Lasha Lynn Salbosa

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Graduate Research Assistant in Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management
High School Attended
Waiʻanae High School; Waiʻanae HI
College Attended
Washington State University, Pullman WA: B.S. Zoology; Minors in Ecology & Sustainable Development

Graduate Training: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa: M.S. Natural Resources Environmental Management

Job Description:

I am currently finishing up my graduate work at Mānoa. I am also involved in a pilot project with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) here in Hawai‘i. My current research interests focus mainly on invasive vertebrate impacts, geostatistical analyses, and cartography. Interest in Field:

It was nearly a decade ago. I had just finished high school and during my summer before leaving to college, I applied to become part of a summer enrichment program called Hoa‘aina-Stewards of the Land. It was a group of young people led by a few key individuals, one of which is still working for TNC today. The main purpose of the program was to foster environmentally minded leaders, through hands on field work, discussions, and individual/group projects. I thought to myself, what a fantastic way to spend the summer. After my first year of college, I returned home, craving that outdoor fieldwork again, and at the very last minute I was placed in an internship with the Hawai‘i Agricultural Research Center under the US Forest Service in Hawai‘i. The internship opportunity was made possible by the University of Hawai‘i Hawaiian Internship Program (UH-HIP). Those two summer experiences charted the rest of my career. Before that I was set on becoming a veterinarian, hence my choice to attend Washington State University.

How did you get there?

The steps I have taken are fueled by one thing – my love for Hawai‘i. I love to learn and I wanted to gain a solid undergraduate education. The fact that I went away for school, although it was incredibly hard financially, made me appreciate Hawai‘i even more. I always kept track of my interests and what I want out of life. Realizing that environmental work could be my profession, I applied for internships in Hawai‘i during the summers I returned home. The two separate summer internships I held as an undergrad taught me so much more than I could ever learn in a classroom. The professionals I met proved to be invaluable colleagues that I still keep in touch with today.

After obtaining my undergrad, I was accepted to UC Berkeley for graduate school to study wolves; yes wolves, they had a graduate research position. It was a huge decision for me at the time. I weighed that possibility against the possibility of working in natural resource management in Hawai’i. I decided to take my chances and returned home. After a few months of perseverance, I found a position with the O‘ahu Army Natural Resource Program. I stayed with them for nearly five years, saw an incredible amount of change, and gained a solid understanding of natural resource management work. I always knew that I would attend graduate school and when the time was right and the opportunity presented itself, I took it. I am now on a full scholarship in graduate school, will be finishing that up in a year, and then starting a new chapter; stay tuned.

Necessary Qualifications:

An undergraduate education in the biological/environmental sciences, although not required for some entry level positions, it is very helpful especially if you see yourself holding a leadership position in this field. I also encourage those interested in this field to stay adept to changing technology and research methods that make efficient natural resource management work possible. And lastly, do not forget the resources – the plants, animals, and places – that surround the work; get to know these intimately

Rewards of Work:

The rewards are priceless; in the mountains it’s simply therapy for the soul. It is also a blessing to share my work and past experiences with young students who are often surprised when they realize it can be a career.

Relevant Work Experience:

I’ve had the opportunity to hold positions with the following agencies/organizations:

  • O‘ahu Army Natural Resource Program, GIS Field Specialist
  • The Nature Conservancy, Research Assistant
  • Kamehameha Schools, Land Information Systems Intern
  • Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, Board of Directors
  • Haleakala National Park, Endangered Species Management Intern
  • U.S. Forest Service, Hawai‘i Agricultural Research Center Inter-

Typical Day:

It varies quite a lot recently. It usually entails responding to emails, writing research papers, attending lectures, and analyzing geographic data; but not necessarily in that order. I regret to say, I haven’t been in the field much; but that will change soon. Words of Wisdom :

You wish you knew...:

Whatever hardship or setback you’re going through, it is small compared to your future successes.

You wish you were told...:

When someone brilliant begins to intimidate you or you begin to think that you may not have what it takes, don’t doubt yourself because all that does is waste time; and time is something you can never get back. Instead, get to know the people who may intimidate you, learn the skills they seem to possess and sooner or later they may become your colleagues.

Final Comments / Advice:

There are many different ways to make your passion work for you. Not everyone can carry a 35lb post pounder and pack, and not everyone can sit at a computer all day or deliberate through meetings, but you won’t no either of these things for yourself unless you try. If you follow your heart and passion, and always put your best foot forward in whatever you do, the opportunities will come.