University of Hawaiʻi System News Fri, 20 Dec 2019 23:41:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 University of Hawaiʻi System News 32 32 UH research vessel Kaʻimikai-O-Kanaloa retires from service Fri, 20 Dec 2019 23:41:43 +0000 Kaʻimikai-O-Kanalo">K-O-K, the ship joined the fleet of UH marine expeditionary research vessels in 1994 and has been used across the Pacific Ocean on a variety of missions .]]> research vessel
Research Vessel Kaʻimikai-O-Kanaloa

A reception was held on the University of Hawaiʻi research vessel Kaʻimikai-O-Kanalo (“Heavenly Searcher of the Seas of Kanaloa”) just before she was sold this fall. Affectionately known to many as the K-O-K, the ship joined the fleet of UH marine expeditionary research vessels on January 15, 1994. Since then, K-O-K has been used across the Pacific Ocean on a variety of missions that included submersible operations, deployment of deep-sea moorings, hydrographic surveys and studies of marine biology, chemistry and climate change.

The original vessel was built by Mangrove Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Texas, in 1979 and was used for more than a decade for oil and gas exploration. Starting in 1992, UH oceanographer and director of the Hawaiʻi Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL), Alex Malahoff, worked tirelessly to acquire and reconfigure this 185-foot offshore supply vessel to serve as a support ship for HURL’s two human-occupied submersibles, Makaliʻi and Pisces V, the remotely-operated vehicle RC V-150. After the vessel Makaliʻi was retired, K-O-K also supported the submersible Pisces IV.

Attendees at the reception included Beverly Malahoff, who christened the reconfigured R/V Kaʻimikai-O-Kanaloa when she emerged from Bender Shipbuilding and Repair Co. as a versatile 223–foot oceanographic research vessel with a cruising speed of 10 knots, a 15,000 nautical mile range, 50–day endurance, and space for 14 crew members and 19 scientists. The approximately $5 million conversion was funded by the state of Hawaiʻi and NOAA, with the state holding the ship’s title.

K-O-K’s greatest accomplishments

yellow sub on the deck of a vessel
HURL submersible ready for launch. Credit: Jana Light

K-O-K facilitated research in Hawaiian waters and across the Pacific Ocean by scientists from UH and around the world. Some of K-O-K’s greatest accomplishments using the HURL submersibles include finding the sunken Japanese midget sub that led the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, investigating the chain of active volcanoes running north from New Zealand, long-term monitoring of the changes and growth of Loʻihi seamount off Hawaiʻi Island and finding dozens of new species in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

“In addition to enabling important discoveries and ocean monitoring efforts, the local access of K-O-K made available UH’s UNOLSM (University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System) and AGOR (Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research) vessels (previously R/V Moana Wave and now R/V Kilo Moana) for extended circum-Pacific expeditions,” said Brian Taylor, dean of the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.

One of the most consistent users of K-O-K was the Hawaiʻi Ocean Time-series (HOT) program. From July 1999 through July 2018, 93 separate HOT cruises to the open-ocean Station ALOHA were conducted aboard K-O-K. The vessel was also used in Hawaiʻi for numerous expeditions by the UH Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education and the UH Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology, including the Life Aquatic in the Volcanic Aftermath expedition in July 2018 to explore the effects of the Kīlauea eruption on the marine environment.

After 25 years of scientific voyages for UH, K-O-K was retired following her final expedition in July 2018 on the 304th cruise of the HOT program. In December, K-O-K was towed to Mexico by an ocean tug where she will be recycled and repurposed.

HURL submersible Pisces V aboard KOK (Photo credit: Jana Light).
Moloka‘i farmers urged to ‘think like a papaya’ Fri, 20 Dec 2019 23:29:35 +0000 CTAHR’s Extension team in Molokaʻi encourages the idea of thinking like a papaya in order to help the papaya crops flourish in dry regions and foster new farm families.]]> close up of green papayas

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) Molokaʻi Extension team assists the community in increasing their papaya market success and fosters Native Hawaiian farms with a creative philosophy: “Think like a papaya.”

Extension Agent Glenn Teves offers this unlikely advice to help farmers succeed on Molokaʻi.

Glenn Teves
Glenn Teves

On a practical level, he means farmers should figure out what they would want if they were papaya plants in order to help their trees flourish in the hot, dry, sometimes inhospitable Hoʻolehua region.

Fellow Agent Jennifer Hawkins is also helping Molokaʻi organic papaya producers to implement best management practices for increased market success. This includes growing more varieties of organic papaya since Molokaʻi doesn’t have any diseases that could harm the papaya crops.

Teves’ recommendation reflects a larger holistic philosophy of farming—being at one with the plants and the ʻāina. It is a sense of farming that involves working with the crops, the soil, the precipitation and the climate.

Working with the state is part of the web of interdependence between the communities and the farmers. Teves and Hawkins serve in the Beginning Farmer program which coordinates with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to foster new Native Hawaiian farm families through a hands-on, experiential agriculture education program.

This sense of cooperation is what makes extension work on Molokaʻi unique, not only from the Mainland, but also from other islands, Teves believes.

Read the full story and more about CTAHR’s collaborations statewide in their quarterly impact report.

UHERO forecast: External factors impacting Hawai‘i economy Fri, 20 Dec 2019 18:27:52 +0000 UHERO reports that improvements on the environments outside of Hawaiʻi have the potential to boost the local economy.]]> landscape of Honolulu harbor

The newest University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO) report focusing on the outlook for key economies beyond Hawaiʻi’s shores found that issues outside of the state are restraining areas of the local economy.

UHERO reports that Hawaiʻi’s economy has entered a soft patch. Falling visitor spending and a declining population have suppressed demand and halted growth in nonfarm payrolls. However, the construction industry is holding up, and the number of visitor arrivals continues to grow.

Despite the fluctuations in the economy globally, UHERO expects an improvement in the external environment which could also benefit Hawaiʻi’s economy in future years. UHERO reports how the following factors have impacted the local economy.


  • Visitor arrivals are heading for another record, set to exceed 10 million this year for the first time. While arrivals will continue to grow at a modest pace, real visitor spending will break even at best next year.
  • The local hotel industry is performing better than the national average. Airline capacity is also rising on both inter-island and mainland routes, following the entry of Southwest Airlines.
  • Despite the decline in payrolls, the unemployment rate remains low by historical standards and labor income growth remains healthy. Relatively stable oil prices and moderately rising shelter costs will keep overall inflation subdued.


  • The state’s population has been declining for the past three years, in part because of outward migration.
  • The global economy has been dragged down by the trade war and softness in a number of large countries, resulting in the weakest growth since the global financial crisis.
  • Japan’s economy has taken a hit from global trade and another from the November consumption tax hike. Trade woes are also weighing heavily on Korea and many emerging Asian economies.
  • Risks of a more negative downside have grown, including global weakening, ongoing trade disputes and political uncertainty.

For a full public summary go to the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization website and for a detailed analysis, subscribe to UHERO’s Forecast Project.

See more from UHERO in UH News.

Vulcan softball coach achieves 800th victory Fri, 20 Dec 2019 02:05:31 +0000 UH Hilo.]]> coach callen perreira
Coach Callen Perreira (right)

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo softball coach Callen Perreira was honored for achieving his 800th victory as a collegiate coach at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Convention in December.

Perreira won his 800th game in the final contest of the 2019 season at Hawaiʻi Pacific University and has won 664 of those games at UH Hilo in 23 seasons.

“I want to thank all of my former and current players, assistant coaches, athletic staff and booster club members for their support, understanding, energy and passion for the game,” Perreira said. “This milestone and continued success would not be possible without them and the continued encouragement from my family and friends.”

Perreira began the first of two runs as the Vulcans coach in 1990 in the third year of the college’s program. After coaching at the College of Southern Nevada, Perreira returned to UH Hilo in 2017. He achieved an 88-54 record following his return.

Under Perreira in 2019, the Vulcans were 31-17 and 24-11 in the Pacific West Conference. The Vulcans will open the 2020 season on February 6 at the Dixie State Courtyard Classic.

For the full story, visit the UH Hilo Athletics website.

UH President Lassner on latest Maunakea developments Thu, 19 Dec 2019 20:19:13 +0000 Hawaiʻi.”]]> Summit of Maunakea and its shadow

The University of Hawaiʻi acknowledges the reduction of state law enforcement presence on Maunakea initiated by Governor David Ige today. These past months have been difficult for everyone, and we deeply hope this provides a period of reflection for all to continue to seek a positive, peaceful and non-violent path forward on Maunakea and for Hawaiʻi.

UH continues to support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) as part of a positive future for modern world-class astronomy on Maunakea, as we also embrace the decommissioning of multiple telescopes on the mauna and the commitments to stewardship, education and culture embedded in the permit conditions for the TMT and the resolutions of our Board of Regents.

UH believes that Maunakea is a place of inspiration, awe and spirituality for many where modern astronomy can and should coexist synergistically with traditional knowledge and culture to advance all the people of Hawaiʻi and the world.

David Lassner

I fully recognize that some Hawaiians consider Maunakea to be so sacred that it should not be the home for TMT or any modern observatory. For them, this sacredness outweighs any benefits of modern astronomy to human knowledge, scientific inspiration and discovery, education, or high-quality jobs. Thousands of Hawaiians and others have raised voices in opposition, and I am sorry for the pain that UH’s support of TMT and astronomy on Maunakea has caused.

At the same time, some Hawaiians and others have shared that they consider the study of astrophysics, the beginnings of the universe and the origins of mankind, to be the most spiritual of endeavors. Some consider the fact that Maunakea is the best site in the world for astronomical observation to be a gift to the people who were the best naked eye astronomers of their day—the Polynesians who first settled here after navigating to these most isolated of islands using their knowledge of the stars along with the ocean and winds, the clouds and the birds.

I am personally inspired by amazing collaborations over these past few years in which astronomers have been working together with cultural and language experts and educators: the connections being explored between modern astrophysics and the Kumulipo; the Maunakea Scholars Program through which Hawaiʻi high school students on every island are developing research proposals and answering their own questions using the best telescopes in the world; and Hawaiian-speaking students who have engaged with experts in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and astronomy to create new Hawaiian names for celestial bodies discovered in Hawaiʻi. These inspiring synergies show us the possibilities, and they are examples of collaborations that take place nowhere else on earth.

The university will also continue to strengthen our stewardship of Maunakea, which has become exemplary after the missteps of the first decades. The resolution adopted by the UH Board of Regents in November 2019 commits us to redouble our efforts to accelerate decommissioning, to streamline our internal management model, to explore new collaborative approaches to stewardship and management, and to advance education and culture on the mauna.

We must also acknowledge that TMT and even Maunakea are not the sole root causes of the deep turmoil that Hawaiʻi has faced over these last months, including the reawakening of many to the need for justice. The historic wrongs against Native Hawaiians have resulted in many problems that have been intractable thus far: Hawaiian health disparities, shorter life spans, increased houselessness, lower educational attainment, economic inequality, increased incarceration rates and more. There is also much work ahead to help ensure and advance the revitalization and normalization of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and to bring back to the fore the wisdom of those who lived so sustainably in our islands prior to western contact. And we have yet to resolve complex policy issues around Hawaiian Home Lands, ceded lands and our ability to make difficult decisions as a community about complex projects.

UH must bring our consequential capacities to bear in collaboration with like-minded allies, whether opponents or supporters of TMT and astronomy, to address these many challenges and opportunities for Native Hawaiians and Hawaiʻi. At the same time, we have substantial work ahead on our campuses to advance healthy climates that ensure equity and respect among our incredibly diverse communities of students, faculty and staff of different backgrounds. practices and beliefs. We can and must be welcoming to all.

As we enter this holiday season and the beginning of a new decade, we celebrate, congratulate and honor our recent graduates. I hope we can all reflect on our opportunities as part of the University of Hawaiʻi, the institution that more than any other can lead the way to a better future for our islands and all who call Hawaiʻi home.

David Lassner, President
University of Hawaiʻi

Iosia earns AVCA All-America honorable mention recognition Thu, 19 Dec 2019 00:46:38 +0000 UH Mānoa women’s volleyball player Norene Iosia earned American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America honorable mention honors for the first time in her four-year career.]]> Iosia holding volleyball, word A V C A Honorable Mention All American

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa women’s volleyball player Norene Iosia earned American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America honorable mention honors for the first time in her four-year career.

This season the senior setter/outside hitter helped to lead Hawaiʻi to its first Big West title since 2016 and its first NCAA Regional appearance since 2015.

In her final season as a Rainbow Wahine, Iosia led Hawaiʻi with 645 assists, 331 digs and 48 service aces. She concluded her standout career at UH ranked No. 9 with 3,148 career assists, No. 8 in with 1,175 career digs, and tied for No. 2 with 139 career service aces with Martina Cincerova who played from 1985-88. A double-double machine, Iosia recorded 20 this season—including all three of UH’s NCAA tournament matches to end her career. In all, she finishes her career with 64 career double-doubles and 5 triple doubles, 379 kills and 216 career blocks.

For more go the UH Mānoa Athletics website.

New trees, sustainability certificate at Windward CC Wed, 18 Dec 2019 01:19:18 +0000 CC to replace the banyan trees removed from the great lawn with new native Hawaiian trees, and a new sustainability certificate will be offered for students.]]> students planting trees
Windward CC students work with Steve Mechler, Outdoor Circle, to plant two new banyans.

Despite efforts to save majestic banyans invaded by “vampire bugs” (that suck the life out of Chinese banyans) and stem gall wasps on Windward Community College’s great lawn, 12 of the more than 30 banyans needed to be removed over the past several years, changing the campus landscape. Thanks to a grant from The Arbor Day Foundation, new trees are taking their place.

The Outdoor Circle and Windward CC worked together to secure a $30,000 grant from Enterprise Rent-A-Car through the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 31 new trees: two different species of banyans, and a variety of native and Polynesian trees including koaiʻe, ʻōhiʻa, lonomea, lama, alaheʻe, sandalwood, wiliwili, loulu, kamani, kukui and manele.

students planting trees
Three new ʻōhiʻa trees (1 yellow, 2 red) were planted at Hale Kuhina building.
volunteers planting trees
Myles Ritchie, Outdoor Circle and Kelli Brandvold, interim vice chancellor setting the new ʻōhiʻa.

More than 80 volunteers from the University of Hawaiʻi, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Windward CC and the Outdoor Circle spent a misty Saturday morning in December planting the new trees.

“These native plants have ecological benefits, like providing food and habitat for other native species. The trees use carbon dioxide to grow, making them the best solution to fighting global warming,” said Christian Palmer, sustainability committee chair and assistant professor of anthropology, adding, “Many native trees are rare or endangered and planting them can teach the community to recognize and learn about native forest ecosystems, as well as traditional Hawaiian ethnobotanical uses for these plants such as food, medicinal, dyes, cordage, carving and construction.”

Hawaiian cultural and religious practices were also closely connected to the natural environment. Botany Professor Teena Michaels teaches that “each tree could be seen as being a kinolau, which is the embodiment of a Hawaiian god or goddess.” Ecological knowledge of Hawaiian plants and places is deeply connected to traditional cultural and spiritual knowledge.

In addition, trees provide shade which can lower the cost of cooling buildings and offset the heat effect caused by urbanization. Trees also provide outdoor spaces for students to study, paint or hang out. They are an essential component of creating a healthy, positive and vibrant sense of place on campus.

One student said, “This is the most beautiful campus on Oʻahu, and the peace and calm it brings is priceless.”

New sustainability certificate

In addition to new trees, Windward CC is offering a new academic certificate in sustainability that provides students with an interdisciplinary introduction to core concepts of sustainability.

This certificate also prepares students for other UH degree programs such as the UH West Oʻahu bachelor of applied science (BAS) in sustainable community food systems, UH Maui College BAS in sustainability science management, UH Mānoa Interdisciplinary Studies BA in sustainability or Hawaiian studies BA—Mālama ʻĀina track.

More importantly, it will help students understand the interdisciplinary nature and relevance of sustainability in whatever major and career they choose.

volunteers planting native trees
Volunteers plant 31 native trees and two banyans.
Hawai‘i CC–Pālamanui culinary arts students receive scholarships at event Tue, 17 Dec 2019 23:51:59 +0000 Hawaiʻi CC—Pālamanui Culinary Arts students receive scholarships from the American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association.]]> culinary students and instructors
Estefie Viernes, Blossom Kaunoni, Vichadach Chotikawan, Kamaile Gusman, Annie Skilling, associate professor Paul Heerlein and instructor Kerstin Pfeiffer. Not pictured: Tanner Legler. (Photo credit: Kirk Shorte)

Six culinary arts students from Hawaiʻi Community College–Pālamanui received scholarships on Saturday, December 7, during the 31st Christmas with the Chefs holiday gala.

The scholarships were awarded by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Kona Kohala Chefs Association, which uses proceeds from the event to support local culinary arts students and members of the association who want to further their education.

The scholarship recipients this year are Estefie Viernes, Blossom Kaunoni, Vichadach Chotikawan, Kamaile Gusman, Annie Skilling and Tanner Legler.

“These scholarships aid students completing their two-year Associate of Applied Science culinary degree, while preparing them for gainful employment in the workforce,” said Jean Hull, a retired Hawaiʻi CC culinary arts associate professor and founder of Christmas with the Chefs.

Proceeds from the event support scholarships as well as the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs and Jean Hull Endowment fund. The fund, set up in 2015, finances guest speakers, travel to student competitions and purchases of the latest culinary equipment and supplies for students.

To date, the Christmas with the Chefs has awarded about $900,000 in total funds. Mark your calendar for next year’s 32nd benefit on December 5, 2020.

The Hawaiʻi Community College Culinary Arts program is offered at two locations: the Manono Campus in Hilo and the Pālamanui Campus in Kona.

Native Hawaiian health focus of JABSOM PhD Tue, 17 Dec 2019 23:43:10 +0000 Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine is conducting research that may have a significant impact on underserved and vulnerable populations.]]> Christian Dye
Christian Dye

A graduate student in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) is conducting research that may have a significant impact on underserved and vulnerable populations. Christian Dye is probing the causes of diabetes and other chronic diseases prevalent in Native Hawaiian and other communities.

Dye, currently a faculty member at JABSOM, will earn his PhD from UH Mānoa in spring 2020.

“My current research seeks to understand inflammation-associated disorders, like diabetes, from an epigenetics viewpoint—the influence of environmental factors (diet, exercise, smoking, etc.) on how our cells function by influencing how genes are turned on, off, or even changed,” he explained.

JABSOM has allowed me to be at the center of research that is not only meaningful, but was instrumental in allowing me to do so in the communities that I feel most passionate about, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders,” Dye said.

Dye focuses on epigenetics to determine the potential mechanisms underlying disease pathogenesis. “We may be able to understand whether certain areas of the genome are epigenetically regulated and if such regulation may be involved in how immune cells function and whether this leads to immune dysfunction or inflammation.”

Exciting results of Dye’s research include the benefits of an intervention in Native Hawaiians with diabetes, which led to drastic changes in epigenetic profiles. The epigenetic alterations were linked to changes in gene expression and immune cell function (reduced inflammation) that were associated with better glycemic control. “These findings have potentially bridged cell function and beneficial health outcomes with epigenetic modifications that may regulate genes enriched in biological functions important to immune cells,” he said.

Dye plans to develop a network of community-based participatory research centers for investigation of cellular, molecular or biological mechanisms that may underlie the benefits of culturally-based practices and interventions. “By bridging indigenous knowledge and practice within a western context of science, technology and medicine, we may be able to understand the ‘science’ as to why these practices are beneficial to at-risk communities while also elucidating how certain cells, like immune cells, may function, and the potential that their regulation may be involved in beneficial health outcomes which can eventually be used in targeted strategies for understanding disease risk and possible therapeutics.”

Dye’s interest in the cellular and molecular biology of health disparities motivated him to work at the UH medical school. “JABSOM has allowed me to be at the center of research that is not only meaningful, but was instrumental in allowing me to do so in the communities that I feel most passionate about, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders,” he said. “JABSOM also allowed me to enter some of the communities where these health disparities are prevalent and use research to help understand them.”

Read more on the JABSOM website.

Maui culinary students win cake contest with local flavors Tue, 17 Dec 2019 23:22:01 +0000 Hawaiʻi Maui College Culinary Arts Program constructed original cake recipes for the King's Hawaiian cake competition.]]> students looking at their cakes
Baking students and their cakes ahead of the King’s Hawaiian Product Development Competition (Photo credit: UH Maui College Culinary Arts Program)

For many weeks and countless hours, baking students at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College Culinary Arts Program dreamt up, put down on paper, baked, revised, baked again and decorated original recipe cakes to compete in a product development competition sponsored by the iconic company King’s Hawaiian.

chocolate kona coffee fruit cake
Chocolate Kona Coffee Fruit Cake (Photo credit: UH Maui College Culinary Arts Program)

The students were charged with creating three-layer, refrigerated cakes “made of sweet, soft based cake sponges with light, sweet creamy fillings. The cakes and decorations must be durable enough to stay intact through delivery to grocery stores, display and customers transport home.” And, of course, they needed to highlight Hawaiʻi flavors and ingredients.

In the end, after five judges (all UH Maui College Culinary Arts Baking alumni) tasted 10 delicious and beautiful cakes in two categories—Tropical and Chocolate—they unanimously chose Amber Kalish’s POG Cake and Dana Lynn Soriano’s Chocolate Kona Coffee Fruit Cake. Each winner was awarded $1,000 from King’s Hawaiian.

P O G cake
POG Cake (Photo credit: UH Maui College Culinary Arts Program)

Leading the judge’s panel was UH Maui College Culinary Arts Alumnus Pastry Chef Jeremy Choo. He is now the innovation pastry chef—Office of Hawaiian Foods for King’s Hawaiian. “We’ve done these kinds of competitions before at [Kapiʻolani Community College] and I was thrilled to be able to bring this one to Maui,” he says.

Jordan Frank, King’s Hawaiian director of product development and innovation also traveled to Maui for the competition from the company’s headquarters in Los Angeles. He was duly impressed and explained that there is certainly a chance that the winning concepts or a component or components of one of those concepts might find their way into a future King’s Hawaiian commercial product.

UH Maui College Culinary Arts Program Director and Pastry Chef Teresa Shurilla and Pastry Chef Instructor Hannah Stanchfield shepherded their students through the process and were extremely proud of all of them. “All the participating students came up with such imaginative concepts and worked so hard to bring them to life on the cake plates!” says Shurilla. “As I always say, friendly competition is a great motivator.”

pastry chefs and student
From left, Hannah Stanchfield, Amber Kalish, Jeremy Choo and Teresa Shurilla (Photo credit: UH Maui College Culinary Arts Program)