Skip to content →

Month: March 2016

Chancellor welcomes new faculty

Chancellor Don Straney hosted a social gathering on Wednesday to welcome new faculty to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

(l-r) Newcomer Shugeng Cao, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and Carolyn Ma, interim dean of the College of Pharmacy. Click photos to enlarge.


Bios for UH Hilo’s new faculty and staff:

MichelleMichelle Agbigay: Administrative and Fiscal Support Specialist, Facilities Planning and Construction.
Previous positions: Project Coordinator, Kamehameha Schools—Hawai‘i Culture-Based Education; Project Support Specialist, UH Hilo, Housing Office; Project Coordinator, SSFM International Inc-Hilo Branch Office.
Academic background: Attending Leeward Community College, Accounting; LEED Green Associate Certification.

JeanneJeanne Batallones: Counselor, Student Support Services Program.
Previous positions: Native Hawaiian Transfer and Career Guidance Counselor, Halaulani Transfer Success Center, Hawai‘i Community College; Counselor/Instructor, Gateway to College Program and Department Chair, Philippine Studies, City College of San Francisco.
Academic background: BA, Asian American Studies, and MS, Counseling (college emphasis), San Francisco State University.

ShugengShugeng Cao: Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Academic focus: Biologically active natural products from marine and terrestrial fungi and bacteria in Hawai‘i; manipulating silent genes; herbal medicine; small molecules with biological functions in bacteria.
Previous positions: Assistant Professor, University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center; Instructor, Harvard Medical School; Senior Research Fellow, Virginia Tech.
Academic background: PhD, National University of Singapore; Postdoctoral Fellow, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School.

GeorgeGeorge Karvas: Instructor, Pharmacy Practice.
Academic focus: pharmacy practice.
Previous position: Pharmacy Manager, Longs/CVS Punahele.
Academic background: BS, Pharmacy, Oregon State University (1991).

OscarOscar Larican: Office Assistant, Business Office.
Previous positions: Service Assistant, Big Island Honda–Hilo; Customer Representative, Homestreet Bank Queen Anne, Seattle; Senior Consultant, Usbank Corp.
Academic background: business computer network tech training; financial banking background experience.

MorganMorgan Light: Evening Circulation Supervisor, Mookini Library.
Previous positions: Associate Librarian, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Santa Fe, NM; self-employed piano tuner, Los Alamos, NM.
Academic background: Support Staff Certification, American Library Association (2014); Library Technology, Northern New Mexico College (2010); AA, Art and Biology, University of New Mexico (2009).

MonicaMonica Morita: Compliance Coordinator/Senior Women Administrator, Athletics.
Previous positions: Executive Assistant, University of Hawai‘i Football; Assistant Athletic Director/Director of Student Services, USC Athletics Stevens Academic Center; Assistant to the Head Football Coach, USC; Student Advisor, Masters Programs, USC Leventhal School of Accounting.
Academic background: AB, Journalism–Public Relations, MPA, and EdD, University of Southern California.

JenniferJennifer Naguwa: Admissions Counselor, Student Affairs.
Previous positions: GEAR UP Assistant Project Manager, Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education; Senior Program Assistant, Hawai‘i Community Foundation.
Academic background: BBA and Masters in Education Administration, Higher Ed (in progress), UH Manoa.

Lukela Ruddle: Cultural Resources Management Plan Manager, Office of Maunakea Management.
Previous position: Community Outreach Coordinator, Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Academic background: BA, English, UH Hilo.

TimothyTimothy Scheffler: Instructor, Anthropology.
Academic focus: human paleoeconomy and historical ecology.
Previous positions: Instructor, Tropical Ecosystem and Agroforestry Management Program (Forest TEAM), Hawai‘i Community College; Independent archaeological and geological contractor, Geohazards Consultants International, Inc.
Academic background: PhD, Penn State University (2008).

JoleneJolene Sutton: Assistant Professor, Biology.
Academic focus: genetics.
Previous position: Postdoctoral Researcher, UH Manoa.
Academic background: PhD,University of Otago; MSc, Acadia University; BSc (Honors), Memorial University of Newfoundland.


-Bio information from the March issue of Ka Lono Hanakahi, UH Hilo’s faculty newsletter.

Comments closed

Community and academic leaders recognized at UH Hilo Alumni Banquet

This year’s Distinguished Alumni honorees are Joseph Estrella, Barbara Takase, Noreen Yamane, and the late James Kelly.

Alumni Banquet
Honorees (front row, l-r)– Robert Kelly (who accepted award on behalf of his late father James Kelly), Noreen Yamane, Barbara Takase, and Joey Estrella, with Chancellor Straney and elected officials and guests.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo 16th Annual Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards Banquet was held Feb 27.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni honorees are former UH Hilo Interim Athletic Director and Baseball Coach Joseph Estrella, District Court Judge of the Third Circuit of Hawaiʻi Honorable Barbara Takase, and recently retired Hawai‘i Community College Chancellor Noreen Yamane.

The late geographer James Kelly was honored for his distinguished service to UH Hilo and the community—his son Robert Kelly accepted the award for his father.

The event was organized by UH Hilo and the university’s Alumni and Friends Association.

More photos on Facebook…

Comments closed

Statewide public meetings for UH proposed tuition schedule

UH System logoThe University of Hawaiʻi will be presenting its proposed tuition schedule for fall 2017 through spring 2020 to the community at open public meetings statewide from March 28 to May 5. The meetings will explain the rationale for the tuition proposal and what the increases will be used for and are intended to solicit feedback from students, faculty, staff and the general public.

After input is received and considered, a final recommendation will be presented to the UH Board of Regents at a public meeting for action in June 2016.

Students, the university community and the public are invited to present testimony (written and/or oral) on the university’s proposed tuition schedule at meetings held at the times and places listed below. Testimony can also be submitted by email to

Hawaiʻi Island Schedule

  • April 12, 10 a.m., Hawaiʻi Community College–Pālamanui, Room A-102
  • April 28, 12 p.m., Hawaiʻi Community College, Kaneikeao Conference Room, Building 379, Room 1
  • April 28, 4 p.m., UH Hilo, Hoʻoulu Terrace, UCB 127 (campus map)

Full schedule for other islands.

The dates, times and locations of the meetings are subject to change. For the latest information, go to tuition website.

Tuition increase proposal and purpose

The university intends to use the proposed tuition increases to address deferred maintenance on the UH Mānoa and the UH community colleges and establish a reserve fund for the UH West Oʻahu and UH Hilo campuses.


More information

The presentation to the Board of Regents and the current and proposed tuition schedule can also be found at the tuition website.

UH System News

Comments closed

Chancellor’s Message: What keeps me going?

I want to share a thank you note with you that shows each of you who encourage and engage students likely have a stronger impact than you can imagine.

By Don Straney.

Hilo seal

The annual Hawai‘i District Science and Engineering Fair was held in February. The event is jointly sponsored by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, the State and Hawai‘i District Department of Education, the Hawai‘i Academy of Science, UH Hilo Sigma Xi Chapter, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center, the Robert and Alice Fujimoto Foundation, and many other valuable sponsors who make this fair happen each year.

The event is a great way to help students learn and get excited about science and it gives them an opportunity to apply what they are learning. The projects they submit represent their efforts to take their learning into their own hands.

Many of our faculty, members of the Chamber and others from the community volunteer to judge the exhibits. Co-director this year was Marlene Hapai, UH Hilo professor emeritus, and Ernie Kho, chair of UH Hilo natural sciences division who served as chief judge at the fair. Many local organizations and businesses sponsored awards.

What is the impact on the students of the awards we sponsor? I’m sure we all have received thank you notes from recipients, and many of you know this recognition is a source of excitement and encouragement for your own children.

But I recently received a thank you note that was a bit different. It made me appreciate what it takes—sometimes not much—to have a major impact on students. I want to share parts of the note because each of you who encourage and engage students likely have a stronger impact than you can imagine.

I want to personally extend my extreme gratitude to you.

In my final year of high school, I had no plans for the future. That year my science project went to the district level, and it was there that I met you. I had no idea who you were other than a polite judge at the fair.

You made some simple inquiries about my project and then you asked me a much harder question: ‘Have you thought about where you want to go for college?’ I thought I’d like to go to college here at home at UH Hilo. But I thought I would not be able to succeed. So I answered your question with a shrug.

That evening something astonishing happened. You selected my project and presented me with the Chancellor’s Award. I did not believe in myself, but you saw potential.

Because of your belief in me, I am graduating from UH Hilo with two bachelor’s degrees. I have made the Dean’s list every semester but one for the past three years and have been excelling with the support of the amazing faculty at this University. I will be returning to UH Hilo to work toward a master’s.

This will be one master’s degree I particularly look forward to awarding.

People often ask me what it is that keeps me going as a chancellor. You just read the best answer I have.

Mahalo nui to all who make the Science Fair and similar events happen!

Don Straney

Comments closed