Celeste “Cesi” Manuia Haʻo, education programs assistant and outreach coordinator at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi, and undergraduate at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, recently delivered an hour-long talk about her personal journey into the fields of astronomy and canoe voyaging entitled, “Manu ʻImiloa: Modern and Ancient Ways of Navigating our Universe.” The presentation was part of Keck Observatory‘s Astronomy Talk series and held at the Kahilu Theater in Waimea on Aug 28.
Haʻo is a Hilo native born in Keaukaha and raised in Panaʻewa. In the 1990s, when the clash of culture and science surrounding astronomy atop Maunakea began to take rise, her fifth grade desire to be an astronomer caused a deep internal conflict—either choose to become a world-class scientist or choose to be a pono Hawaiian. It was in the seventh grade that she came to the realization that she could be both. Since then she has set out to be a bridge-builder that connects these two communities.
Haʻo is currently a student at UH Hilo set to graduate this fall with a degree in culture-based astronomy education, a baccalaureate program she designed with the guidance of mentor Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa, director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language. The degree is designed to enhance her life and occupational passion and mission of promoting place-based teaching and learning of astronomy and science through a cultural perspective. The education she’s receiving is already enhancing her passion for teaching and learning astronomy and science through a cultural perspective.