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ARCS-Honolulu awards 24 University of Hawaii scholars for their graduate work in science, engineering and health

University of Hawaiʻi
Cheryl Ernst, (808) 956-5941
External Affairs & University Relations
Patty Lee, (808) 230-0133
Posted: May 22, 2008

HONOLULU — The Honolulu chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists, Inc., presented 24 awards to University of Hawaiʻi graduate students during its recent 2008 Achievement Awards Banquet. The $5,000 awards recognize the scholars‘ work, which ranges from tackling transmission of leptospirosis-causing pathogens and curing a tropical disease called Spam to improving high performance integrated circuits and solar energy conversion devices to eavesdropping on whales and developing new ways to identify marine viruses.

The Scholar of the Year award, which carries an extra $1,000 prize, went to zoology doctoral candidate Michael Boyle along with the Maybelle Roth Award in Conservation Biology for his work on developmental biology in marine worms. Boyle, a former construction worker, combines two kinds of microscopy to examine gut formation in three species of polychaete annelids. "The more you understand about development, the more you understand when something goes wrong," Boyle said in his presentation.

Other scholars are listed below with their school or college, awards and areas of research:

  • Melissa Agsalda, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Ellen M. Koenig Award in Medicine for work on pediatric B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma minimal residual disease

  • Austin Anderson, mathematics, ARCS Award in Mathematics for his work on properties of spaces in the complex plane

  • Andrea Blas, molecular biosciences and bioengineering, ARCS Award in Tropical Agriculture for her work on the molecular genetic basis of color in papaya (with an eye to improving nutritional content)

  • Jennifer Brum, oceanography, ARCS/Farrar Award in Oceanography for her work on new ways to identify marine viruses

  • Jeremy Claisse, zoology, ARCS Award in Marine Biology for his studies of the life history and management of yellow tangs

  • Tracey Freitas, microbiology, ARCS Award in Microbiology for his efforts to determine the genome sequence of Streptococcus pyogenes in Hawaiʻi

  • Lana Gimber, John A. Burns School of Medicine, HMSA Award in Community Medicine, for her examination of functional dependence of dementia patients in home care before and after the 1997 Balanced Budget Act

  • Kevin Hall, zoology, Sarah Ann Martin Award in Zoology for work on translocation of endangered species of Oʻahu tree snails

  • Samuel Hulme, geology and geophysics, Toby Lee Award in Geology and Geophysics for his studies of Earth systematics and deep-sea exploration of active plate margins

  • Jess Kaneshiro, electrical engineering, Robbins Award in Solar Energy Research for his work on novel thin-film energy conversion devices

  • Laurel King, communication and information science, Columbia Communications Award in Telecommunications and Computer Science, for her use of eye-tracking and other measures to gauge the relationship between visual and verbal information preferences and problem representation in analytic reasoning tasks

  • Jill Kobashigawa, electrical engineering, Shelagh Kresser Award in Engineering for her work on use of magnetotellurics to detection of buried objects, such as land mines and improvised explosive devices

  • Ivy Lo, electrical engineering, Bretzlaff Foundation Award in Engineering for her efforts to design a wide-band low noise amplifier for ultra wide-band wireless communication

  • Lisa Mandle, botany, Sarah Ann Martin Award in Botany for her examination of human impact on plant populations and communities in India‘s Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

  • Kurtis Nishimura, physics and astronomy, Robert Pulley Award in Physics for his research on rare B meson decays in particle physics

  • Yvette Paulino, public health and epidemiology, Clifford Laughton and Jackie Takeshita Award in Cancer Research for research on betel nut chewing and oral cancer in Micronesian populations

  • Benjamin Philmus, chemistry, Sarah Ann Martin Award in Chemistry for work on natural products biosynthesis and biochemical characterization of enzymes

  • Randall Roark, nursing, M. J. Amundson Award in Nursing for evaluation of fruit and vegetable intake data from the Healthy Hawaiʻi Initiative. Roark is earning his degree through the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene‘s online PhD program in nursing.

  • Steven Rodney, physics and astronomy, Helen Jones Farrar Award in Astronomy, for his research on Type Ia Supernova Progenitors using data from the Pan-STARRS telescope

  • Alison Stimpert, zoology, Doris Pulley Award in Cetacean Research for her use of suction cup tags to study sounds and behaviors of humpback whales

  • Gloria Tumbaga, John A. Burns School of Medicine, ARCS/Starbuck Award in Medicine for her efforts to eradicate Spam, the nickname for a disfiguring tropical skin disease in Chuuk. A veteran of six medical missions, she plans to become a humanitarian physician.

  • Mayee Wong, ecology, conservation and pathogen biology, Theodore T. and Pearl K. Tomita Award in Infectious Diseases for her molecular investigation of pathogenic leptospires among wild small mammal hosts in Hawaiʻi

  • Lindsay Young, zoology, Maybelle Roth Award in Conservation Biology for her research on population and conservation biology of Laysan Albatross


For 50 years, ARCS Foundation, Inc. has been dedicated to helping meet the country‘s need for scientists and engineers by providing awards to academically outstanding U.S. citizens pursuing graduate education in the sciences, engineering and health. Every dollar raised by the Honolulu chapter supports students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.