Outstanding Employee

Each year, RCUH employees are recognized for their exemplary work. The following were recognized in 2016 (click on name for video):

Outstanding Project Support Staff

1st Place: Paul Berrios

Project: NASA Infrared Telescope Facility

Paul Berrios demonstrates extraordinary competence and leadership. He contributed in significant ways to the efficiency of the HVAC system at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility by working closely with the contractor to find the best ways to get work done in a cooperative and timely manner. Additionally, Mr. Berrios corrected long-standing mechanical problems with the observatory dome and shutter, resulting in reliability not seen since the observatory first went into operation.



lisaSatoAwards noelleLongAwards 2nd Place: Lisa Sato & Noelle Long

Project: Animal and Veterinary Services

The unsung heroes of the Animal and Veterinary Services are Lisa Sato and Noelle Long. Both ensure the effortless operation of day-to-day activities at the biomedical and neuro-behavioral vivariums. Both have dedicated years to improving the overall quality and efficiency at AVS so that University of Hawaii personnel may continue to make exciting contributions to scientific knowledge and advancing cures for diseases. Lisa and Noelle consistently deliver in both the quantity and the quality of their work. Their attention to detail, their ability to coach others, and their willingness to volunteer for assignments above and beyond the scope of their duties are just a few of the many praiseworthy qualities Lisa and Noelle routinely exhibit in their performance.


Outstanding Researcher/Project Manager/Professional Staff

1st Place: Timothy Williams


In 2007, the LEONIDAS program was established to design, build, test, launch, and operate small orbital satellites from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on the island of Kauai. The program built a rail launcher weighing 210,000 lbs and measuring 130ft in length. It is the largest of its kind in the world and is entirely the brainchild of Timothy Williams. Additionally, Mr. Williams presided over the construction of a new launch pad at PMRF that utilized 400 cubic yards of concrete and a supplemental 20 tons of rebar. His work met the rigorous standards of the Navy and Air Force. Because of his work, Hawaii is now a space-faring state.





2nd Place: Rebecca Briggs

Project: SOEST Laboratory for Analytical Biogeochemisty

The SOEST Lab for Analytical Biogeochemistry (S-LAB) must have sufficient income so that it can recoup its operating costs, including salaries. Rebecca Briggs worked tirelessly to grow the S-LAB’s client base. Under her leadership, the S-LAB has seen an eight-fold increase in clientele since it became operational three years ago. Thanks to Dr. Briggs’ efforts, the S-LAB has become self-sustaining.


2016 Nominees:

Congratulations to all of the 2016 nominees for their outstanding service! (click on name for video)

Felipe Carvalho
Project: JIMAR Stock Assessment Program

Andre Fehlmann
Project: Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope

Joyce Merrick
Project: Mauna Kea Observatories Support Services

Dawn Namahoe
Project: Office of Research, UH Hilo

Scotty Paiwa
Project: Office of Mauna Kea Management

Rodrigo Romo
Project: Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems

Tanya Rubenstein
Project: Natural Area Reserves System

Ryan Sugamoto
Project: Hawai‘i Corrosion Laboratory

Munirih Taafaki
Project: Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office

Akito Tajitsu
Project: Subaru Telescope

Marc Travers
Project: Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery, PCSU

Casper Vanderwoude
Project: Hawai‘i Ant Lab, PCSU

Thomas Waltjen
Project: Office of Mauna Kea Management

Mariska Weijerman
Project: JIMAR Coral Reef Ecosystem Program

Mathew Wung
Project: Subaru Telescope

Group Nominations:

Violet Horvath, Peter Mataira, Mari Nakamura, Dylan Arrieta, Colin Whited
Project: Pacific Disabilities Center

Helen Yolisa Duley, Nancy Lombard
Project: Suicide Prevention Program, UH Hilo

Faculty Excellence in Research

RCUH provided a $5,000 cash award to each recipient of the UH Regents Medal for Excellence in Research. The three 2016 faculty awardees and summaries of their research are presented below:

Brian W. Bowen

Brian Bowen is a Research Professor at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. He has made outstanding contributions to the conservation of marine species such as sea turtles, shrimp, sturgeon and white sharks. Since joining HIMB in 2003, he has trained 23 graduate students, and sits on the committees of another 14 graduate students. He has published approximately 200 peer-reviewed publications, garnering over 13,000 citations. This sought-after speaker has given 16 guest lectures in the past three years and, over his career, has presented 90-plus times. His competitive grants represent more than $6 million of extramural funding. This American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow earned the Kobe Award for lifetime achievement in aquatic biology.

Loïc Le Marchand

Loïc Le Marchand is a Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center. He has contributed significantly to the field of cancer epidemiology, and was one of the first epidemiologists to study the role of genes and the environment on cancer incidence. His work has been nationally and internationally recognized. He was a member of the 2015 IARC (International Agency for Research in Cancer) committee that reviewed evidence for processed meat as a carcinogen, and was recognized on the 2015 Thomson Reuters’ “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds and Highly Cited Researchers” list. Extremely successful at obtaining grant support, he brings in several millions of dollars to the University annually. He always strives to build a research environment that fosters the training of new scientists.

Kristin Pauker

Kristin Pauker is an Assistant Professor in the College of Social Sciences’ Department of Psychology. She is described by a nominator as a young scholar whose thoughtful and careful research has contributed to developmental science with an impressive scope and breadth. She is making significant contributions to developmental and social psychology in the areas of intergroup attitudes, racial bias, interracial anxiety and essentialist beliefs. Using cutting-edge methodology, her research particularly focuses on the timely and important topic of racial prejudice. Since joining UH Mānoa in Fall 2011, she has published 12 peer-reviewed journal articles and a book chapter, with four manuscripts currently under review and a number under preparation. She has also been successful in obtaining federal funding to support her scholarly works.

Student Excellence in Research

In 2016, three $500 student awards were funded by RCUH. The recipients of these awards were:

Megan Ansdell, Graduate Student (Doctoral Level)

Megan Ansdell has pursued her academic interests with distinction at well-known institutions abroad, but returned home to Hawaiʻi to pursue a doctorate in astrophysics at the Institute for Astronomy. Her research is in the exciting area of formation of planetary systems, and she has already published four first-authored refereed papers on her work. She also just completed a paper on her groundbreaking survey of the Lupus cluster, one of the youngest nearby clusters undergoing active star formation. Her surveys of this and other star-formation regions are being made with the new ALMA telescope array, which provides 10 times the angular resolution and sensitivity of previous surveys of star formation regions. These surveys will permit studying planet formation on spatial scales similar to that of our own solar system.

Keisha Bahr, Graduate Student (Doctoral Level)

Keisha Bahr brings tremendous intellectual insight and positive energy into her PhD research at the Hawaiʻi Institute for Marine Biology. Her dissertation work focuses on identifying species and community level responses to local and climate change impacts in the estuarine coral reef ecosystem of Kāneʻohe Bay, in particular coral bleaching. She published her entire dissertation prior to her defense. She has won several awards, including the “Best Graduate Poster” at the annual UH Albert Tester symposium. Due to her natural leadership, she was selected to serve as chair for a novel session that will focus on coral bleaching, monitoring, management responses and resilience at the International Coral Reef Symposium. Most notably, she co-wrote and is co-investigator on a fully funded National Science Foundation grant in the Division of Ocean Sciences.

Ryan Gough, Graduate Student (Doctoral Level)

ryanGoughAwardsRyan Gough is not only one of the top PhD students in the Department of Electrical Engineering, but he has also gained recognition within the international microwave community. He was named the 2014 ARCS Scholar of the Year, the first time a UH engineering student garnered the award for achievement among all sciences within the University. His work on creating dynamically reconfigurable circuits and antennas using liquid metals brings to mind the futuristic shape-shifter in the Terminator movies. This graduate student has made such fundamental advancements in the area that the nation’s foremost expert, a North Carolina professor, flew to Honolulu for Gough’s dissertation defense. He is unmatched in writing extramural proposals, communicating to a wide array of audiences, mentoring undergraduates, and providing service to the professional community.