UH Hilo holds Women in STEM Conference

Keynote speakers Cybil Glendon-Baclig and Trisha Olayon are alumnae of the UH Hilo tropical conservation biology and environmental science graduate program.

Two women in lei.
Keynote speakers Trisha Leilani Olayon (left) and Cybil Eddie-Ann Kuʻumakanauʻimaikalani Glendon-Baclig. (Photo: TCBES/UH Hilo)

Cover of program: Women in STEM 2014 Conference. Feb 9, 2024. 8:45a-4:30p, Campus Center 301, UH Holo. Contact kctcbes@hawaii.edu. Food, drinks, lucky number drawing.The 2024 Women in STEM Conference at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo was held on Friday, Feb. 9.

The annual event was sponsored by the Kaiameaola Club, which is home-based at the tropical conservation biology and environmental science graduate program.

Keynote speakers

The keynote speakers, Cybil Eddie-Ann Kuʻumakanauʻimaikalani Glendon-Baclig and Trisha Leilani Olayon are both graduates of the UH Hilo TCBES program, both also received their baccalaureate degrees from UH Hilo (Glendon-Baclic in biology and Olayon in marine science), and both are now educators and researchers based at Kamehameha Schools’ Kumuola Marine Science Education Center in Honohononui (near Hilo).

The two keynote speakers spoke encouragingly about their experiences and challenges during their STEM education and careers.

Oyalan says while in college, she felt a disconnect between Hawaiian culture and Western science, “and I knew that for me, that was something that fueled me.”

“We’ve come a long way since then,” she adds, noting that recognition of Hawaiian cultural values of mele (song) and place names inform “how we interact with that space, shifted my motivation… to teach others of the place most precious to me, my home.”


The conference featured four panel sessions.

Three women in ti lei seated at a table with mics.
Panel: “Equity in the Workforce,” with (from left) Kristina Montoya-Aiona (Biologist, Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center), Springer Kaye (Wildlife Refuge Specialist, Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Reserve), and Hannah Hartmann (Environmental Activist and Ecologist in California). (Photo: TCBES/UH Hilo)
Three women at table with green cloth, mics on table, each person has lei.
Panel: “Strategies for Learning: Storytelling, Science Communication, and Media Platforms,” with (from left) Kawehi Young (Community Engagement Liasion, Big Island Invasive Species Committee), Kailey Pascoe (National Park Service Coral Reef Monitoring and Analysis Research Technician, UH Hilo), and Haunani Kane (Assistant Professor, School of Earth Sciences, UH Mānoa). (Photo: TCBES/UH Hilo)
Five women seated at table, each with a mic, two have cups, one is flashing the shaka.
“Looking to our Past for our Future: Integrating Culture into Western Science,” with (from left) Gina McGuire (Akaka Foundation, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry Tribal Agriculture Fellow, Research Ecologist), Megan Lamson (Hawaiʻi Island Director, Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund), Dana Shapiro (Co-Founder and General Manager Hawaiʻi ʻUlu Cooperative), Mahina Patterson (Coordinator, Kohala Watershed Partnership), and Hokuokahalelani Pihana (Executive Director, Na waʻa Mauo Marine Stewardship Program). (Photo: TCBES/UH Hilo)
Four women seated at a table, with mics, each has a lei.
Panel: “Diverse Opportunities and Career Pathways for Women in Science,” with (from left) Corie Yanger (Coordinator, Three Mountain Alliance), Lisa Shizuma (Natural Resource Management Specialist, Natural Area Reserves System), Joy Tamayose (Wildlife Biologist, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Service), and Lisa Mason (Wildlife Care Supervisor, Keauhou Bird Conservation Center). (Photo: TCBES/UH Hilo)

Planning committee

Seven grad students, all women, stand in a row for photo.
The conference was organized by graduate students in the tropical conservation biology and environmental science program. Planning committee members are (from left), Brianna Ninomoto, Anna Ezzy, Anya Benavides, Josephine Tupu, Ariel Patterson, Naiʻa Odachi, and Elizabeth Barnette. (Photo: TCBES/UH Hilo)

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