Cruz, Josiane Saccu, Steven Sayers, Kaulana Stanley, Taylor Traub, Jessica Valladares, and Kotaro Yogi.

UH Hilo College of Pharmacy Names Spring 2017 Dean’s List

The following students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy have been named to the Dean’s List for the 2017 spring semester.

The Class of 2017 has been on experiential rotations during their final year of study.

Class of 2018: Chelsea Aipoalani, Tiffany Alberg, Ciara Butts, Goody Cacal, Robby-Sean Cayetano, Matt Chen, Jane Choi, Karen Christian, Mathew Eng, Sara Evanko, Erik Ferreira, Jennifer Fujio, Cierra Gauvin, Kelli Goo, Kelsy Kam, Jui-Yu Kao, Jonathan Kataoka, Macie Kim, Krystle Kiyuna, Katrina Kutter, Bernice La, XuanLam Le, Tram Le, Jessica Lee, Nicolette Lew, Miyuki Miller, Niaz Nafisi, Christopher Nakagawa, Kerri Nakatsu, Vicky Nguyen, Phuong Nguyen, Phuong An Nguyen-Huu, Megan Olaguer, Marina Ortiz, Carli Owan, Jessica Penaranda, Tran Pham, Joann Phan, Niko Pogorevcnik, Caroline Rhee, Lauren Sato, Lauren Skorheim, Andrew Skorheim, John James Taman, Ha Tran, Quan Truong, Paolo Vinh Tuan Truong, Amber Uto, Zebedee Walpert, Candace Woo, Seungyeun Yoo

Class of 2019: Sydney Barney, Deniz Bicakci, Athena Borhauer, Rene-Scott Chavez, Torrence Ching, Katrina Downey, Samantha Gonzalez, Cathlyn Goo, Leigh Heffner, Faith Hicks, Vance Hill, Tyler Hirokawa, Preston Ho, Kaylee Hoang, Kelly Kofalt, Logan Kostur, Kevin Lei, San Ly, Kate Malasig, Tyler Millar, Jennifer Nguyen, Kelsey Noetzelmann, Kara Paulachak, David Pham, Gam Phan, Rachel Randall, Jessica Regpala, Lindsey Reinholz, Desiree Shouse, Clement Tran Tang, Shannon Trinh, Nicholas Tsoi, Ashley Uehara, Nancy Wong, Veronica Wong, Krystin Yasay, Carrie Yeung

Class of 2020: BJ Isaac Acosta, David Cao, Brandi Chun, Wilson Datario, Joshua Dillon, Jensine Melody Domingo, Courtney Elam, Amelia Furlan, Jhoana Paula Gonzales, Taylor Hori, Su Hyon Kwon, Kamala Lizama, Tracy Lopez, Mary Lui, Vincent Manalo, Jarin Miyamoto, Shahrzad Mohammadi, Tony Moua, Stacey Nguyen, Andrew Nguyen, Kathleen Nguyen, Brent Ocker, Rachel Paragas, Tyler Peterson, Felix Rasgo, Robyn Rector, Taumie Richie, Shaina Saiki, Reid Shimada, Samantha Texeira, Andrew Thai, Jared Toba, Johnny Tran, Kelsey Trujillo, Kyle Tsubota, Thi Hong Vo, Stacie Waiamau, Brooke Zarriello

UH Hilo Chancellor’s Scholarship Recipients Named

Thirteen students from Hawaiʻi’s public and private high schools have been awarded the prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

The award, valued in excess of $28,000, covers four years of tuition for students graduating from a Hawaiʻi high school who earned either a GPA of at least 3.5, a combined 1800 SAT (reading, writing, math) or a composite score of 27 on the ACT while demonstrating leadership and/or community service.

Chancellor’s Scholars are required to enroll as full-time students and earn a minimum of 24 credits each academic year. They must also maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 and participate in leadership activities and/or community service with other Chancellor’s Scholars.

The 2017-2018 recipients and their respective high schools include:

  • Hailey Briseno, Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy
  • Kekamamakoaaka`ilihou Caceres, Kamehameha – Kapalama
  • Scott Dakofsky, Roosevelt High School
  • Ariana Dolan, Pearl City High School
  • Skyla Elder, Honoka`a High School
  • Kaitlyn Evans, Kamehameha – Maui
  • Presly Kaanaana, Kamehameha – Kapalama
  • Polina Kozinskiy, Laupahoehoe PCS
  • Sophia Smith, Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Jaron Sugimoto, Waipahu High School
  • Naneaikealau Thomas, Kamehameha – Hawaiʻi
  • Vanessa Watkins, Waiakea High School
  • Kamamaluwaiwai Wichimai, Kamehameha – Hawaiʻi

New Portable Testing Tool Speeds Detection of Suspected Rapid `Ōhi`a Death Pathogens

Researchers have developed a new, more efficient tool for detecting the pathogens believed to be the cause of Rapid `Ōhi`a Death (ROD), according to a recently published study by the Hawaiʻi Cooperative Studies Unit at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, the USGS Pacific Islands Ecosystem Research Center (PIERC), and USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS).
The authors of the report have developed a portable lab for diagnostic field testing for the two species of fungal pathogens that infect `ōhi`a (Metrosideros polymorpha). The portable lab, which provides quick results and reduces instrumentation costs, is currently being used by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) to detect infected trees and identify the distribution of the pathogens.

“Having this portable lab gives us the capability to do our own diagnostics and get a quicker answer about whether or not a tree is positive for ROD. The result then allows us to take management actions right away or do more targeted testing,” said Bill Buckley, Forest Response coordinator for BIISC and leader of their ROD Early Detection and Rapid Response Team.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture is also planning to use the portable lab to help screen shipments of `ōhi`a logs for the pathogens.

ROD was first identified in the lower Puna District in 2014, and now infects more than 50,000 acres of private and state forest lands on Hawaiʻi Island. ROD is a serious threat and imperils long-term sustainability of watersheds managed by Department of Interior agencies, the State of Hawaiʻi, and State Watershed Partnerships.

For more information on the study and its findings, visit https://dspace.lib.hawaii.edu/handle/10790/3025.

UH Hilo Announces Spring 2017 Droste Awards

The English Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has presented six students with seven Spring 2017 Howard and Yoneko Droste Awards for excellence in writing and two students with bookstore vouchers.

Brandon Ikaika Field’s paper, “Aquaculture: Sustainable or Disdainful,” won the $250 award for Outstanding 100-Level Composition Paper. Field is an Agriculture: Aquaculture Specialty major with a minor in Marine Science.

English major Kai Gaitley’s analytical essay, “Quote Journal 2: Neoptolemus,” received the $250 award for Outstanding 200-Level English Paper.

The $250 award for Writing for the Majors went to Computer Science major Derrick O’Brien for his essay, “The Effects of Radiation that Lead to the Creation of a Natural Utopia.”

The $250 award for Outstanding Work in Fiction went to English major Amanda Canda for her short story, “Good Ol’ Dependable Francis.”

Geography major Zoe Whitney, who is minoring in English, was awarded $250 for Outstanding Work in Playwriting. Whitney’s one-act play was titled “The Last Journalist.”

English major Martabella Freedman received the $500 award for Outstanding Upper-Division English Paper for her paper, “Graphic Literature: Comics as Advanced Storytelling.” Freedman also won the $250 Droste award for Outstanding Portfolio of Poetry.

In addition, two English majors, Kim Leolani Kalama and Danielle Dodge, received $250 Droste book vouchers to the UH Hilo Bookstore.

Howard and Yoneko Droste, courtesy of the Droste Estate.

The awards are made possible by an endowment donated by the late Howard and Yoneko Droste, longtime faculty members who taught a combined total of 45 years at UH Hilo.

VOICES Brings Vocal Ensemble Concert to Hilo

The ensemble VOICES, led by local voice teacher Mark Sheffield under the auspices of his Mark Alan VocalWorks studio, will bring their unique interpretations of classics and new favorites to Hilo. The group’s pianist is Kanako Okita. Showtimes are Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the First United Protestant Church.  Admission is free and by donation, with a suggested donation of $10.00. For more information, call 238-6040.

Mark Sheffield

The evening’s program, entitled That’s Life, presents music for ensemble and solo voices both a capella and with piano, especially chosen to highlight the seasons of the year and the seasons of life.  From songs which may be new to the audience to beloved classics of stage and screen, the recital brings to life old favorites and new gems. With composers as varied as Eric Whitacre and Lili Boulanger, and songs as varied as the sacred My Song in the Night by Mack Wilberg and Africa by Toto, the concert promises something for every fan of vocal music. Solos and small ensembles intermingle with full ensemble numbers to provide variety and interest.

Mark Sheffield, Tenor and Voice Teacher, began his studio in Hilo over a decade ago. In that time he has given students success in local theater productions and concerts. He has also sent students to further study and to careers in professional theater and music. His work as a voice teacher has been highly regarded for his skill in bringing each singer’s true voice forward. Now, his students make up the personnel of his new group VOICES.

VOICES, a vocal ensemble consisting entirely of students in Sheffield’s Mark Alan VocalWorks studio, gives Sheffield’s advanced students the additional challenge of learning and performing challenging ensemble music within the context of Sheffield’s instruction in vocal technique and interpretation. Last year’s debut concert of the group included staged theatricality as well as new interpretations of songs from classic to modern. VOICES has also performed on the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center stage, featured in recent UH Hilo choral concerts. Beyond this, VOICES and its less formal predecessor has a decade-long history of performing to acclaim at the annual Keaau Christmas Parade.

Asked about how he came to create That’s Life, Sheffield said, “I was inspired by the seasons of life, and how they fit with the four seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. This program takes VOICES and the audience on a life journey through youth to maturity and venerable age. We end with a note of hope and timelessness that surpasses all seasons, whether of weather or life. The concert includes songs in a rich variety of styles designed to showcase the brilliance of the ensemble as well as the theme of the evening.” Sheffield continued, “This concert is our second full-length concert, presented as a gift to our community. We appreciate your support, we welcome your donations toward our future endeavors, and we look forward to seeing you at That’s Life. Please do come and join us in this evening of vocal excellence.”

VOICES: That’s Life comes to Hilo May 12 and 13, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. at the First United Protestant Church for two shows only.  Admission is free and by donation, with a suggested donation of $10.00. Donations accepted at the door. Call 238-6040 for more information.

Walgreens Helps UH Hilo College of Pharmacy with Diversity Initiative Funding

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy received a $7,000 check from retail pharmacy Walgreens to fund a diversity initiative. An additional $5,000 will go toward scholarships to students in the PharmD professional program.

From left, Quinn Taira, Eleanor Wong, Carolyn Ma, Amy Song and Heidi Ho-Muniz

This is the ninth year the college has received funding from Walgreens for diversity. The funds have sponsored educational programs such as a tour of healthcare facilities at Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi.

Walgreens began the diversity program in 2009 to donate $1 million annually toward diversity initiatives at all of the accredited pharmacy schools nationwide.

Eleanor Wong, Walgreens area healthcare supervisor for the San Francisco Peninsula/Hawaiʻi region, presented the check to Dean Carolyn Ma at Walgreens specialty store on Oʻahu. Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy alums Quinn Taira and Amy Song, who both work at the retail store, were in attendance along with Heidi Ho-Muniz, district manager for Walgreens Pharmacy and Retail Operations.

“We are grateful for this initiative that has helped our student pharmacists through the years and strengthened our own commitment to promoting and embracing diversity,” Ma said.

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. The mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawaiʻi’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawaiʻi and our future generations www.uhfoundation.org.

Grants Approved for Digital Repository of Spoken Hawaiian Language

Grants approved for digital repository of spoken Hawaiian language
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) have collectively awarded grants totaling $448,464 over a three-year period to fund a project involving multiple University of Hawaiʻi campuses to build a digital online repository of spoken Hawaiian language, or ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

Principal Investigator Keiki Kawai`ae`a, director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Ke`elikōlani (KHUOK) College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

The NSF grant is for $283,464, while the NEH portion totals $165,000. The awards are effective August 1, 2017 and will be managed by Principal Investigator Keiki Kawai`ae`a, director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Ke`elikōlani (KHUOK) College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, along with co-Principal Investigators Larry Kimura, associate professor at KHUOK, and Andrea Berez-Kroeker, associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at UH Mānoa.

The project, entitled “Building a Hawaiian Spoken Language Repository,” will create Kani`āina, a digital corpus of recordings and transcripts of Native Hawaiian language. Kani`āina will feature hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings, fully searchable transcripts in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, catalog information in both English and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, and a unique crowd-sourcing feature for soliciting enhanced transcription and content-tagging of the recordings from the public.

The recordings and transcripts will be accessible online at Ulukau: The Hawaiian Electronic Library, beginning with Phase 1 of the first two collections: Ka Leo Hawaiʻi and Kū i ka Mānaleo, later this year. The content will be archived for long-term preservation in Kaipuleohone, the University of Hawaiʻi Digital Language Archive, which is part of ScholarSpace, the UH institutional repository.

Kawai`ae`a says the awards also include funding for undergraduate research opportunities and for a cross-campus graduate educational exchange in language documentation and revitalization, which is especially timely.

“We are elated that we can now move toward building a larger public repository of audio and visual native speaker collections to support the growing population of Hawaiian speakers,” Kawai`ae`a said. “Kani`āina comes at a crucial time when the number of Hawaiian speakers is increasing as the last of the native speaking elders is rapidly dwindling. We now estimate the number of elder native speakers outside of the Ni`ihau community to total between 20 and 30.”

Data from an April 2016 report by the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism on Hawaiʻi’s non-English speaking population found the number of persons aged 5 and older who spoke Hawaiian at home statewide totaled 18,400. Kawai`ae`a also noted that more than 3,000 students are presently enrolled in Hawaiian-immersion schools P-12, while 13,500 are enrolled in Hawaiian language coursework in public and private educational institutions, and 2,000 students are enrolled in similar coursework at UH campuses.

Kawai`ae`a says the broader impacts of Kani`āina will include its integration into immersion-based language education from pre-school to the university level, Hawaiian knowledge in the natural and social sciences, and beyond. The project will also engage underrepresented groups as citizen scientists through its creation of a publicly available corpus of an endangered U.S. language.

Department of Health and University of Hawaii at Hilo Notify Students and Staff of TB Exposure at Hilo Campus

Clinic to be held on campus in April

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and University of Hawaii at Hilo are notifying approximately 120 students and staff members of their recent possible exposure to a person with active tuberculosis (TB) at the Hilo campus. All students and staff will be receiving a notice describing the situation and whether testing is recommended. A clinic for TB testing will be held on campus this month and DOH will be testing only those persons with regular close contact to the patient.

“The University of Hawaii Hilo campus activities and all classes can be held as scheduled with no safety concerns related to the past possible exposure,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “We don’t expect to find more individuals with infectious TB disease, but we hope to identify individuals who may have had recent exposure, are not contagious, and could benefit from preventative medication.”

“Tuberculosis usually requires many hours of close indoor person-to-person contact to spread it to others,” said Dr. Elizabeth MacNeill, chief of the TB Control Branch. “Most of the students and staff are not at risk, and our investigation to date has found no related active TB cases and no spread of the disease at the university or in the community.”

DOH conducted an extensive investigation and evaluation of potential contacts and possible exposure immediately after being notified of the active TB case. The individual is receiving treatment and is no longer infectious. Further Information on the individual and their case is confidential and protected by law.

TB is a disease that is commonly seen in the lungs and can only be spread from person-to- person through the air. When a person with active TB disease in the lung or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings, tiny drops containing M. tuberculosis may be spread into the air. If another person inhales these drops there is a chance that they will become infected with TB.  Two forms of TB exist, both of which are treatable and curable:

  1. Latent TB infection – when a person has TB bacteria in their body but the body’s immune system is protecting them and they are not sick. Someone with latent TB infection cannot spread the infection to other people.
  2. Active TB disease – when a person becomes sick with TB because their immune system can no longer protect them. It usually takes many months or years from having infection to developing the disease and most people (90 percent) will never become ill. Someone with active TB disease may be able to spread the disease to other people.

For more information on tuberculosis, please call the State of Hawaii Tuberculosis Control Program at 832-5731 or visit the Department of Health website at www.hawaii.gov/health/tb.

Climate Change Research at UH Hilo: Monitoring the Coasts for Signs of Erosion

Climate change is affecting more than just plants and animals—it is changing coasts and sea levels. Researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo are monitoring these changes and the impact on local communities by gathering data that will help officials make sound predictions about, and decisions for, the future.

Graduate student and researcher Rose Hart holds an unmanned aerial vehicle used to survey coastal areas.

Rose Hart, a first-year graduate student in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program at UH Hilo, has teamed up with faculty member Ryan Perroy, an assistant professor of geography and environmental science at UH Hilo, to begin monitoring shorelines using an exciting and innovative technique.

The researchers are using small unmanned aerial vehicles to capture images of coastal areas across hundreds of acres. The images are used to create 3D data sets to observe past and present changes. A variety of coastal environments are being used for the study including sea cliffs (honoliʻi), low-lying and subsiding coastal lava fields (kapoho) and calcareous beaches (hapuna).

The project has a number of aspects and goals—one is to determine from a historical point of view how these coasts and regions have changed over time to present day. Another aspect is more short term, meaning that data collection occurs every couple of months to every few weeks to see how the coasts are currently changing.

The overall goal is to try to make accurate predictions on how the rise in sea level will affect the coast and what that entails for communities and the county in regard to planning. For example, setback regulations from the coastline may need to be adjusted. How the community will respond to the rising sea level is an important factor to consider especially in the long-term sense things will be dramatically different in the next 50 to 100 years.

For more on Hart and Perroy and their research, read the full article at UH Hilo Stories.

University of Hawaii Researcher Awarded $3M to Study Cancer Treatment Potential of Ironweed Plant

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a five-year $3 million grant to a University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center researcher to study how natural compounds in ironweed plant extract can be used to treat breast and brain cancers.

James Turkson holds ironweed plant extract.

“It would be life changing for cancer patients if ironweed extract could help fight aggressive types of breast and brain cancers. Since the compounds are found in the plant, they are less toxic than traditional forms of treatment such as chemotherapy. This gives cancer patients a better quality of life when developed as drugs,“ said James Turkson, awardee and director of the UH Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology Program. “Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain cancer that currently has no cure. In addition, the types of breast cancers we are targeting are some of the most life-threatening breast cancers with few successful treatments.”

“The vast natural resources of Hawai‘i give our researchers a rare opportunity to make scientific discoveries of unique and significant proportions in treating cancer,” said Dr. Randall Holcombe, UH Cancer Center’s director. “This significant NCI award recognizes the breadth and depth of the natural product research focus of the UH Cancer Center, and highlights the national impact our research in Hawai‘i has in the fight against cancer.”

Turkson, along with collaborators Leng Chee Chang, Dianqing Sun and Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, published a study a year and half ago showing that the natural compounds from the ironweed plant were effective in killing breast cancer and brain tumor cells and blocked the development and growth of these cancers in the laboratory. In recognition of these preliminary findings, the funds were granted to continue and expand the study.

“Our team of researchers at the UH Cancer Center and UH Hilo will now be able to probe deeper into the cancer treatment potential of ironweed. The plant’s extract is currently used in Southeast Asia for smoking cessation because of the affects the compounds have on the brain. Some of our initial findings suggest the plant’s natural compounds interfere with key cancer-causing biological pathways in the cancer cell, thereby shutting down the ability of the cells to grow and multiply,” said Turkson.

Breast and brain cancer in Hawai‘i

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in Hawai‘i.
  • An average of 125 women die from the disease each year in the state.
  • On average 41 people in Hawai‘i die each year from brain cancer.

*According to the Hawai‘i Tumor Registry

NCI grant: 1R01CA208851

The University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O‘ahu economy. This is equivalent to supporting 776 jobs. It is one of only 69 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the Center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care. Learn more at www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

For more information, visit: http://www.uhcancercenter.org/

University of Hawaii Gets New 45-Foot Education and Training Vessel for Island Students

Tomorrow, Friday, April 7, 2017, students from Ahuimanu Elementary will board the new 45-foot education and research vessel, Ka Noelo Kai (“seeking knowledge from the sea”), as part of its inaugural week of operations to support place-based experiential learning at the UH Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB). Leaving from He‘eia Kea Small Boat Harbor, students will deploy a plankton net, collect data, and watch for green sea turtles and other marine life on their transit to HIMB on Moku o Lo‘e (Coconut Island).

Ka Noelo Kai in Kaneohe Bay, photo credit F. King/HIMB.

HIMB is an internationally recognized research and education facility, situated within Kāne‘ohe Bay and surrounded by 25 acres of protected coral reef refuge designated for scientific research. While on island, the Ahuimanu students will examine plankton through microscopes, participate in an invasive seaweed lab, and tour the research facilities with stops at the lab’s touch pool and shark enclosures. They will leave with new science and stewardship skills to assist them as they become our next generation of scientists, marine managers and ocean stewards, helping to find creative solutions to Hawai‘i’s environmental issues and challenges.

UH scientists and educators Dr. Malia Rivera and Mark Heckman have been growing programs at HIMB to provide pathways to science for Hawai‘i’s underserved elementary through high school student populations for the last nine years. Currently over 4,000 students and teachers attend programs and labs on the island annually. Many students visit the research facility from as young as 5 years of age via the community and family tours. They may come back next with their elementary school or middle school classes, then as high school students in HIMB’s more science intensive programs before entering the University of Hawai‘i as undergraduates.

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology/SOEST/ UH Manoa, photo credit Doug Peebles.

Ultimately a local student who visited as a child may return to gain a graduate degree and become an internationally recognized scientist or natural resource manager.

The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation generously provided funds to purchase the vessel, enabling more school groups and students to access the island’s facilities, gain training and delve into the mysteries of Kāne‘ohe Bay’s and Hawai‘i’s beautiful but threatened coral reef ecosystems and ocean waters.

The Ahuimanu Elementary’s fourth grade field trip to HIMB will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, April 7, 2017.  Student will gather at He‘eia Kea Small Boat Harbor located at 46-499 Kamehameha Highway in Kāne‘ohe.  Media are welcome.  For more information, contact Mark Heckman at mheckman@hawaii.edu or (808) 277-1691.

Representative Clift Tsuji’s Impact On Hawai‘i Island Agriculture Lives On

Building on Representative Clifton Tsuji’s legacy of giving back to the Hawaiʻi Island community, 159 friends, supporters and family members raised more than $81,000 to fund two endowed scholarships for Hawai’i Community College and University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo students pursuing degrees in agriculture.

Clift Tsuji

“My dad loved his job and viewed it as an honor to service the people of the Big Island as a state representative. There were many things he was passionate about but there is no doubt that agriculture in Hawai’i and supporting this industry was something that really resonated with him,” said Clifton Tsuji’s son Ryan Kalei Tsuji. “We are so thankful to the many donors and supporters who contributed to this endowment scholarship. Our hope is that through this scholarship we can continue his passion and commitment to making a difference in the community even after his passing.”

Endowed scholarships

The Representative Clift Tsuji Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Hawai’i Community College Agricultural Program will support full-time undergraduate students pursuing a degree in agriculture.

The Representative Clift Tsuji Memorial Endowed Scholarship for University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management will support full-time undergraduate students pursuing a degree in agriculture.

“Hawaiʻi Community College is honored to be a recipient of generous contributions from the supporters of the late Rep. Clift Tsuji,” said Hawaiʻi Community College Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas. “This scholarship fund is a testament to his legacy of service and commitment to the community. For a community to give back to the next generation of learners is an amazing statement on why this island is so special.”

UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney added, “I learned so much from Clift Tsuji about Hilo, Hawaiʻi Island and agriculture. This scholarship will ensure that, for years to come, many students will continue to learn from his legacy.”

More about Clift Tsuji

Clift Tsuji was a Hawaiʻi Island state representative and an alumnus of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Born and raised in Pāpaʻikou, Tsuji was a graduate of Hilo High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from UH Mānoa’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences. He also attended the University of Washington, Pacific Coast Banking School.

Tsuji served in the U.S. Army Reserve, 442nd Infantry, Company B, Hilo, from 1959 to 1965.

Representing House District 2 including Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaʻewa and Waiākea, Tsuji was chairman of the House agriculture committee and was named the Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau&38217;s Legislator of the Year in 2015. He was a passionate proponent of agriculture and biotechnology.

He was also active with the Hilo Medical Center Foundation, Hawaiʻi Island Japanese Community Association, Pacific Tsunami Museum, Hiroshima Kenjin Kai, Hawaiʻi Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Kumamoto Kenjin Kai.

Get involved

To make a gift to the scholarships, go to the Clift Tsuji Memorial Hilo and Hawaiʻi CC websites.

 

A Message From Senator Kahele – Student Loan Debt

Senator Kahele and some kid!

Aloha, I hope this week’s update finds you well. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, I have made it my mission to address the ever increasing costs associated with getting a University of Hawai’i System (UH System) degree.

To address this issue, my team and I crafted a Hawai’i Promise Program bill to create a “last-dollar” scholarship program for all UH System students who fell just short of the funds they would need to get a degree. We also introduced a Tuition Moratorium bill to preclude the UH System from increasing student tuition for an unspecified period, during which a detailed review of the UH System’s expenditures and revenue could take place.

In July 2015, President Barack Obama recognized the burden of the cost of higher education and issued Dear Colleague Letter GEN 15-14 to forbid loan guaranty agencies from charging fees for up to sixteen percent of the principal and accrued interest owed on Federal Family Education Program Loans (FFEPL), if the borrower entered the government’s loan rehabilitation program within sixty days of default. However, on March 16, 2017, President Donald Trump issued Dear Colleague Letter GEN 17-02 meant to revoke the federal guidance issued by President Obama.

By this action, President Trump is forcibly removing a safety net for FFEPL borrowers at the worst possible time. The total national student loan debt has grown to $1.3 trillion with a corresponding increase in the national average of debt per borrower at $37,172. Of the 44.2 million borrowers across the nation, 11.2% or just under 5 million borrowers are in default.

In response to President Trump’s action, my team and I put together SCR139 SD1, which urges the reinstatement of GEN 15-14 and requests legislative support or administrative action to allow borrowers in default a chance to rehabilitate their loans and successfully repay student debt without being charged steep collection fees by guaranty agencies. I hope you will join me in supporting this resolution. 

As the session continues, we will remain vigilant and committed to make higher education more affordable. We know education is the key to better paying jobs, job security, and economic stability for our families. That’s why it is critical that we make higher education 100% accessible to people of all socio-economic backgrounds.

Me ka ha’aha’a,
Kaiali’i Kahele

Hawaii Study Shows the Importance of Coastal Water Quality to Recreational Beach Users

Coasts around the world are threatened by land-based pollutants, including sewage, which affect water quality, coastal habitats and human experiences. To capture the value people place on the coastal environment, UH ecological economist Kirsten L.L. Oleson and former MS student Marcus Peng recently published a study in the journal Ecological Economics. Titled “Beach Recreationalists’ Willingness to Pay and Economic Implications of Coastal Water Quality Problems in Hawaiʻi,” the study found that improvements in coastal environmental conditions could result in large benefits for beach users on Oʻahu, in some cases valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. This could justify increased spending on management and restoration.

“The economic value of water quality isn’t yet well understood in Hawai‘i,” says study lead author Marcus Peng, a former Master of Science student in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources who is now pursuing his PhD in Economics at UH Mānoa. “Quantifying the economic value of coastal water quality can help to inform policy decisions that impact the coast and help justify expenditures in water-quality improvements.”

Coastal water is a critical habitat for many marine species, and it is the basis for many economic concerns important to society and local economies, including tourism, coastal recreation, fisheries and property values. The article argues that water-quality degradation presents real and serious costs to the environment and human welfare, and in destinations important for beach tourism, like Hawai‘i, it could threaten an industry contributing trillions of dollars to the global GDP.

In a survey administered to 263 beach users across beaches on Oʻahu, Peng and Oleson surveyed participants’ willingness to pay (WTP) for environmental attributes at different levels of quality. They asked about reducing the number of days a year when the bacterial count in the water exceeds safety standards, and increasing water visibility distance, coral reef cover and the number of different fish species. While beach users cared about all of these, their strongest preferences, based on the amount they were willing to pay, were for water clarity and bacterial quality improvements.

In light of recent and repeated water-quality warnings and beach closures, echoing the serious and prolonged sewage spill in 2006, it is important that decision-makers recognize the significant value of the coastline and the serious harm to the economy that takes place when natural resources are poorly managed or neglected. This is especially true in a state heavily reliant on its natural resources for recreation and tourism. The authors suggest that further studies such as this should attempt to ascertain the economic costs of human impacts on the coastal zone, and these studies should then be used to set management priorities and allocate budgets. Dr. Oleson emphasized, “Reducing human impact on our environment is an investment that benefits society and supports and sustains our quality of life.”

UH Hilo to Host Presentation on Multiracial America

The public is invited to attend a presentation on the social and political implications of America’s increasingly multiracial landscape by Dr. Lauren Davenport, assistant professor of political science at Stanford University. Beyond Black and White: The Identity Construction and Political Attitudes of Biracial Americans will be held on Friday, April 7, from 5 –7 p.m. at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Student Services Center Room W-201.

America’s multiple-race population has surged by 106 percent since the 2000 U.S. Census, when Americans were first allowed to self-identify with more than one race. By 2050, an estimated 20 percent of Americans are expected to identify with multiple racial groups. Davenport’s presentation will address several questions, including:

  • How do mixed-race Americans see themselves, socially, culturally and politically?
  • What determines how someone of mixed-race parentage racially self-identifies?
  • What are the repercussions for the broader American political structure?
  • How do people of mixed-race approach various racial and social policies?
  • What is the impact on resources and benefits intended for minority populations?

The event is sponsored by the Chancellor’s Professional Development Fund and organized by the Department of Political Science and the Office of International Student Services and Intercultural Education.

Seating is limited. To reserve a seat, visit http://go.hawaii.edu/jK1. For more information, contact Dr. Su-Mi Lee at sumilee@hawaii.edu. For disability accommodation, contact Disability Services at 932-7623 (V), 932-7002 (TTY), or email uds@hawaii.edu.