Study of Newborn Stars Leads to ARCS-Honolulu 2004 Scholar of the Year Award for UH Doctoral Candidate

Ten other UH Manoa students also recognized for outstanding research

University of Hawaiʻi
Cindy Hunter, 808/956-4748
ARCS-Honolulu Chapter
Posted: May 14, 2004

HONOLULU — The Achievement Rewards for College Scientists—Honolulu Chapter (ARCS) has named University of Hawaiʻi doctoral candidate Scott Dahm its 2004 Scholar of the Year.
Dahm was one of 11 UH Mānoa students recognized by ARCS for outstanding graduate work in the sciences. Each received a $5,000 award, with an additional $1,000 presented to the Scholar of the Year, during "Reaching for the Stars," ARCS-Honolulu‘s annual dinner held earlier this month at the Waialae Country Club.

Dahm, a native of Baton Rouge, La., received the Helen Jones Farrar Scholarship in Astronomy. His PhD research uses Mauna Kea telescopes to observe star "nurseries" hundreds of light years away. Dahm is analyzing how new-born stars separate themselves from their parent clouds and how they surround themselves with the beginnings of planetary systems.

Jonathan D. Awaya, a doctoral candidate in molecular biosciences and bioengineering, received the ARCS Scholarship in Horticulture. Awaya received a BS in biology from UH Mānoa and has worked extensively in environmental biochemistry. His doctoral research investigates bacterial enzymes that can break down toxic compounds in an otherwise nutritious tropical plant favored by cattle.

Jennifer L. Campbell-Meier, a doctoral candidate in communication and information sciences, received the ARCS Columbia Scholarship in Telecommunications and Computer Science. She is researching how technology changes the way people access, use and share information while building TRIP, an online community on Travel Research, Information and People.

Eric Conklin, a doctoral candidate in zoology, received the ARCS Scholarship in Marine Biology. He is a resident research assistant at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology on Coconut Island while pursuing his dissertation research on the interaction between herbivorous coral reef fish and marine algae. He has found that the fishes‘ taste for accidentally- or intentionally-introduced alien algae may help explain why some become problems while others are kept in check.

Judith Denery, a doctoral candidate in molecular biosciences and bioengineering, received the ARCS Kresser Foundation Scholarship in Engineering. She studies the dynamic biochemical processes within a cell, using tandem chromatography and mass spectrometry to monitor 200 metabolites at a time. Her goal is to relate information on these metabolic profiles to gene sequence and protein expression in the antibiotic-producing marine bacterium Streptomyces tenjimariensis.

Theodore S. Durland, a doctoral candidate in oceanography, received the ARCS Scholarship in Oceanography. His love of the ocean, mathematics and physics merge in his doctoral work to build a mathematical model that explains the behavior of equatorial waves as they pass through narrow gaps in the coastline. The work builds on his previous work on the propagation of large-scale mid-latitude waves, which led to published papers on ocean circulation near Hawaiʻi.

Kenneth Hayes, a doctoral candidate in zoology, received the ARCS Maybelle Roth Scholarship in Conservation Biology. His doctoral research uses apple snails as a model for understanding the evolution of neotropical biodiversity, work that may provide insights into the management of these invasive pests.

Beth Irikura, a doctoral candidate in molecular biosciences and bioengineering, received the ARCS Bretzlaff Foundation Scholarship in Engineering. She uses microarrays to measure changes in the biochemical pathways that plants use to cope with a ubiquitous carcinogenic pollutant, benzo[a]pyrene.

Heather McMillen, a doctoral candidate in anthropology, received the ARCS Maybelle Roth Scholarship in Conservation Biology. She hopes to promote research that addresses the links between natural and cultural resources, and environmental and human health. Her doctoral research this summer will take her back to Tanzania, where she was born and where she conducted research as a Fulbright fellow on ethnomedical systems. In the coastal forests, she will examine the ecological, cultural, and health dimensions of medicinal plant collection and management.

Kyle A. Mitsunaga, a third-year student in the John A. Burns School of Medicine, received the ARCS Scholarship in Medicine. He is involved in several research projects at Shriners Hospital for Children on bone cysts in pediatric patients, and he has studied the role of bone marrow aspirate in orthopedic spinal fusion surgeries with his father, a Honolulu orthopedic surgeon.

Eric Umemoto, a doctoral candidate in microbiology, received the ARCS Scholarship in Microbiology. Umemoto pursued his interest in immunology working on a chronic airway inflammation and asthma project at the University of California, San Francisco, and studying auto-immunity in type I diabetes while a graduate student at the University of Washington. His doctoral work looks at the progression of tumor cells from normal to cancerous and how they acquire resistance to the immune system.

ARCS Foundation helps to meet the United States‘ need for scientists and engineers by providing scholarships to academically outstanding students who are U.S. citizens in need of financial assistance to complete their higher education. The ARCS Honolulu Chapter has provided close to $1.6 million dollars to more than 500 University of Hawaiʻi graduate students since 1974.