Mentoring Pairs

Meet Our 2018 Mentoring Pairs

Participants in the Maile Program are prospective, current, alumni or professionals associated with SOEST. Our mentors support Native Hawaiians, kama‘āina and other underrepresented undergraduate students through mentoring relationships that offer encouragement and the sharing of knowledge.

To see pairs from previous years, visit our Archived Pairs Page


Kyle (mentee, left) and Brenner (mentor, right)

Kyle Aukai & Brenner Wai

Kyle is an awesome student who is currently working toward his Associate’s degree in Natural Science with a focus in physical science at Kapi’olani Community College. Close to graduating, Kyle plans to transfer to the Global Environmental Science (GES) program at UH Mānoa, where he can pursue his interest in both land and marine environments. Kyle’s mentor Brenner is a research technician in oceanography with experience onboard research vessels. A C-MORE Scholar alumnus and graduate of the GES program, Brenner has a wealth of experience and advice for new students.

Honour (mentee, left) and Heidi (mentor, right)

Honour Booth & Heidi Needham

A proud O‘ahu native, Honour is working toward her Bachelor’s Degree in Global Environmental Science at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM). Honour was recently accepted as a Ike Wai scholar working in rainfall chemistry. Some of her favorite activities include surfing and being in the ocean, working in tutu’s yard and learning new languages. Honour’s mentor, Heidi, is a SOEST alumna. She is a graduate of the GES program and has worked on diverse projects ranging from planetary geology to ecological climate science. A Master’s student, she is currently working to develop a downscaled hydro-climate model of the main Hawaiian Islands. Heidi is passionate about science education and outreach, especially amongst underrepresented groups and is involved in several programs that focus on higher education goals amongst minorities.

Nick (mentor, left) and Noah (mentee, right)

Noah Howins & Nicholas Turner

Noah Howins is a Global Environmental Science (GES) student at UH Mānoa. He is fascinated with learning about the planet and thoroughly enjoys every topic he has been introduced to while in the program. He has a particular interest in tropical reef systems and how they can be affected by anthropogenic influences. He is also interested in the socioeconomic effects of climate change on low-lying island communities. His mentor, Nicolas Turner, is a graduate student in Geology & Geophysics who specializes in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, robotics and volcanology. His area of expertise includes operating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to gather data for scientific and humanitarian relief projects.

Honoka (mentee, left) & Diamond (mentor, right)

Honoka Katayama & Diamond Tachera

Honoka is getting her ASNS degree at Kapi‘olani Community College and is interested in entering the Global Environmental Science (GES) program at UH ā. She is interested in marine species, coral reefs, algae, and invasive species within the marine ecosystem. She is also interested in climate change and its effects on marine ecosystems as well as coastal habitats and communities. The ocean plays an influential role in her life; therefore, she has a strong overall interest in protecting the marine environment. Diamond (from Kaimuki) is a graduate student at UH Mānoa pursuing a Master’s degree in Geology and Geophysics. Having recently earned her Bachelor’s degree in the same field, Diamond is now studying groundwater flow and geochemistry in the Hawaiian Islands. She has long-term goals of building a career here at home working with these important resources.

Elaine (mentor, left) and Lani (mentee, right)

Nalani Kito-Ho & Elaine Luo

Lani is a GESs student at UH, but does not know what kind of research she would like to do in the future. She feels that the GES program is a step in the right direction to explore her options. Through the Native Hawaiian Science Engineering and Mathematics Program (NHSEMP), Lani was able to participate in a field sampling trip to Papua New Guinea over this past summer. She is glad to be a part of the SOEST Maile Mentoring Bridge program for extra support and building confidence as she moves forward in her academic journey. Elaine Luo is a graduate student in Marine Biology.

Shellie (mentor, left) and Aaron (mentee, right)

Shellie Habel & Aaron Lee

Aaron’s love for the ocean, and the many things that come with it, initially sparked his interest in science. He was originally enrolled in the Global Environmental Science Program but has become increasingly interested in mechanical engineering. He is now enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering Program and is working to become FE certified (the first step to becoming a licensed professional engineer) either by the time he graduates or shortly thereafter. Aaron’s mentor, Shellie Habel, is a Ph.D. student in Marine and Environmental Geology at UH Mānoa. She works with the Coastal Geology Group under Dr. Chip Fletcher, focusing on beach erosion studies and modeling future flooding in Waikīkī due to sea level rise.

No‘eau (mentee, left) and Kristian (mentor, right)

No‘eau Machado & Kristian McDonald

No‘eau is in the Global Environmental Science (GES) program and plans to graduate in Spring 2019. He is interested in environmental and cultural conservation and restoration in Hawai‘i. He is also interested in studying the ocean, especially marine environments in Hawai‘i such as coral reefs and how human interference can affect these environments. As a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, he has special interest in topics that blend environmental science with Hawaiian culture, such as loko i‘a and lo‘i. No‘eau’s mentor Kristian just graduated this fall with his Bachelor of Science from Natural Resources and Environmental Management (NREM) with a minor in Geology & Geophysics (G&G). This spring, he started his Master‘s degree in G&G studying coastal geology. Kristian is specifically interested in managing coastal systems here in Hawai‘i with an interest in understanding and mitigating sustainability problems associated with climate change. Also a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Kristian is interested in using his knowledge to support the local community.

Candice (mentee, left) and Veronica (mentor, right)

Candice Matsuda & Veronica Gibson

Candice is a recent graduate of Leeward Community College who transferred into the Global Environmental Science (GES) program. She has local and Japanese roots and enjoys studying the ocean. Candice really likes all aspects of science and aims to find a career protecting and conserving the ‘aina. Her mentor Veronica graduated with her GES degree and has gone on to graduate school in marine botany, ecology and physiology. Her current interests are in watershed hydrogeology with a particular interest in land-based nutrient pollution entering coastal ecosystems. Veronica is kama‘aina from the Kona coast and is interested in ensuring that development in Hawai‘i is carried out in an environmentally responsible manner that ensures the protection of local reefs and fisheries.

Samantha (mentor, left) & Marisol (mentee, right)

Marisol Plazas & Samantha Isgett

Marisol is majoring in Global Environmental Science (GES) at UH Mānoa and plans to graduate in Spring 2019. Her academic goals are to further her knowledge in marine science. She has broad interests in deep sea biology of the ocean, currents, how coral reefs affect the environment (mainly the great barrier reefs), bioluminescence, kelp forest ecosystems and the Mariana Trench. Marisol’s mentor Samantha is a PhD student in Geology & Geophysics. She conducts research in physical volcanology, specifically volcanic eruptions. She is interested in what causes eruptions to change their behavior and their intensity. She is also involved in disaster preparedness and has taken classes at the National Disaster Preparedness Center.

Katie (mentor, left) and Andrew (mentee, right)

Andrew Tokuda & Katie Taladay

Andrew is in the UH Mānoa Global Environmental Science (GES) program and plans to graduate with his BS in Spring 2020. His academic goals revolve around his passions of making discoveries, exploration, and international collaborations. He would like to acquire as much knowledge as possible, and take advantage of the abundant research opportunities that SOEST provides. He has strong interests in the biological aspects of the ocean, especially deep sea ecology and fisheries management. He is Hungarian and Japanese, has lived in Japan, and attended the Hawaiian Japanese School every Saturday while living in Hawai‘i. Andrew identifies with the Japanese culture, and hopes to have the opportunity to work with both US and Japanese scientists. Andrew’s mentor Katie is a PhD student with a diverse background focused in marine geology and coastal ecosystems. Her research focusing on natural gas hydrates provided Katie with incredible opportunities to collaborate with scientists in Japan, Korea, India, across Europe, and the US. She is an avid proponent of science communication and is always looking for ways to share science with the public and to encourage other young scientists. She is currently using remote sensing technologies to map benthic habitats here in Hawai‘i in partnership with several community-based resource management groups.

Gordon (mentor, left) and Shawn (mentee, right)

Shawn Wriston & Gordon Walker

Shaun is currently taking prerequisite courses for the Global Environmental Science (GES) program at UH Mānoa and working towards his Associates of Science in Natural Science (ASNS) at Kapiolani Community College. After completing a Bachelor’s in the GES program, Shaun would like to earn a Master’s in environmental and ocean engineering. Shaun first met his mentor Gordon as “Mr. Walker” his Middle School teacher and is stoked to have him as his undergraduate mentor. Gordon Walker is originally from Kingston, Jamaica and came to Hawai‘i many years ago to try open water swimming and surfing. In 2012, Gordon completed an M.S. in SOEST’s Oceanography program. Previously, he was a teacher in New York City, India and Hawai‘i. Through his teaching and research experiences, Gordon has served as an outstanding mentor for numerous young minds.