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IOA Student Profiles

Joseph Anastacio

Joesph Anastacio

Joseph is a transfer student currently studying computer science at the University of Hawai╩╗i at Hilo. He graduated from Palau Community College with an Associates Degree in Information Technology in May of this year. It is his first semester at UH Hilo, and he love the university and spirit that it has. Joseph is a full time student taking five classes including CS 150 Intro to Computer Science, BUS 100 Freshman Business Experience, ANTH 100 Cultural Anthropology, MATH 104 Precalculus, and COM 270 Intro to Theories of Human Communication. When he isn't doing homework or studying for a test, he take part in student organization activities. Joesph is a member of the Ngelekel Belau Club. In addition, he's also member of the UH Hilo’s programming team who recently battled against other students from universities around Hawai╩╗i and the region in the ACM-ICPC Pacific Northwest.

Melanie Keliipuleole

Melanie Keliipuleole

Melanie recently received her ASNS degree at KCC (Fall 2014) and is now pursing a BS in Global Environmental Science at the University of Hawai╩╗ i at Manoa. She hopes to continue onto Graduate School with a focus in Biological Oceanography. Mel is a full-time student, board member of the Ecology Club, and Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) scholar working to identify the genetic connectivity of the sea urchin, Colobocentrotus atratus. When she isn’t studying or in the lab, Mel is busy taking care of her 3-year-old son. She has won three awards for her work with sea urchins, including first place in Genetics at the 2015 Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in STEM.

This April, Melanie will represent Hawai╩╗i at the “Posters on the Hill” conference, a very prestigious event held on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. hosted by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). Approximately 60 students from all over the country are selected on a competitive basis, out of a pool of approximately 600 applicants, to present their research posters to invited guests such as Senators, Congressional Representatives, congressional staff, federal agency program officers, and the science press corps. Melanie has an opportunity to meet with our representatives, attend field trips, and hear from speakers who are innovators and supporters of undergraduate research.

Caitlin McCarthy

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Caitlin McCarthy choses her major to understand the human body and its chemical processes as well as to expand her capabilities beyond only scientific applications. Her short term goals are to succeed academically and participate in more research experiences. Caitlin participate in the NIDDK Diversity Summer Research Training Program this summer, working in Dr. Constance Tom’s lab at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Her long term goals is to become a biomedical researcher who works closely with the Native Hawaiian community. Her greatest achievement in college is discovering her passion as a researcher, working in Dr. Claire Wright lab at Chaminade focusing on preterm birth. Her project is to research the link between increased preterm birth rates in women who use prescription or illicit opioids during pregnancy. Being supported by LSAMP has allowed her to gain her first experience as a Biology peer leader and undergraduate researcher. Both opportunities have helped to increase her scientific knowledge and confidence. Caitlin is a hardworking self-driven student who sees herself in a PhD or MD program and work as a biomedical researcher in the next 5 years

Kirena Clah

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Kirena Clah was born and raised on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. Her decision to pursue a field of study in science was started from her culture, that saw the earth not as a possession to be claimed but rather saw it as an entity that gives life. Kirena graduated in Spring semester 2016 with a Bachelor in Marine Science. She hopes to take a few classes at a local tribal college before she will continue on her education by pursuing a master's degree in New Zealand. One of her greatest achievements in college was conducting research at the Center for Microbial Oceanography Research and Education facility. Not only she worked in the lab for more than 3 years but she was able to present her research at the Ocean Science Meeting this past Spring semester. Her research studied a strain of the bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, that was isolated from the Ala Wai Canal in Honolulu, Hawaii. She also investigate the infectious cycle of the Vibrio vulnificus strain and the Vibrio phage, which was isolated from the Ala Wai Canal. Kirena stated that LSAMP program helped with her goals by giving her experience, skills and exposure to the laboratory setting. Her main goal is to go back to Navajo Reservation to help her community in the biggest way she can. She hopes that the knowledge she gained from her studies as well as her friendship with other Indigenous people will allow her to create and develop programs on the Navajo Reservation, aimed at increasing native youth in STEM while integrating Navajo traditional knowledge and culture.