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Feb. 2004, Vol. 29 No. 1
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UH Alumni Profiles

Jo Ann Schindler headshot

New state librarian knows the ropes

Jo Ann Schindler
BA, psychology, ’70 Manoa

Recent read: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, borrowed from the local library

Non-reading pastime: Watching science fiction movies (especially Aliens)

Family: Husband Mark, a Honolulu Community College physics professor

Honors: 1999 Library System Employee of the Year, MCI Hawai'i Cybrarian of the Year

Hawai'i’s new state librarian takes a dual approach to challenges. Jo Ann Tanouye Schindler plans to improve technology and train staff to use it. She hopes to increase the materials budget but encourages staff to be creative where funds aren’t available.

She certainly knows her way around a library. After earning a master’s at UC Berkeley, she worked in libraries in San Francisco and Los Angeles before returning to Hawai’i as a Maui Community College librarian in 1977.

She worked as branch manager at Kamuela, reference librarian in Pearl City, head of research and evaluation for the state system and section head at the Hawai'i State Library, where she was director for one year. In October 2003 she accepted responsibility for a 50 branch, 500 employee, $25 million system with 800,000 card-carrying patrons.

Described by colleagues as personable, intelligent and an excellent communicator, Schindler’s first act as acting state librarian in July was to survey staff system-wide on possible library initiatives.


steve Lyons headshot

Meteorologist sees nothing but blue skies

Steve Lyons
BS ’76, MS ’77, PhD ’81, meteorology, Manoa

Claim to fame: Widely broadcast weather expert

Extracurricular: Attended UH on a track scholarship

Home: Roswell, Ga., shared with wife and two children

Favorite Hawai'i surfing spot: Laniakea on the North Shore

Steve Lyons left Huntington Beach, Calif., for Manoa more than 30 years ago intending to become a physician. But the track star/surfer soon changed his plans.

"I didn’t miss any questions on a meteorology exam," he says. "I called my parents to tell them I was changing my major." His father asked him if he would be able to find a job. Lyons wasn’t sure, but confidently replied that many opportunities awaited a future meteorologist.

Fortunately, his forecast was correct. Before joining The Weather Channel in 1998, Lyons enjoyed many jobs, including researcher, ocean wave forecaster and professor. Still, 95 million people worldwide know him best as The Weather Channel’s tropical weather expert. The cable station, in its 21st year, is not yet available in Hawai’i, but it’s where mainlanders turn when nature’s fury approaches.

During hurricane season, Lyons works around the clock providing information to viewers. "Everything I know about weather, I learned at UH," Lyons says. "It’s possible to help people and save lives. And, the best thing about my job is that I can go outside anytime and look at it."


Jan-Michelle Sawyer and Bruddah Iz statue, both with lei

Sculptor’s art inspired by music

Jan-Michelle Sawyer
MA ’92 Manoa

Passion: Commemorating Hawai’i music makers in bronze

Online presence: A column on her craft

Quote: "When interpretation is present, the experience can become deeply intimate and emotional for the viewer."

Sculptor Jan-Michelle Sawyer worked from photos to create the likeness of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole in 2001, but she felt his presence. Two years later, she celebrated the installation of her tribute to the popular singer/composer in the presence of his family and hundreds of fans.

The three-quarter size bronze bust memorializing "Bruddah Iz" resides outside the Wai'anae Community Center thanks to a fundraising drive supported by fans in Hawai'i and California.

Dedicated to honoring those who have contributed to Hawaiian music (her bust of virtuoso slack key guitarist Gabby "Pops" Pahinui graces the entrance to the Waikiki Shell), Sawyer donates her time as a gift to Hawai'i.

She began her training in sculpture at Manoa while studying communication. She maintains Jan-Michelle Sculpture in Honolulu and Nevada City, Calif.


Graduates are $25,000 Milken Recipients

Elden Seta headshot

Elden Seta

Elden Seta
BEd ’87 Manoa

Joanne E. (Otoshi) Ho
BEd ’76 Manoa

UH graduates are recipients of the coveted Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards in at least two states.

The $25,000 prize is awarded to just 100 teachers in the country for inspiring students, colleagues and the community and contributing to their profession. The teachers will be honored in Washington, D.C., in May 2003.

In Hawai'i, Elden Seta was honored for 16 years of building the music program at Moanalua High School.

Strict but popular, he has expanded enrollment by 40 percent and taken performing groups to Carnegie Hall and Rose Bowl parades and will direct students in Japan’s International Band Festival in March. Moanalua students have voted him Outstanding Teacher of the Year three times.

Joanne Otoshi Ho headshot

Joanne E. Ho

In Nevada, Joanne E. Ho has taught at Clark High School for 14 years, serving as English department chair the last six.

She works with at-risk students and helped create a team-taught, cross-curricular character education program with adult advocates.

"My early experiences at Manoa introduced me to my most influential educators and role models and on-site experiences," says Ho, who is active in the UH Alumni Association with husband Stanton, a 1990 recipient of UH’s Distinguished Alumni Award.