Damien Wallace graduated from Kaimuki High School and is a sophomore at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoaʻs College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, majoring in Tropical Agriculture and Environment. He is a recipient of the Fred Fujimoto Scholarship Fund; the Goro Uehara Scholarship; the Hawaiʻi Veterans Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship - UH Mānoa; and the Violet S. Sato Endowed Scholarship Fund. This is an excerpt of his thank you letter to the donors.
Iʻve lived in Hawai'i since I was in middle school and have always being fascinated with nature, so UH Mānoa was a no brainer for my school-of-choice to attend since it is a leader in environmental studies. Since high school, I have worked with UH Mānoa to remove invasive species from native Hawai'i ecosystems. This has helped me grow and understand exactly what It is I want to contribute to Hawai'i and to help native species that call Hawai'i home.
Currently I am building my skills of identifying, understanding and removing invasive species through work opportunities on campus. I have been employed with a stream ecosystems lab on campus since the end of my senior year in high school following the completion of my STEM capstone and coming to UH Mānoa. Alongside that, I am currently working under a paid temporary internship with the Department of Agriculture as a plant pathologist intern. I am also trying to secure more volunteer opportunities with my involvement with the CTAHR Ambassadors program with my college.
There are several things I would like to accomplish before I graduate. I really would like to be part of an international research opportunity to experience research outside of college and the U.S. This has always been a dream because I do not know how easy it will be to have access to that kind of opportunity outside of college. Alongside that, I'm fascinated with learning about all kinds of life across the world. Part of that also connects to bringing home new knowledge to support my work here back in Hawai'i.
To my donors:
I am truly lucky to have the opportunity and qualifications to have been accepted and offered the scholarships I have.
If I am being honest, I did not go through high school at all thinking about college until I got an email about applying to UH Mānoa. Everything I did in school up until that point was just me living my life. That is why part of me feels extremely lucky to have been accepted for these scholarships. The opportunity to study and learn at UH Mānoa is one I am grateful to have. With every possible way I can express my thanks through this profile: Thank you. I hope the donors of the scholarships understand that they are making a difference not only in my life, but for Hawai'i.