HONOLULU and HILO — The Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation has pledged $324,560 to support University of Hawaiʻi students committed to careers in conservation in Hawaiʻi. Six students pursuing masters degrees at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Management (NREM) and University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) Program have been selected to receive these new graduate assistantships.
This award, which includes a tuition exemption, regular stipend and funds for professional development, will help increase the number of qualified Hawaiʻi students/professionals pursuing environmental resource management careers. Through this investment in UH's students, coupled with their support of Lyon Arboretum's Micro-propagation lab a year ago, Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation has committed nearly $1M towards supporting conservation efforts at UH that directly impact our students, research, and our communities.
Interim Dean Sylvia Yuen, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, said "We are grateful to the Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation for this generous gift, which will provide Hawaiʻi students with the education they need for professional careers in fields focused on protecting and sustaining our environment. The assistantships are an investment in our future."
Professor Donald Price, director of the UH Hilo program and professor of Biology commented, "A primary goal of the TCBES Graduate Program is to train students for conservation biology and environmental science positions in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Region. This partnership between Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation and the TCBES program is providing a wonderful opportunity for students to obtain advanced training and conduct graduate research on topics related to Hawaiʻi Island's extraordinary biological, physical and cultural diversity."
Janis Reischmann, executive director of Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation commented, "We are excited to support our first group of masters level students in two outstanding educational programs within the UH system. We believe that these six students have the potential to become future leaders in the environmental sector in Hawaiʻi."
Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation established by Helga Glaesel-Hollenback. Established in 1990 the Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation supports five program areas: youth, environment, affordable housing, humanitarian relief, and "first generation partners." In 2010 the Foundation completed a research and planning process that led to two new areas of focus within its environmental program: invasive species prevention and Environmental Leadership Pathways — Developing the Next Generation of Environmental Resource Professionals in Hawaiʻi. This partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi will support the Environmental Leadership Pathways focus.
The first awardees enrolled in the UH Mānoa, Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Management (NREM):
Jon Lance grew up on Oʻahu, graduated from Academy of the Pacific. He received a B.S. in EEB (Ecology and Evolutionary Bio) from UC Santa Cruz, and recently did local archaeology work with Cultural Surveys, Inc. His career goals include working in Hawaiʻi with a public or private organization to carry out research and implement management practices that promote healthy ecosystem functioning and sustainable human interactions with Hawaiʻi's ecosystems.
Alex Lau grew up in Kailua, and graduated from Kalaheo High School. He has been working with the Oʻahu Invasive Species Committee and Bishop Museum on the Oʻahu Early Detection program since 2006. He hopes his future work will continue to involve the development and implementation of effective programs for invasive plant management in Hawaiʻi.
Nicholas Ray Wilhoite was born and raised in Kailua on the windward side of Oʻahu. He received his undergraduate degree in Geography from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. His goal is to work in conservation and natural resource management in Hawaiʻi, with a focus on applied science and cultural integration.
UH Hilo, Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) Program awardees:
Asa J. Aue was born in Hilo and raised in Mountain View. He graduated from Hilo High School in 2005 and attended the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Asa graduated in 2011 with a bachelor's in Geography. His current research as a graduate student in the T.C.B.E.S. program focuses on the distribution of endemic, cave-adapted arthropods within the Hawaiian Archipelago. His goal is to give back to Hawaiʻi through conservation work e.g. native out-planting or invasive plant removal, or working towards food sustainability.
Karma R. Kissinger has called Hilo home for more than twenty years. She attended Waiakea High School, and graduated from UH Hilo with a degree in Marine Science in 2009. She is excited to begin working on her master's degree, and will be the first in her family to go to graduate school. Her career goals are to advance the research and development of alternative feed sources for farmed marine fish, and help to ensure a sustainable seafood future for Hawaiʻi and the rest of the world.
Corie Yanger was born and raised on Oʻahu. When she was 11 years old, her family moved to Wisconsin. Corie earned a bachelor's degree in Biological Aspects of Conservation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006 and spent her junior year of college doing an internship and directed study on the Big Island. Since graduation, she has gained volunteer, internship, and work experience at Haleakala and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Parks. Her goal is to become a teacher and mentor for young people interested in conservation, and to help encourage and enable more communication between scientists and the community so that conservation efforts can move forward cooperatively.