Faculty

The Faculty in the Department of Geography & Environmental Studies at UHH represent a unique combination of teaching skills, research grants, notable publications, and accessibility. The faculty have recieved three Regent's Awards for Teaching Excellence, numerous and considerable grants in geographic / environmental research, published books and articles about local, regional, and global issues, all in addition to teaching a varied and unique geography & environmental studies curriculum.

Kathryn Besio

Kathryn Besio

Associate Professor & Department Chair

Kathryn received her BA in Visual Arts from the University of California at San Diego (1987). She shifted her interests and went on to get her MA (1996) and PhD in Geography from the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa (2001).  Her dissertation research examined the colonial and post-colonial context of gendered relations in adventure tourism in northern Pakistan. She was a Lecturer at the University of Waikato in New Zealand until 2004, before coming to UH-Hilo.  Her research interests range from tourism geographies to qualitative research methods and research ethics to her current work on Hilo home gardens and Local foods. Kathryn’s recent research and publications examine the context and connections between ‘Local’ identity, Local cuisine and locally grown foods. Kathryn teaches Geography and Contemporary Society (GEOG 103), Cultural Geography (GEOG 328), Food and Societies (GEOG 312), Gender, Place and Environment (GEOG 430/WS 430), as well as other courses. She is also a contributing faculty member for Gender and Women’s Studies.

 


Jonathan Price

Jonathan Price

Associate Professor

Jonathan Price received a B.S. in Geography with a minor in Botany from University of California at Davis in 1994. He received a PhD in Geography from University of California at Davis in 2002. He went on to a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., followed by three years working with USGS Biological Resources Discipline at the Kilauea Field Station. Dr. Price has done research in Hawaiʻi for over ten years, focusing on mapping the distributions of species and communities. The major theme is to understand spatial patterns in biodiversity, including how these patterns have originated and how human activity has modified them. He utilizes GIS to identify biodiversity hotspots for native bird and plant species, search for rare species, and locate appropriate areas for the restoration of threatened and endangered species.

 


Sasha Davis

Sasha Davis

Assistant Professor

Sasha's teaching and research focuses on the intersection of environmental and social issues as well as on the relationships between nature and society. Over the past decade his research has focused on environmental contamination, conservation, resource management and politics near American military installations in the Marshall Islands, Hawaiʻi, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. More recently he has also focused on environmental and social movements seeking to re-imagine global geopolitics, environmental sustainability and security. Sasha received a BS and MA in Geography from Northern Arizona University and his PhD in Geography from Penn State University. Before joining the faculty at UH-Hilo he previously taught courses at Penn State, UH-Manoa and the University of Vermont. Dr Davis is teaching remotely from Vermont in Academic Year, 2014-2015.

 


Ryan Perroy

Ryan Perroy

Assistant Professor

As an undergraduate, Ryan majored in Physics with a minor in Geology from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg,Virginia.  His first jobs included mapping Virginia landscapes, playing music in Washington D.C., and engineering satellite separation systems. While working on his PhD in Physical Geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara (2009), he also studied soil contamination and desertification problems abroad, as U.S.Student Fulbright Fellow to Albania and as a UNESCO-Fulbright fellowin Paris, France, and Tunis, Tunisia. In his research, he explores erosion, invasive species, and other land degradation and recovery processes using a combination of traditional field methods, lidar, hyperspectral remote sensing, X-ray fluorescence, and other tools. He comes to Hilo after 4 years as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where he biked to work in the snow and began working on heavy metal contamination and industrial-scale vermiculture (worm composting). He is excited to explore Hawai’i with his family and start new research projects.

 


Michelle Shuey

Michelle Shuey

Instructor

Michelle Shuey, an Instructor in the department for the 2012-2014 academic years, received a Bachelor's in geography/environmental studies from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, a Master's in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management from Clemson University, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Geography at Texas State University-San Marcos. She is interested in the relationship between humans and nature, and how people see and create "nature" as they believe it to exist based on cultural, religious, or societal beliefs. This includes resource conservation, environmental pollution, and natural hazards. However, most of her research has focused on how land use change affects the tenuous and very emotional relationship between people and large animals, such as mountain lions, grizzly and black bear, coyote, and deer. At UHH she teaches geography classes including Geography and the Natural Environment (GEOG 101), World Geography (GEOG 102), Interpretion of Geographic Data (GEOG 201), Natural Resources (GEOG 326), Environmental Impact Assessment (GEOG 441) and Introduction to Environmental Science (ENSC 100). She is also conducting small research projects with undergraduate students through directed studies.

 


Nan Elmer

Nan Elmer

Lecturer

Nan Elmer received her BA from Humboldt State University in physical geography and her MA from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in cultural geography. Her interests are in political and cultural change over time and space. Nan teaches world regional geography, introductory physical geography, and the contemporary Middle East ~ including gender issues in that region.

 


Drew Kapp

Drew Kapp

Lecturer

Aloha! I've taught classes both in-person and online in world regional geography, human geography, geography of Hawaiʻi and of North America. I'm interested in cultural geography, maps and visual representations of place, Hawaiʻi and the Island Pacific, and have conducted research and presented findings on pictorial tourist maps of Hawaiʻi, Native Hawaiian student perspectives on sovereignty, culturally based forest restoration in Hawaiʻi, and student success through cultural practice. I worked as a cartographic editor and contributing author for the1998 edition of the Atlas of Hawaiʻi and also at the Map Library at UH-Mānoa, the institution from which I earned an MA in Geography, also in 1998. I have an undergraduate background in languages and related experience in México, Italy and Québec. My teaching today is informed by my participation in the UH-Hilo Uluākea faculty development program (Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center), and in 2014 I earned an Academic Subject Certificate in Hawaiʻi Lifestyles at Hawaiʻi Community College, where I also teach geography classes.


Jim Juvik

James "Jim" Juvik

Professor Emeritus

Professor James Juvik is former Chair of the Department. He taught courses in Physical Geography including biogeography, climatology, field methods and regional courses dealing with Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. His research interests focused on mountain climatology and hydrology (specifically atmosphere/vegetation interaction in tropical montane cloud forests), and island biogeography, including wildlife conservation and endangered species recovery strategies. He has worked extensively in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean Islands. Dr Juvik retired in January 2012.


Sonia Juvik

Sonia Juvik

Professor Emeritus

Sonia Juvik taught classes in cultural, economic and urban geography, introductory and advanced planning, natural resources management, and special topics in natural resources and human geography. Her research interest includes issues in community development, land use planning/policy, and resource management in Hawaiʻi, Solomon Islands, Australia, and the Pacific Basin. Dr. Juvik was born in Jamaica, W.I. and received her undergraduate training at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She also studied at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa (M.A.) and Australia National University in Canberra (Ph.D.). She joined the UH Hilo Geography Department in 1984 and in addition to teaching has periodically served as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr Juvik retired in January 2011.