Mentee Highlights

Meet Our 2017 Mentor-Mentee Pairs!

Previous year’s pairs are here.

Note: M = mentor, m = mentee, L = left (in photo), R = right (in photo)

Kyle and Brenner Kyle Aukai (m, L) and Brenner Wai (M, R)

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.

Anthony and Alma Anthony Barro (m, L) and Alma Castillo (M, R)

Anthony is pursuing a B.S. in Global Environmental Sciences at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UH). He is excited to be part of the Maile community and is eager to find opportunities and scholarships to improve his education. Anthony enjoys sports fishing and spending time at the beach with his wife and two children. Alma is originally from Mexico and came to Hawai‘i to pursue her graduate studies in Physical Oceanography. She completed her M.S at UH in 2014 and is currently working on her Ph.D. analyzing the surface currents around Hawai‘i. On her free time, she enjoys surfing, yoga and spending time with her family. She loves teaching and is really excited to interact with the Hawaiian culture as part of this Maile program.

Helena and Harrison Helena Bierens (m,L) and Harrison Togia (M,R)

Helena is a Leeward Community College student pursuing coursework that will lead to a BS degree in Geology & Geophysics at UH Mānoa. Returning to school after a break in her education, Helena has been a classical guitar instructor for 12 years and is motivated to obtain a degree in a field she loves. She has broad interests ranging from planetary processes to conservation and sustainability. Helena’s mentor Harrison graduated with a MS in Geology & Geophysics from UHM. His research focused on geophysical and dynamic understandings of deep earth processes and the responses of the shallow earth, including mantle plumes, mantle convection, and plate subduction. Harrison currently teaches physics at Leeward Community College and has experience mentoring both at the high school and college level.

Honour and Heidi Honour Booth (m, L) and Heidi Needham (M, R)

A proud O‘ahu native, Honour is working toward her Associate Degree in Natural Sciences (ASNS) at Kapi‘olani Community College (KCC) and plans to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Science in Global Environmental Science at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM). Honour was recently accepted as a C-MORE scholar and will be starting a project on the presence and impact of organic and mineral ultra violet filters in the coastal waters of O‘ahu’s south shore.She has a keen interest in marine science and ecotoxicology, and was a STEM peer mentor over this past summer in the KCC Summer Bridge Program. This program, which focused on transitioning high school and new college students into STEM programs at KCC and SOEST, was an awesome way for Honour to give back to the community she has risen through. 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 Global Environmental Science program and has worked on diverse projects ranging from planetary geology to ecological climate science. A Master’s student, she is currently working closely with other researchers in the Ecohydrology Lab and scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) 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. When she’s not working on her research Heidi enjoys hiking, hanging out at the beach with her kids, cooking and gardening.

Noah and Nicolas Noah Howins (m, R) and Nicolas Turner (M, L)

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.

Kammie and Alex Honoka Katayama (m, L) and Diamond Tachera (M, R)

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 and Lani Lani Kito-Ho (m, R) and Elaine Luo (M, L)

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 amd Aaron Aaron Lee (m, R) and Shellie Habel (M, L)

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 and Kristian No‘eau Machado (m, L) and Kristian McDonald (M, R)

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 and Veronica Candice Matsuda (m, L) and Veronica Gibson (M, R)

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.

Edna and AlmaEdna Díaz Negrón (m,L) and Alma Castillo (M,R)

Edna Díaz Negrón is a recent graduate from UH Hilo who is interested in attending graduate school.  She is currently applying for an MS degree in Marine Science and plans to focus on estuaries and ecology of sea-birds.  An islander herself (from Puerto Rico), Edna has always felt very connected to the land and ocean and is passionate about taking care of natural resources.  Edna’s mentor Alma is originally from Mexico and came to Hawai‘i to pursue her graduate studies in Physical Oceanography. She completed her MS at UH Mānoa in 2014 and is currently working on her Ph.D. analyzing the surface currents around Hawai‘i. In her free time, she enjoys surfing, yoga and spending time with her family. She loves teaching and is really excited to interact with the Hawaiian culture as part of this Maile program.

Samantha and MarisolMarisol Plazas (m,R) and Samantha Isgett (M,L)

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.

Elisha and Alisha Alisha Summers (m, R) and Elisha Wood-Charlson (M, L)

Alisha is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Global Environmental Science at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Alisha is currently starting research with GLASS (Global AIS on the International Space Station) using Automatic Identification System (AIS) data to detect illegal fishing in the Pacific. She enjoys the ocean, hiking, and has shown interests in physical oceanography and marine biology. Ultimately, her goal is to travel after graduating from undergrad and then going on to graduate school. Elisha is the Research/Communications Manager for the Simons Collaboration for Ocean Processes and Ecology (SCOPE). She has a PhD from Oregon State in Marine Science and enjoys working at the interface of research and communications.

Lean and Heather Lean Teodoro (m, L) and Heather Kaluna (M, R)

Lean is from the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. She is currently a sophomore majoring in Geology and Geophysics with a pre-medicine track as a transfer student. She is a Hawai‘i Space Grant Consortium Fellow researching extraterrestrial dust being collected in Mauna Loa. Lean’s dream is to work for NASA and contribute to future space exploration and a manned mission to Mars. Her mentor Heather is from Pāhoa, Hawai‘i and received her PhD in Astronomy at UH Mānoa in May 2015. Currently, she is a postdoctoral Fellow at the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. Heather conducts observations using telescopes on Mauna Kea to observe water-rich asteroids and weather in space. She also conducts laboratory experiments to study the changes water-rich asteroids experience due to space weathering.

Katie and AndrewAndrew Tokuda (m,R) and Katie Taladay (M,L)

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.

Kammie and Alex Kammie Travares (m, L) and Alex Pleus (M, R)

Kammie is pursuing a B.S. in Global Environmental Science (GES) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM). A graduate of Kamehameha Schools, she is interested in blending cultural knowledge with the expertise that she is gaining in her degree program. Alex is a graduate student in Geology and Geophysics. She is originally from Hawai‘i and is interested in studying and modeling geophysical processes that occur here in the islands. Alex’s current research focuses on the flexure of the lithosphere under the Hawaiian island chain to gain insight into rheological laws under volcanic loads.

Jennifer and Tiffany Jennifer Wong-Ala (m, L) and Tiffany Anderson (M, R)

Jennifer is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Global Environmental Science (GES) at UH Mānoa. She hails from Waimanalo and is a hard-working scholar interested in marine and environmental science. Recently, Jennifer has been working on a research project that looks at how physical and biological factors shape connectivity among reef fish populations off Hawai‘i Island. Jennifer’s mentor, Tiffany Anderson (Kapa‘a, HI) feels blessed to mentor such a positive and enthusiastic spirit as Jenn’s. Tiffany earned her Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics from UH Mānoa in 2013. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at UH Mānoa’s Coastal Geology Group, focusing on modeling shorelines and shoreline change activity. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, hiking, and spending time with her daughter, Ke‘alohi.

Gordon and Shaun Shaun Wriston (m, R) and Gordon Walker (M, L)

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.


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