Categorized | Education

Scholars selected for 2014-2015 Mellon-Hawaii fellowships


Four Native Hawaiian scholars have been selected as 2014-2015 Mellon-Hawaii Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellows to pursue original research and advance their academic careers.

The Mellon-Hawaii Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, now in its seventh year, recognizes and supports the work of Native Hawaiian academics early in their careers, and others who are committed to the advancement of knowledge about the Hawaiian natural and cultural environment, Hawaiian history, politics, and society.

The program provides a stipend and mentoring to enable doctoral fellows to complete their dissertations before accepting their first academic posts, and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to publish original research early in their academic careers.

The 2014-2015 Mellon-Hawaii Fellows and Mentors are:

* Doctoral Fellow Noelani Puniwai, Ph.D. candidate in the Natural Resources and Environmental Management program at University of Hawaii at Manoa. Puniwai evaluates how and why different ocean user groups socially construct and delineate marine space just as coastal areas are ecologically delineated through definitions of functional space. Mentor: Craig Severance, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Hawaii at Hilo.

* Doctoral Fellow Liza Keanuenueokalani Williams, Ph.D. candidate in the American Studies Department at New York University. Williams’ research focuses on ways that tourism, the military and the prison industrial complex shape cultural politics for Kanaka Maoli both historically and in the contemporary moment. Mentor: Vernadette Vicuna Gonzales, Ph.D., Department of American Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

* Postdoctoral Fellow Noa Kekuewa Lincoln, Ph.D., Interdisciplinary Environmental Research (2013), Stanford University. Lincoln’s research interests examine combining traditional and modern knowledge of land management to evaluate corporate and policy decisions from a social utility, rather than an economic, basis. Mentor: Kamanamaikalani Beamer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Hui Aina Momona, Hawaiinuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge and Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

* Postdoctoral Fellow Rebecca Ilima Luning, Ph.D., Cultural and Educational Specialist in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the Project Coordinator of the Mohala Na Pua Program at the Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE). Her research involves understanding a Hawaiian ethnotheory of learning through analyzing Hawaiian cultural practitioners’ and classroom educators’ teaching philosophies, cultural goals, values, and purposes of learning in a modern Hawaiian context. Mentor: Keiki Kawaiaea, Ph.D., Director, Ka Haka Ula O Keelikolani College of Hawaiian Language, University of Hawaii at Hilo.

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

* Panel Chair, 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 Kanakaole Foundation

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

“Over the years we have been impressed by the thoughtfulness and relevance of the topics that the Mellon-Hawaii Fellows have chosen to engage in their advanced studies and academic publishing,” said Dr. Matthews M. Hamabata, president and chief executive office of The Kohala Center.

“The seventh cohort is certainly no exception. In covering issues such as contemporary Hawaiian pedagogy, land and natural resource management, and the commodification of Native Hawaiian culture, land, and people, this year’s fellows are addressing some of the most critical topics in Hawaii today,” he said. “They, and the fellows before them, are Hawaii’s emerging intellectual leaders who will help chart a course for our islands’ future.”

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. Since its inception, the fellowship program has awarded 29 fellowships totaling $1.3 million.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015-2016 Mellon-Hawaii Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Application materials and more information about the program are available online at or by calling The Kohala Center at 808-887-6411.

The deadline to apply is Feb. 27, 2015.

— Find out more:

Leave a Reply

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