Nakamura receives Matthew Somchai Therrien Memorial Award

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Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo English Department awarded Kiaria Zoi Nakamura as the fifth recipient of the Matthew Somchai Therrien Memorial Award, given annually to an outstanding student majoring in English.

A 2017 Waiakea High School graduate, Nakamura has a 4.0 GPA and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English, minor in Performing Arts, and a Certificate in Educational Studies. She is also a UH Board of Regents Presidential Scholar and the recipient of various scholarships from the East Hawai‘i Hiroshima Kenjin Kai, Kiwanis Cali-Nev-Ha Foundation, and Zonta Club of Hilo.

Nakamura will present her paper, “Children's Literature with a Gothic Twist: A Study on Neil Gaiman’s Contributions to Children’s and Gothic Literature,” at the 2019 UH Hilo Humanities International Conference April 26-27. She was also awarded second place in the 2016 Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation “Inspired in Hawai‘i” Essay Contest.

Nakamura plans to pursue graduate studies to become an English professor with her own dance studio. She believes her interests in both English and performing arts enable a sense of creativity from the freedom and innovation that the two provide.

“I wouldn’t be the writer that I am without dance, just as I wouldn’t be the dancer that I am without writing. Both bring out a level of diligence and imagination that make me a better student, choreographer, and teacher,” Nakamura noted.

Matthew Somchai Therrien was an aspiring English major at UH Hilo at the time of his death in April 2014. He was a gifted poet and writer with a dream of becoming an English professor.

The Matthew Somchai Therrien Memorial Award was initiated by a generous donation from Stephen and Gloria Gainsley, longtime friends of the Therrien family. The $500 annual award recognizes a UH Hilo English major with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and demonstrated excellence in writing, preferably through published work.

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