Among more than 1,100 student research presentations, Kapiʻlani Community College student Kimberly Kahaleua was recognized as a standout among her peers by judges at the fall 2015 Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Conference in Washington, DC. Kahaleua won one of the Best Student Presentation Awards for her research topic "Bacterial Effects of Nioi (Capsicum frutescens)." She is the only undergraduate student from the University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges to do so.
While still in high school, Kahaleua was absorbed in science courses, but she had no clear idea where her path would lead her. Just before graduating from Pearl City High School, she learned about the STEM Summer Bridge Program at Kapiʻolani CC. She felt a tug, “more like a calling,” and she followed that energy which introduced her to opportunities for learning and personal growth.
Kahaleua comments that the faculty at Kapiʻolani CC are very nurturing and she credits Keolani Noa, STEM outreach coordinator, for being a positive influence on her educational pathway. Kahaleua is also grateful to Kathy Ogata for being a superb faculty-mentor on her research project.
Kahaleua is heading for UH Mānoa through the Kaʻieʻie Program with the goal of earning a bachelor of science in biology. Beyond that, she would like to further study tropical conservation, possibly through biology and environmental science.
The ʻIlima Society is the University of Hawaiʻi’s Chapter of SACNAS and this year, Hawaiʻi science students and professors were awarded the Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award, Distinguished Mentor Award and three Best Student Presentation Awards.