Nominees for the 2023 RCUH Outstanding Employees of the Year Awards

This year 11 Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators nominated 20 individuals for the RCUH Outstanding Employees of the Year Awards. Employees were recognized for their demonstrable, significant, and exemplary contributions to their projects. Nominee headshots are shown from left to right in the order listed below. Please join us in congratulating:

Project Support Staff

  • Jennifer Benitez, Upward Bound, UH Maui College

Researcher/Project Manager

  • Russell Kackley, Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
  • Derek Risch, Hawaii Wildlife Ecology Lab, UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
  • Natalie Wallsgrove, Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory, UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
  • Matthew Widlansky, Sea Level Center, UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology


  • Applied Research Laboratory at UH Maui: Yvette Gurule, Gerry Smith, Kelly Suzuki Payba, Lynette Yamamoto
  • Center for Maunakea Stewardship, UH Hilo: Mark Ellis, Robert Madrigal, Oscar Pouoa, Tommy Waltjen
  • Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology: Corinne Amir, Jonny Charendoff, Mia Lamirand, Frances Lichowski
  • Ola HAWAII, UH John A. Burns School of Medicine:Grace Matsuura, Kimberley Spencer-Tolentino, JoAnn Tsark

All nominees will be honored at an awards luncheon at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Campus Center Ballroom on October 24, 2023.