Categorized | Education

Native Hawaiians awarded Mellon-Hawaii fellowships


Five Native Hawaiian scholars recently were selected for fellowships by the Mellon-Hawaii Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program to produce original research and advance their academic careers.

Now in its sixth year, the Mellon-Hawaii Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program provides support for Native Hawaiian academics early in their careers, and for others who are committed to the advancement of knowledge about the Hawaiian natural and cultural environment, Hawaiian history, politics, and society.

The research being pursued by this year’s cohort focuses on a unique and critical selection of Hawaiian literary, language, pedagogical, and political topics.

All members of the new cohort are affiliated with the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The 2013-2014 Mellon-Hawaii Fellows and Mentors are:

* Doctoral Fellow Eomailani Keonaonalikookalehua Kukahiko, Ph.D. candidate in Education

Kukahiko’s research examines the experiences of mathematics teachers working in Hawaiian educational settings who successfully integrate Hawaiian language and culture into their curricula. Her mentor is Joseph Zilliox, Ph.D., Professor at the Institute for Teacher Education in UH-Mānoa’s College of Education.

* Doctoral Fellow Bryan Gene Kamaoli Kuwada, Ph.D. candidate in English

Kuwada’s research focuses on the impact that translations had on Hawaiian history, how that history is perceived and understood today, as well as contemporary translation standards. His mentor is Craig Howes, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Biographical Research and a Professor in the Department of English at UH-Manoa.

* Doctoral Fellow Kaiwipunikauikawekiu K. Lipe, Ph.D. candidate in Education Administration

Lipe’s dissertation examines the challenges UH-Manoa faces in achieving its strategic goal of becoming a “Hawaiian place of learning.” Her mentor is Maenette Ah Nee-Benham, Ph.D., Dean of the Hawaiinuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at UH-Manoa.

* Doctoral Fellow Iokepa Casumbal-Salazar, Ph.D. candidate in Indigenous Politics

Casumbal-Salazar’s dissertation analyzes the politics of astronomy-related development on Mauna Kea, the debates surrounding the planned Thirty-Meter Telescope, and the legal opposition to continued development on the mountain. His mentor is Noenoe K. Silva, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at UH-Manoa.

* Postdoctoral Fellow Brandy Nalani McDougall, an assistant professor of American Studies at UH-Manoa who earned her Ph.D. in English from the university in 2011.

McDougall’s monograph examines the continuity of the practice of kaona (hidden meaning) within contemporary Native Hawaiian literature. Her mentor is Cristina Bacchilega, Ph.D., Professor in UH-Manoa’s Department of English.

The awards enable doctoral fellows to complete their dissertations before accepting their first academic posts, and provide postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to publish original research early in their academic careers. Doctoral fellows receive $40,000 each, and postdoctoral fellows receive $50,000 each. Each fellow works with a mentor, who is a leader in the fellow’s field of research.

“I am deeply thankful and honored to have been selected as a 2013-2014 Mellon-Hawaii fellow,” said Lipe, whose dissertation explores the challenges UH-Manoa faces in implementing its primary strategic goal of becoming a Hawaiian place of learning.

“This opportunity allows me to support my family while also focusing full-time on completing my dissertation and graduating,” Lipe said. “I am also very grateful for the opportunities to learn and grow with past and present fellows, and be included in such a rich and vibrant family of leaders who are both scholars and practitioners. My goal is to emulate them and to build upon their work for the benefit of our lahui (people).”

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Kohala Center, with the support of Kamehameha Schools, established the fellowship program in 2008. The Kohala Center administers the program from its headquarters in Waimea.

A distinguished panel of senior scholars and kupuna (esteemed elders) assisted The Kohala Center in selecting this year’s cohort:

* Panel Chairman, Robert Lindsey, Jr., member, Board of Directors, The Kohala Center; and Trustee, Office of Hawaiian Affairs

* Panel Executive Advisor, Dr. Shawn Kanaiaupuni, director, Public Education Support Division, Kamehameha Schools

* Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, former executive director, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center; and Professor Emeritus, Cornell University

* Dr. Pualani Kanahele, distinguished professor, Hawaii Community College and member, Board of Directors, the Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation

* Dr. James Kauahikaua, scientist-in-charge, U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

“We are delighted and honored to support the work of Hawaii’s finest thinkers and writers,” said Dr. Matthews Hamabata, executive director of The Kohala Center and senior support staff to the Mellon-Hawaii Fellowship Program.

“The Mellon-Hawaii Fellows have successfully established themselves as intellectual and educational leaders from Hawaii – for Hawaii and the world,” he said.

The Kohala Center will support the progress of the five Mellon-Hawaii Fellows in the coming year, and will bring the scholars together on Hawaii Island this month and in November, and again in July 2014.

For more information about the Mellon-Hawaii Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, visit and select “Current Programs and Events.”

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