UH-Hilo presents year-end awards

Several members of the University of Hawaii at Hilo community were honored May 3 during the 2018 End of the Year Awards and Recognition Celebration.

• University Housing Director Miles Nagata received the Excellence in Service Award. Nagata oversees University Housing on a 24/7 basis to provide student residents a home-away-from-home. He and his team work closely with administrators to expand and enhance the number of available beds, and for the past two years has worked to address affordability and occupancy.


• The Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi Award for Excellence and Innovation was presented to communication and English lecturer Patsy Iwasaki. Iwasaki infuses her teaching with storytelling artistry in graphic novel and video format. Her graphic novel “Hamakua Hero: A True Plantation Story” and the video documentary of the same name have provided rich distillations of island history for UH Hilo students, along with other readers and viewers.

• The Distinguished Service Award for Improving Student Life was presented to Jim Mellon, executive director of Global Education and Exchange and director of International Student Services and Intercultural Exchange.

Mellon has expanded intellectual, cultural and social learning by securing $8 million from the U.S. Department of Education to support initiatives that include the Student Support Services Program and the Pacific Islander Student Center.

• The Pulama ‘Ike Award, which recognizes a significant contribution to developing and promoting the spirit and mission of the university, was presented to Performing Arts Center Manager Lee Dombroski. Dombroski positions UH-Hilo as an islandwide community arts resource by developing an annual season of performances for the public ranging from music and dance to educational arts.


• Natalie Quinajon, student assistant, Office of Admissions, was named Student Employee of the Year. Quinajon plays an important role in admissions’ communication with the public, primarily by monitoring and answering email inquiries, which often requires deciphering complex questions to determine the best course of action.

• The first Mentor Recognition Awards were presented to faculty and staff, who were nominated by students and new alumni for their contributions to student success. This year’s recipients are Cheryl Ramos, professor of psychology, and Hoku Pihana, Keaholoa STEM Scholars Program coordinator.