American Studies home page


Milo Andrus (PhD)
Milo graduated from UH West-Oahu in 2002. He obtained an MA in American Studies in 2004 along with a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation in 2005 from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He has been employed at the Kalaupapa National Historical Park since 2005 on an interim basis performing Historic Preservation work. Before his return to the university life, he worked for many years in construction. His research interests include American literature, photography, and Hawaiian history. Of particular interest is Kalaupapa, the focus of his dissertation, which he is currently writing.

Ruth Craft (PhD)
Ruth began her graduate studies in anthropology, earning her BA at UH-West O‘ahu and her MA at UH Mānoa. Her interests include U.S. Pacific relations, Micronesian diasporas, militarism/militarization, citizenship, and gender, feminist, and ethnographic studies. She has been involved in numerous community service and research projects on Guam, in the Marshall Islands, and in Hawai‘i, including serving as an instructor of public school teachers at the English Language Institute in the Marshall Islands, a part-time teacher of English Language Learners in Hawai‘i, and as a researcher for a historic preservation project in Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i. Ruth was born into a transient military lifestyle and lived on Guam for a number of years both as a child and as an adult, which led to a deep interest in the Micronesian region. Ruth’s dissertation focuses on Micronesia’s women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Michael DeMattos (PhD)
Michael is the Chair of the Bachelors Program at the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  He received the coveted Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2008 and considers the classroom sacrosanct.  Prior to coming to UH, Michael spent the last twenty years as therapist for children, teens and their families.  He has worked in a variety of settings including psychiatric facilities, runaway and homeless youth shelters, substance abuse programs, as well as the public school system.  The common denominator amongst those Michael served – poverty.  As a result, the focus of Michael’s study is the discrepancy and disparity between the have and have-nots and the necessary relationship between the two; especially as it occurs in shared psychological, emotional, and political space.  Michael is particularly interested in the working poor, livable wages, tourism as a modern form of colonialism, and the impact of moving from an industrialized to a service economy.

Abraham FloresAbraham Flores Jr. (MA)
Abraham graduated from the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa with a BA in the Philippine Program-with concentrations in Ilokano (honors). He is working toward his MA as both an East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellow and East-West Center Alumni Graduate Degree Fellow while pursuing a Center for Philippine Studies certificate. His research interests include Hawai‘i-Philippine relations covering race representation, social movements, social stratification, colonialism, multiculturalism and ethnic identity. His focus is pre-WWII Hawaii-Ilokano diasporic media and literatures. He co-authored with Dr. Josie Clausen, “The Challenge of the Ilokano Interpreter in the Hawai‘i Legal System and Other Non-legal Interpretation Settings.” (In Nakem – Essays on Ilokano and Amianan Life -College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature, UHM. 2006). Abraham is a UHM lecturer and a state/federal court interpreter.

E. Sunny Greer (PhD)
E. Sunny Greer was born and raised in Kahana, Oahu. She received her dual B.A. in American Studies and Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. After nearly a decade working in state and municipal government, Sunny returned to school to earn a law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law, where she was the first student to graduate with certificates in both Environmental Law and Pacific-Asian Legal Studies (Specialty in Native Hawaiian Law). She recently obtained an M.A. in American Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation. She is currently working towards a Ph.D in American Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies. Her research focuses on traditional Native Hawaiian funerary customs and analyzing the impact of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act in Hawaii. 

Yusuke Ikeda (PhD)Yusuke Ikeda
Yusuke was born in Kanagawa, Japan. He received a BA in International Studies from J.F. Oberlin University, Tokyo in 2002 and an MA in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton in 2006. While completing his MA, a research paper he wrote titled “Death in Contemporary American Culture” was selected for an annual publication of the CUSF American Studies Student Association. In addition to death motifs in American culture, his academic interests include American popular culture, film, and U.S.-Japan relations. Currently, he is working on a possible dissertation topic on Hollywood’s Asian detective film series during the late 1930s.


Line-Noue Memea Kruse (PhD)
Line-Noue academic interests are US territorial relationship in the 21st century from an indigenous Samoan perspective considering issues of gender, colonization, identity-diaspora, economic re-colonization, politics, governance and development. Line-Noue teaches History and Political Science at the National University of Samoa.

Angie LeadAngie Lead (MA)
Angie researches topics in American Indian and Asian American Studies. Angie has worked on curriculum for English Language Learners (ELL) and Middle School Students that looks at histories and issues of Indigenous Peoples of North America and Japanese Americans. As an ELL instructor in Japan, Seattle, and at UH, Angie finds ways to integrate American Studies with language acquisition. Her dissertation will focus on student centered curriculum and content within the field of education and American Studies, primarily highlighting Middle School and ELL populations.

Kevin LimKevin Lim
Kevin Lim’s (PhD) primary research examines the Myth of Canadian Multiculturalism through an investigation of Asian Canadian Histories and Asian Canadian media arts. Kevin also writes on discourse analysis of Asian American online culture, Asian representation in American Pornography, Mixed Race Hollywood, Asian American/Asian Canadian film and Japanese Popular Culture consumption in America. Kevin received his MA in Film Studies from York University in 2008.

Stephen LitschauerSteve Litschauer (PhD)
Steve graduated from the University of Baltimore in 2008 with a master’s degree in legal and ethical studies. He is now focusing on American civil rights and the legal system. He is concurrently working on a graduate certificate in conflict resolution at the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at UHM. When he is not attending class, he is teaching American History, Business Law and Ethics, and Psychology courses at Heald College, Honolulu.

Valerie Lo (PhD)
Valerie has a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from University of California Santa Cruz and a Master of Arts in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University. Valerie has taught Asian American Studies courses at UC Davis and City College of San Francisco. Her dissertation focuses on mixed race celebrities and cross-racial performance. Outside of school, Valerie volunteers at the Northern California Family Dog Rescue, practices Aikido (she was awarded a black belt in 2011), and spends the majority of her free time boxing.

Margaret McAleavey (PhD)
Margaret graduated from Hunter College of the City University of New York. After her career as an international flight attendant, she returned to graduate school. She earned her Master’s Degree in American Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. For the past several summers, she has been employed by the National Park Service doing preservation work at Kalaupapa National Historical Park on the island of Molokaiʻi.Research areas of interest include Hawaiian studies, Irish-American studies, and Hawaiian history, with a particular focus on Kalaupapa. She is currently writing her dissertation on Bernard Punikaiʻa and the Hale Mohalu conflict.

Sanae Nakatani (PhD)
Sanae is originally from Japan. She graduated from Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo in 2006 with a BA in Social Sciences. She continued her study at the Department of Area Studies (North American Division) at the University of Tokyo where she received an MA in 2008. Her MA thesis examined the role of tofu dishes at the Los Angeles Tofu Festival which was organized by a local Japanese American group. She showed that the acceptance of tofu into the American dietary culture was rooted in the post-war counter culture movement and the change of values among young people, which was promoted by appreciation toward multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism. Currently she focuses her research on the history of the Japanese Americans and the use of arts in their social movements.

Stacy Nojima (PhD)
Stacy was born and raised in Santa Rosa, California. She received her BA in English and American Multicultural Studies at Sonoma State University in 2008. She is concurrently participating in the International Cultural Studies Certificate Program. Her areas of interest focus on spatial mappings as they address race, gender, identity, and literature (with a particular emphasis on mixed-race issues as well as Asian American literature).

Kristy Hisako Ringor (PhD) Kristy is originally from Lihue, Kauai. Kristy received her BA from Oregon State University in June of 2000. Two weeks after graduation she packed up her car and four days later arrived in Washington, D.C. to serve a two year term as Communications Director for the U.S. Student Association. During her term with USSA Kristy worked on issues affecting access to higher education, such as financial aid, electoral reform, racial profiling, hate crimes and served as a founding committee member for the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition. She also worked closely with the USSA Foundation on the National Student Labor Day of Action and National Take Affirmative Action Day. Kristy’s academic interests lie in sport and popular culture; and race and racism.

Chihiro Komine Sakihara (PhD)
Chihiro was born and raised in Okinawa. She graduated from the University of the Ryukyus with a BA in American literature and culture in 2000. In 2003, she earned an M.A. in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton. Beginning in Fall 2004, she became a part of the UH AMST community as a PhD student. She returned with her family to Okinawa in 2008, where she is continuing her work towards the degree while she works for the International Institute for Okinawan Studies at the University of the Ryukyus as a research assistant. Her areas of interest include: Cultural politics in the US occupation of Okinawa, US-Asia-Pacific relations, and US and Japanese colonialisms.

Sarah Smorol

Sarah Smorol (PhD and Graduate Assistant)
Sarah has a BA in Language and Cultural Studies (SUNY Empire) and an MA in Cross-Cultural Arts and Literature (San Diego State University). Her area studies are “Politics of Visual Culture” (with an emphasis on film) and “U.S. Multicultural Women’s Literature.” Additional interests include U.S./Latin American relations, and Art as Resistance. She is also working on the Advanced Women’s Studies Graduate Certificate. She is currently a committee chair on the Graduate Student Organization’s Executive Council, working to create community across disciplinary borders. She is a member of the American Studies Association and the Modern Language Association. Her forthcoming publications include: Contributor, Queers in American Pop Culture, Vol. 1 Film and Television. USA: Praeger, 2010 (Ed. Jim Elledge).To read about Sarah’s education, publications, organizations and hobbies see here:

Wendi Vincent (PhD)
Wendi graduated from the University of Southern California in 2000 with a BA in English and History. She entered the American Studies program at the University of Hawai‘i in 2001, going on to earn an MA while maintaining a full-time position at Bishop Museum. Upon completing her MA in 2003, she embarked on a teaching career at a private high school in Honolulu, where she now teaches U.S. History and AP U.S. History. She is currently pursuing her PhD while juggling full-time teaching duties and serving as the advisor to the Class of 2013. She is the 2010 recipient of the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s “Preserve America History Teacher of the Year Award” for the state of Hawai‘i, an award that recognizes excellence in the field of teaching as well as a commitment to the use of primary documents and innovation in the classroom. Her areas of specialization include American literature and cinema, and she is also interested in examining the American education system.

Karyn (Mo) Wells (PhD)Karyn Wells
Karyn focuses on Indigenous places, space and politics. Her MA work explored American Indian Studies and the American Criminal Justice System. Mo graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Colorado Boulder with BA degrees in Ethnic Studies and Anthropology. Her research interests lay in American Indian Studies, Genocide, International Law, and imperial linguistics. She is active in the American Indian Movement and other social justice organizations.

Wendy Jeanne Wichman (PhD)
Wendy was born and raised in Hawai’i. She graduated from Stanford University with a BA in International Relations, receiving departmental honors for her thesis on the international treaty codifying customary and statutory laws known as the Law of the Sea. Following graduation, she worked in Washington D.C. for U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga, as well as a year as a research assistant to Dr. Victor Li, then president of the East-West Center. A number of years were spent raising four sons, now grown. At the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, she earned a graduate certificate in Historic Preservation in 2000 and an MA in American Studies in 2003. That year she launched her own consulting business, Preservation Associates. She also worked for two years as an architectural historian for Mason Architects, a Honolulu firm specializing in preservation planning, adaptive reuse of historic structures, restoration, research and more. Her areas of interest include Hawai’i history, social movements, visual culture, and the politics of historic preservation.