UH Hilo FY22 Annual Report

Fiscal Year July 1, 2021—June 30, 2022.


The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo launches a new branding concept that speaks to the university’s values and strengths with the student at the piko, or center, of its message.

UH Hilo hosts a site visit by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission in April 2022 in connection with campus accreditation. In early July, UH Hilo receives a letter from the commission indicating re-accreditation of the campus for six years with a special visit in 2024 and a notice of concern. The full letter is available for viewing on the accreditation website.

UH Hilo admits the first cohort of the AASCU Student Success Equity Intensive (formerly the Transformation Accelerator Cohort). This Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded initiative brings together a cohort of member institutions committed to improving equitable student success for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and low-income students. As a participant in the cohort, with its multi-year capacity building support, the university will navigate student success transformation alongside a network of colleagues and peers.

A team from UH Hilo successfully completes the California State University Certificate Program in Student Success Analytics. Participants are Chancellor Bonnie Irwin, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Kris Roney, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Farrah-Marie Gomes, Interim Dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences Brian Wissman, Professor of Computer Science Keith Edwards, Director of Kilohana Student Success Center Karla Hayashi, Institutional Research Analyst Kelli Okumura, Professor of English Kirsten Møllegaard, Professor of English Seri Luangphinith, Advisor at the College of Business and Economics Helen Tien, Kahuawaiola Educational Specialist Ku‘ulei Kepaa, Director of the Advising Center Kainoa Ariola-Sukisaki, and Enrollment Services Manager and Director of Financial Aid Sherrie Padilla.

Miriam Mobley Smith
Miriam Mobley Smith (Kirsten Aoyagi/UH Hilo Stories)

Miriam A. Mobley Smith is appointed as interim dean of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy starting February 2022. Carolyn Ma, who has served as dean of the college since 2016, retires in the spring.

UH Hilo teacher licensure program receives full accreditation.

The College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management launches an academy focusing on solutions to climate change. A goal of the new academy is to enhance career opportunities in the bioeconomy while providing guiding principles for a more sustainable future.



Sarah Knights in Mission Control
Sarah Knights (BS in Astronomy, 2006) leads communication with astronauts during Blue Origin’s first human space flight.

Sarah Knights (BS in Astronomy, 2006) leads communication with astronauts during Blue Origin’s first human space flight. In addition to her communication duties at the commercial space flight company Blue Origin, she also is an astronaut trainer and developed all astronaut training curriculum.

Vanessa Zepeda (BS in Marine Science, MS in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science), working on her PhD in Australia, inspires high school students to study STEM.

Garret Hino (BS in Biology, Doctor of Pharmacy, 2018) takes on a new role at the Hawai‘i Department of Health where he promotes antimicrobial stewardship, appropriate use of antibiotics at long-term care facilities and acute care hospitals around the state.

Hokulani Fortunato (Bachelor of Business Administration, 2011) and U‘ilani Kūali‘i (BA in Hawaiian Language, 2017) share how their undergraduate experience led to their community work with the County of Hawai‘i.

Associate Professor Cherie Chu (Doctor of Pharmacy, 2011) is the first UH Hilo alumni to receive tenure at the UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy. She is an alumna of UH Hilo’s inaugural pharmacy class and was the first alumni to sign on as full faculty at the college.

Alex Spell (BA in Physics), a 2019 Writers Immersive Fellow at the Creative Lab Hawai‘i, produces a comedy improv show in Hollywood.

Whitney Aragaki (MS in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science), a teacher at Waiākea High School in Hilo, is a finalist for the 2022 National Teacher of the Year. She was chosen as one of four finalists by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Jessica Kirkpatrick (MS in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science), natural resource specialist at the Center for Maunakea Stewardship, conducts research showing the population of the endemic wēkiu bug, which can only be found on the summit of Maunakea, remains healthy.

Musician Kainani Kahaunaele (BA in Hawaiian Studies, MA in Hawaiian Language and Literature), Hawaiian studies lecturer at UH Hilo, wins big at the 2021 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

Jarred Prudencio inset with the pharmacy building and the pharmacy college logo.
Jarred Prudencio

Jarred Prudencio (Doctor of Pharmacy, 2015) receives tenure at UH Hilo’s Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy where he focuses on the growth of curriculum at the college and on providing pharmaceutical students with field work early in their academic career.

Nahua Guilloz (BA in Business) is named new Maunakea stewardship director where she will oversee planning, permitting and project review processes, cultural and natural resource stewardship programs, and the operations at Halepōhaku.

Sophia Romanic (BA in Sociology with Concentration in International Relations, 2012) is selected by the U.S. Department of State for a prestigious teaching fellowship.

Kelley Lehuakeaopuna Uyeoka (BA in Anthropology) helps organize a collaborative report on protecting ancestral sites by organizing a large hui of cultural and scientific experts to develop new strategies in safeguarding Hawaiʻi’s cultural sites and practices. The newly published Kaliʻuokapaʻakai Collective Report is released to the public.

John Kahiapo (BS in Biology, 1989) is recognized for 30 years of volunteerism and community outreach at the State Department of Land and Natural Resources.


Campus Life

Logos of all the diffrent student-led organizations.
During pandemic, UH Hilo student clubs and organizations provide sense of normalcy and community. Above, logos of UH Hilo student organizations based at the Campus Center. Image source.

In September of 2021, U.S. News and World Report once again names UH Hilo one of nation’s most diverse campuses. The campus ties for the top spot with Stanford University, University of San Francisco, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

During pandemic, UH Hilo student clubs and organizations provide sense of normalcy and community.

The Division of Student Affairs distributes meal bags to address food insecurity among students.

A new round of emergency aid to students is funded by Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds provided to UH Hilo via the federal American Rescue Plan Act. Funded through the federal CARES Act, eligible students can access a grant of up to $750 to help with cost of attendance and/or emergency costs due to COVID-19.

Anya Benavides pictured in garden.
Anya Benavides

Anya Benavides (BA in English, 2018) returns to the campus to help guide sustainability practices at UH Hilo. Through a fellowship, Benavides focuses primarily on completing the official STARS report on UH Hilo’s sustainability performance, coordinates students club activities, helps establish the academic certificate in sustainability program, and coordinates sustainability and food security efforts with the UH System.



Graduate in red and black hold diploma while waving.
A graduate waves at 2022 Spring Commencement. Kirsten Aoyagi/UH Hilo Stories.

2021 Fall Commencement is held with two in-person ceremonies Dec. 18, at Vulcan Gym. The ceremonies are livestreamed. Approximately 232 students petition for degrees and/or certificates and for various post-graduate credentials from the College of Arts and Sciences; Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language; College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management; College of Natural and Health Sciences; College of Business and Economics; and Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.

2022 Spring Commencement is held May 14 at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium. Approximately 557 students petition for degrees and/or certificates and for various post-graduate credentials from the College of Arts and Sciences; Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language; College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management; College of Natural and Health Sciences; College of Business and Economics; and Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.


Community Outreach

Tropical AgTech Conference logo with image of pastureland.
UH Hilo hosts Tropical AgTech Conference in June 2022 where global agricultural leaders discuss food system problems.

Basketball camps resume for island keiki in July 2021. Organizers say the camps are a great opportunity to not just connect with the keiki of the Hilo community, but also inspire youth basketball on Hawai‘i Island.

The Maunakea Visitor Information Station and the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center reopen in July 2021 after pandemic shutdowns.

Shawna stands in a room with shelves and shelves of traditional file folders.
UH Hilo geography student intern Shawna Blackford, who worked on a pilot project designed to help modernize the County of Hawai‘i public access program, stands in a file room at the Department of Planning in Hilo on Nov. 19, 2020. (Courtesy photo Dept. of Geography, UH Hilo.)

Led by Associate Professor Ryan Perroy, who founded and heads the UH Hilo Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization (SDAV) research laboratory, geographers complete a pilot project in July 2021 to digitize county’s public access files. Paper files are digitized and linked to an interactive map interface allowing county planners quick access to relevant files rather than physically pulling and poring over paper documents.

In celebration of Hawaiian History Month in September 2021, Prof. of Linguistics William “Pila” Wilson writes about the history of Ke Kula ʻO Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu, UH Hilo’s Hawaiian language medium laboratory school.

International students stuff Christmas stockings for homeless keiki.

The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy launches free year-long prediabetes program focusing on lifestyle changes.

UH Hilo hosts Tropical AgTech Conference in June 2022 where global agricultural leaders discuss food system problems.

U.S. Senate field hearing on Native Hawaiian community is held at UH Hilo on June 2, 2022.

A research telescope is developed at Waipahu High School with UH Hilo astronomer’s aid. Associate Professor of Astronomy Rene Pierre Martin provides essential guidance throughout the process of specifying and installing the research-grade observatory on O‘ahu.


Faculty and Staff: Awards and Achievements

Fall Welcome: New faculty and staff are introduced in September at the 2021 Fall Welcome, a virtual event hosted by Chancellor Bonnie Irwin that also recognizes faculty who received tenure and promotion in the FY21 year (ending June 2021).

Fall 2022 Newcomers:

      • Jeraldine “Jeri” Ilar, Transfer Credit Specialist, Office of the Registrar
      • Catherine “Loke” Evans-Bautista, Program Coordinator, Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center
      • Kip Nagata, Math and Science Program Coordinator, Upward Bound
      • Rebecca “Becca” Gillison, Associate Director of Residence Life, Housing
David Sing pictured with lei.
David Sing

In October 2021, David Sing, an emeritus specialist at UH Hilo known for creating programs that allow Native Hawaiian students to believe “anything and everything is possible,” is the recipient of the 2021 National Indian Education Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Spring Welcome: New faculty and staff are introduced in February 2022 at the 2022 Spring Welcome, an in-person event hosted by Chancellor Bonnie Irwin:

Spring 2022 Newcomers:

      • Tiffani Amana, Student Services Specialist
      • J. Nahua Guilloz, Director of Stewardship, Center for Maunakea Stewardship
      • Lewis Jacques, Residence Hall Manager
      • Ekaterina Kapoustina, Mental Health Counselor
      • Miriam Mobley Smith, Interim Dean, Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy
      • Randall Senock, Visiting Professor, Wildlife Management
      • Raquel Zane, Administrative and Fiscal Support Specialist

In March 2022, PACWest names basketball coach David Kaneshiro Coach of the Year.

Larry Kimura pictured
Larry Kimura, Associate Professor of Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies, is honored for 50 years of service at UH Hilo.

In May 2022, faculty and staff are honored at the 2022 Awards and Recognition Celebration:

      • Among the many staff and faculty recognized for their years of service, Larry Kimura, Associate Professor of Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies, is honored for 50 years of service at UH Hilo.
      • Student Employment Team of the Year: Women’s and LGBTQ+ Center.
      • Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi Award for Excellence and Innovation: Kea Kapahua, Lecturer in Dance, College of Arts and Sciences.
      • Excellence in Service Award: Comfort Sumida, Senior Advisor at the Advising Center.
      • Pūlama ʻIke Award: Seri Luangphinith, Professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences.
      • Distinguished Service Award for Improving Student Life: Matthew Kalahiki, Administrative and Fiscal Support, Campus Center, Division of Student Affairs.
      • Excellence in Building & Grounds Maintenance Award: William Walters, Director, Auxiliary Services, Administrative Affairs.
      • Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching: Susan Wackerbarth Oldfather, Instructor of English and Coordinator of the Creative Writing Program, College of Arts and Sciences.
      • Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching: Tarisi Vunidilo, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of the Pacific Island Studies Certificate, College of Arts and Sciences.
      • UH Board of Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching: Bryan Kim, Professor of Psychology; Social Sciences Division Chair, College of Arts and Sciences.

FY22 tenure and/or promotion (ending June 2022) is awarded to fourteen faculty members.


Current Fiscal Year (FY22): $5,829,739
Last Fiscal Year (FY21): $3,105,322


Grants and Contracts

UH Hilo focuses on high impact research that has meaning for the island and state. Many projects are done in collaboration with county, state, and federal agencies. Research at UH Hilo is used to advance the university’s teaching mission and incorporates both undergraduate and graduate students, with niche graduate programs creating areas of excellence. Much of the research activity at UH Hilo has economic impact in local communities.

For FY2022, (July 1, 2021—June 30, 2022), UH Hilo is awarded a total in grants and contracts of $18,032,330 with 111 total awards.

Current Fiscal Year (FY22)

    • Research: $4,529,140, with a total of 46 awards.
    • Non-Research: $13,503,190, with a total of 65 awards.
    • Overall FY23 Totals: $18,032,330, with a total of 111 awards.  

Last Fiscal Year (FY21)

    • Research: $6,747,220, with a total of 58 awards.
    • Non-Research: $9,217,820, with a total of 57 awards.
    • Overall FY21 Totals: $15,965,040, with a total of 115 awards. 


Aerial of pharmacy college and three insets of interior.
The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy building wins an award from the Hawai‘i Commercial Real Estate Association.

Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy

      • The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy building wins an award for its culturally inspired design. The 45,000-square foot, two-story structure, completed in December 2019, receives the award from the NAIOP Hawai‘i Commercial Real Estate Association in the public/government project category.

Pharmacy modular buildings

      • Concrete walkways are removed and new walkways are constructed at the pharmacy college’s modular buildings. An old ramp is removed. Sewer, water, and drainage lines are rerouted; a chain link fence and gates are installed around mechanical equipment; new propane tanks are installed; new concrete pads are poured for generators and air conditioners. Renovations are completed for interior spaces including walls, lighting, flooring, acoustical ceiling tile, utilities, electrical, plumbing, telecommunications, fire alarm, air conditioning and ventilation system, cabinetry, sinks, doors and hardware, and lab equipment at Building B. Also, new fume hoods are installed, roofing and gutters are replaced, revisions are completed to the exterior aluminum deck and the subfloor, and new signage is installed. A new adjacent structure to house the nuclear magnetic resonance equipment is completed. In FY22, construction on this project is ongoing and is approximately 85 percent complete. Tentative completion date is September 2022.

Hale Alahonua air conditioning

      • This project design at residential housing includes tenant units and lounge areas. A photo voltaic system is installed with ground and roof mounts, and battery storage is completed to provide day and night operation. This work includes a power consumption monitoring and management system for the individual air conditioning units. The project utilizes public utility HELCO’s rebate program to support optimization and energy consumption analysis. The project 99 percent complete, pending final equipment installation by HELCO.
Overhead view of baseball field and soccer field.
Existing grass at the UH Hilo softball outfield and soccer field is replaced with new synthetic turf.

Title IX softball outfield and soccer field

      • Existing grass at the softball outfield and soccer field is replaced with new synthetic turf, along with subgrade and drainage systems. A new restroom and concession building with utilities and walkways is constructed. Landscaping work is underway in the summer of 2022.

Aeronautical flight simulators

      • Flight simulators arrive and are installed for the aeronautical science program, including two CRX open cockpit simulators, six desktop simulators, and maintenance and software upgrades.

Campus Center

      • Gas water heater is replaced at Campus Center. This project includes design and construction to remove existing gas water heaters from the roof mechanical room and replace with new more efficient gas water heaters. Work commenced June 21, 2021, and is now complete.

Projects in consultation, planning and/or design phase

      • New gutters at the Student Services Building. Contract start date scheduled for August 1, 2022. Estimated final completion is October 2022.
      • Nurse laboratory renovations including selective demolition, concrete work, structural steel work, carpentry, architectural finishes, laboratory equipment, plumbing, air conditioning and ventilation, electrical, telecommunication systems, and fire alarm.
      • Renovations to two classrooms in the biology building including demolition, concrete and structural work, carpentry, architectural finishes, laboratory equipment, plumbing, air conditioning and ventilation, electrical, telecommunication, and fire alarm. The design work is completed with Notice to Proceed letter issued June 6, 2022. Start date is May 12, 2023. Estimated completion date is June 2024.
      • Design and construction of a new 1,400 square foot to the workshop at the Agricultural Farm Laboratory in Panaewa. Scope of work includes plumbing, electrical, work benches, emergency shower, and a central vacuum system. Notice to Proceed letter is issued June 6, 2022, contract start date is May 12, 2023. Completion date is June 2024.
      • Planning, design, and construction to the repair and improvement of the Campus Center building and infrastructure. Includes modernization of the existing kitchen, upper floors offices and conference rooms, equipment improvements, modernization of interior and exterior of the building including roofs, walls, doors and upgrade electrical and mechanical systems, and pedestrian pathways. Notice to Proceed letter issued for March 20, 2023. Completion date targeted for August 1, 2024.
      • Planning, design and construction of the new East Hawai‘i Historic Preservation Center, a public repository for artifacts held by the State of Hawaii with educational classrooms, office and administrative spaces, conference rooms, and outdoor lanai areas where students, employees, and visitors can congregate.
      • Planning, design and construction work for modernization work at the Mookini Library including student spaces expanding the Hawaiian Collection, creating 24/7 space on the second floor, re-designing the art and media space as high technology and multi-service location as well as modernization of interior and exterior structures, building roofs, and mechanical and electrical systems. Consultant selection is currently underway, the contract is awarded, and the Notice to Proceed letter is to be issued shortly.
      • New air conditioning at the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources building. Project is in consultant selection phase.
      • Food service equipment replacement at Hale Kehau residential housing. Bid posting for construction to occur in August 2022.
      • Consultant services and construction for the conversion of the Student Life Center swimming pool from the current liquid chemical chlorination system to a salt water chlorination generation system. This work includes relocation of the existing filtration pump to a location more accessible for repairs and protection from weather. Pending executed county building permit before project can go out to bid.
      • Two student housing projects. Replace exhaust fans at Hale Ikena; contract awarded to Insynergy Engineering Inc., and the fee proposal is under review. Re-roof and paint Hale Kanilehua; final plans and specifications are received and the bid posting for construction is scheduled for August 2022.


Office of Equal Opportunity

Logo Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation, with two figures reaching out to each other. Colors blue, greens, oranges, browns.
UH Hilo received a $25,000 award to establish a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Center, a national program, on campus.

This fiscal year, the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) focuses on outreach and education to raise awareness of the office, UH policies and procedures, on- and off-campus resources for students who utilize the office, and promoting prevention of sexual misconduct and gender-based violence via educating the campus community about healthy relationships and bystander intervention.

      • In October 2021, the OEO hosts events for the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Annual Conference with the theme “Cultivating Pilina: Empowering Connection to End Domestic Violence.” The virtual conference includes seminars in collaboration with the Asian Pacific Institute of Gender based Violence, Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, and UH Hilo International Student Programs. The opening panel discussion addresses domestic violence through an indigenous lens, with additional sessions for Samoan, Chuukese, and Native Hawaiian communities.
      • In addition, the office collaborates in October with Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action offices across the UH System to host a National Disability Employment Awareness Month virtual conference. Members from the UH Hilo office serve on a UH System committee that presents multiple information sessions, workshops and webinars. Hilo office director Jennifer Stotter presents on a panel discussing ADA accommodation process for employees and supervisors, and UH Hilo Office of Equal Opportunity/Title IX compliance officer Shaunda Makaimoku organizes and facilitates a session focused on service animals.
      • In April 2022, the OEO office hosts events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. An Office of Equal Opportunity/Title IX community liaison is hired for a pilot program to develop linkages between UH Hilo and community organizations to assists students who have experienced sexual misconduct and/or gender based violence. A campus and community resource fair is also hosted. The fair highlights campus resources and brought together Child and Family Services; Hawai‘i Police Department; HOPE Services Hawai‘i; Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i; Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Victim Services Unit; the YWCA’s Healthy Families Hawai‘i and Sexual Assault Support Services; and UH Hilo’s Student Health and Wellness; Counseling Services; Student Medical Services; the Confidential Advocacy and Prevention Education (CAPE) and Prevention, Awareness, Understanding Violence Program (PAU) programs; Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center; LGBTQ+ Center;  Women’s Center, and Title IX office.
      • The office provides leadership and coordination for the Chancellorʻs Committee for Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The committee conducts a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis and addresses areas of need. Topics addressed include faculty and staff recruitment and retention; professional development and training; student success; and community partnerships; and support for a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Center, a national program that awarded $25,000 in support to UH Hilo.
      • Employee resource groups are established to increase employee retention and engagement and to create a sense of inclusion and belonging while contributing to the success of the institution. A support group for LGBTQ+ employees is in development, as is one for new employees. Workshops are planned for fall 2022 to encourage and support the creation of additional support groups.



A collage of several photos of researchers aboard a large ship, in inflatable boat, in the ship lab, and at sea with island in the distance.
Marine scientists conduct unprecedented research on reef ecosystems along Hawai‘i Island’s west coast. The group from UH Hilo was led by John Burns, assistant professor of marine science and expert researcher on the health of coral reefs who participated in the expedition’s planning and surveys.

In July 2021, Native Hawaiians embark on a scientific research voyage to Papahānaumokuākea. This is the first time an entire crew of Hawaiian scientists leads research in the marine sanctuary under a research permit. Four of the 12 members of the hui are from UH Hilo.

In the summer of 2021, endangered ‘ua‘u seabirds are observed on Maunakea, the first sighting on the mauna in more than 60 years. The sighting is the culmination of years of work for conservationist Bret Nainoa Mossman, a UH Hilo alumnus who along with UH Hilo researcher Patrick Hart, a professor of biology, endured countless nights in frigid conditions on Maunakea searching for the birds.

In a study published in July 2021, environmental scientists show a link between rapid ‘ōhi‘a death mortality levels and hoofed mammals. Lead investigator of the study, Ryan Perroy, an associate professor of geography and environmental science, specializes in innovative ways to use remote sensing such as aerial imagery, in this case to detect ‘ōhi‘a mortality at an individual tree level.

Seri Luangphinith, a professor of English who has spent years conducting extensive research into the history of Korean immigrants to Hawai‘i Island, is tasked in September 2021 by the South Korea Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs to a special committee to help identify descendants of Korean independence activists.

Pictured is a group of researchers out on the lava fields using measuring equipment.
Eleven days prior to the new eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu crater that started on Sept. 29, 2021, a group led by Professor of Geology Steve Lundblad measures the Mauna Iki trail on Sept. 18. (Sadie Nguyen)

In the fall of 2021, Steve Lundblad, professor of geology, leads a team of volunteer geology students and alumni on exploratory field work at the Kīlauea eruption, the continuation of a 55-year ongoing study.

Marine scientists in September 2021 announce the installation of a livestream camera in waters off Kona, revolutionizing marine science education and research. The project is headed by John Burns, assistant professor of marine science at and founder of the Multiscale Environmental Graphical Analysis Laboratory (MEGA Lab), which is spearheading the endeavor.

Patrick Hart, professor of biology and expert on bird acoustics, publishes a study in October 2021 on complex ways birds communicate in tropical wet forests. The research team tested an acoustic hypothesis in two very noisy communities of birds in both Costa Rica and Hawai‘i. The data will help conservation efforts.

Richard Griffiths, an affiliate professor of physics and astronomy at UH Hilo, leads team that solves gravitational lens phenomenon.

UH Hilo climate scientists’ research conducted on Hawai‘i Island is shared with global audience at the United Nations’ global Climate Change Conference. The presentation showcased the work of geography professor Ryan Perroy and research team who are generating a comprehensive inventory for Hawaiʻi Island’s 428 kilometers of coastline.

Shugeng Cao stands in his lab for photo.
Shugeng Cao at the Cao Laboratory, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. (Courtesy photo/Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy)

Pharmaceutical scientist Shugeng Cao scours the ʻāina for compounds to fight cancer. He and research team are focusing on natural anticancer and antibacterial molecules from marine microorganisms and terrestrial fungi and bacteria.

A research team led by marine scientists Tracy Wiegner and Steve Colbert recommend a wastewater treatment plant for Puakō.

Professor Emeritus of Biology Bill Mautz authors an article about finding colonies of a long-lost Hawai‘i skink on the sea cliffs of Hāmākua.

A group of faculty researchers, their students, and community partners published information that is imperative to improving overall water quality on Hawai‘i Island. Lead author of the study is research assistant and UH Hilo alumna Jazmine Panelo. Heading the research team are co-authors Tracy Wiegner and Steve Colbert, professors from the Department of Marine Science.

Renee Bellinger, an adjunct assistant professor in bioinformatics and genomics, publishes a paper showing new research on magnetite in salmon noses that illuminates understanding of sensory mechanisms enabling magnetic perception across life.

Philosopher Celia Bardwell-Jones and biologist Rebecca Ostertag co-author a collaborative paper on the “political language” of restoration ecology. Lead author is Susan Cordell from the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, a U.S. Department of Forest Service agency based in Hilo, with other co-authors Amanda Uowolo also from the forestry institute, and restoration ecologist Nicole DiManno from UH Hilo.

Marine scientists conduct unprecedented research on reef ecosystems along Hawai‘i Island’s west coast. The group from UH Hilo was led by John Burns, assistant professor of marine science and expert researcher on the health of coral reefs who participated in the expedition’s planning and surveys.



Graduate stands with two young boys.
Nursing graduate Jovelia Repullo at the Annual Pinning Ceremony of the UH Hilo School of Nursing, a family-oriented event celebrating the completion of the nursing cohort’s studies. May 13, 2022, Performing Arts Center, UH Hilo. (Kirsten Aoyagi/UH Hilo Stories)

Academic Accomplishments

Research Accomplishments

      • Group of five stands for photo.
        At a workshop held on O‘ahu in April, a UH Hilo research group led by anthropology professor Joseph Genz started the collaborative process of creating an e-book on Pacific voyaging and navigation. (Courtesy photo)

        Students conduct research for e-book on Pacific seafaring. The project is led by Associate Professor of Anthropology Joseph Genz, with team members Professor of Philosophy Celia Bardwell-Jones, UH Hilo graduate students Shania Tamagyongfal and Jerolynn Myazoe who are in the heritage management program, and undergraduate Tromainne Joab, an environmental studies student. Also part of the Hilo group is Kamehameha Schools educator and UH Hilo alumna Celeste Ha‘o.

      • Olivia Jarvis, Lily Gavagan, and Dylan A‘ali‘i Kelling win top awards at statewide Marine Options Program symposium.
      • Five anthropology students—Amanda Sorenson, Sarai Garcia, Evangeline Lemieux, Katrina Taylor, and Olivia Crabtree—travel to Salt Lake City, UT, to present their research findings on pandemic issues at the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology.
      • The National Science foundation recognizes students for their research into Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander STEM students. With the prestigious honor of “Top 25 Abstract,” the team of UH Hilo and University of Guam students presented their work virtually at an annual regional conference sponsored by the NSF.
      • Kara Murphy is pictured underwater in SCUBA gear. She wears a pink dive mask and is doing the double shaka at the camera.
        Kara Murphy is one of two UH Hilo students awarded funds to do projects in marine conservation. (courtesy photo)

        Two UH Hilo marine science students Kara Murphy and Cecelia Rudo win awards to fund their ocean conservation projects. The two marine science majors will apply the monetary awards to their projects focused on engaging the community in ocean conservation.

      • Local surfer and fisherman Crispin Nakoa, a graduate student at UH Hilo, is working with marine scientists to identify areas impacted by sewage pollution along Hawai‘i Island’s coastline.


      • Three new graduate students in the tropical conservation biology and environmental science program—Anna Ezzy, Bronwyn Kay, and Kalena Shiroma—are selected to receive Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation fellowships. The overall goal of the fellowships is to develop the next generation of natural resource management leaders in Hawai‘i.
      • 2022-23 Chancellor’s Scholarship recipients are announced:
          • Jaydee Ah Sing, Waiākea High School
          • Nai‘a Balancio, Konawaena High School
          • Anaheim-Joy Brown, Kamehameha-Hawai‘i Campus
          • Zachary Bulcao-Moore, King Kekaulike High School
          • Mikayla Carter, Makua Lani Christian Academy
          • Shayne Dagupion, Kealakehe High School
          • Samson David, Myron B. Thompson Academy
          • Kealohilani Grace, Kamehameha-Hawai‘i Campus
          • Xander Grouns, Waiākea High School
          • Kadden Kobayashi, Kaua‘i High School
          • Roanne Mendoza, Kea‘au High School
          • Maureen Moreno, Kea‘au High School
          • Teiya Myers, Kailua High School
          • Princess Jona Natania Respicio, Honoka‘a High and Intermediate School
          • Sydney Shiroma, Sacred Hearts Academy
          • Ryo Soranaka, Aiea High School
          • Timothy Wiley, Kapolei High School


        • Sheadon Freitas, Office of the Registrar, is named Student Employee of the Year.
        • Sixteen students receive awards for their outstanding leadership on campus. Based on native Hawaiian cultural values, the annual Ka Lama Ku awards recognize the exceptional contributions the honorees make as student leaders on campus. Awardees are Zoé Acosta; Isabella Arrieta; Briana Ferrin; Junita Jetley; History Club members David Freund, Nathan Myers, Lilliana Galarneau, Robert Wheeler, Charles “CJ” Patris, Alex Aguirre, Kaelyn Onodera, Donovan Wolford, Joseph “Kepa” Revelle, and Taecia “Kukui” Akana; Jaslinn Makamae Kamaka-Mauhili; and Ku‘uhiapo Jeong.
        • Samuel Garcia, Aion Kaneko, Christian Lopez, and Travis Makana Taylor excel at state healthcare competition. The group earned 1st Place for their 30-second Public Service Announcement video and presentation, “Bone Marrow Donations Saves Lives!”

Fall 2021 Enrollment

View enrollment data at UH Office of Institutional Research

      • Total enrollment: 3,243
      • Undergraduates: 2,741
      • Graduate: 480
      • Men: 1,120
      • Women: 2,084
      • Hawaiʻi residents: 2,315
      • Hawaiʻi Island residents: 1,615
      • Resident status (tuition): 2,265
      • Non-resident status (tuition): 978
      • Western Undergrad Exchange: 359
      • U.S. citizen: 2,910
      • International: 116
      • Full time: 2,283
      • Asian: 643
      • Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 1,235
      • Hawaiian ancestry: 1,066
      • Caucasian: 763
      • Mixed race: 457
      • First time freshman: 459
      • First generation: 576

Report compiled by Susan Enright, public information specialist, Office of the Chancellor. Comments and corrections are welcome.