UH announces recipients of the 2008 Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Foundation Award

University of Hawaiʻi
Mia Noguchi, (808) 956-9095
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Jul 3, 2008

The University of Hawai'i has announced the recipients of the 2008 Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Foundation Award for Faculty Service to the Community. The award recognizes significant contributions that strengthen ties between the university and the community. Established in 1997, it is presented annually to two faculty members (one female and one male) from Manoa and two from other UH campuses.

BELINDA AQUINO, professor and director of the Center for Philippine Studies at UH Mānoa, is recognized for a continuing series of invaluable contributions to the Filipino community since she joined the faculty at UH Manoa in 1975. She has been a constant, competent and reliable source of information, advice, opinion and analysis on vital issues of concern to the community, including immigration, human rights, labor and employment, higher education, Philippine-American relations, women and minorities, Mindanao, and Philippine history, culture and society to several diverse groups in the community. Aquino has participated in many activities designed to assist victims of perennial Philippine disasters, such as typhoons, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions and other calamities. Because of her expertise as a social scientist and Philippine specialist, the Philippine Consulate has often requested Aquino to speak in forums, programs and gatherings.

STEPHEN MEDER, associate professor in the School of Architecture at UH Mānoa, is recognized for his unparalleled commitment in connecting university expertise with community needs. The primary focus of his research is linking economic and environmental sustainability with an elevated quality of life in our community. The School of Architecture plays a unique role in contributing to our community and he skillfully uses his position to advance the principles of sustainability through outreach to professional groups and at the community level. An area of Meder‘s activities that has been particularly successful is the Center for Smart Building and Community Design, a partnership between the UH Sea Grant College Program and the UH School of Architecture, which he helped to establish and currently serves as its Director. In addition, Meder is recognized for his work with underserved communities in Waianae and Kalihi.

JOSEPH CIOTTI, professor of physics, astronomy and mathematics in Windward Community College‘s Department of Natural Sciences, is honored for his leadership and contributions to science education. A faculty member at WCC since 1987, Ciotti also serves as Director for the Center for Aerospace Education. The creation of the Aerospace Exploration Laboratory, NASA Flight Training Aerospace Education Laboratory, Hokulani Imaginarium and Lanihuli Observatory were results of his outstanding leadership and volunteerism.

Ciotti often volunteers his valuable time to assist science teachers as they improve hands-on activities and lessons through workshops and outreach facilities. As a result of Ciotti‘s 20 years of innovation, service and commitment in developing the Center for Aerospace Education‘s major resources, WCC has gained a wide reputation as a crucial leader in science educational outreach, both locally and nationally. More important, however, is Ciotti‘s desire to help students. A colleague wrote, "Dr. Ciotti has sparked the imagination and aspirations of countless numbers of young students — encouraging them to make their dreams take flight — and realize, that with commitment, not even the sky is the limit."

ELAINE YAMASHITA, professor of human services at Maui Community College, has made an impact at MCC and the Maui County as a faculty member for more than 16 years. While Yamashita has made considerable contributions locally, her current four year term as a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Governing Board has taken her influence to a national level and brought national attention to the concerns and achievements of Hawaii. Yamashita is the first University of Hawaii Community College faculty member to serve on the National Governing Board, and her influence has put Hawaii‘s unique accomplishments in early childhood education in the national spotlight. Yamashita has also served as President Elect, President and Past President of the Hawaii Association for the Education of Young Children (HAEYC). She is a valued and respected member of the Early Childhood Education Community, NAEYC, HAEYC and the University of Hawaii system. Her generosity and willingness to give her knowledge, time and personal resources have benefited the Hawaii communities enormously.

These four individuals will be recognized for their achievements along with other UH award recipients at the annual Convocation ceremony to be held September 9, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. at Kennedy Theatre on the UH Mānoa campus. The ceremony is open to the public at no charge and no reservations are needed.