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Tag: Marcia Sakai

Statement from the Interim Chancellor on UH Hilo’s commitment to embracing diversity

National events of the last two weeks have furthered the resolve of the UH Hilo community to be unflinching in its commitment to embrace diversity and inclusion on our campus while fostering and practicing the spirit of aloha in all that we do.

Aloha UH Hilo ‘Ohana,

Allison Dupre and her artwork, The
Allison Dupre holds her winning mixed media piece, The Diversity Tree. Learn more about the artwork and Ms. Dupre’s $500 prize. Photo by Raiatea Arcuri, click to enlarge.

Just last week, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo celebrated Global Diversity Awareness Month by recognizing student art, performances, and writings on what it means for our campus to be ranked as the most diverse four-year public university in the country. A winning entry was artwork done by business major Allison Dupre. She created a mixed media piece of a tree in a rainbow of colors with a quotation by American entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes: “Diversity, the art of thinking independently together.”

At UH Hilo we take pride in our diverse campus community, and embrace all who come here to work, study, and grow. Universities are places where ideas and cultures intersect, and we strive to ensure this is a place where the exchange of diverse ideas can occur in a safe and productive environment.

National events of the last two weeks have furthered the resolve of the UH Hilo community to be unflinching in its commitment to embrace diversity and inclusion on our campus while fostering and practicing the spirit of aloha in all that we do. I ask that each of you make a personal commitment to do your part to ensure our campus is a place where our differences can make us better, within a framework of respect and aloha.

As the most diverse four-year university in the country, we serve as an academic model to the world where people from across the globe live in harmony, thinking independently together.

UH Hilo is here to support you with a variety of services for our students, faculty and staff. Should you need assistance, please reach out or make referrals to the available campus services below:

Mahalo for caring for each other.

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor

Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column, Nov. 2018: One learns from many sources

With today’s technology, the guidance of expert mentors, and a deep desire to make new discoveries, UH Hilo students are learning from many sources and contributing to their selected fields, their communities, and the world.

By Marcia Sakai.

The Mission Statement of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo begins with the adage, ‘A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka hālau ho‘okahi (One learns from many sources). One unique aspect of UH Hilo is that we offer both undergraduate and graduate students many opportunities to do research in a variety of fields. Our students are doing important work, collecting and analyzing new data, publishing findings alongside their mentors, graduating with a packed résumé and a degree, fully prepared to join the workforce or continue to a terminal degree.

I would like to share with you some research projects where our students are learning by doing the work, making the discoveries, and enriching the world with new knowledge.

‘Āina (Land)

UH Hilo professors, scientists and students provided valuable expertise and resources on multiple fronts during the recent lava flow in Puna, helping government officials assess hazards to the public.

A team of undergraduate and graduate students led by Associate Professor of Geography Ryan Perroy piloted drones day and night capturing imagery of the lava flows, critical information for the government agencies overseeing eruption response.

UH Hilo volcanologist Cheryl Gansecki, assisted by undergraduate students, provided real-time chemistry analysis of lava samples. The information helped government scientists determine how the lava would behave and how fast it moved, critical information for response plans.

Lani (Sky)

Kyle Steckler
Kyle Steckler

While completing a summer internship at the University of Michigan, UH Hilo astronomy student Kyle Steckler developed an algorithm to discover minor planets that orbit the sun beyond Neptune. The algorithm did not fully work all summer and he was not discovering anything new. But about three hours before he gave his final presentation at the symposium in Ann Arbor, he was running his software and it suddenly popped up something new—Kyle had discovered a new object in our solar system!

Kyle’s internship was funded through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, a highly competitive program funded by the National Science Foundation that supports active research done by undergraduates. He will graduate with this amazing accomplishment already on his résumé, a solid foundation for making future discoveries.

Chantelle Kiessner
Chantelle Kiessner

Another astronomy student, Chantelle Kiessner, is doing solar investigations, having been awarded three internships over the course of the past two years. She started in 2016 as a Hawai‘i Space Grant Consortium trainee and then, building on the skills learned as a trainee, she was selected for the Akamai Internship Program in the summer of 2017. As an Akamai Scholar she was placed at the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Maui to work on quantifying data on the new Adaptive Optics system where she looked for ways to correct the errors introduced by Earth’s atmosphere.

Chantelle then conducted research over the past summer as an intern in the REU program. She studied at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, a research facility at the University of Colorado, Boulder. While there, she worked at the National Solar Observatory analyzing spectral data from the solar chromosphere, the reddish outer layer of the sun.

These two students are already earning their research chops as undergraduates and I can only imagine the great work they will do in their future careers.

Kai (Ocean)

Sabena Siddiqui
Sabena Siddiqui

Sabena Siddiqui, a graduate student in tropical conservation biology and environmental science, is researching the sounds of humpback whales when they are not singing, an aspect of their communication that is clearly important but little studied. Sabena’s investigations focus on spectral analysis of the social sounds of the humpback whale population that breeds in Hawaiʻi.

Sabena secured funding to attend UH Hilo through the NSF Centers for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) with partial funding through the Listening Observatory for Hawaiian Ecosystems bioacoustics lab at UH Hilo.

In addition to her graduate studies, for the past seven years Sabena has served as the student chair of the American Cetacean Society, the world’s oldest whale conservation organization. Her role is to be a mentor and guide to student leaders of other groups on campus.

 ‘A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka hālau ho‘okahi

Armed with today’s technology, the guidance of expert mentors, and a deep desire to make new discoveries, these students are learning from many sources and already contributing to their selected fields, their communities, and the world. In a future column I will share with you the work of several programs that support our students in exploring and investigating our island and beyond.

Aloha and mahalo.

Marcia Sakai

Fee waivers available to UH Hilo employees for the 2018 Hawai‘i Island Women’s Leadership Summit

A limited number of tickets and ground transportation are available at no cost to all UH Hilo employees with support from the Chancellor’s Professional Development Fund.

Jackie Young

The Women’s Center at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo announces the availability of funding from the Chancellor’s Professional Development Committee to support attendance at the upcoming 2018 Hawai‘i Island Women’s Leadership Summit on Friday, October 19, 2018 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

Keynote speaker is Jackie Younga consultant, speaker, and advocate for social change and healthy communities.

General Information (scroll down)
Workshop Information

Complete the information on this Google Form and submit electronically no later than Monday, October 8. Those who are selected will be notified on Wednesday, October 10.

Interim Chancellor hosts 2018 Fall Gathering: UH Hilo faculty honored for tenure and promotion, new faculty and staff welcomed

Group of faculty with chancellor: Kirsten Møllegaard, Sarah Marusik, Marina Karides, Charmaine Higa-McMillan, Faith Mishina. and Marcia Sakai.
Some of the faculty honored for promotion at the 2018 Fall Gathering stand for photo with Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai (at far right). From left to right: Kirsten Møllegaard, Sarah Marusik, Marina Karides, Charmaine Higa-McMillan, Faith Mishina. Photo by Raiatea Arcuri.

Faculty recently awarded tenure and promotion were recognized at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Interim Chancellor’s 2018 Fall Gathering event on Sept. 28.

“The awarding of tenure and promotion is the university’s recognition of excellence in teaching, scholarship and service,” notes Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai. “We honor and congratulate these faculty members on their achievements.”

Newcomers to UH Hilo in staff and faculty positions were also introduced at the event.


The following faculty have been awarded TENURE AND PROMOTION:

  •  Joseph Genz, Associate Professor of Anthropology
  •  Comfort Sumida, Assistant Specialist

The following faculty have been awarded TENURE:

  • Kurt Dela Kruz, Jr. Specialist
  • Jonathan Goebel, Associate Professor of Art
  • Mary Louise Haraguchi, Librarian III
  • Faith Mishina, Associate Professor of Language
  • Ryan Perroy, Associate Professor of Geography

The following faculty have been awarded PROMOTION:

  • Jonathan Awaya, Professor of Biology
  • Kathy Cooksey, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy
  • Mazen Hamad, Professor of Chemistry
  • Charmaine Higa-McMillan, Professor of Psychology
  • Marina Karides, Professor of Sociology
  • Sarah Marusek, Professor of Political Science
  • Faith Mishina, Professor of Language
  • Kirsten Møllegaard, Professor of English
  • Misty Pacheco, Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Exercise Science
  • Marianne Takamiya, Professor of Physics and Astronomy
  • Jin Yin, Professor of Communication

The following faculty have been awarded DELEGATED PROMOTION:

  • Reyna Morel, Assistant Professor of Communication
  • Justin Reinicke, Assistant Specialist


Standing group.
A group of newcomers to UH Hilo are honored at the 2018 Fall Gathering hosted by Interim Chancellor Sakai. Photo by Raiatea Arcuri.

The following are new members of the UH Hilo ‘Ohana:

Administrative Affairs

  • Kumalani Borling, Security Guard
  • Clint Collins, Unit Diving Coordinator
  • Cory Kaizuka, Project Manager
  • Garrick Tamashiro, Security Guard
  • Kyle Tsuda


  •  Melanie Marciel, Academic Advisor

College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management

  • Britton Clark Cole, Farm Manager
  • Sharadchandra Marahatta, Assistant Professor
  • Lissa Tsutsumi, Instructor
  • Cheryl Yara, Farm Technician

College of Arts and Sciences

  • Helen Duley, Instructor of Sociology
  • Patsy Iwasaki, Lecturer of Communication and English
  • Michael Skinner, Instructor of History

College of Business and Economics

  • James Czarski, Instructor of Economics
  • Andrey Simonov, Assistant Professor of Accounting
  • Erin Swain, Administrative Services Officer
  • Heng Tien, Instructor of Marketing and Management and Career Development Coordinator

College of Natural and Health Sciences

  • John Burns, Assistant Professor of Marine Science
  • Joel Kaufmann, Instructor of Biology
  • Daniel O’Conner, Instructor of Physics and Astronomy

College of Pharmacy

  • Jeryd Teramoto, IT Specialist


  • Joseph Sanchez, Library Director

North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center

  • Kei-Lin Cerf, Director

Student Affairs

  • Michelle Cooper, Admissions Counselor
  • Shayna Fuerte, Academic Advisor and Counselor

Interim Chancellor announces hiring of strategic planning project manager

Kathleen Baumgardner’s background and experience in strategic planning will be extremely valuable in developing a new, updated strategic plan for our campus.

Kathleen Baumgardner
Kathleen Baumgardner

Aloha University of Hawai‘i at Hilo ‘Ohana,

I am pleased to announce the casual hire appointment of Ms. Kathleen Baumgardner as our strategic planning project manager effective October 1,  2018.

Ms. Baumgardner was employed at Colorado State University College of  Engineering for over 15 years serving as the director of strategic communications and coordinator of development, advancement and administration. She previously was the director of college communication and the associate director of admissions at Knox College in Galesburg,  Illinois.

At Colorado State and Knox College, Ms. Baumgardner worked on strategic planning, branding activities and communication strategies with internal groups and external constituents to actively support new strategic goals and initiatives.

Her background and experience in strategic planning will be extremely valuable in developing a new, updated strategic plan for our campus. Please join me in welcoming Kathleen to our UH Hilo ‘ohana.

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor