UH Hilo student from Yap plans to take his aquaculture skills learned here back to his homeland

Patrick Gorong, a marine science major, gets on the job training as an oyster hatchery technician at the UH Hilo Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center.

By Susan Enright

The above video featuring Patrick Gorong was produced in April of 2014 by the Pacific Students Media team at the Pacific Islander Student Center at UH Hilo. Pacific Students Media’s mission is to combat negative stereotypes about Pacific Islanders living in Hawai‘i and the U.S. by producing programs that showcase the positive contributions, challenges, successes of island people from their perspectives and in their own voice.

Patrick Gorong
Patrick Gorong

Patrick Gorong, a marine science major at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, is originally from Yap and his family has a close connection to all things marine. So it’s a perfect fit for him to be working as an intern oyster hatchery technician at the UH Hilo Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center.

“He is a very fast learner, and can take control of difficult tasks and situations quickly,” says hatchery manager Forrest Petersen. “He soon became a valuable asset to our workforce, with his positive attitude and strong leadership abilities.”

Petersen, a graduate student who grew up on a remote outer island in the Marshall Islands and trains the dozens of hatchery students who pass through the center, says he depends on Gorong to help with many tasks that go above and beyond the expectations of the typical student such as taking and interpreting scientific data and leading volunteers through difficult tasks.

“Patrick has been extremely reliable and a hard worker during his employment,” says Petersen. “He often works over 20 hours per week while going to school full time.”

Gorong’s duties include daily care and feeding of larvae in the tank systems, husbandry of adult oysters in the simulated multi-climate oyster conditioning system, and inoculation of algae bags. He also does complex tasks including algae counts and larval feeding and flow rate calculations. He also learned how to care for larvae and perform scientific observation of larvae health and fitness.

“Patrick is very committed to his work,” says Petersen. “He is a very organized and a thorough problem solver, taking everything into account before acting. Often our work is very stressful requiring quick thinking, problem solving and hard work with absolutely no room for mistakes. He works extremely well by himself or with a team, having a very ordered and structured way of making sure everything is completed properly.”

For more information about internships at the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, contact the director, Maria Haws.


About the writer of this story: Susan Enright is a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.