STEM Honors Research Certificate Program

Student Profiles

Rebekah Loving

Rebekah smiling I focus on computational biology, bioinformatics, and biomedical research, including RNA-sequence analysis, gene regulatory networks and neural inference and modeling, and analysis of pharmaceutical and clinical data. In these areas, I develop and apply topics in algebraic geometry, group representation, ideal, graph theory, and statistics. My research experience has encompassed creating a complete model of a magnetic dipole’s strength, analyzing health-related quality of life data, studying associations in reaching stable Warfarin treatment and drug use in a pharmaceutical database, leveraging bulk RNA-seq data to improve transcriptome quantifications for single-cell RNA-seq, and creating convolutional neural networks for identification of invasive and endangered plant species in natural flora. I eagerly anticipate pursuing graduate study in either bioinformatics or computational biology. I am a junior at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo majoring in computer science and mathematics. I desire to mature our understanding of biological processes through data analysis and computation to treat and cure diseases. My favorite pastimes are problem-solving puzzles and algorithms, reading books, and hanging out at the beach with friends and family.

Anna Baker Mikkelsen

Anna smiling while working on her research Hello! My name is Anna Baker Mikkelsen, I am a senior here at UH Hilo majoring in Marine science with a minor in Mathematics. I am born and raised in Denmark and came to Hawaiʻi three years ago when I was offered to run cross country for UH Hilo. I grew up with a dream of studying the oceans, so I leaped into this opportunity, combining my love for running with my aspiration to study Marine Science. I am thrilled to study the ocean with the aspect of ecology, resources and environmental issues, and I feel inspired and motivated to help protect our environment and improve conservation strategies. In my free time I enjoy exploring the island, love scuba diving, running, and hanging out with friends.

I plan to complete a masters or PhD and work in the field of conservation.

Marilyn Yamamoto

Marilyn smiling in front of a river with city lights in the background My name is Marilyn Yamamoto, and I am a junior here at UH Hilo, currently majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology. I was born and raised on Oʻahu and went to Kamehameha Schools Kapalama. Currently, I volunteer at the Hilo Medical Center Cardiology Outpatient Clinic. I have been on the CAS Dean’s List for the past 2 years, except for the Spring 2016 semester, which I spent abroad in South Korea. I have been the recipient of multiple scholarships, including the College of Arts and Sciences Deans Scholarship as well as the S-STEM Scholarship. Through UH Hilo, I have had the opportunity to participate in different research projects, giving me the experience that will help me toward my future goals. My current goal after finishing undergrad is to go to medical school and become an MD. I am still debating on what specialty; however, I have narrowed it down to Neurology, Cardiology, and Oncology.

Spring 2017 Students

Zachary Geisterfer

Zachary Geisterfer smiling broadly As a seedling, Zachary was placed in the fertile soils of Colorado on August 15 of 1994. There he sprouted into a sapling and completed his high school career in Spring of 2013. Under the mentorship of those such as Bill Nye and Ms. Frizzle, Zach quickly came to see that his roots dug into the richer soils of life sciences. No longer sated with the adventure of his home, Zach uprooted and set off to explore new worlds and ideas, and ended up at University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo in Fall of 2013. At the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Zach pursued his BS in cell and molecular biology, and quickly came to love the science. As an undergraduate research assistant in the Tao lab, his work has primarily focused on the functional and structural analysis of motor proteins involved in forming the mitotic spindle. Continuing his education, Zach has been accepted to the cell and molecular PhD program at University of Wyoming and will be attending in Fall of 2017.

Tuan Giai Giang

Tuan Gia Giang working in the midst of his vanilla flower pollinator. Tuan Giai Giang was born in Vietnam on February 16th, 1995. When he was eight years old, Tuan and his mother immigrated to the United States. Tuan graduated from Kaiser High School Class of 2013, and he is currently a senior at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics. After he graduates, Tuan hopes to find employment on the mainland. Tuan is interested in learning more about robotics, security, and software engineering. Some of his hobbies include hiking with mismatch socks and playing good Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube.

Morgan Olson

Morgan standing by a tree My name is Morgan Olson, and I am majoring in Geology at UH Hilo. It wasn’t until 8th grade that I began to admire the world around me and after graduating high school in Nevada four years ago, I decided to move back to Hawaiʻi due to my love for volcanoes. I have been on the Hilo Dean’s List since attending UH Hilo and had the opportunity to study at Northern Arizona University during the Fall 2015 semester. I hope to continue my Geology career in different places around the world, continue traveling, and experiencing new things.

Valerie Wasser

Valerie smiling in Volcano National Park My name is Valerie Wasser, and I am an international student from Switzerland. My major is geology with a special interest in volcanology. I am planning on going to graduate school next fall and getting a PhD. afterwards. My dream would be to work for a volcano observatory one day.

Spring 2016 Students

STEM Honors 2016 cohort smile after their presentations

Luke Kupcha

Luke examines liquid in a beaker Luke Kupcha is a pre-Med student in his Senior year at UH Hilo. He is a Biology major on the cell and molecular track. Luke began his collegiate career when he was 16 years old while being duel enrolled at UH Hilo and in High school at Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts and Sciences. Luke plans on attending Medical school after graduating with the goal of becoming a family practice physician.

Qixin "Sandy" Li

Sandy prepares for her lab work, wearing safety glasses My name is Qixin Li and everyone knows me as Sandy. I have got my AA degree in liberal arts from Hawaiʻi Community College and transferred to UH Hilo four semesters ago. Now, I am working to get my Bachelor’s degree in chemistry of health science and a minor of biology. I am really interested in science especially in chemistry. I would like to have a career that is related to what I am interested in. After graduation, I plan to get into graduate school in order to prepare myself better in the future career. I am right now a Math tutor at the Kilohana Academic Success Center. I have been on the CAS Dean’s list for the past three semesters and have received Lin Hing Society Scholarship since I transferred over here. Other scholarships that I have received includes Mildred Towle Scholarship for International Students, Scholarship from Hawaiʻi Island Chamber of Commerce Endowed Scholar Program at Hawaiʻi Community College. During free time, I usually like to go for a walk, listen to music, play chess and volunteer.

Chelsea Sato

Chelsea holds a vial in the Lab Chelsea Sato is a senior pursuing a double major in Chemistry and Mathematics. Upon acceptance to UH Hilo, she received the prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship and is also a recipient of the UH Hilo Alumni and Friends Association scholarship. She has also studied abroad in South Korea during the 2012-2013 academic year and is currently in her third season on the UH Hilo Women’s Tennis Team.

Reuben Tate

Reubenm writes on the wipe board discussing his work I was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaiʻi and I am currently a Math and Computer Science major at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. I was the recipient of numerous scholarships including the Regents Scholarship and have received the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Scholarship multiple years in a row. I am a participant of the Putnam Team and the Programming Team at UH Hilo. I have an interest in Graph Theory and in using my Computer Science skills to create tools to aid in mathematical research.

Gin Tezuka

Gin stands next to the fume hood My name is Gin Tezuka. I was born and raised in Japan. I am currently majoring in Biology with the cell and molecular track. I am also majoring in Arts in Linguistics and a minor in Chemistry. As a biology major student, I focus on a research about the expression of a motor protein with the baculovirus system. As a Linguistics major student, I am interested in language acquisition and language evolution. My ultimate goal is to be a doctor. When I become a doctor, I hope to work in developing countries as such. That is why I am majoring in Biology and Linguistics . Both are extremely beneficial for me to achieve my career goals. For community service, I have been an orientation leader for UH Hilo and doing volunteer work in Hawaiʻi while attending classes at the same time. Volunteering has given me a good perspective on strategies for my future. Through working and volunteering with many kinds of people, I have learned many different skills such as good communication through teamwork and conversing with the people around me. Through these experiences, I have developed my abilities and am making decisions for my future. Two years ago, I volunteered for over 1,000 hours at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station. I was presented with the “Hōkū” award for outstanding service. In addition, I was recognized as the “Most Dedicated” volunteer of the year. I would like to study and learn as much as possible and take every opportunity that I have.

Spring 2015 Students

Young women stand together wearing sashes