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Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

UH Hilo presents year-end awards

The University of Hawaii at Hilo honored a student, faculty, and a staff member during its annual Year End Celebration and Recognition gathering, held May 10, 2007 at the University Classroom Building.

The Student Employee of the Year Award was presented to Jonathan Koch, who works in the UH Hilo Admissions Office. A member of the second class of Chancellor Scholarship recipients, Koch entered UH Hilo in fall 2003 and has helped transform the program into a student-run initiative.

“What Jonathan has done is provide a whole new dimension to the Chancellor Scholars program that we, as administrators, could never have accomplished,” said Admissions Director James Cromwell. “As an upper classman, he works with newer Chancellor Scholars in planning service and social opportunities each semester, such as raising money for charity and participating in events like Relay for Life and Make a Difference Day. He is even exploring potential roles an alumnus can play in the program so that he can remain active after graduating next semester.”

In the Admissions Office, Koch has become the face and voice of UH Hilo’s local students from O`ahu. He has served as a peer tele-counselor assisting students with housing, financial aid and other issues. Koch has also been active as an email correspondent with prospective students, participated in community forums on the University Web site and spoken at college fairs on O`ahu.

Receiving the Excellence for Scholarly and Creative Activities Award was Dr. Thomas K. Pinhey, professor of sociology. The award is presented each year to a tenure-track faculty member or a full-time Board of Regent classified professional staff member for outstanding achievement.

Pinhey joined UH Hilo in 2001 following a distinguished career, primarily at the University of Guam, where he chaired the Micronesian Area Research Center. An internationally recognized medical sociologist, Pinhey’s research interests have reached broadly beyond that field, said Dr. Dan Brown, coordinator of research and graduate studies. “He has devoted considerable effort to understanding drug use and violence in adolescents,” Brown said. “More recently, he has become interested in other health issues from menopause to diabetes risk, and has applied his research in particular to Pacific populations.”

Since coming to UH Hilo, Pinhey has published 12 articles in major journals, including the American Journal of Public Health, Social Biology, Women and Health, Social Science Quarterly, and Pacific Studies. He has also served as a mentor for both students and faculty colleagues in research activities and has co-authored papers with his UH Hilo colleagues.

Social Sciences Division Secretary Yolanda Belog received the Outstanding University Support Employee Award, which recognizes the support employee who has made significant contributions to UH Hilo. Division Chair Dr. Rick Castberg, who selected her for the job when he headed Social Sciences in 1995, said Belog makes things work.

“She is extremely neat, organized and orderly,” Castberg said. “All the traits I don’t have.”

Also honored were three faculty members who were presented with the National Society of Leadership and Success Award. Dr. Karla Hayashi, instructor of English, Dr. Cheryl Ramos, assistant professor of psychology, and Dr. Yumiko Ohara, assistant professor of Japanese, received the award which recognizes and honors UH Hilo faculty that teach with heart and passion and who have motivated students in the National Society of Leadership and Success on campus.


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