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The Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation has pledged a new commitment to support graduate students pursuing master’s degrees from the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. The pledge is for three students entering the program in 2015 and three students entering in 2016. Chaired by Professor Donald Price, the TCBES graduate program is a leader in conservation biology and environmental science training.

Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation’s continued support is largely due to Dr. Price and his team’s great work with the TCBES students,” says Jung Song, director of corporate and foundation relations at the UH Foundation. “Many thanks for all the work that UH Hilo and TCBES are doing to develop these students into future leaders in the conservation field.”

Fellowship success story

Kylle Roy

Kylle Roy is a current fellow in the program, pursuing her dreams to become a future Hawaiʻi conservation and environmental leader. For her thesis project, she is using genetic and other ecological techniques to reveal the diet of the endemic Carbid beetle found in mountain forests across Hawaiʻi Island. These beetles have disappeared on some islands due to human impact, and she hopes to pave the way for the use of this genus as bioindicators of forest health.

“Words could not express how grateful I am for being a Hauʻoli Mau Loa fellowship recipient,” says Roy. “Because of the program I was able to enroll as a master’s student and focus on my studies. This year has been incredible, as I have taken 17 credits, developed my thesis project, spent a lot of time in the field, attended two conferences and even found time to do a little volunteering.”

Roy received her bachelor of science in biology with a minor in environmental science from Chapman University. Her research work as an undergraduate caught the eye of Price, who researches the genetics of Hawaiian native species.

“Her research this next year will be to fully develop the next generation and the stable isotope techniques to determine the insects in the diet of the beetles,” says Price.

Roy credits the Hauʻoli Mau Loa Fellowship Program for making her academic, research and outreach efforts possible.

“As a Hawaiian, born and raised in Hawaiʻi, I know how grateful the land and the people are of the much needed financial conservation efforts,” she says. “This fellowship has really allowed me to explore my career options, providing countless opportunities for networking. I feel this fellowship has brought me much closer to my dream career in management for a profit or non-profit organization.”

The other Hauʻoli Mau Loa fellowship recipient are Karma Kissinger, Angela Beck, Christopher Yakym, Asa Aue and Timothy Sullivan. Read the story on the UH Hilo Stories website to learn more.

—By Susan Enright

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