University of Hawaiʻi System News /news News from the University of Hawaii Sat, 15 Jun 2024 22:40:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 /news/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/cropped-51News512-1-32x32.jpg University of Hawaiʻi System News /news 32 32 28449828 Walter Dods, Jr., Jay H. Shidler, donate Akaji sculpture to 51 ԴDz’s RISE /news/2024/06/15/akaji-sculpture-dedication-rise-grand-opening/ Sat, 15 Jun 2024 22:40:54 +0000 /news/?p=199377 RISE was built under a public-private partnership between 51, 51 Foundation and Hunt Companies 51.

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people standing in front of a large sculpture

University of 51 at ԴDz alumni Walter Dods, Jr. and Jay H. Shidler have gifted a sculpture by the late Bumpei Akaji to their alma mater. The sculpture, “RISE,” was installed outside the Walter Dods, Jr. RISE Center, and dedicated in a special ceremony prior to the official grand opening of the center on June 15.

large sculpture

The sculpture “RISE” was created in 1979 by Kauaʻi-born artist Bumpei Akaji as a gift for the late Masaru “Pundy” Yokouchi, founding chairperson of 51’s State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Dods and Shidler purchased the sculpture from Yokouchi’s estate on Maui. Dods named it “RISE” with permission from Yokouchi’s family.

“I thought it’d be cool to name it RISE, and bringing it back to Metcalf Street is just incredible,” Dods said.

Akaji was one of seven local artists who attended 51 ԴDz after World War II and lived at the “Metcalf Chateau,” an old house they rented in the 1950s on Metcalf Street, a short distance away from the RISE Center. Akaji, who was a member of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team during the war, stayed in Italy to study painting and sculpture before returning to attend 51 and became one of the first to earn a master’s in fine arts degree from 51 ԴDz in 1952.

RISE grand opening

people sitting in a large room

The RISE building was named for Dods in honor of his gift of $5 million, which supports the RISE programs operated by the (PACE) at the 51 ԴDz . The student entrepreneurship and innovation center with housing for 374 students opened in August 2023.

RISE was built under a public-private partnership between 51, and Hunt Companies 51. 51 Foundation recently moved its headquarters to the second and third floors of the Charles Atherton House at RISE.

“This project is such a powerful example of what can happen when we innovate in our thinking and embrace creative partnerships to re-imagine our state’s future,” said Gov. Josh Green, MD. “These projects serve as an example that there is a way to improve facilities without relying solely on taxpayer dollars, and in 51’s case, tuition monies.”

“We are proud that 51 Foundation is a partner in this groundbreaking project that will nurture and inspire generations of student entrepreneurs,” said 51 Foundation CEO Tim Dolan. “We’re excited we get to work here in this historic building and grateful we get to admire this wonderful gift from Walter and Jay, the sculpture by Bumpei Akaji, every day.”

PACE Board Chair Susan Yamada noted that her first trip to the University of Utah’s Lassonde Studios, which served as the model for RISE, was just seven years ago. The groundbreaking was in January 2022 and the building was completed in August 2023.

Related 51 News stories:

“The journey to this grand opening was very challenging,” Yamada said. “Overcoming adversity by working as a team and persevering are traits we want our students to acquire while studying at 51.”

In addition to gifting the RISE sculpture to 51, Dods brought it from Maui to ԴDz with help from Matson, Royal Contracting and Island Movers, each of which donated their services.

Artist and consultant Kelly Sueda oversaw a restoration of the sculpture to its original glory, as well as the installation.

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English professor showcases Fanny Fern, America’s first feminist satirist /news/2024/06/14/fanny-fern-americas-first-feminist-satirist/ Sat, 15 Jun 2024 02:38:28 +0000 /news/?p=199368 James Caron published a book about America’s highest-paid woman columnist, who captivated readers in the 19th century.

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Black and white image of Sara Parton and book cover
From left: Sara Parton also known as Fanny Fern, right: Caron’s son Will, a 51 ԴDz alumnus, created the illustration on the book cover

Digging into 19th-century newspaper archives, James Caron, professor emeritus from the University of 51 at Mānoa’s , recovered a literary treasure trove: the weekly columns of Sara Parton, known as “Fanny Fern,” who became America’s most highly-paid woman columnist. From the 1850s to the 1870s, Parton captivated readers with her keen insights and satirical takes on social issues, especially domestic life and gender expectations.

“She’s fearless, she’s absolutely fearless,” explained Caron. “She could be very sharp, even aggressive, with her wit. Some people at first thought that she was a man.”

For example, she has this to say about a proper woman:

  • I’m not speaking of those doll-baby libels upon womanhood, whose chief ambition is to be walking advertisements for the dressmaker; but a rational, refined, sensible woman, who knows how to look like a lady upon small means.”

Caron, fascinated by Fern’s clever wordplay, delved deep into her early newspaper writings and unpublished works. He recently published The Modern Feminine in the Medusa Satire of Fanny Fern (2024), which celebrates Fern as a foundational figure in a lineage of feminist satirists.

During his 36-year tenure at 51 Mānoa, Caron often incorporated Parton’s writings into his courses on American humor.

Everybody laughs

Caron, a passionate fan of satirical literature, draws inspiration from literary giants like Mark Twain, who used satire to humorously critique society.

“I started with an interest in folk stories and tall tales before the Civil War, then Mark Twain, and then any funny things that people wrote,” Caron explained. “Because everybody all around the world, everybody laughs. All cultures tell stories that make people laugh; it’s very, very human.”

He has authored previous books exploring satire’s role in shaping public discourse: Satire as the Comic Public Sphere: Postmodern ‘Truthiness’ and Civic Engagement (2021) and Mark Twain, Unsanctified Newspaper Reporter (2008).

“Satire has a long-standing effort, all the way back to the Greeks and the Romans, to try to make the public sphere a better place,” Caron said.

can be found at the and on .

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Pelehonuamea Harman: Charting 51 ᾱ’s course in Indigenous learning /news/2024/06/14/harman-charting-indigenous-learning/ Sat, 15 Jun 2024 01:43:45 +0000 /news/?p=199351 Harman is scheduled to begin on July 1, 2024.

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portrait of Pelehonuamea Harman
Pelehonuamea Harman (Photo Credit: Daniella Zalcman)

51 Island educator Pelehonuamea Harman has been appointed as the first-ever director of Native Hawaiian Engagement at the . The announcement, confirmed by the 51 Board of Regents and 51 President David Lassner this June, marks a significant stride toward the university’s goal of becoming a leader in Indigenous education. Harman is scheduled to start in her new role on July 1.

Harman will join the growing 51 Papa o Ke Ao team established throughout the 10-campus 51 System to develop, implement and assess strategic actions to enhance the higher education needs of Native Hawaiians. At 51 Hilo, Harman will help to implement priorities such as advancing language and culture parity in areas ranging from programming and curriculum to research and hiring practices.

“Her acceptance of this role and her willingness to share her rich lineage of Hawaiian language and cultural knowledge as a moʻopuna kuakahi (great-granddaughter) of Mary Kawena Pukui, one of the University of Ჹɲʻ’s most esteemed scholars of Hawaiian knowledge, is a testament to her commitment to our shared journey of reclaiming this ʻike (knowledge) in our endeavors moving forward as a university,” said 51 Hilo Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin.

Wealth of knowledge, expertise

Harman brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the position, with more than twenty years of experience in Hawaiian immersion education, which includes teaching at 51 ᾱ’s Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu K–12 laboratory school and the program within .

Harman is an alumna of 51 Hilo with a bachelor of arts in Hawaiian studies, a teaching certificate from Kahuawaiola, and a master of arts in Hawaiian language and literature.

ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) innovators

Together with her husband, Kekoa, an associate professor of Hawaiian studies and Hawaiian language at 51 Hilo, Pelehonuamea serves as a kumu hula (hula teacher) of Hālau I Ka Leo Ola O Nā Mamo (Hālau of the Living Voice of Descendants).

Related: From hula to PhD: 51 Hilo kumu shares ʻōlelo 51 journey, March 28, 2024

Harman is a haumāna ʻuniki (student of intense studies) of Kumu Hula Kimo Alama Keaulana. The Harmans’ hālau hula (hula school) based on 51 Mokupuni (51 Island), is focused on raising new generations grounded in the practices of hula from a strong foundation of Hawaiian language fluency. Living what they teach, they raise all four of their children through ʻōlelo 51 (Hawaiian language).

In a notable recognition of their expertise, the Harmans were invited to Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in 2022 to collaborate on curriculum development for their haumāna (students).

For more go to .

By Susan Enright

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$4.5M to advance understanding of ocean carbon, oxygen, heat /news/2024/06/14/4-5m-ocean-carbon-oxygen-heat/ Sat, 15 Jun 2024 01:24:12 +0000 /news/?p=199337 The research will address the interlinked questions of how rapidly the ocean is gaining heat and carbon while losing oxygen.

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deploying floats from ship
Deploying profiling floats. (Photo credit: Hilary Palevsky)

To address gaps in ocean data and modeling efforts and better understand ocean carbon, oxygen and heat, oceanographers at the University of 51 Mānoa were awarded $4.5 million from the nonprofit Schmidt Sciences. They are team members on two of five projects by and the to join the (OBVI).

The five projects will form the inaugural membership of OBVI, which has committed $45 million over the next five years. The research will address the interlinked questions of how rapidly the ocean is gaining heat and carbon while losing oxygen, and the resilience of marine ecosystems in a rapidly warming world.

deploying video recorder from ship
Deploying the video plankton recorder. (Photo credit: Kelsey Maloney)

“This was a competitive search for the best science on the planet and oceanographers at the 51 Mānoa came to play!” said Dave Karl, director of the in SOEST and member of the OBVI advisory board.

SUBSEA project $3.8M

The SUBSEA project will examine how marine organisms in the ocean’s twilight zone—a dim layer roughly 200–500 feet below the ocean’s surface—alter the absorption and circulation of carbon dioxide in ocean gyres (large, circular currents) from the North Pacific to the South Atlantic.

“Oceanographers are having a tough time predicting how life in ocean gyres will respond to climate change, but we know nutrients will play a deciding role,” said Nick Hawco, assistant professor of oceanography and 51 Mānoa project lead. “Compared to the gyres in the Southern hemisphere, the North Pacific receives a larger supply of nutrients from the atmosphere. This is an amazing opportunity to compare and contrast how the ocean gyres adjust to changes in nutrient supply that we might see in the future.”

The project team includes 51 Mānoa Professor of oceanography Angelicque White, and Benedetto Barone, a 51 research oceanographer.

InMOS project $700K

Oceans help mitigate climate change by absorbing heat and carbon, but are experiencing a triple threat from warming, decreasing oxygen, and increasing acidification that may cause harm to marine ecosystems. The second project, InMOS will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop estimates of sources and sinks of ocean heat, carbon and oxygen for the past 35 years. Project members aim to both reduce uncertainties in these budgets and understand the physical and biogeochemical processes affecting these interlinked cycles.

Seth Bushinsky, 51 Mānoa assistant professor of oceanography and InMOS project team member will lead the effort to develop new marine observational products based on large data sets of ocean carbon, oxygen and nutrient measurements.

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–By Marcie Grabowski

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5 51 ԴDz faculty members awarded 2024–25 Fulbright fellowships /news/2024/06/14/uh-manoa-faculty-2024-25-fulbright-fellowships/ Sat, 15 Jun 2024 01:22:35 +0000 /news/?p=199362 Fulbright Program scholars are expected to engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks.

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five people headshots over a photo of a building

Five University of 51 at ԴDz faculty members earned Fulbright U.S. Scholar fellowships for the 2024–25 academic year. scholars are expected to engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing research collaborations started abroad and laying the groundwork for future partnerships between institutions.

“These Fulbright fellowships awarded to our 51 ԴDz faculty members are a testament to their exceptional scholarship and dedication to global collaboration,” 51 ԴDz Provost Michael Bruno said. “Their groundbreaking research will not only advance their fields but also strengthen international academic partnerships.”

Fulbright U.S. Scholars from 51 ԴDz in 2024–25

  • Jan Brunson, an associate professor of in the , will study cesarean sections in Nepal. Collaborating with Suman Raj Tamrakar, head of obstetrics and gynecology at Dhulikhel Hospital, Brunson aims to understand the social, economic and systemic factors influencing c-sections. Her research focuses on balancing the life-saving potential and risks of c-sections by examining the experiences of women and healthcare practitioners. Brunson hopes to enhance reproductive knowledge and agency among women, ultimately improving maternal health outcomes.
  • Peter Fuleky, a professor of economics and research economist with the in the College of Social Sciences, will head to Budapest, Hungary to develop forecasting infrastructure for large-scale econometric models in the R statistical computing environment. In a user guide, he will describe best practices for time series data manipulation. He also plans to quantify the economic impacts of extreme weather events and use simulations to predict the impacts of climate change on economic conditions in the future. Fuleky hopes that his research will inform decision makers about the cost of taking no action, a baseline against which planned interventions can be evaluated.
  • Bruce Howe, a professor in the in the , will head to Portugal to advance the SMART seafloor cable system linking Portugal with the Madeira and Azores archipelagoes. SMART systems integrate sensors into telecommunications cables to monitor climate change, earthquakes and tsunamis. In addition to the Portuguese Atlantic CAM, he will work on the New-Caledonia-Vanuatu Tamtam SMART cable system, and collaborate with UN agencies and global partners to develop similar systems. His efforts aim to enhance disaster risk reduction and support sustainable coastal infrastructure, ultimately saving lives.
  • Monica Smith, an associate professor in the , will work as a visiting scholar at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, supporting faculty in primary and secondary education. Smith will collaborate with Chilean scholar Malba Barahona Durán on a study examining pedagogies and lesson feedback in multilingual classrooms. She will also co-teach courses on teaching English to primary students and guiding doctoral research. This opportunity will enhance her understanding of promoting multilingualism and allow her to build a professional network between 51 and Chile.
  • Joseph Tanke, a professor of in the , will travel to Budapest, Hungary to work on his fellowship “The American Scholar in the Age of AI,” which studies artificial intelligence from the vantage point of critical social philosophy and involves teaching American philosophy and art at Károli Gáspár University. Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “The American Scholar,” the project aims to explore how technologies like ChatGPT impact human thought and action, emphasizing the significance of philosophical inquiry for understanding AI‘s role in today’s world.

Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and professionals with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research abroad. Notable Fulbrighters include 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows, 41 heads of state or government, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors. Fulbright is a program of the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government.

The Fulbright Scholar Program is supported at 51 ԴDz through Fulbright program advisors William Chapman, interim dean of the ; Kristen Connors, fellowships, scholarships and professional development coordinator; and Betsy Gilliland, Department of Second Language Studies associate professor. For more information about the Fulbright Program at 51 ԴDz, visit the .

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Alumnus pioneers life sciences innovations he discovered at 51 ԴDz /news/2024/06/14/alumnus-pioneers-life-sciences-innovations/ Sat, 15 Jun 2024 00:22:05 +0000 /news/?p=199328 Vivek's unexpected journey started when he was a graduate student from 1999–2000 in the Department of Electrical Engineering and he made a mistake working with ceramics in the Physical Electronics Lab.

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person holding a small microchip
Vibhu Vivek holds a ceramic wafer used in Cellsonics products.

Vibhu Vivek, a pioneer in the field of life sciences and engineering, leveraged the academic and research foundations he established at the University of 51 at ԴDz to launch a pair of companies in the life sciences industry.

His unexpected journey started when he was a graduate student from 1999–2000 in the and he made a mistake working with ceramics in the Physical Electronics Lab. Vivek accidentally cracked a wafer, a thin slice of piezo ceramic material that generates ultrasonic waves when excited with radio frequency energy, and discovered that the crack propagated in a way that it segmented the electrodes resulting in a unique ultrasonic signature. This distinct pattern or characteristics of ultrasonic energy possessed very high levels of lateral ultrasonic waves when driven by high frequency radio frequency waves. When this ultrasonic energy was transmitted into fluids, it resulted in highly localized microscale mixing and fluid motion. This “mistake” became the topic of his thesis and much more.

two people smiling at the camera
Vivek and College of Engineering Dean Brennon Morioka

“It’s all about serendipitous discoveries in the lab, simply by staying attentive, open-minded, and acknowledging the vastness of the unknown, but still continuing to progress forward fueled by your beliefs in yourself and innovate in every step along the way,” Vivek said. “But it is important to recognize that innovations happen in small ways.”

Vivek became the president and chief technology officer for Microsonic Systems, Inc. and used what he discovered at 51 to create an award-winning product called the HENDRIX SM100 Ultrasonic Fluid Processor, which utilized high-frequency ultrasonic waves to mix, solubilize and homogenize fluids with high precision for various industrial and research applications. The fluids could be biological (blood, plasma and cell suspensions), pharmaceutical (drug formulations and vaccine suspensions), industrial (oils, lubricants and solvents) and more.

His company sold systems to top-tier pharmaceutical companies, such as Merck, Pfizer, Novartis and Astrazeneca. This product helped with the discovery of new drug formulations and the product was named a winner of the 48th Annual R&D 100 Awards (Oscars of innovation) in 2010. Vivek also received multiple grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health and NASA to further expand this technology.

In 2017, Vivek founded and became the chief technology officer for Cellsonics Inc., a life sciences technology company that has re-engineered single cell sample preparation in the field of genomics, cancer research and personalized medicine by dissociating live single cells from tissue samples using the ultrasound technology invented at 51.

Forming the foundations at 51

three people smiling for the camera
Vivek, Charisse Pudiquet and Morioka

A native of India, Vivek graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Jamia Millia Islamia, and was pursuing his master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi before transferring to 51 ԴDz.

“The Department of Electrical Engineering was well known for the work they did, especially in the Physical Electronics Lab during the early days of the cold war where a lot of semiconductor technology was developed funded by the Department of Defense,” Vivek said. “There was always a potential for me to innovate and create new ideas in the department.”

He graduated in 2000 with his master’s in electrical engineering and was a research associate in the Physical Electronics Lab, before leaving for the U.S. continent to pursue work opportunities. Vivek credits 51 ԴDz with helping him get his start in physical electronics, which includes nanotechnology, Micro Electro Mechanical Systems, semiconductors and more.

“My undergrad expertise was in robotics and electrical power engineering dealing with large machines. Going from really large, high voltage and big machines to working on small semiconductor electronics enabled me to think differently when compared to a conventional electronics engineer,” Vivek said.

Because of that experience at 51 ԴDz, he said, “That was foundational in pretty much everything I do today. In order for somebody to continuously innovate and be successful, one should not only have deep knowledge in one domain but should have the ability to apply it on other domains.”

Vivek explained that despite lacking formal education in life sciences, he primarily works in that field. Originally trained as an electrical engineer, he found himself immersed in molecular biology and biochemical processes. For current and future 51 engineering students, Vivek’s advice is to always try to go out of your comfort zone and seek the unknown. He believes that stepping into unfamiliar territory creates opportunities for fusion and ultimately fosters innovation.

“Typically, individuals with an engineering background tend to pursue careers in engineering. However, by venturing beyond one’s comfort zone and embracing new domains such as biology or economics, one can not only utilize their engineering skills but also cultivate new ones,” Vivek said.

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51 technology startup provides flood monitoring, real-time data in Maryland /news/2024/06/14/hohonu-flood-monitor/ Fri, 14 Jun 2024 20:29:52 +0000 /news/?p=199318 The data collected with Hohonu’s low-cost sensors and software will track and measure flooding to inform emergency management, adaptation and mitigation efforts.

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flooding
Flooding in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo credit: City of Annapolis)

A new project will help protect coastal communities from the impacts of flooding around the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland thanks to , a University of 51 technology startup that provides environmental water level monitoring. The new water level sensors, grant-funded through the University of Maryland, will be part of a larger resilience strategy in the area.

Flooding concerns and storm preparedness are part of a larger program with the University of Maryland, City of Annapolis and Hohonu. The data collected with Hohonu’s low-cost sensors and software will track and measure flooding to inform emergency management, adaptation and mitigation efforts.

man sharing presentation
Brian Glazer shares project plans in Annapolis, Maryland.

“This is one of many projects that Hohonu is servicing on the east coast of the United States,” said Brian Glazer, Hohonu CEO and co-founder, and associate professor at the 51 Mānoa . “We are working to provide solutions for a growing demand for real-time data in flood monitoring as we see increased frequency and intensity of storms and flooding. Just this year, our sensors have monitored three named storms and over 50 distinct flood events across our 80 east coast locations.”

The project is a result of an initiative to bring together land, air and water science. The goal is to learn how best to build resilience and create predictive models for more frequent and more intense flooding events. 51, a partial equity owner in the company, along with local nonprofits, is a part of Hohonu’s mission to democratize access to ocean observing technologies.

Hohonu plans to deploy up to 20 sensors in locations around the Chesapeake Bay that will provide vital information for the Annapolis City Dock. It will also help coastal communities, including Maryland’s capital city, to plan for future flood protection projects.

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51 Hilo student pharmacists to help patient medication management /news/2024/06/13/hilo-student-pharmacists-medication-management/ Fri, 14 Jun 2024 01:59:01 +0000 /news/?p=199260 Students will assist patients through Medication Therapy Management for people with chronic diseases in 51.

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pharmacy student on the phone

Student pharmacists from the will assist HMSA and University Health Partners to perform Medication Therapy Management (MTM) for people with chronic diseases in the state of 51.

“Our most qualified students will be putting their technical knowledge and people skills to work to help patients achieve better outcomes from their medications,” said DKICP Dean Rae Matsumoto.

MTM services will be available statewide via telehealth. HMSA will identify a subset of members that will be eligible for this early phase of the program. MTM students will help review a patient’s medication to ensure they are being used appropriately, answering any drug-related questions and determining the most cost-effective options. MTM students will help review a patient’s medication to ensure they are being used appropriately, answering any drug-related questions and determining the most cost-effective options.

“Studies show that using pharmacists to provide MTM services improves medication adherence and ensures patients are on the appropriate medications and doses,” said Camlyn Masuda, DKICP associate specialist and a coordinator for the new program.

Students can apply and interview for the MTM consultant positions, which will be in addition to their academics. Working under the guidance of a pharmacist, students conduct one-on-one phone consultations with each patient about all the medications they are taking, document the information and any recommendations and share it with the patient’s physician.

“This type of work experience puts our students on the forward edge of pharmacy services being offered in healthcare today,” said Matsumoto. “We are very excited to have this opportunity to work with HMSA and University Health Partners, two of the largest healthcare providers within the state, to help in delivering better care to their patients.”

DKICP will expect the first students to be hired and start providing MTM services after the fall semester begins.

Read more at the .

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Vietnamese ambassador sparks more 51 partnership talks /news/2024/06/13/vietnamese-ambassador-sparks-partnership-talks/ Fri, 14 Jun 2024 01:53:06 +0000 /news/?p=199292 Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Dzung stressed the importance of educational ties between Vietnam and the U.S.

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group photo with students, faculty and  Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Dzung
51 Mānoa faculty and students with Vietnam’s ambassador (fifth from left in back row).

The University of 51 at Mānoa hosted a special delegation led by Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Dzung from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. On May 22, the delegation, hailing from Washington D.C., engaged with 51 Mānoa faculty and students, fostering dialogue and collaboration.

51 Mānoa has long been regarded as a world leader in Southeast Asian studies. We hope this visit encourages our university to support more efforts to partner with Vietnamese universities that celebrate Vietnamese culture and language in Vietnam and across its diaspora, including 51,” said Miriam Stark, director of the 51 .

Ambassador Dzung stressed the importance of educational ties between Vietnam and the U.S. focusing on trade, investment, technological innovation and reconciliation efforts. He praised the success of the at the , which has seen more than 1,000 graduates. Through VEMBA, the business school partners with Van Lang University in Vietnam to train, guide and prepare Vietnam’s top executives who want to elevate their management skills.

The delegation was welcomed by Stark, Spencer Kimura (director of in the and Vance Roley, dean at Shidler. Nori Tarui, an professor and research fellow at the , moderated discussions.

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Maui nurse earns bachelor’s degree to empower Hana community /news/2024/06/13/maui-nurse-earns-bsn-empower-hana/ Fri, 14 Jun 2024 01:48:39 +0000 /news/?p=199262 Sherae Hanchett's path to nursing was driven by a strong desire to care for her grandparents and enhance the consistency of healthcare in her community.

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sherae hanchett in undergrad gown
Sherae Dauhn Hanchett

Sherae Dauhn Hanchett is a Maui nurse and a mother of three who aims to be an example for other healthcare professionals in her rural Hana community. Hanchett earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of 51 at ԴDz in May, and is the first in her family to attain a bachelor’s degree. Her path to nursing was driven by a strong desire to care for her grandparents and enhance the consistency of healthcare in her community. It started when she lost her job as a waitress in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and was hired at the Hāna Health.

My goal is to eliminate barriers to healthcare despite the challenges of our rural setting.
—Sherae Hanchett

“Seeing a lot of different doctors and nurses coming and going at Hāna Health while I was growing up made me realize we needed more consistent care,” Hanchett said. “People in our community were worried about seeing new healthcare providers all the time, and I felt I could do something about it.”

She began her nursing education at in August 2021, where her instructors recognized her potential and encouraged her to pursue further education. The decision to enroll in 51 ԴDz’s at the was greatly influenced by her family’s strong support, including her three children and longtime boyfriend, and the convenience of earning her degree from home.

“Sherae shines as a remarkable nursing student, showcasing exceptional motivation and unwavering determination,” said Michele Bray, associate professor and director of the Online RN to BSN program. “She devoted her population health nursing project to educating the youth of Hana, Maui, delving into a series of health teachings focusing on improving the quality of life, health outcomes, and post-high school career pursuits in healthcare.”

As a recipient of the Zimmerman Scholarship and financial support from the Maui Nurse Scholarship Foundation, Hanchett was able to fully cover the cost of her tuition at 51 ԴDz.

“Without it, the financial strain would have kept me from taking on this educational journey,” she said. “This allowed me to focus on my studies, work and family, making my goal feel attainable.”

Challenging “road” to her degree

hanchett with family members
Hanchett holding up a photo of her late grandfather at her 51 Maui College graduation, with her boyfriend and children, Alize (17), Aubree (12) and Akiko (7).

Hanchett’s academic journey faced many challenges, especially the long and difficult commute during her associate degree in nursing program. She drove 51 miles one-way along the windy Hana Highway to attend classes at 51 Maui College multiple times a week for two years. Despite these obstacles, the support from her family, employer and community kept her motivated.

“The encouragement from everyone was amazing,” Hanchett shared. “My entire journey has been defined by perseverance, support and a commitment to making a positive impact in my community.”

Reflecting on her experience as a nurse during the Maui wildfires in August 2023, Hanchett felt the emotional toll of the disaster.

“While I wasnʻt directly impacted, it was heartbreaking to witness the devastation from afar,” she said. “We in Hana were on standby, ready to assist. It was so encouraging to see the broader Maui community come together and provide huge support, demonstrating our remarkable solidarity in times of crisis.”

sherae hanchett wearing lei
Hāna Health recognizes Hanchett for becoming its newest nurse. (Photo credit: Hāna Health)

Setting a standard

Now, as a BSN-educated nurse at Hāna Health, Hanchett is more equipped than ever to serve her community, connecting them with essential healthcare resources and inspiring future healthcare professionals.

“My goal is to eliminate barriers to healthcare despite the challenges of our rural setting,” Hanchett said. “At Hāna Health, we’re committed to expanding access through mobile clinics, virtual appointments and community partnerships. Education is key, so we offer programs on chronic disease management and nutrition to ensure our community stays healthy.”

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