2023 RCUH Outstanding Employees of the Year

On October 24, 2023, more than 100 attendees were welcomed to the RCUH Awards Luncheon by RCUH Executive Director Lenny Gouveia. The luncheon, emceed by Hawaii News Now weather anchor, Guy Hagi, honored 20 exemplary employees from projects located on Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, and Oʻahu. A selection committee comprised of Peter Adler, Sarah Guay, and Taryn Salmon selected the awardees based on the employee’s:

  • Initiative, leadership, and resourcefulness in carrying out their achievements,
  • Impact of their achievements on the project, professional field, and/or larger community, and
  • Other variables such as the significance or quality of their achievements.

RCUH proudly announces this year’s awardees:


First Place: 


First Place: 

  • Derek Risch, Hawaii Wildlife Ecology Lab, UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

Second Place: 

  • Matthew Widlansky, Sea Level Center, UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology

Honorable Mention: 

  • Russell Kackley, Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
  • Natalie Wallsgrove, Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory, UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology

First Place (tie):

Second Place: 

  • Ola HAWAII, UH John A. Burns School of Medicine
    Grace Matsuura, Kimberley Spencer-Tolentino, JoAnn Tsark

Honorable Mention: 

Nominees videos can be viewed by clicking on each link above. All nominees received a certificate and $50 monetary award. Additionally, first-place awardees received $1,000 (shared equally by team members), while second-place awardees received $500 (shared equally by team members).

We wish to acknowledge and thank the following principal investigators who submitted nominations: Dominic Chow, Nahua Guilloz, Lui Hokoana, Brittany Huntington, Douglas Luther, Tiare Martin, Satoshi Miyazaki, Brian Popp, Melissa Price, Phil Thompson, and Jana Wilkinson.

Congratulations to all!