Outstanding UH Hilo Pharmacy Preceptors & Faculty Honored

The end-of-year award ceremony for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy was held online recently to honor the Preceptors of the Year and teaching award winners.

The Preceptor of the Year award is given to a professional pharmacist who does an exceptional job of mentoring pharmacy students. This year’s recipient is Bonnie Bennett, Pharm.D., BCPS, CDE, at Tripler Army Medical Center on O`ahu, where she has been precepting DKICP students since 2017. She previously worked at Hilo Medical Center and Makalapa Navy Clinic before moving to Tripler in 2016.

“Along with 13 years of experience as a practicing pharmacist, Dr. Bennett is also a certified diabetes care and education specialist,” said Dean Carolyn Ma. “One of her passions is motivating patients to improve their health by learning self-care skills to effectively manage their chronic diseases.

“She is very good at what she does and very caring with her patients. She encourages students to think outside-the-box and to work hard to learn as much as possible during their rotation,” she added.

The 2020 Faculty Preceptor of the Year is Allen Shih, Pharm.D., BCPS and assistant specialist in the department of Pharmacy Practice at DKICP. After receiving his doctor of pharmacy from the University of Utah, Shih did his residency at Multicare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, WA. When he joined DKICP in 2014 he brought with him more than seven years of practice experience in emergency medicine and critical care.

“Dr. Shih is very patient and does an amazing job of guiding students through their thought processes,” Ma said. “He creates a great learning environment for students and keeps them engaged by using real-life applications and his humor. His rotations are among the students’ favorites.”

Each class also elects its favorite teachers of the year. This year’s Student Choice Awards for Teaching went to:

Class of 2023: Dr. Abhijit Date, Pharmacy Science, and Dr. Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit, Pharmacy Practice

Class of 2022: Dr. Dianqing Sun, Pharmacy Science, and Dr. Jarred Prudencio, Pharmacy Practice

Class of 2021: Dr. Daniela Guendisch, Pharmacy Science, and Dr. Chad Kawakami, Pharmacy Practice

VIDEO: UH Hilo Recognizes Campus Award Recipients

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo recently honored and recognized its 2020 recipients of various campus awards in a commemorative video.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, UH Hilo decided to postpone its annual End of the Year Awards and Recognition Celebration event to a later date.

This year’s recipients are:

• Mirei Sugita, Center for Global Education and Exchange, Student Employee of the Year Award
• Mackenzie Slayton, Associate Director of Campus Recreation, Distinguished Service Award for Improving Student Life
• Levi Mangiboyat, Janitor, Auxiliary Services, Excellence in Building and Grounds Maintenance Award 
• Dr. Norman Arancon, Professor of Horticulture and Chair of Performing Arts, Excellence in Service Award
• Dr. Francis Dumanig, Assistant Professor of English, Pulama `Ike Award
• Dr. Larry Kimura, Associate Professor of Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies, Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi Award for Excellence and Innovation
• Patsy Iwasaki, Instructor of English, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
• Dr. John Burns, Assistant Professor of Marine Science, Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
• Dr. Kirsten Mollegaard, Professor and Chair of English, Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award 

Retired employees and faculty and staff recognized for various years of service as of December 31, 2019 are also included in the video. 

UH Hilo Celebrates its Spring 2020 Graduates with Virtual Commencement Video

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo congratulates and honors its Spring 2020 graduates with a special virtual Commencement video, which will be available for viewing at: https://hilo.hawaii.edu/commencement/spring2020/. UH Hilo decided to postpone its traditional in-person ceremony, originally scheduled for May 16, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our students in particular have had to deal with so much this semester, and the Commencement Committee wanted to be sure our graduates were recognized, honored and celebrated for all of their accomplishments and hard work that got them to this day,” said Commencement Chair Lisa Spain. “Our virtual Commencement video is the result of many students, faculty and staff working hard to put this together to honor the Class of 2020.

“I wish the very best to all of our graduates, and thank everyone for such great teamwork,” she added.

Approximately 608 students petitioned for degrees and/or certificates from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Natural and Health Sciences, Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management, Business and Economics, Pharmacy, Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, and for various post-graduate credentials.

The virtual Commencement video includes over 730 submissions from students, faculty, and staff, and congratulatory messages from Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin and the deans of each college.

Plans for a traditional in-person Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 is underway and details will be shared at a later date.

UH System Announces Graduations

It is graduation time for more than 8,100 University of Hawaiʻi students as the spring 2020 semester comes to a close at UH’s 10 campuses. More than 8,600 undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees and certificates will be awarded this spring, in a year that will be remembered for the COVID-19 pandemic. The health crisis led to the sudden shift to online courses impacting more than 46,000 UH students and the cancellations of spring commencement ceremonies at the 10 campuses.

“It cannot be overstated that, even in the midst of this present crisis, every student who graduates this semester should be very proud of everything that they have accomplished,” said UH President David Lassner. “Nothing should eclipse the feelings of well-earned pride for our graduates and everyone who has worked hard to help them achieve this important goal.”

The University of Hawaiʻi asks the community to remember to congratulate your college graduates and celebrate this milestone in their lives. UH graduates, their families and friends are encouraged to use #UHOhana when they post their graduate images and videos on social media.

The spring 2020 UH graduates are invited to participate in the next scheduled commencement ceremony for their respective campus in December or May 2021. Some campuses are tentatively planning to hold special commencement ceremonies in December for spring semester graduates, if conditions allow. The campuses and many individual units have come up with different ways to mark the milestone for their students this month.

The information provided below for each campus will be updated after the semester officially comes to an end on Friday, May 15. Please check back the week of May 18 for updated information.

UH Mānoa

Undergraduate students: 1,715
Graduate students: 783
Law school graduates: 93
Medical school graduates: 64
Total degrees: 2,826

UH Mānoa spring 2020 graduates are invited to participate in a future in-person commencement in December 2020. Mahalo video messages from students and video messages from Provost Michael Bruno and UH alumni will be posted on the UH Mānoa commencement site where there is also a list of the various celebrations planned by the colleges and schools.

UH Hilo

Undergraduate students:453
Graduate students: 82
Pharmacy student: 73
Total degrees: 852

UH Hilo will host a Virtual Commencement Ceremony on May 20, 2020 and students have been asked to post photos and videos.

UH West Oʻahu

Students graduating: 372

UH West Oʻahu has posted a video honoring graduates on its commencement website and also posted a TikTok Video made by faculty and staff to celebrate the graduates.

Leeward Community College

Student graduating: 1,326
Degrees and certificates: 1,848

Leeward CC is planning to hold a live ceremony in December. Celebration packets are being mailed to graduates, with a printed program, tassel and Class of 2020 stickers. More information can be found on the campus commencement website.

Honolulu Community College

Total degrees and certificates: 900

Honolulu CC will post a Celebration of Graduates 2020 video on Friday, May 15 on its commencement website. The website is also hosting a message board where students, family and friends can post congratulatory messages, videos and photos.

Kapiʻolani Community College

Students graduating: 716
Total degrees and certificates: 836

Kapiʻolani CC is planning to hold a ceremony in December. The campus is also providing a number of ways to celebrate its graduates on its commencement website including a virtual Graduate Celebration, a gathering place where graduates, instructors, classmates and ʻohana can leave messages and virtual lei and hugs.

UH Maui College

Students graduating: 608
Degrees and certificates: 903

UH Maui is holding a virtual ceremony on June 3 with a ʻukulele processional, graduate photos and an official conferring of degrees and speeches. The graduation will be streamed live and broadcast on the school’s cable channel. More information can be found on the UH Maui College commencement website.

Hawaiʻi Community College

Students graduating: 584
Total degrees and certificates: 770

Hawaiʻi CC is holding a virtual celebration featuring messages and photos that will be posted on the Hawaiʻi CC commencement website on Friday, May 15.

Kauaʻi Community College

Students graduating: 178

Kauaʻi CC is planning to hold a live ceremony in December and has a commencement website where a video message from Chancellor Joseph Daisy is posted.

Windward Community College

Students graduating: 166
Total degrees and certificates: 175

Windward CC is holding a commencement caravan on campus on Friday, May 22 and will also host a graduate message board on its commencement website.

UH Hilo Pharmacy Student Awards Presented in Online Ceremony

Faculty and staff of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy gathered virtually with students recently in an online version of its annual end-of-school-year awards ceremony. Along with presentations of many awards and scholarships, a slideshow recapping highlights of the many student activities that took place earlier in the year was shown.

“While this has been a challenging spring semester for students, making the transition to all online classes and dealing with the stresses brought on by the pandemic, they have continued to work hard and perform well,” noted Dean Carolyn Ma. “Their achievements in the face of adversity speak well for their potential accomplishments and contributions to the pharmacy profession.”

The following student awards were announced:

• Pharmacy Curriculum Outcomes Assessment Highest Test Score: Qixin (Sandy) Li
• Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award: Josephine McDonald
• Mylan Pharmaceuticals Excellence in Pharmacy Award: Stacey Nguyen
• American Pharmacists Association Senior Recognition Certificate: Gregg Tam
• NCPA Outstanding Student Member of the Year: Brittany Luna
• Kahele Student Leader of the Year: Clifford Agcaoili
• UH Hilo DKICP Alumni Association Scholarship: Kalen Niimi
• Aloha Shoyu Pharmacy Scholarship: Katrina Jardine and Trisha Nobriga
• CVS Health Foundation Pharmacy School Scholarship: Nina Cardoza, Tran Dinh and Daijiro Oshitari
• Elwin & Valerie Goo Endowed Excellence Scholarship: Yun Soo Park
• Grace Mizuko Miyawaki Pharmacy Scholarship: Travis Hirayama
• Haga Family Endowed Scholarship: Tyler Branco-Hedke
• Hawaii Independent Pharmacies, Inc. Endowed Excellence Scholarship: Roanne Deabler and Cleighton Lagmay
• Edwin and Georgiana Kam Endowed Excellence Scholarship: Ashley Fukuchi
• Molokai Drugs, Inc. Scholarship: Kendrick Justin Dalmacio and Matthew Neumann
• Mr. Nagakatsu Kumao Otsuka and Dr. Raymond Masashi Otsuka Memorial Scholarship: John Jacob and Sasha Nealand
• Albertsons Safeway Pharmacy Scholarship: Alysha Cosier
• Walgreens Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship: Nadra Nour
• Walgreens Multilingual Scholarship: Danh Ronald Nguyen
• John M. and Mimi F. Pezzuto Excellence Scholarship: Qixin (Sandy) Li, Duy Nguyen and Henry Quach

Recipients of the DKICP Merit Awards were chosen based on academic achievement and leadership success. This year’s winners include:

Class of 2021
Sean Domingo, Qixin (Sandy) Li, Brittany Luna, Jaymee-Rae Pang, Johnson Siu, Donald Waddell

Class of 2022
Alysha Cosier, Tran Dinh, Ashley Fukuchi, Leia Hasegawa, Brian Petrone, Donald Sachs, Melanie Sacro

Class of 2023
Selin Cross, Jasmine Curiel, Emily Tu Le, Kalen Niimi, Sung Mi Yoon

Student Organization of the Year was presented to Hawaiʻi Student Society of Health Systems Pharmacy and Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

UH Hilo Students, Faculty Publish Work on Coral Health & Disease

Students and faculty in the `Ike Wai Research Experience in Data Science Program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo had their work on coral health and disease published in the May 6 edition of Frontiers Marine Science. The publication is the result of research done in Summer 2019.

Students survey coral health and collect imagery for 3D reconstruction on coral reefs.

“A Comparison of the Diagnostic Accuracy of in-situ and Digital Image-Based Assessments of Coral Health and Disease” addresses a pressing issue in the field of marine science, which is the capability of digital images to be used for detecting disease in marine environments. The students conducted underwater conventional coral health surveys and subsequently collected imagery for high-resolution 3D models of the same study plots. This unique approach allowed them to compare coral health assessments from visual surveys (human eyes on the reef) and digital analysis (computer-based).

The findings showed that the human visual assessment is more sensitive for detecting disease than the digital approach. The digital approach was comparable, however, and thus can be a useful tool when human divers cannot safely access reef habitats for visual surveys. As agencies around the globe are adopting digital imaging methods for monitoring reefs, this paper provides useful clarity of the pros and cons of using new technologies versus conventional techniques.

The students involved in the publication include Sofia Ferreira (Marine Science), Drew Gotshalk (Computer Science), Chad Kinoshita (Computer Science), Micah Marshall (Mathematics), Nicholas Del Moral (Computer Science), Shane Murphy (Marine Science), Kailey Pascoe (Tropical Conversation Biology and Environmental Science), Alexandra Runyan (Marine Science), Alexander Spengler (Marine Science), Brittany Wells (Marine Science), and Danielle Wilde (Marine Science). Faculty members are Drs. John Burns (Marine Science), Grady Weyenberg (Mathematics), and Travis Mandel (Computer Science).

“This project was a close collaboration between students and faculty in Marine Science, Computer Science, and Mathematics,” said Dr. Grady Weyenberg, assistant professor of mathematics and co-author of the publication. “Everybody got to learn a bit about how marine scientists conduct coral surveys, the CS problems involved in building 3D models from photographs, and the math modeling and computation that goes into more advanced Bayesian statistical models.

“The research is quite novel for Marine Science as there have been very few studies comparing the accuracy of the two methods of diagnosing coral reef health. From a statistical point of view, the problem is interesting because when the two methods disagree, we have no ‘gold-standard’ available to tell us which method is correct and which is wrong, so we must build that uncertainty into our models when comparing the methods,” he explained.

“This was a really great example of advancing science in an interdisciplinary manner,” added Dr. John Burns, assistant professor of marine science and co-author of the publication. “The students did an amazing job on all aspects of the project. They all brought varying levels of expertise that enabled us to quickly collect a large dataset from Hawaiian reefs and analyze it using various technological tools.

“By the end of six weeks they had completed all analyses and prepared the first draft of the manuscript as well as put together some exceptional presentations. To me, this project and resulting paper really capture one of the main goals of the UH Hilo Data Science program, which is bringing together students from multiple disciplines to conduct exciting applied research,” he noted.

The UH Hilo `Ike Wai Research Experience in Data Science Program is funded through UH Hilo’s participation in the $20 million `Ike Wai project awarded to the state in 2016 by the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

The full paper is available at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00304/full.

UH Hilo Pharmacy Student Wins National Competition

A third-year student pharmacist at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy recently won the national American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Patient Counseling competition. 

Henry Quach, who competed against students from pharmacy schools across the country, will receive a plaque and $1,000 prize.

The national counseling competition is designed to encourage student pharmacists to develop their skills as healthcare providers and educators. The contest mimics a patient picking up medication for the first time and requires pharmacy students to counsel the patient on safe and effective drug use. This year’s final round of competition involved the scenario of a mother picking up medication for her young son.

“She showed some signs of concern and anxiousness but was very responsive to learning about the medication,” Quach said.

Quach added that Dr. Jarred Prudencio, DKICP assistant professor of pharmacy practice, played a big role in helping him prepare for the contest. 

“I don’t think I could have done it without all of his help and encouragement,” he said.

Quach achieved some of his counseling skills working with the Pacific Island Mobile Screening Clinic, an organization manned by DKICP students to conduct health screenings and educate local residents about issues relating to chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. This past year, Quach served as lead on-site chair for the group.

As this year’s national winner, Quach will return to help judge next year’s APhA competition.

Colleges in Hawaii Receiving Over $22 Million to Help Cover Cost of Distance Learning, Fund Financial Aid for Students

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that Hawai‘i will receive $22,379,622 in new federal funding to help 12 colleges, universities, and community colleges transition to distance learning and provide emergency grants to students.

“Hawai‘i colleges and universities are refunding millions for housing, struggling to pay for salaries, and are incurring new expenses in the transition to digital classrooms,” said Senator Schatz. “The federal funding will not only help to cover these costs, it will also provide immediate assistance to students so that they can continue their education during this uncertain time.”

These new federal funds can be used for emergency financial aid grants to students to help ease expenses caused by campus disruptions from the coronavirus. The funds can also be used by institutions to help cover the costs of transitioning to distance learning, new technology, faculty and staff trainings, and payroll, among other things.

The higher education institutions receiving funding are:

  • Chaminade University is receiving $1,325,494
  • Hawai‘i Community College is receiving $1,017,091
  • Honolulu Community College is receiving $940,828
  • Kapiolani Community College is receiving $1,700,406
  • Kauai Community College is receiving $472,520
  • Leeward Community College is receiving $1,775,419
  • Pacific Rim Christian University is receiving $143,443
  • University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is receiving $2,691,269
  • University of Hawai‘i at Manoa is receiving $9,566,751
  • University of Hawai‘i Maui College is receiving $1,041,403
  • University of Hawai‘i-West Oahu is receiving $1,238,245
  • Windward Community College is receiving $466,753

The funding is made available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and will be allocated to colleges and universities that serve Native Hawaiian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander students.

More information on federal support for higher education in Hawai‘i can be found on Senator Schatz’s online resource guide: schatz.senate.gov/coronavirus/education/higher-ed.

UH Students Return to Campus in Fall

The University of Hawaiʻi plans to resume in-person instruction for the fall 2020 semester on all 10 campuses. UH will deploy a COVID-19-aware approach to providing a safe, high-quality education for new and returning students, faculty and support staff as the semester begins as scheduled on Monday, August 24.

“We all realize that the fall will absolutely not be a return to business as usual,” said UH President David Lassner in a message to the 10 campuses. “There is still great uncertainty, but plans for the State are now taking shape and we have ourselves learned much over the last two months. Now, more than ever, the people of Hawaiʻi need the opportunity to affordably engage in higher education to advance their careers and their lives.”

Planning has begun, and will continue through the summer, to implement appropriate social distancing and hygienic practices based on the guidance available. The current plans include:

  • Preparing for greater use of online resources and some classes shifting to hybrid modes with a mix of on-campus and online instruction
  • Review and physical reconfiguration, where necessary, of classrooms, labs, study areas and workspaces to support distances of at least 6 feet between people
  • Provisions and instructions to enable regular hand cleansing and hygiene
  • Protocols for testing, contact tracing and quarantine as needed in collaboration with public health officials

Student residence hall capacity will be available at UH Mānoa and UH Hilo for those students who choose to live on-campus. Isolation and social distancing protocols will be put in place based on the guidance available.

Email: UH Preparing for Safe Return to Campuses in Fall


I cannot thank all of you enough for your commitment, collaboration and strength through these difficult times. No one is personally untouched by this crisis, yet you persevere with compassion. Our UH ʻohana has risen to the challenge as our faculty continue to teach, our students continue to learn and our support staff continue to serve both and care for our campuses.

As challenging as it is right now, we must also plan for the future. There is still great uncertainty, but plans for the State are now taking shape and we have ourselves learned much over the last two months.

So I am happy to announce today that the University of Hawaiʻi plans to resume in-person classes on all 10 campuses beginning August 24, 2020, as scheduled.

We all realize that the fall will absolutely not be a return to business as usual. Rather, UH will deploy a COVID19-aware safe approach to providing high-quality education throughout the state for new and returning students at this very time when they and our State need higher education more than ever.

Planning is now beginning for the necessary changes across our UH campuses to support appropriate social distancing and hygienic practices based on the guidance available. While the fall semester is being planned to ensure safe instruction on campus, we are also preparing for greater use of online resources and some classes shifting to hybrid modes with a mix of on-campus and online instruction.

Plans for safe in-person instruction will include review of and any necessary physical reconfiguration of classrooms, labs, common areas and workspaces to support safe distances between people. Provisions and instructions will be provided to enable regular hand cleansing and hygiene. And UH will support protocols for testing, contact tracing and quarantine as needed, in collaboration with public health officials.

Student residence hall capacity will be available at UH Mānoa and UH Hilo for those students who need a place to live. Isolation and social distancing measures will be prepared consistent with applicable public health guidance.

UH also recognizes the uncertainty around local and global conditions in the fall. While planning for modified on-campus education, we will also thoroughly prepare for the possibility of a significant COVID-19 outbreak that may require one or more of our campuses to return to fully online instruction. These plans for high-quality online instruction will be informed by the experience and lessons learned from the abrupt transition to online instruction in spring 2020 experienced at UH and throughout the country.

The State of Hawaiʻi cannot thrive without its great public higher education system serving students and communities across our islands. Now, more than ever, the people of Hawaiʻi need the opportunity to affordably engage in higher education to advance their careers and their lives.

Thank you once again for your hard work, your patience, your resilience and your compassion for one another.

E mālama pono,
David Lassner
UH President

Students Participate in Virtual HIplan Hackathon

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has long been recognized for the diversity of its student body, and on the weekend of April 4-5, UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College students really learned how important that diversity is in approaching solutions to local problems.

In planning for over a year, UH Hilo and HawCC collaborated with HIplan Executive Director Jason Ueki and the BizGenics Foundation to offer a HIplan Hackathon for students. The goals were to develop students’ understanding of how to conceptualize and design a business concept for an app-based solution to a real community issue, which centered on the recovery efforts around the 2018 lava flow.

Roughly 50 students from both campuses had initially registered for the face-to-face event, which had to be completely restructured as a virtual event due to COVID-19. Since many students had returned home or experienced a shift in priorities, 15 students participated in the online event, spanning the globe from Hawaiʻi Island to Spain. Luca Checchia Adell, a sophomore at UH Hilo studying Business, participated from his hometown of Valencia, Spain, which meant that he stayed up all night to collaborate with his teammates. 

The event lasted two days, bringing students together from different campuses, majors, and backgrounds to share their global perspectives and approaches to problem-solving. Collaborating in teams of three or four students, the students were provided with training in business models and the BizzyB.com collaborative learning platform, and heard a presentation from Helen Tien, instructor at UH Hilo’s College of Business and Economics, on the challenges the community still faces from the 2018 lava flow. 

The students worked with mentors who shared their extensive knowledge in business and technology to develop the teams’ concepts, business plans and pitches. The teams then pitched their concept and answered questions from a panel of judges. 

UH Hilo participant Ryen Helzer, a senior studying Geography & Environmental Science, said, “The HIplan Hackathon allowed me to practice creative problem-solving and presenting skills that apply to real-world careers. The opportunity to quickly meet and work with a diverse group of individuals to create solutions is a positive experience for future endeavors.” 

For some, the online format might have been helpful. 

Makamae Kamaka-Mauhili, a UH Hilo freshman studying Business and Women’s Studies, reflected, “I am someone who tends to stay in the background, but with my team, I was able to emerge from my shell and share what I thought comfortably. Since it was virtual, in my opinion it was easier for us to work together. 

“The overall hackathon experience really broadened my scope of learning alongside applying knowledge and skill sets to produce a positive outcome,” she added.

Kamaka-Mauhili and teammates Brian McMichael (HawCC, IT), Karly Requelman (Sophomore, HawCC, Culinary Arts) and Zoe Whitney (Senior, UH Hilo, Environmental Science and TESOL) took First Place and were awarded $2,500 for designing an app that connects community members with skills and materials to rebuild homes that were lost as a result of the lava flow. Second Place and $1,500 went to Kevianna Adams (Junior, UH Hilo, Chemistry & Psychology), Santos Gutierez (Sophomore, HawCC, Information Technology), Ryen Helzer (Senior, UH Hilo, Geography & Environmental Sciences) and Catherine Kane-Paulo (Junior, UH Hilo, Business Administration) for their app named Coconut Grove. Third Place and $1,000 went to Luca Checchia Adell (Sophomore, UH Hilo, Business Administration), Casey Chow (Freshman, HawCC, ITS), Kevin Oh (Freshman, HawCC, Information Technology), and Jena Shidaki (Sophomore, UH Hilo, Communication) for their Disaster Defense app. Fourth Place and $300 went to the team of Alan Cincunegui Corres (Sophomore, UH Hilo, Finance), Kapaia`alaopuna Earle (Junior, UH Hilo, Communication & Hawaiian Studies), and Garnett Stone Jr. (Junior, UH Hilo, Business Administration) for their app called Second Wave.

Judges included Melanie Wilson, Dean of Liberal Arts & Public Services at HawCC, tech entrepreneur Steve Sakoman of Steve Sakoman Inc., and Chris Rehkamp, former program manager at the Digital Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland. Mentors included Director of Accelerator Operations at Elemental Excelerator Sherrie Totoki in San Francisco, Americas Advisory Learning Leader Louise Lorton of Ernst & Young in North Carolina, and Phillipe Rosse from RFP Match in North Carolina. Facilitators included local entrepreneur Mike Nakamura, former tech executive Wayne Morris, and retired tech professional Walter McCoy.

Event sponsors were Kamehameha Schools, Ulupono Initiative, County of Hawaiʻi, UH Hilo and HawCC.

Student Pharmacists Chosen for ASHP Residencies

Ten students preparing to graduate in May 2020 from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy recently were matched to post-graduate residency programs at hospitals and health care systems around the county. Two DKICP graduates from the class of 2019 were also matched for a second year of postgraduate residency.

The annual residency match program is coordinated by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists and provides a process to help connect top graduates from pharmacy colleges with residency programs throughout the United States. Residency match is a highly competitive process for pharmacy graduates.

From the class of 2020 for PGY-1 residency:

• Robyn Hart: Providence Alaska Medical Center, Anchorage, AK
• Taylor Hori: VA Southern Nevada Health Care System, North Las Vegas, NV
• Kelly Kofalt: VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System, Reno, NV
• Kamala Lizama: VA Pacific Islands Health Care System, Honolulu, HI
• Mary Lui: VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA
• My Nguyen: Yuma Regional Medical Center, Yuma, AZ
• Stacey Nguyen: MountainView Hospital, Las Vegas, NV
• Brent Ocker: Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
• Shaina Saiki: Scripps Memorial Hospital-La Jolla, La Jolla, CA
• Thi Hong Vo: University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Hilo, HI

From the class of 2019 for PGY-2 specialty residency:

• Kelsey Noetzelmann: Oncology, University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy, Aurora, CO
• Leigh Heffner: Psychiatry and Mental Health, William S. Middleton VA Medical Center, Madison, WI

“Match Day, and all the preparations for it, can be very stressfull,” said DKICP Dean Carolyn Ma. “We are proud of all our students in the Class of 2020 who dedicated themselves to fulfilling the many requirements of the program. For our matches from the Class of 2019, the progression to a specialty residency demonstrates their desire to commit to an area of specialty practice that will set them apart from their peers and offer the possibility of the prestigious future of specialty board certification.”

UH Implements Emergency Grading Policy During COVID-19 Crisis

In response to the exceptional circumstances of the spring 2020 semester, the University of Hawaiʻi has worked together as a system to develop an option for students to be able to choose to take their courses on a Credit/No Credit basis for this semester only. 

UH recognizes that the academic, personal and financial situations of students, faculty and staff have been abruptly transformed. Based on consultation across our campuses with faculty, feedback from students, review of UH system and campus policies, and emerging practices nationally, UH campuses will offer all students the option of taking courses as Credit/No Credit for spring 2020.


Over the last two weeks, the campus Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs developed a set of guidelines for this emergency policy that attempt to balance the disruption caused by the sudden need to move all courses online mid-semester with our usual grading standards. The guidelines developed by the vice chancellors were then distributed to each campus faculty senate for consultation. The campus faculty senates provided valuable feedback and suggestions on the guidelines that shaped the final policy.

Next Steps

An Executive Policy memorializing this emergency policy will be available by Friday, April 17, 2020. An implementation plan and general FAQ for faculty and students will be available as well. Here, the general scope of the new policy is described.

General Policy Guidelines

For spring semester 2020, students in all undergraduate and graduate UH classes ending after March 20, 2020 will have the option of taking their classes on a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) basis.

Process for implementing the CR/NC for spring 2020

  1. Faculty will continue to award letter grades for spring 2020 classes by entering their grades into MyUH during the regular grading period. Courses already established as CR/NC will continue to use those designations instead of letter grades.
  2. Once the faculty have entered their grades, students will be able to view the assigned grades in STAR-GPS.
  3. Until May 22, students may choose to retain their letter grades or convert their letter grades to the CR/NC designation for one or more classes.
  4. After May 22 when students have made their choice, registrars will make the grades final and will include a notation indicating this is a “semester disrupted by COVID-19” on the transcript.

For the purposes of this policy, Credit (CR) may be awarded for a grade of C or better. Establishing credit at a C allows for those students opting for the Credit option to continue to meet the requirements for entry to major and minor courses, as well as prerequisites for courses in a sequence. The CR designation will not be counted in the GPA. Students with a letter grade of C-, D, or F may opt instead for No Credit (NC). If they opt for No Credit, that course will not be counted towards their GPA.

By Graduate Division policy, a grade of C or better is required for students to receive credit.


Within the UH System, students will be “held harmless” by the choice to select CR/NC in spring 2020. Choosing the Credit/No Credit option will not negatively impact their academic journey within the UHSystem, including transfer between UH campuses, nor will it be a barrier to entry into subsequent courses. Furthermore, academic probation will be extended to the following semester for any student who does not move off academic probation based on their spring 2020 GPA. Students should understand that taking an Incomplete in a course may preclude them from changing a grade to the Credit/No Credit option before May 22.

Additional information regarding the implications of this emergency policy will be provided to students by Friday, April 17 so that they can make an informed decision regarding their choice between letter grades and Credit/No Credit.


Some professional accreditation organizations may not permit alterations to the grading process. In such cases, a very limited number of exceptions may be granted upon request to the president via the campus chancellor or provost.

More Than $200K Awarded as Students’ Needs Grow

A week after access to a fund for University of Hawaiʻi students experiencing urgent financial distress was opened, more than $200,000 has been awarded to more than 500 students. Work is continuing on all 10 campuses to process additional funding relief to even more students as the needs continue to rise.

“A big mahalo to the companies and individuals who have already stepped forward to begin to address the urgent needs of our University of Hawaiʻi students across the state,” said UH President David Lassner. “We invite the community to help us to help our students with necessities such as food and shelter in these turbulent times, as they also strive to complete their studies.”

Applications to the UH Urgent Student Relief Fund are due each Wednesday by 4 p.m. with notification by the following week.The Urgent Student Relief Fund is not a replacement for financial aid. Examples of unexpected financial hardships considered include (but are not limited to):

  • costs encountered due to an unanticipated situation or emergency
  • loss of employment or housing
  • family emergencies
  • natural disasters or pandemic
  • food insecurity
  • medical/dental expenses
  • changes to childcare or transportation needs

Applications and criteria can be found online. Applicants should contact their UH campus directly with any questions.

Donations to support the urgent needs of UH students can be made to the UH Foundation.

UH Hilo Grad Student Awarded Prestigious APA Minority Fellowship

A graduate student in the MA program in Counseling Psychology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has been awarded the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship in the area of Services for Transition Age Youth. This is the first award of its kind for a student at UH Hilo. 

Rachel Gibson is a first-year graduate student whose specialization is in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The APA Minority Fellowship provides financial support of up to $10,000 for one year, and is funded by a grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

Gibson has a strong commitment to a career in mental health services and serving ethnic minority transition age youth and their families. Before entering the MA program, she worked with incarcerated and/or at-risk youth, particularly those from ethnic minority backgrounds, including Mexican American youths. Gibson noted that during this time, although most of her clients spoke proficient English, many of their families were Spanish-speaking. Gibson studied Spanish for six years and lived in a Spanish-speaking country for some time, which helped her greatly in connecting with the clients’ families.

“I’m very honored and humbled and am eager to get started with this Fellowship program,” Gibson said. “I see this as a tremendous opportunity to further my knowledge and skills and am grateful to APA for giving me this award.”

“The Fellowship is very prestigious and I’m so happy for Rachel,” said Dr. Bryan S. K. Kim, professor of psychology and director of the MA program. “The Fellowship is a testament to her commitment to addressing diversity issues in mental health and her past and present efforts in this area. 

“I interpret the Fellowship as an investment by APA in Rachel to be a leader in this underattended area of work in our communities,” he added. 

Kim will serve as a training mentor for Gibson per the Fellowship requirement.

UH’s 10 Campuses Move Summer Courses Online

Summer school at the 10 campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi will be held online, allowing students to continue their academic careers while staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first session runs from May 26 to July 3, and the second session runs from July 6 to August 14. The exact dates may vary slightly from campus to campus.

By May 15, the university will decide whether in-person classes will be added to the second summer session depending on the status of the COVID-19 health crisis. 

Summer registration begins on April 6 for UH West Oʻahu, UH Hilo, UH Maui College, Kapiʻolani Community College (CC), Leeward CC, Honolulu CC, Windward CC, Kauai CC and Hawaiʻi CC in Hilo. Registration is already underway for UH Mānoa with more than 450 UH Mānoa Summer Session courses being offered. 

“We have such a great range of course offerings during the summer session and we hope our students take advantage of the opportunity,” said UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno. “Everyone in the community is invited to take a class or two. With many of us confined to our homes, it is a great opportunity to begin work towards a degree or to take a course in an area of interest.” 

New Funds to Assist UH Students During COVID-19 Pandemic

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation and University of Hawaiʻi have partnered to establish two new funds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to help those on our campuses.

“As we adjust to a new reality amid concerns about the novel coronavirus, friends and alumni have been asking us how they can help,” said University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner. “Many of our funders and donors have reached out expressing concern for the welfare of our students. They also want to hear what UH is doing on the research front to participate in the fight against COVID-19.”

Urgent Student Relief Fund

The Urgent Student Relief fund supports students statewide.

In times of emergencies like this, some students at UH’s 10 campuses find themselves in urgent financial distress. The usual pressures of finishing the semester are exacerbated by the pandemic’s pervasive upheaval of routines and constant concern for family and friends.

Financially, many UH students who are already living on a shoestring are even closer to the edge. Students relying on jobs for tuition are being laid off. Others need childcare as schools temporarily closed, access to computers as classes moved online, transportation when living arrangements shift and food when their meals off campus may be in doubt.

“The type of assistance our students need is evolving, but UH is ready to respond,” said Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Hae Okimoto. “Additional resources will support our students to stay on track with their academic journeys so they can help us build the strong economy of tomorrow.”

COVID-19 and Infections and Emerging Diseases Research Fund

UH researchers are working fervently to detect, prevent and cure COVID-19, and other infectious and emerging diseases in the islands and abroad.

Among other efforts, scientists at the John A. Burns School of Medicine are expanding ongoing development of heat-stable vaccines for viruses, to include coronaviruses causing COVID-19. Success means rapid, efficient manufacturing of vaccines with broad application for the general population, including our children and seniors. 

Our experienced UH scientists are also working on the development of processes for rapid screening and surveillance of COVID-19 in the islands and abroad.

Tim Dolan, UH vice president of advancement and UH Foundation CEO said, “Our donors and community want to be part of the global solution. As the nonprofit that raises funds to support UH students and research, we are committed to supporting our community in every way we can. We are all in this together.”

More information is available at the UH Foundation website.

UH Extends Application Deadline to August 1

The University of Hawaiʻi is extending the deadline to apply for admissions to its three universities to August 1, 2020. This will give prospective students additional time to consider UH Mānoa, UH Hilo and/or UH West Oʻahu for the 2020–21 academic year under the new uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Prospective students can apply to the seven UH Community Colleges right up to the start of the semester. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible, particularly if they are interested in financial aid.

The announcement was made during a Wednesday, March 25 news conference by Gov. David Y. Ige, a UH graduate.

“For parents and students who are now thinking about staying home for college, you canʻt beat the opportunities across the University of Hawaiʻi System,” said UH President Lassner, adding that there is something for everyone at UH—from graduating high school seniors, to students on the mainland wanting to return home, to adults looking for improved economic opportunity through a career change.

“The UH system offers a wide range of amazing higher education programs across the state,” said Lassner. “Weʻre recognized around the world as affordable at every level, from our amazing community colleges to our welcoming baccalaureate universities to one of the world’s great research universities.”

Data show that people who earn a college degree or certificate earn more money over their lifetimes, are less likely to become unemployed in a recession, return to the workforce faster after a recession, live longer, live healthier, are less likely to become incarcerated, vote more, volunteer more, and their children are more likely to also pursue a higher education and experience these same benefits.

Go to the University of Hawaʻi application website for more information on how to apply. 

Course Withdrawal Deadline Extended for UH Campuses

The University of Hawaiʻi has extended the deadline to withdraw with a “W” grade to Thursday, April 30, at 4 p.m. for semester-long classes. Students and faculty are encouraged to follow up with procedures for their individual campuses.

The deadline was moved to provide students additional time to adjust to the new delivery mode of their courses before making decisions about withdrawal. Students are urged to reach out to advisors, counselors and faculty if they need assistance with academic decisions and any impact they may have on summer and fall registration.

UH Campuses Closed to All Except Students & Employees

In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, the 10 campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi are closed, effective immediately, to everyone except current students and employees.

The UH campuses are UH Mānoa, UH Hilo, UH West Oʻahu, UH Maui College, Leeward Community College (CC), Kapiʻolani CC, Honolulu CC, Windward CC, Kauaʻi CC and Hawaiʻi CC.

This is the latest step being taken for the health and safety of UH students and employees. The university announced on March 18 that it is transitioning to an online delivery of courses for the remainder of the spring semester. The closure of public-facing facilities and establishment of a process for employees to work remotely from home are in effect. Employees who are working on campus and students who come to campus or reside in student housing are instructed to practice social distancing.

MANA WAHINE Coming to UH Hilo Performing Arts Center

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Performing Arts Center (PAC) presents the Okareka Dance Company of New Zealand‘s all-female production MANA WAHINE, on Tuesday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Their performance combines dance, theatre and film to tell the true life story of Te Aokapurangi, a young maiden from Rotorua. Captured in battle by a tribe from the far north, she returns many years later to single-handedly save her people from slaughter, as well as experiences within their own lives.

“MANA WAHINE is a vision of strength that empowers women around the world, and above all, a rich fusion of choreography, music, tikanga, Maori and performance practices, video projections, lighting and performance design . . . enriched and enlivened by the dancing of five powerhouse performers,” wrote Raewyn Whyte of Theatreview Magazine in New Zealand.

Tickets are reserved seating and priced at $25 General, $20 Discount and $12 UH Hilo/Hawaiʻi CC students (with a valid student ID) and children, up to age 17, pre-sale, and $30, $25 and $17 at the door. Tickets are available by calling the UH Hilo Box Office at 932-7490, Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., or ordering online at artscenter.uhh.hawaii.edu.