Honors News Update: Summer 2021

July 9, 2021

Gigi Otten Wins NSE Student Achievement Award

Gigi Otten, a UHP student in Anthropology and Conservation/Wildlife Biology, has received the Wendel Wickland Student Achievement Award for her work at the University of Hawaii at Manoa through the National Student Exchange. During the spring 2021 semester, Otten completed an oral history project for the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). The goal was to preserve traditional ecological knowledge by interviewing native Hawaiian foresters and community members. The DOFAW Oral Histories project will be available to incoming foresters and the public so they can learn about their island. Otten said she learned the importance and application of community-based anthropology which works to decolonize by implementing the host community’s vision instead of taking from it. Otten took full advantage of her NSE experience despite the global pandemic. She benefitted personally, academically, and professionally, and the oral histories project will have a lasting impact on the island of O’ahu. Congratulations, Gigi!

Darby Ronning Combines Statistics and History in Research at the Wangensteen

Darby Ronning, a UHP student in both History and Statistical Science, has been featured by University Libraries for her unique research conducted at the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine. Ronning's work focused on the letters of James H. Stuart, a young physician on the North Pacific Exploration Expedition. She took statistical figures noted in the 19th century to describe position at sea, put them into a spreadsheet, and did the math to convert them into decimal degrees. Her work earned her the 2021 U-Spatial Mapping Prize for Undergraduate Student — Best Representation of Research. Congratulations, Darby!

Brian Neff Featured for Thesis Work

Brian Neff, who graduated summa cum laude this past spring with a degree in Kinesiology, has been featured by the Univeristy for his research and thesis work. Brian fed off his passion for snowboarding and other winter sports to write a unique thesis that seeks to understand how chromotherapy (or “light therapy”) might improve performance for alpine skiers. In addition to his Kinesiology degree, Brian also completed minors in sports coaching and applied music, with an emphasis in classical guitar. Read the full story here!

UHP Students Cited in the Chronicle of Higher Education

UHP students Gigi Otten (Anthropology and Conservation/Wildlife Biology) and Trey Feuerhelm (Ecology, Evolution and Behavior and Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology) were cited in a Chronicle of Higher Education piece on creative responses to emergency student needs. Otten and Feuerhelm have both been involved with the campus chapter of Swipe Out Hunger, an organization that helps students donate meal-plan credits to classmates in need. Great work, Gigi and Trey!

UHP Alum Sophie Vrba Featured by National Institutes of Health

Sophie Vrba (summa cum laude - Microbiology - 2019) recently completed a postbac in the Viral Immunity and Pathogenesis Unit of the Laboratory of Clinical Immunology & Microbiology (LCIM) where she worked under the supervision of Heather Hickman, Ph.D. Vrba also participated in the NIH Academy, a postbac program that offers trainees the opportunity to learn about health disparities, enhance their knowledge of gaps in health outcomes, and investigate what is being done to address health disparity issues. Read all about Sophie's experience at NIAID and her next steps!

UHP Alum Joseph Rojas on Political Representation for the Trans Population

Joseph Rojas, Jr. (summa cum laude - French, Spanish & Portuguese, and Global Studes - 2018) recently wrote a piece on Trans political representation that was featured on the website of the Atlantic Council. "To begin to address the gamut of challenges and threats trans and gender non-conforming people face," explains Rojas, "countries will have to promote and protect trans rights globally as well as advocate for and support increased trans political representation." Read the full article here.

UHP Alum Amber Jones Featured in TPT Originals Project, Racism Unveiled

Amber Jones (summa cum laude - African and African American Studies, Political Science - 2015) was featured in this piece on white supremacy in policing, which is part of the larger TPT Originals project, Racism Unveiled. Jones, who serves as outreach coordinator for the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage, asks important questions like, "How can we implement residency requirements and excessive force restrictions. . . if at the root of it we’re not being explicit about how white supremacy is affecting law enforcement?"