ARCS Light Award Winners

ARCS Light: Lama for the Honolulu Chapter

The ARCS Light Award is presented by the Honolulu Chapter president to a member who has given the highest quality and long-term service to the organization. Awardees have been active members for at least three years, served in a variety of committee and board roles, given continuous service that has had a positive impact on the chapter and been an exemplary representative of ARCS Foundation, Inc. to fellow members and the community. Recent honorees include:

Sui-Lan Ellsworth
Sui-Lan Elsworth, 2016

An earnest and passionate voice for STEM education, Sui-Lan Elsworth was born in Lima, Peru, where her father was a construction engineer, traveled the world and settled in Hawai‘i in 1972. As a high school English teacher she advocated writing in all subjects. including science. In a University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa geology class taught by ARCS Foundation Honolulu President Patty Lee, she received an A despite missing a few classes for childbirth. “The whole world opened up and I have been rabid about science ever since,” she says. Being a rough water swimmer for 30 years heightened her awareness of issues related to ocean reefs, and she funded an ARCS Scholar oceanography award in memory of her brother. Sui-Lan also created and promotes a Friends of ARCS group for non-member donors and is pursuing an alumni-funded ARCS Scholar award.

MJ Amundson headshot
Mary Jane “M.J.” Amundson, 2015

Veteran board member and treasurer, M.J. Amundson is a clinical nurse specialist and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse with expertise in child, adolescent and psychiatric health and more than 50 years experience in behavioral and community health nursing and education. She is a long-time University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene faculty member and co-founder of The Institute for Family Enrichment, which has provided training and services to Hawai‘i children and families for three decades. She was named the 2010 Outstanding Community Mental Health Leader for development of the first intensive home-based services program for families of children with behavioral disorders and for her role in preparing a cadre of advanced practice psychiatric nurses.

Ann Ho, headshotAnn Ho, 2014

Quietly invaluable, Ann Ho organizes field trips, decorates, calls and tireless promotes ARCS Foundation, Inc. Born in Honolulu to a large family, she has traveled often to the Orient, Europe and across the U.S. She earned a BFA in visual design from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa but insists she always loved mathematics. At her first Heart of Gold luncheon in 2001, Ann was impressed by the Scholar of the Year’s description of teaching school children to capture ants with peanut butter on popsicle sticks as an early warning system for the spread of an invasive species. She joined ARCs because she loves learning about science and believes it is an integral part of our lives. “I believe we play a part in making our world a safer and more healthy place to live,” Ann says. “My part may include encouraging talented science students  to stay in their  fields through the awards that we give. There are others who feel as I do, and we can reach out to them and expect great results.”

Sydney Kenny and family on stepsSydney “Syd” Kenny, 2013

Describing her college paper on whale reproduction embarrassed Syd Kenny’s mother, but marine biology remains a favorite field supported by ARCS Foundation Honolulu chapter. Syd cared for two children, joined Junior League and went to work for Hawaiian Trust Company, advancing from secretary to vice president. A chapter member since the 1980s, she served as president 1996–98. “I joined because of the people I met; I stay active because of them and the work we do to support young scientists,” she says. “I never fail to be impressed by their dedication. They are working to improve the quality of life for all of us. When one comes back to tell us what a difference the ARCS award made in their life, I am very proud and gratified.” She is active in Hawai‘i Education of the ARTS and P.E.O.,  assists an elderly friend with medical and financial matters and delights in her four granddaughters. Lauding the contributions of so many chapter members, she says, “As far as I'm concerned, they all light up my life.”

Patricia Lee headshot
Patricia “Patty” Lee, 2012, 2009

An “Air Force fledgling” who attended 13 grammar schools and graduated from Santa Monica High School and the University of Colorado at Boulder, Patty served in the Peace Corps in Thailand. She married Dan Lee and raised three children while earning an MS in geology from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where she was recruited to teach UH geology courses. An ARCS member since 2000 and two-term president, she established the ARCS Toby Lee Award in Geology and Geophysics in memory of her son, living the ARCS mission by shining a light to get us through challenging times. “Once you get involved with ARCS, you see how much this group does for the students, and that's why I love it. These kinds of efforts are critical to getting the U.S. economy back on track,” she observes.

Cheryl Ernst headshot
Cheryl Ernst, 2008

A Seattle native, Cheryl Ernst graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington with a BA in journalism and worked for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash., until marriage brought her to Hawai‘i. She joined the media relations and publications staff at the University of Hawai‘i in 1987, serving as director of creative services for the UH System and editor of the university's Mālamalama magazine before joining the UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Cheryl's career-long interest in learning and writing about science led her to involvement in the ARCS Honolulu Chapter. She is married to retired Honolulu journalist Andy Yamaguchi and has two grown sons and two grandchildren.

Doris Pulley headshot
Doris Pulley, 2006

A long-time member of ARCS Honolulu, Doris Pulley arrived in Hawai‘i in 1962 with husband Robert and baby Jenny. The couple, who had met at Miami University of Ohio, were eager to escape cold midwest winters and return to the islands Bob had grown to love as an aircraft carrier pilot. They brought the Burger King franchise to Hawai‘i, invested in real estate and approached life as an adventure. "A lovely part of it has been ARCS," says Doris, who spearheaded many events and inspired younger members. The couple was a strong supporter of their alma mater as well as the ARCS mission, and they  generously hosted ARCS events and sponsored a number of ARCS scholar awards.