2018 Honolulu Scholars

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2018 Honolulu ARCS Scholars

Christopher ShulerChristopher K. Shuler
Toby Lee Award in Geology and Geophysics and 2018 ARCS Scholar of the Year
Advisor: Aly El-Kadi; Expected graduation: May 2019
Education: BS in environmental science, University of Oregon; post-baccalaureate certification in environmental education, University of Minnesota, Duluth; MS in geology and geophysics, UH Manoa
Goal: work with water utilities or organizations, applying hydrogeologic field studies, geochemical applications, numerical modeling and project management to provide clean drinking water
Chris uses groundwater modeling, water quality studies and environmental assessments to sustainably manage groundwater resources on the island of Tutuila in the Territory of American Samoa, work that has already produced two technical reports. He is an avid naturalist, outdoorsman and ocean goer.
Julia CramerJulia D. Cramer
ARCS Honolulu Award in Chemistry
Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences
Advisor: Joseph Jarrett; Expected graduation: May 2019
Education: BS, Chemistry, University of Hawai‘i at Ma¯noa
Goal: a career in academia, where she can run her own research group investigating how metals and organometallic compounds move through ecosystems and are modified and/or sequestered by plants and bacteria
Julia studies the enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of the critical vitamin biotin by bacteria, with the ultimate goal of designing safe and effective drugs to combat antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that cause tuberculosis. When she is not in the lab, the Mililani High School graduate enjoys spending time at the beach with her son, sewing, making jewelry and reading (anything, but fantasy novels in particular). She will use her ARCS award for professional travel and preschool tuition.
Kristin DembiaKristin A. Dembia

Bretzlaff Foundation Award in Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
Advisor: Roger Babcock; Expected graduation: June 2019
Education: BS in civil engineering–structural focus, The Ohio State University; ME in civil engineering–water resource management, Colorado State University
Goal: serve the country as an engineer, in uniform for the next 15 years and another 20 in a civilian position
Kristin is researching greenroof design with integrated on-site water holding to improve rainwater-runoff capture and mitigate flooding in urban environments. She is investigating indigenous plants and different soil depths in pursuit of a system that exceeds current LEED standards. A native of Hamilton, Va., she enjoys CrossFit, cooking and reading. ARCS Scholar funds will help with tuition and research expenses.

Allexa Dow headshotAllexa R. Dow
Sarah Ann Martin Award in Microbiology
Microbiology, College of Natural Sciences
Advisor: Sladjana Prišić; Expected graduation: August 2020
Education: BS in biology, MS in molecular biosciences and bioengineering, UH Ma¯noa
Goal: pursue a science career, sharing passion for bacterial genetics and molecular microbiology with young learners
Interests: cooking, surfing, hiking, running, hula-hooping, DIY projects, aquaculture
Allexa is using a model mycobacterium to study ribosome heterogeneity—the ability of many bacteria to build complex cellular structures called ribosomes using different proteins under different growth conditions. Better understanding of the process in the model bacteria could shed light on how pathogenic bacteria, such as that causing tuberculosis, survive. ARCS Scholar Award funding will allow the Castle Rock, Colo., native to share findings and pursue collaborations with mainland colleagues.
Nicholas Krueger headshot
Nicholas C. Krueger

Helen Jones Farrar Award in Tropical Agriculture
Natural Resources and Environmental Management,
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Advisor: Jonathan Deenik; Expected graduation: December 2019
Education: BS in agriculture, UH Hilo; MS in agronomy, University of Florida
Goal: teach and conduct research in tropical grazing systems and animal husbandry in Hawai‘i
Nick is measuring soil carbon stocks in Hawaiian rangelands at various altitudes, gradients and precipitation zones to identify what controls carbon sequestration in volcanic soils and evaluating grazing systems aimed at diversifying incomes for producers while maintaining ecological health. He is lead author on two research articles and recipient of the 2017 Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Graduate Student Grant. He plays bluegrass banjo and fiddle, surfs, hunts pigs and is working to perfect his chili pepper water recipe.

Brooks Mitchell headshotBrooks I. Mitchell
Ellen M. Koenig Foundation Award in Medicine
Tropical Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine
Advisors: Cecilia Shikuma and Lishomwa Ndhlovu; Expected graduation: May 2019
Education: BS in microbiology, MS in biomedical sciences (tropical medicine), UH Ma¯noa
Goal: pursue an MD after completing his PhD, gaining
clinical knowledge that will better articulate the significance of bench research to clinical research as a physician scientist
Interests: hiking swimming, surfing, free-diving
While HIV isn’t the death sentence it once was, it appears to cause chronic inflammation and lymph node fibrosis that create higher risk of corollary illnesses. Brooks is studying the underlying immunological mechanisms, which could lead to cell-targeted therapies that reduce lymphoid tissue fibrosis. He has received several achievement awards and travel scholarships related to his research. The ARCS Scholar award will help defray living expenses, allowing him to focus on his research.
Sergey Negrashov headshotSergey Negrashov

Sarah Ann Martin Award in Information and Computer Science
Information and Computer Science, College of Natural Sciences
Advisor: Phillip Johnson; Expected graduation: December 2018
Education: BS in computer science, BS in physics, University of Minnesota
Goal: integrate renewable energy into the O‘ahu power grid
Interests: amateur radio, high energy particle physics, STEM mentoring, rapid prototyping, hiking
Managing renewable energy in a community where peak daytime solar production doesn’t coincide with peak evening user demand for power will require effective monitoring. So Sergey has developed smart monitors that he would like to deploy across the island to gauge the interaction of the O‘ahu power grid with renewable energy. Because his research is largely self funded, the Russian-born, naturalized U.S. citizen who considers Hawai‘i home will use ARCS Scholar Award funding to purchase additional lab hardware.

Andrew Repp headshotAndrew S. Repp

Columbia Communications Award in Astronomy
Institute for Astronomy
Advisor: Istvan Szapudi; Expected graduation: May 2020
Education: BS in mathematics, Bob Jones University; MS in mathematics, Virginia Tech University; MS in astronomy, UH Ma¯noa
Goal: obtain a faculty position at a university that emphasizes education
Interests: Guitar, hiking, secondary education, literature
Andrew is developing new methods to tease more usable information out of the massive amounts of data that will be collected in multi-billion-dollar galaxy surveys over the next decade. His technique promises to extract twice the information, thus providing more insight into fundamental questions about the nature of the universe. The Greenville, South Carolina, native received the Friends of IfA’s Best Second-Year Research Project in 2015, and he is already lead author on six publications. He plans to use ARCS funding for travel to attend off-island professional conferences.

Van Wishingrad headshotVan Wishingrad
Maybelle Roth Award in Conservation Biology
Biology, College of Natural Sciences
Advisor: Robert Thomson; Expected graduation: May 2020
Education: BA in biology, University of California, Santa Cruz; MSc in biology, University of Saskatchewan
Goal: become a research scientist
Interests: hiking, backpacking, science, lizards/snakes
Van’s research focuses on landscape genetics—the idea that the physical structure of the landscape can influence evolution by accelerating genetic change by preventing gene flow. Previous studies have focused on specific populations. Van is using the widely-dispersed Western Fence Lizard as a model species to understand whether landscape genetics findings can be generalized across space. The Santa Barbara, Calif., native is the lead author on five publications on lake sturgeon.