2024 Mānoa Awards honor excellence, achievement

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa will honor the outstanding contributions of faculty, staff and students at the 2024 UH Mānoa Awards Ceremony. Two SOEST faculty members and an undergraduate student were selected to receive awards for their research, efforts to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion, and excellent work.

The annual event will be held Wednesday, May 8 at 10:30 a.m. at Kennedy Theatre. UH President David Lassner, UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno and Board of Regents Interim Chair Gabriel Lee will honor the award recipients for their achievements.

A live video stream of the event will be available for those unable to attend in-person.

Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research

Malte Stuecker, assistant professor in oceanography at the International Pacific Research Center was awarded the Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research. This honor is awarded by the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents in recognition of scholarly contributions that expand the boundaries of knowledge and enrich the lives of students and the community.

Malte Stuecker

Stuecker’s research is on climate variability and climate change in the past, present and future. Much of his work is centered on the Pacific Ocean and phenomena such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Stuecker received a PhD in meteorology from UH Mānoa in 2015. He returned to UH as faculty in 2020, and was previously an assistant project leader/research professor at the IBS Center for Climate Physics in South Korea. Stuecker received the IAPSO Early Career Scientist Medal in Physical Oceanography in 2023, the Kamide Lecture Award from the AOGS Atmospheric Sciences section in 2020, and the Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the EGU Climate: Past, Present & Future division in 2016. In 2018, he was a Future Leaders Program Fellow of the Science and Technology in Society forum in Kyoto (Japan) and in 2022 he received an NSF CAREER Award.

Dr. Amefil “Amy” Agbayani Faculty Diversity Enhancement Award

Aaron Pietruszka, associate professor of Earth Sciences was honored with the Dr. Amefil “Amy” Agbayani Faculty Diversity Enhancement Award from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Commission on Inclusion and Diversity. This award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to enhancing diversity. The award was established to recognize Agbayani’s lifetime commitment to diversity and social justice in Hawaiʻi. For more than 40 years, she served as the founder and director of the Office of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity.

Winona K. Lee

A nominee wrote, “Aaron is driving the change that we want to see—by building a culture of inclusive excellence. Dr. Pietruszka is actively working to reduce bias, remove barriers to access, and foster an inclusive working environment where differences are valued, intersectionality is recognized and everyone feels welcome and supported.” Pietruszka developed “Out in STEM,” a group which discusses topics related to LGBTQ+ representation in the sciences, navigating through academia while “out,” and strategies to overcome the discrimination and hardships that are encountered. Another great accomplishment by Pietruszka has been the creation of four gender-neutral restrooms in the POST building. These bathrooms have created a safe, welcoming space for everyone, including transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Another nominee stated, “Dr. Pietruszka’s interactions with students and colleagues serve as a model of collaboration rooted in mutual respect, two-way communication, transparency and accountability.”

Student Employee of the Year Award

Earth Sciences undergraduate student Liam Felix was honored with the Student Employee of the Year Award. The Student Employee of the Year Program was created in 1986 by the Mānoa Career Center to recognize and highlight the achievements and contributions of student employees on the UH Mānoa campus.

Liam Felix

Liam Felix is a geographic information system assistant in the Office of Systems Integration (OSI). Felix is a senior majoring in environmental Earth science and has worked with the OSI since September 2022. He is commended for his work on the interactive Campus Map, which allows students, faculty, staff and the general public to locate buildings and other points of interest on the UH Mānoa campus. Felix has also written tutorials, one of which describes in layman’s terms how to use the widgets in our various mapping locations. His supervisor stated, “Liam has been an integral part of the Office of Systems Integration’s GIS (geographic information system) Team and his work has been nothing but exemplary. Maintaining this ease of finding relevant information would not have been possible without Liam’s help.”

Read more on UH News and on the UH Mānoa awards page.