Scholarships awarded to UH Hilo students help develop future environmental leaders

Hauʻoli Mau Loa Scholars from uh Hilo are, top left, new grad students Anna Ezzy, Bronwyn Kay, and Kalena Shiroma, and bottom, sophomore graduate students Kūpono Aguirre, Matthew Dye, and Avalon Paradea. (Photo credit: profile pictures provided with kind permission)

Three new graduate students from the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program at the University of Hawaii in Hilo were selected to receive Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation scholarships. The overall objective of the scholarships is to train the next generation of leaders in natural resource management in Hawaii.

There are also three returns uh Hilo Scholars in their second year of graduate school. All students were chosen because of their strong academic records as undergraduates, their connection and integration with the local conservation community, their passion for ʻāina (land) and a keen interest in the preservation and protection of natural resources, and commitment to a career that works to preserve and sustain the local environment.

In addition to a tuition waiver, students will receive a regular stipend and funds for supplies and professional development for two years.

New Fellows

Anna Ezy

Ezzy is preparing a thesis with the professor Catherine Besio geography and environmental sciences. Ezzy worked in local agriculture with the Hawaii ʻUlu Coop in Hilo for two years. Explore both conservation and agriculture in Hawaiihis research project focuses on the interactions between post-plantation land management, soil fertility, biodiversity and food access.

“With the support of the Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation Graduate Scholarship I’m About to Ask the Questions Needed to Help Transform Hawaii agriculture into a means of conservation – building climate resilience and promoting ecological diversity – while serving as a mode of economic self-sufficiency for local farmers,” she said.

Bronwyn Kay

Kay is on internship and plans to work with the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration or The Nature Conservancy at Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Lisa Canale, uh Hilo coordinator for the professional internship track, advises Kay.

“My wish is to work alongside these organizations to vaccinate and tag Hawaiian monk seals as well as monitor honu, nene and shearwaters while ensuring their protection and preservation of their habitat,” Kay said. “The graduate program will help me connect with organizations Hawaii to guide my conservation career path, strengthen my relationships, and grow my professional network as I conduct meaningful research in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Kalena Shiroma

Shiroma is preparing his thesis with Jonathan Pricea uh Professor of Geography in Hilo, and focusing on analyzing field data collections from the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis Program in forest regions of the state of Hawaii.

“The goal is to assess the data recorded over the past two decades and come up with viable and practical solutions for advancing conservation management protocols today,” Shiroma explained.

Learn more about second-year scholarship recipients Kupono Aguirre, Matthew Dye and Avalon Paradego to uh Hilo Stories.

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