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The Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research is awarded by the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents in recognition of scholarly contributions that expand the boundaries of knowledge and enrich the lives of students and the community. Bruce F. Houghton, Fei-Fei Jin and Angelicque E. White received the 2021 awards.

Bruce F. Houghton, UH Mānoa

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Bruce F. Houghton

Bruce F. Houghton is the Gordon A. Macdonald Professor of volcanology in the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. He is also Hawaiʻi’s state volcanologist and science director for the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at UH Mānoa.

His research specialty, and that of his students and postdoctoral fellows, is the eruption dynamics of explosive eruptions, particularly at Kīlauea and Stromboli volcanoes. Houghton played a leading role in collaboration with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in the science response during the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea. He works across the interface between volcanoes and society, collaborating with world leading disaster psychologists and sociologists.

He has published 267 papers in international journals, including four papers in Nature in the first four months of 2021, and received 13,700 citations. Described by his colleagues as a “giant of volcanology,” Houghton was a 2017 recipient of the highest accolade from the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, the Thorarinsson Medal, as only the ninth recipient of the medal in the 100-year history of the association.

Fei-Fei Jin, UH Mānoa

Jin headshot
Fei-Fei Jin

Fei-Fei Jin is a UH Mānoa professor of atmospheric sciences in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. He made seminal contributions to advance our understanding of many important climate phenomena, including EI Nino-Southern Oscillation, tropical climate variability, and large-scale atmosphere and ocean circulation variability.

During his 28 years with the university, he brought in $6 million in grants and advised several dozen PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. He has published 240 peer-reviewed papers, with more than 24,000 citations. In 2020, he was recognized as Web of Science’s Highly Cited Researcher, ranking in the top 1% of citations in the field.

Jin has also received a number of prestigious honors, including his elections as a fellow of American Geophysical Union, a fellow of American Meteorological Society (AMS) and recipient of AMS Sverdrup Gold medal. His service to the research community at large include serving as a co-convener of sessions in the American Geophysical Union, European Geosciences Union and serving as co-chair for Science Advisory Committee of Open Lab of Nation Climate Center of China.

Angelicque E. White, UH Mānoa

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Angelicque E. White

Angelicque E. White is an associate professor of oceanography in the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. She joined UH Mānoa’s Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education in 2018. White’s research focuses on plankton biodiversity, productivity and elemental cycling in upper ocean ecosystems.

She is currently the lead principal investigator for the Hawaiʻi Ocean Time-series (HOT) program and is passionate about spreading the gospel of HOT and the need for sustained ocean observations. Her 2020 TED talk at the National Academy of Sciences was deemed one of the 20 most popular TED talks in 2020.

White has participated in more than 40 oceanographic research expeditions to sites spanning the subtropics to the Antarctic, received research grants totaling over $18 million, and published nearly 80 articles in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. She was a recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, the American Geophysical Union Ocean Sciences Early Career Award, and the Association of the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography Yentsch-Schindler Early Career Award.

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