RCUH Outstanding Employees

Sixteen exemplary RCUH employees were recognized at the 2022 RCUH Awards Luncheon for their exceptional contributions to the advancement of research, training, and development in Hawai‘i and beyond.

Outstanding Researcher/Project Manager

 1st Place: Cris Milne
UH John A. Burns School of Medicine

Cris has served as a Research Nurse Practitioner at the Hawai’i Center for AIDS for more than 25 years. Cris and five other nurses were presented with the 2021 Suzanne Richmond-Crum Award for their outstanding contributions in providing HIV/AIDS services to the community. Dr. Dominic Chow said that Cris truly embodies the mission of the center as a tireless advocate for quality medical care, research, and education for health professionals.

2nd Place: Hank Oppenheimer
UH College of Natural Sciences

Hank is one of the premier botanists in Hawai’i and has discovered six new and invasive plant species on Maui over the last 14 years. As the Maui Nui Coordinator for the Plant Extinction Prevention Program, Hank strives to protect and save Hawai’i’s rarest plants using a variety of methods, including fencing, rat trapping, and weed control. Because of his efforts, there are currently restored populations of native plants that would have otherwise gone extinct.

Outstanding Project Support Staff

1st Place: Kelsey McBeain
UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology

As a Lab Research Technician, Kelsey is responsible for maintaining a unique collection of phytoplankton and virus cultures isolated from the ocean waters around the Hawaiian islands. There are hundreds of strains that must be kept alive, which is no easy task. Kelsey has streamlined and reduced the time for culture maintenance procedures by nearly 50% so that it now takes less than a week per month.

2nd Place: Naomi Moran
Subaru Telescope

With Naomi’s help, accidents at Subaru Telescope have been on the decline since 2018, however safety is a daily challenge. High altitude conditions can cause staff to lose awareness of their environment. Naomi provides on-site safety training for staff and conducts monthly inspections. She also took the lead in updating Subaru’s COVID-19 guidelines and procedures, keeping pace with ever-changing local and federal guidance.

Outstanding Team

1st Place: Telecommunications and Social Informatics (TASI)
Ginger Porter, Alyssa Shimizu, Umerang Imetengel

This trio supports the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center and the Pacific International Training Desk. Ginger, Alyssa, and Umerang were instrumental in maintaining disaster communications when the Kingdom of Tonga was struck by a volcanic eruption and tsunami in January 2022.

2nd Place: ITS Cyberinfrastructure
Sean Cleveland, Jennifer Geis, Jared McLean, Maria Dumanlang, Michelle Choe

This team supports research projects across the UH system, including Hawai’i EPSCoR, which recently received a $20 million NSF award. Sean, Jennifer, Jared, Maria, and Michelle played a major role in developing EPSCoR’s Hawai’i Climate Data Portal.

Honorable Mentions

Jesse Abdul – UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology

Joanna Norton – UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

Shepherd Research Lab (Nisa Kelly, En Liu) – UH Cancer Center

Congratulations to all of the 2022 honorees!