Student and Alumni Activities August–December 2012

Congratulations to our most recent MA graduate, Ebil Matsutaro, who graduated in December 2012. Her thesis, “Making a Case for Palauans: An Analysis of Public Lands Cases in Palau,” traced the history of the modern-day court system in Palau to examine ways the court system has impeded the return of public lands in Palau. After graduation, Ebil, who also had a degree in law, returned to Palau and soon after was hired by the Palauan senate as legal counsel.


The center also congratulates Daniel Schoolenberg, who graduated from the Pacific Islands Studies BA program in December. Daniel’s capstone project, “Resource and Curriculum Development for Le Fetuao—Hawaiʻi’s Samoan Language School,” involved service learning with the Samoan community on Oʻahu. In February, Daniel will move to Maui.
As we begin the spring semester, the center welcomes three new MA students:
  • Brian Dawson graduated from Brigham Young University–Hawaii with a BA in Pacific Islands studies. Brian became interested in Oceanic orthography, in part from studying Tongan language. He developed a website with instructions and downloadable keyboards to allow standardized orthography for several Oceanic languages. He is interested in exploring how orthography strengthens indigenous identity as communication in spoken and written form.
  • Mechelins Kora Iechad is from Palau and graduated from Holy Names University with a BA in international relations. Her undergraduate research focused on critical issues related to nuclear activity in the Pacific, and she worked with other Pacific Islander students to address environmental concerns. Mechelins is interested in exploring how politics in the Pacific relate to the political climate elsewhere.
  • Leora Kava earned her BA from Brown University in East Asian language and literature with a concentration in Chinese language and history. At Brown, she worked as a minority peer counselor, which allowed her to engage in cultural discourse related to her own experience as a Tongan-American woman. She has a particular interest in the cultural and political relationships between Tongans and Chinese, and she plans to focus on the experiences of migrants and the host communities.
The center also congratulates alum James Stiefvater (CPIS MA, 2008) and his wife Ivy who welcomed a son, Kinavai, in November.
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About cpis

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies, in the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa School of Pacific and Asian Studies, is both an academic department and a larger home for initiatives that bring together people and resources to promote an understanding of the Pacific Islands and issues of concern to Pacific Islanders.