CPIS Welcomes New Students for the Fall Semester

We are excited to welcome Luseane along with Kaimana Bajados, Asalemo Crawford, Rolando Espanto, Joseph Halaʻufia, Gerald Ramsay, Dalaunte Stevenson, and Travis Thompson as graduate students at the center. We also welcome undergraduate students Tavita Eli, Kauanoe Kalili, Serena Michel, Erica Rosales, and Brandi Tarkong.
Diamond Kaimana Badajos is from Waipahū and earned a Master’s of Professional Journalism from the University of Oregon in 2014. She graduated from UH Mānoa’s Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Hawaiian studies. Kaimana is interested in continuing research around the politics of sex—biological sex, gender, and sexual relationships—in Hawaiian culture before European contact and exploring present-day Kānaka ʻŌiwi relationships with their bodies as well as changing practices that have contributed to reformation of Hawaiian thought, perceptions of Hawaiian bodies, and ways bodies are used.

Asalemo “Asa” Crawford grew up in Seattle and South Auckland. Asa graduated from University of Washington Seattle (UW) with a bachelor’s in anthropology. At UW, he was an ambassador for the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity’s Student Outreach Program and volunteered with the Pacific Islanders Partnerships in Education program. Influenced by his personal experiences as a Samoan born in the United States, Asa is interested transnational identity and in the ways that education can help young Pacific Islanders know their roots and go on to become effective leaders. He is an East-West Center degree fellow.
Rolando Espanto Jr grew up in Wai‘anae, Oʻahu. Rolando graduated from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a bachelor’s degree in history. His undergraduate studies focused on Pacific and Asian histories, particularly the role of the Samoan matai system in relation to the US governance in American Sāmoa. Rolando is interested in education, particularly ways that indigenous methods of education can help communities overcome obstacles and reclaim a sense of place in the Pacific Islands.
Joseph Halaʻufia grew up in San Mateo, California. He attended Boston University and earned a bachelor’s degree in history. During study abroad at University of Auckland, Joseph became interested in the influences of the global community on the indigenous people and cultures of the Pacific Islands. From Auckland, he was able to visit Tonga, where he connected with family and learned more Tongan language. Joseph is interested in building on his undergradate research on Asian history to explore the influences of China in the Pacific.
Luseane Veisinia Moalapauu Raass grew up in Kapetā on Tongatapu in Tonga and completed concurrent bachelor’s degrees in sociology and Pacific Islands studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. As part of service learning and her undergraduate capstone project, Luseane worked with youth at the Pālolo ʻOhana Learning Center and Ka Holo Waʻa where she helped prepare Hokuleʻa for its worldwide journey. Luseane is interested in exploring what it means to be Tongan today, particularly for women in diasporic communities.
Gerald Ramsay is from Aunuʻu, American Sāmoa, and lived with his family in Saudi Arabia for many years. After moving to Hawaiʻi, he earned a bachelor’s in anthropology and a certificate in TESLO (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Since graduating in 2007, Gerald has worked at a Hawaiian charter school and performed at the Polynesian Cultural Center. His research interests relate to the interplay of religion and cultural identity in the Pacific Islands and diasporic communities.
Dalaunte Taz Stevenson grew up in Waipahū. He graduated from the University of Washington (UW) with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. While at UW, he was a mentor at the nonprofit Taro Roots Foundation in Seattle and lead football clinics for Pacific Islander youth to demonstrate to how sports can be a vehicle for education and professional opportunities. In 2012, Taz participated in UW’s student athlete summer program in Tahiti, French Polynesia, where he researched colonialism and its impacts on Tahitian communities. He is interested in law enforcement and social work, particularly in relation to its effects on understanding sovereignty and cultural values.
Travis Kaululaau Thompson was raised in Kāneʻohe. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in history at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. For more than a decade, Travis has performed poetry in Hawaiʻi and abroad. He uses creative writing and slam poetry to tell audiences how Hawaiʻi has become American. He is one of the founders of Youth Speaks Hawaiʻi. Travis hopes to explore the ways that communities are reintroducing traditional cultural knowledge and practices to mitigate environmental degragation in the Islands and add his voice to the historiography of Oceania.