Categorized | Education

Four honored for contributions to UH Hilo


The University of Hawaii at Hilo honored four faculty and staff members for their dedication and extraordinary contributions to the university.

Chancellor Donald Straney presented the Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative Activities to Rebecca Ostertag, Professional Staff Award to Kolby Santiago, Outstanding University Support Employee Award to Kirk Mikami and the Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi Award for Excellence in Innovation to Keiki Kawaiaea.

Ostertag is an associate professor of biology and the recipient of the Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative Activities. She is a highly productive research scientist with a prolific and consistent publication record.

Ostertag emphasizes the “art” of doing science in her teaching, including how to read the primary literature, develop independent research hypotheses, collect and analyze data, and present the findings.

She shares her love for science through her mentoring and continuously receives high teaching evaluations for her hands-on approach and encouraging style.

Santiago is a financial aid counselor in the student affairs office and the recipient of the Professional Staff Award. She counsels and provides information and support for students and parents on financial aid.

While the number of applications has increased dramatically since she started 10 years ago, she has never complained about having double the workload. Santiago is dedicated to her job and works hard to help students receive much needed financial assistance.

A true team player, Santiago really cares about the students and is well-respected by all those who work with her.

Mikami is an accounting clerk in the business office and the recipient of the Outstanding University Support Employee Award. He has contributed to countless improvements to the existing processes and procedures and is always looking to make operations more efficient.

Mikami always exemplifies excellent customer service to everyone he works with. Whenever a problem arises, he takes the initiative to take ownership of it and follows through to its resolution.

His attitude is that everyone pulling together can make UH Hilo a better place to work and a better place for students to get a true education.

Kawaiaea is an assistant professor at the Ka Haka Ula o Keelikolani College of Hawaiian Language and the recipient of the Koichi and Taniyo Award for Excellence and Innovation.

Kawaiaea has been instrumental in the development of the Na Honua Mauli Ola Hawaiian cultural pathways and the Moenaha culture-based curriculum design and instructional method that impact native learners in culturally healthy and responsive ways.

She is a true role model and continuously demonstrates unwavering determination to fulfill goals of excellent teaching while reviving the Hawaiian language.

Ostertag, Santiago, Mikami and Kawaiaea will be recognized for their achievements along with other UH award recipients at the annual Convocation ceremony 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27 on the UH Manoa campus. The ceremony is open to the public at no charge, and no reservations are needed. For more information on the awards ceremony, visit

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

RSS Weather Alerts

  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.