STAR Awards recognize individuals who render exceptional service to the UH Hilo community.
The Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching recognizes dedication and demonstrated excellence as teachers of undergraduate students. It was established as a memorial to the late Frances Davis, who taught mathematics at Leeward Community College and UH Mānoa for 19 years.
Terrence Bruns, Kauaʻi Community College
Bruns has taught on the island of Kauaʻi since 1990 when he started teaching at Kapaʻa High School. He has taught chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology, microbiology and botany, where part of the lab included teaching students about square foot gardening. In doing so, Bruns started a program in which students provide Kauaʻi CC’s Culinary Arts program with fresh vegetables and herbs.
Bruns’ hobbies include brewing beer, golfing, hiking and playing guitar.
Kuʻualoha Hoʻomanawanui, UH Mānoa
Hoʻomanawanui has taught more than a thousand students over the past five years, in courses that connect Pacific literature with other indigenous and classical narratives.
She was born in Kailua and raised both there and in Wailua Homesteads on Kauaʻi. Hoʻomanawanui is not only a teacher and scholar, but also an artist who is a highly respected community leader in Hawaiian literature, culture and politics.
She is the editor of Oiwi: A Native Hawaiian Journal, which creates opportunities for never before published writers, scholars, activists and youth.
Christopher Jacobsen, Hawaiʻi Community College
Jacobsen has made the rounds in the UH System. After graduating from UH Hilo with a BS in tropical horticulture, he spent 12 years working for UH Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
Jacobsen spent his youth in Minnesota. He finds peace and relaxation through meditation and enjoys gardening, landscaping, hiking and bodysurfing.
Roger Kwok, Leeward Community College
Roger Kwok, assistant professor of chemistry and physical sciences in the Department of Mathematics and Science at Leeward Community College.
Kwok was born in Hong Kong but moved to Hawaiʻi at the age of 9. He received both his BS ad MS in Physics from UH Mānoa.
Kwok takes pride in making science fun and engaging for his students by using interactive activities and colorful demonstrations in class. From his personal collection of fossils and minerals, Kwok developed a Natural History Exhibit in the science study lab that is available to the community. He also uses his collection while making scientific presentations at public elementary and high schools.
Kwok is an associate director of the Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium.
Marianne Takamiya, UH Hilo
Takamiya received her BSc in physics and MSc in astronomy from the Universidad de Chile and her PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Chicago. She did her post-doctoral research as a Gemini Science Fellow at the Gemini Observatory and was a research associate at UH Hilo.
She has been with UH Hilo since 2008.
Takamiya’s research interests include star formation and galactic dust absorption, evolution of field galaxies, quasar absorption line galaxies and globular clusters.
Sean Trundle, UH Mānoa
He is a doctoral candidate in American studies at UH Mānoa and has been a teaching assistant since the fall of 2007. He has taught a number of courses on his own and promoted a new course called Digital America.
Trundle affirms the importance of respecting his students who will “bring their own valuable experiences and insights” to class.